Our former Chief Operating Officer, Mike Madden, has now stepped into the role of President at Noble Schools. While he’s been working at Noble for over 13 years, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce Madden to our wider community as he is poised to take Noble to greater heights of success.
>> Another of our leaders, Jennifer Reid Davis, also stepped up into a new role. Read more about her and her role here.
Chicagoland-raised and passionate about education…
Mike Madden was born the oldest of triplets and raised on the Southwest side in the village of Oak Lawn. He attended public school through 5th grade, a parochial school for middle school, and ultimately ended up at Brother Rice High School. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
After undergrad, Madden went into banking operations. But after a few years, he soon realized that his true passion was working in the public sector.
“I really wanted to invest myself in work that I felt made a difference,” Madden said, “Where I cared about the outcomes in deep and meaningful ways.”
He worked with a few government organizations and nonprofits for a few years. Then, he started his own consulting company, where he worked exclusively with public sector organizations. He also went back to school and got his master’s in Public Policy & Administration at Northwestern University in 2007. During this time, he became deeply concerned with major issues that he saw Chicago facing – issues rooted in inequity, systemic racism, and a history of segregation.
“Growing up in the Chicagoland area, I knew very well that Chicago was one of the most segregated cities in the country. Yet, I didn’t fully understand why that was until I studied it more,” Madden said, “It was clear that profoundly deep racist policies and practices over the course of Chicago’s entire history led us to where we are today – with a massive racial equity gap.”
He started to look into different ways he could help in reversing this gap in any way – large or small.
“I wanted to be in the game and not on the sidelines,” Madden said.
Madden found his answer in education.
“If we can provide best-in-class, best-in-country education to kids, no matter what their background, then we can narrow that gap,” Madden said. This passion was what ultimately drew him to Noble Schools 13 years ago. He felt that Noble provided the best opportunity to close the educational gap for students in Chicago.
Madden first worked in the technology department at Noble Schools. After three years, he moved into the role of Chief Operating Officer. He has served in that role for the past 10 years – managing facilities, IT, food service, safety & security, enrollment, and more at our campuses. In 2020, Madden took on the massive job of heading much of Noble’s COVID-19 response. During that time, he also received a professional certificate in Conscious Leadership and Team Management from the University of Chicago.
Now, he is ready to expand his responsibilities as he steps into the President role.
What does the President do?
The President role manages four major teams at Noble Schools: Operations, Data & Innovation, Finance, and Talent & Human Resources. These four teams handle the business operations of Noble Schools to make sure we are providing the best education and best school environment to our students and staff.
“What happens in the classroom is supported by the business operations. We need to provide a clear path and facilitate the work that happens in the classroom so the teachers and students have everything they need to create that incredible moment between the two of them,” Madden said.
Madden says the ability to create this kind of environment at our schools is very much driven by what these teams do – from how we spend our money, to who we hire, to how we manage our buildings. He’s excited to jump into this new role to help further this work.
“Creating an amazing and extraordinary staff, student, and family experience is what’s going to drive me every single day when I take my two feet out of bed,” Madden said.
Madden shared a few of his goals as he moves into this role:
- Improving safety and security for staff and students
- Building stronger relationships between campus staff and Noble Support Team (NST) staff
- Analyzing NST’s work to make sure they are serving our community in a way that meets the needs of our students, families, and staff.
“The dream is that Noble is the best school system in the country, proudly serving our staff, students, and families in the ways that they dream of,” Madden said.
Madden lives in downtown Chicago with his wife, Erica, his daughter, Erin, and his dog, Rosie.