SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Supreme Court announced on Monday the name of its next chief justice.

Justice Mary Jane Theis will assume the chief justice position starting Oct. 26 to begin a three-year-term. She succeeds Justice Anne Burke, whose term expires on the previous day. Burke also announced on Monday that she will be retiring from the Court after 16 years on the bench.

“I would like to thank my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to serve the people of Illinois as Chief Justice,” Theis said. “I would also like to congratulate Justice Burke for her successful term as Chief and her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with the bench, bar and community at large to further the Court’s mission of providing access to equal justice, ensuring judicial integrity and upholding the rule of law. Our goal continues to be increasing public trust and confidence in the courts.”

Theis will be the 122nd chief justice in Illinois history and just the fourth woman to serve as chief justice.

Burke, the third woman to serve as chief justice, has been on the Supreme Court since 2006. Her last day on the bench will be Nov. 30.

“I have been blessed to serve as a Supreme Court Justice for 16 years and have loved working with my staff, colleagues and Judicial Branch staff to serve the people of Illinois,” Burke said. “The past three years as Chief Justice have been a challenging time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am thrilled with the progress made by the Illinois Courts.”

The Supreme Court appointed First District Appellate Judge Joy Cunningham to fill the seat being vacated by Burke. Cunningham, whose term is effective Dec. 1, 2022, through Dec. 2, 2024, will be the second Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court. The first, Justice Lisa Holder White, was appointed earlier this year.