In November 2018, Constance Jones became the chief executive officer of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Illinois’ largest charter school network, and is the first African American and first female to hold that position. Connected through community groups and board positions across Chicago, she quickly became a widely influential and trusted voice within the nation's third largest school district.
As Noble’s CEO, she oversees the strategy, operations, and academic results of an organization of over 12,500 students and 1,400 staff across 18 campuses, with a total budget in excess of $187 million. Nationally renowned for preparing its students—98% students of color and 89% from under-resourced communities—to be accepted to and graduate from college, Noble represents 12% of all CPS high schoolers. Under Constance’s leadership, Noble continues to set the high-water mark for college preparation across the city’s public schools, ultimately contributing to a significant portion of the success that CPS has publicly claimed in recent years.
Constance previously served as Noble's chief external affairs officer and president, where she spearheaded a campaign that resulted in Noble winning the Broad Foundation’s national prize for best charter school in 2015. She continues to stand out as a coalition leader and advocate for high-quality public schools of all types, with her leadership resulting in Noble’s continued growth to serve more CPS students, the passage of crucial education funding reform in Springfield in 2017, and Noble’s Class of 2020 graduating 2,500 seniors, 97% of whom were accepted into college while earning a record-breaking $500 million in scholarships.
Constance is an alumna of Leadership Greater Chicago, the IMPACT Leadership Development Program with the Chicago Urban League and The University of Chicago, and the Aspen Institute Pahara Fellowship. Constance has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor of science in business administration from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In May 2020, Constance was named one of Chicago Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women, and was chosen to be in the Crain’s 40 Under 40 class in 2019. Constance is the founder of a scholarship at North Carolina Central University for first-generation math and science majors in honor of her late father.
Why do you work at Noble?
I come from a proud family of tobacco farmers in North Carolina. Education has been the key lever of opportunity for me and my family. I want people who look like me and other communities of color to have every opportunity possible to accomplish their greatest dreams.
Who was your favorite teacher while growing up?
Ms. Brown, my 8th grade publications teacher. She was a beautiful, strong, young Black woman whom I looked up to. She validated my identity as a Black woman.
Ms. Rogers, 5th grade teacher. She loved animals like I do. We had a class pet, Charlie the ferret, who I (with my parents’ blessing) would take home over the weekend to ferret-sit.
Favorite thing about Noble or favorite Noble moment?
When I attended my first Noble graduation, the founding class at UIC College Prep in 2012, to see my mentees graduate. I didn’t work at Noble then (I was a volunteer advisor/mentor); little did I know at the time that in 6 years I would go from Noble volunteer to CEO.
My other favorite Noble moment was the day I stood in front of staff for the first time in December 2018 as CEO and everyone clapped and cheered. It was a really tough time in the history of Noble and for me personally, but I felt so much support and love from the Noble family. This was also the day that we announced the first wave of DEI-based evolutions (tattoo/hair/earrings policy changes for students and staff) and our commitment to student retention (we have since increased to 97%), and reinforced our commitment to honoring the dignity and humanity of our students.
What do you/your department do at Noble?
Set vision, priorities, strategy. Ensure we are honoring core values and driving towards results for kids.
Start at Noble?
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
(B.S. in Business Administration, Minor in African American Studies)
Harvard Business School (MBA)