An outstanding woman in business in Chicago and a leader committed to achieving educational equity in the city. These are the ways Noble Schools’ CEO, Constance Jones, was recognized by the Chicago Bulls and Fortune Magazine in the last few months.
Jones was not only featured in Fortune and Entreprenuer Magazine for her leadership at Noble Schools, but she was also honored as an MLK Legacy Honoree by the Chicago Bulls – an award given to those in the city who “embody the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrate innovative strategies to address persistent challenges to achieving social justice and equity.”
Benny the Bull and the Bulls Community surprise CJ with the announcement that she is a MLK Legacy Honoree at Chicago Bulls College Prep:
Jones was recognized for her work with Noble Schools, especially as she has challenged our organization to be actively antiracist and ensure that all students have equitable and positive school experiences that equip them to complete college and lead choice-filled lives.
Jones first got involved with Noble when she became a volunteer advisor for young women in UIC College Prep’s founding class. She then moved into leadership at Noble in 2015, starting as the Chief External Affairs Officer. She was promoted to President in early 2018. After a few months in that role, she became the first Black and first female CEO of Noble Schools in late 2018. Jones has been pushing Noble forward ever since.
When Jones first took leadership as CEO, she immediately broke down Noble’s ultra-strict dress code, which many students and teachers said they felt unfairly punished styles popular with Black and Brown students. In a bold move to announce this new policy, Jones dyed her hair purple to encourage Noble students and staff to bring their whole selves to work and to school. But this was just one instance of Jones’ fight to make Noble a place where everyone is valued and heard.
After the heartbreaking, tragic murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many others in 2020, Jones knew that Noble had to play a part in addressing the racism that continued to show up in these deaths and in our political atmosphere and communities. It had to start within our schools first.
She challenged Noble to accelerate their work to create an antiracist experience for our students, families, and staff – not just in words but by action. That same year, Noble’s first Chief Equity Officer was hired. In early spring 2020, Noble staff, teachers, students, parents, and community members came together to develop and release the Anti-Racism Commitment. This commitment then led Noble to make massive changes to its school policies and practices, resulting in the Noble Community Pact.
“The goal of this initiative is for Noble to be a more just organization by honoring the work, voices, perspectives, and experiences of students, families, community members, faculty, and staff,” Jones says, as quoted by Fortune magazine, “We strive to be actively antiracist in all we do.”
Check out the full feature from Fortune here: