Michelle Morales was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Brandon Johnson and began serving on July 18, 2023.
Michelle is the President of Woods Fund Chicago, a local foundation which supports community organizing and advocacy in the city of Chicago. She is a first-generation US born Puerto Rican. Prior to Woods Fund, she led the Illinois chapter of the Mikva Challenge, an organization that develops middle & high school aged youth to become civically engaged and creates space for their civic participation and leadership. Michelle’s background has been in the field of alternative education, focusing on and advocating for educational justice, first as a teacher at an alternative high school in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community and then as Associate Director at the Alternative Schools Network. In addition, Michelle was a community organizer for 16 years in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, organizing against police brutality and gentrification, and for community-informed economic development and educational justice. Since Michelle’s leadership, Woods Fund Chicago has centered racial justice both internally and externally, has increased its annual payout, restructured to embed a Trust-Based Philanthropy framework into its grantmaking practices, and continues to advocate in the sector on behalf of its grantee partners.
She received a BA in Latin American/Latino Studies from DePaul University, a Master's in Special Education from UIC and a Master's in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Michelle currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Northeastern Illinois University and on the advisory committee for the Latin American/Latino Studies program at DePaul University. Most recently, she was appointed co-chair of Mayor Johnson’s Transition Committee.