SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – The head of Illinois’s education system is stepping down.

Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala has announced her plans for retirement at the end of January 2023. 

“Dr. Ayala represents the highest level of dedication to public service, and over her long career she has positively impacted thousands of Illinois students,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Not only did Dr. Ayala’s steadfast leadership guide our schools through an unprecedented pandemic, but she also kick-started students’ academic recovery.”

She has also held positions on numerous boards and committees, including the Illinois State Board of Education Bilingual Advisory Council, Illinois Women in Educational Leadership, Illinois Resource Center, and the Illinois Professional Review Panel for Evidence-Based Funding.

Dr. Ayala started at the Illinois State Board of Elections in 2019. Before becoming the superintendent, she served as a superintendent and teacher in a variety of schools around the Chicago-area.   

Ayala was the first female and first person of color to be the permanent superintendent for the state.