Jesse H. Ruiz

President, Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners

Jesse H. Ruiz is a partner at the law firm of Drinker Biddle where he focuses his practice on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, equity and debt offerings, financings, the purchase and sale of assets from bankruptcy estates, and a variety of commercial transactions.

Since 2006, Jesse has also served as a member of the board of directors of Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company.

In May 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Jesse the Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education, where he served until January 2016 when Mayor Emanuel appointed him president of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. From April to July of 2015, Jesse also served as the Interim CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Jesse also serves on the Public Building Commission. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Jesse to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission from February 2011 to February 2013. Prior to serving on the Chicago Board of Education, Jesse served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education from September 2004 to May 2011. He had also previously served on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission.

Jesse is past president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and Past Chairman of the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois. He is also Past Chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. He currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Legal Clinic, the Chicago Bar Association, the Metropolitan Planning Council and several other charitable boards.

At the Hispanic National Bar Association’s annual convention in September 2014, the HNBA named Jesse the Latino Lawyer of the year. In April 2012, Jesse, along with his wife, received the Barristers Philanthropic Award from Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth for his work in education advocacy and youth mentoring. In 2011, the Walmart Legal Department awarded Jesse its inaugural Walmart Legal Spark Award for “outstanding client and community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession.”

Prior to beginning his law practice, Jesse was a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton (n/k/a Strategy&), where he was a member of the Operations Management Group. Prior to attending law school, he was also a member of the sales departments of Inland Steel Company and Ryerson Coil Processing Company.

Jesse received his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, where he served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, and studied under then-professors Barack Obama and Elena Kagan. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jesse was raised in the far south side Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, and now lives in Wicker Park with his wife and two children.