John Furr HeadshotJonathan Furr is the Founder and Executive Director of Education Systems Center. He is actively engaged in various state and national education policy and legislative developments, as well as education and workforce initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2010, Mr. Furr has played a lead role in state policy and program development relating to career pathway systems. Mr. Furr staffs the Illinois P-20 Council’s College and Career Readiness Committee, which recently drove the development and adoption of the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. Education Systems Center is also an organizing sponsor of the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, which is supporting regions across Illinois to improve education and workforce development outcomes.

Mr. Furr has also played an active role to fund and establish the state’s longitudinal system. Mr. Furr worked with seven state agencies to establish an interagency governance structure for the Illinois longitudinal data system, which he currently staffs. He served as the primary author of three successful federal grant proposals resulting in $29 million in funding for the system, and served as the lead drafter and negotiator for the 2009 Illinois P‐20 Longitudinal Education Data System Act. This Act established the requirements and framework for the development of the State’s longitudinal education data system, and garnered the Data Quality Campaign’s 2009 Leadership Award.

Mr. Furr also served as lead consultant to the State of Illinois on its planning and applications relating to education stimulus programs, including the State’s applications for all phases of the Race to the Top program.

Prior to joining NIU, Mr. Furr was a partner in the public policy and education practice of an international law firm. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Furr served as the General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).