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About Us 


What is P-20?

The Illinois P-20 Council was established by the legislature in 2009 to foster collaboration among state agencies, education institutions, local schools, community groups, employers, taxpayers, and families, and to collectively identify needed reforms to develop a seamless and sustainable statewide system of quality education and support. The "P" in our name represents Preschool and "20" stands for grade 20, education after college. We meet quarterly as a Council, and more frequently in committees, to develop a framework to improve the alignment of all our education systems, so that a child's path is smooth from early learning to kindergarten, through high school, and on to career education or college.


The mission of the Illinois P-20 Council is to deliberate and make recommendations to the Governor, Illinois General Assembly, and state agencies for developing a seamless and sustainable statewide system of quality education and support, from birth through adulthood, to maximize students’ educational attainment, opportunities for success in the workforce, and contributions to their local communities.


Our goal is to increase the proportion of Illinoisans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Today, only about 41 percent of the state's nearly 7 million working-age adults (25-64 years old) hold at least a two-year degree.

Organizational Chart  

Council Members

The Illinois P-20 Council is composed of members appointed by the Governor representing business leaders, local government, university administrators, school boards, unions, nonprofits, teachers, faculty, independent colleges, and parents. Dr. Elizabeth Purvis is the Council Chair. There are also four legislative members. A full list of members is located below. Dr. Purvis is also the Chair of the Joint Education Leadership Committee, composed of eight ex-officio members representing the heads of the State Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education, the Community Colleges Board, the Early Learning Council, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Student Assistance Commission, the Illinois Math and Science Academy, and the Illinois Education Research Council.


Dr. Beth Purvis - Council Chair

Dr. Janet Holt - Council Coordinator

Zori Paul - Council Staff

IL Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - Research Support

Full List of Council Members

Dr. Elizabeth PurvisChairSecretary of Education
Dr. Janet HoltCoordinator Executive Director
Dr. Karen Hunter AndersonLeadership CommitteePresident/Chief Executive Officer
Dr. James ApplegateLeadership CommitteeExecutive Director
Dr. Theresa HawleyLeadership CommitteeDirector - Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development
Jeff MaysLeadership Committee
Illinois Department of Employment Security
Dr. Tony SmithLeadership CommitteeState Superintendent
Elizabeth SwansonLeadership CommitteeVice President of Strategy and Programs
Dr. Jose TorresLeadership CommitteePresident
Eric ZarnikowLeadership CommitteeExecutive Director
Ron BullockMemberChief Executive Officer
Nora Moreno CargieMemberDirector Global Corporate Citizenship
Rep. Barbara Flynn CurrieMemberRepresentative
Roger EddyMemberExecutive Director
Gaylord GiesekeMemberPresident
Kurt HilgendorfMemberGovernment Liaison
Fr. Dennis HoltscheiderMemberPresident
Dr. Erika HuntMemberProject Director IL-SAELP
Joyce KaronMemberFormer Director/ Former Member
Debra KasperskiMemberDirector
Sen. Kimberly LightfordMemberSenator
Dave LowitzkiMemberPolicy Director
Cordelia "Dea" MeyerMemberExecutive Vice President
Melissa MitchellMemberExecutive Director
Jeffrey OwensMemberPresident
Sharon Thomas ParrottMemberSenior Vice President
Dr. Glenn PoshardMemberPresident
Mayor Laurel PrussingMemberMayor
Dr. Tom RamageMemberPresident
John RicoMemberChief Executive Officer
Jane RussellMemberExecutive Board Member
Audrey SoglinMemberExecutive Director
Robin SteansMemberExecutive Director
Debra StraussMemberFormer President
Gary TipsordMemberSuperintendent