Heather Penczak

Heather Penczak, Director of Innovation and Implementation, has focused much of her career on ensuring students of Chicago Public Schools, in traditional and alternative high school settings, have the work development training and internships experiences necessary to succeed in college and professional settings. Heather first joined the Education Systems Center team as the Policy and Program Manager, developing state-level supports for work-based learning and providing technical assistance for pathways implementation. In her role as Director of Innovation and Implementation, Heather continues to lead statewide efforts in work-based learning, as well as emerging projects in competency-based education and evaluation frameworks for efforts related to the implementation of the Illinois Postsecondary Workforce Readiness Act.

A certified teacher in secondary education, Heather earned a Master of Education Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University.

Portrait of Heather Penczak

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