Through ongoing, meaningful collaboration at every level, we build and sustain a safe, rigorous, nurturing learning community with high expectations and impressive outcomes for children and adults alike. Distinctive Schools believes that communities can be transformed by the presence of an excellent school. The Distinctive Citizen Award was established to honor a role-modeling civic leader who exemplifies a high standard for the following criteria:
DESIRÉE ROGERS | Distinctive Citizen Inaugural Honoree
Desiree Rogers has worked for a governor, mayor and the president as well as in several high profile corporate positions.
As the former CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, the creator of Ebony and Jet magazines as well as Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Rogers repositioned the media brands as digital players with new editorial leadership and highly acclaimed brand extensions including the EBONY POWER 100 Gala. The media assets were sold in 2016.
With a Harvard Business School degree and stellar business experience, Rogers focused on improving the profitability of Fashion Fair in the department store channel, while improving the image of the brand and growing the international footprint. Rogers was recently named one of the top 50 people to watch in ethnic beauty by WWD.
In 2008, President Obama named Rogers the first African American Social Secretary. Her office produced 350 events in her 14-month tenure and turned the White House into an international showcase for American art and culture.
As a breast cancer survivor, she serves on the cabinet of the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
She is the Chair of Choose Chicago, the tourism bureau of the city of Chicago and on the boards of World Business Chicago, Donors Choose, and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Rogers also serves on the corporate board of Pinnacle Entertainment and MDC Partners.
The inaugural Distinctive Citizen Award was presented to Desirée Rogers at the Distinctive Schools Gala.
RON HUBERMAN | Distinctive Citizen Committee Chair
After nearly two decades of public service for the city of Chicago, including CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Ron Huberman joined the private sector in 2011 and co-founded TeacherMatch® — an Advanced Education Talent Management company in the K-12 education technology space that utilizes predictive analytics to assess and rank teacher candidates on the likelihood of their ability to deliver measurable student growth. This revolutionary new hiring tool is now being used throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada and China.
While serving as CEO/Superintendent of the third largest school system in the country with over 675 schools and more than 400,000 students, Ron instituted sweeping reforms including online assessment of all students, innovative accountability measures, and a first-of-its-kind student safety plan. Additionally, he met regularly with educational experts to develop a set of strategic priorities — among them advancing teacher recruitment and retention, updating school security, cutting fat from the district’s nearly $6 billion budget, and transferring available resources to local schools. On January 13, 2011, the Chicago City Council approved a resolution honoring Huberman for his service — praising him as “a dynamic leader who has demonstrated a widely admired commitment to improving the city’s public school system,” and stating that his “hard work, sacrifice and dedication serve as an example to all.”
Ron received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a Master of Social Work and M.B.A. from the University of Chicago — where he was both a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and an Albert Schweitzer Fellow. In 2009, Huberman was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award by the prestigious Booth Graduate School of Business/University of Chicago.