March 9, 2022

Pedro Martinez

CEO / Chicago Public Schools

Pedro Martinez addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday, March 9, in front of a live audience. The conversation, which was moderated by WTTW’s Emmy-winning journalist, Brandis Friedman, discussed the future of Chicago Public Schools, the impact of the pandemic, how Chicago leaders can support CPS and more.

Our economic future as a city is intertwined with the future of our schools.

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Pedro Martinez on the role Chicago leaders play. He encouraged the leaders of this city to invest in the city, in the schools.


Pedro Martinez

CEO / Chicago Public Schools

Pedro Martinez began his tenure as CEO of Chicago Public Schools on September 29, 2021. Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Mr. Martinez came to Chicago with his family at the age of five in search of a better life. The oldest of 12 children, his CPS journey began as a student on Chicago’s west side, and he credits the education he received in our district’s schools with changing the trajectory of his life. A proud graduate of Benito Juarez in the Pilsen community, CEO Martinez was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, and he chose to dedicate his life to education, eventually returning to the school system of his youth as CPS’ Chief Financial Officer from 2003 – 2009. Prior to joining CPS, CEO Martinez served as the Superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). And, before that, he served as superintendent for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. CEO Martinez earned his M.B.A. from DePaul University in Chicago and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois. He is also a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy.


Brandis Friedman

Correspondent / WTTW

Brandis Friedman is the Emmy-winning co-anchor and correspondent for Chicago Tonight, and the host of Chicago Tonight: Black Voices, both on Chicago’s PBS affiliate, WTTW. Her reporting on education and criminal justice has appeared on PBS’ NewsHour and NPR’s The Takeaway. Before joining Chicago Tonight, Brandis worked as a reporter and anchor for WBBM Newsradio 780, and as a producer/reporter for WJLA-TV/ABC-7 in Washington, DC. In addition to earning three regional Emmy Awards for her work in DC, she has earned multiple Peter Lisagor Awards, recognizing excellence in journalism, from the Chicago Headline Club, and multiple Emmy nominations. Originally from Mississippi, Brandis’ work has taken her to numerous cities including Kansas City, Missouri, Little Rock, Arkansas and Wichita Falls, Texas. She has served on the board of the Chicago Headline Club, which is the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and is a member of the Education Writers Association and National Association of Black Journalists. Brandis is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, where she earned a degree in Mass Communications, and Columbia University in New York City, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Journalism. Brandis lives in Evanston with her husband and two sons.