• Chicago International Charter School selects seasoned education leader as next chief executive

    Chicago International Charter School selects seasoned education leader as next chief executive

    Kris Cheung selected for his collaborative leadership style and ability turn challenges into opportunities

    October 18, 2021 

    Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (312) 343-2515

    CHICAGO – Chicago International Charter School (CICS), a network of 13 public charter schools serving 7,400 students, is excited to announce that Kris Cheung will begin as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, effective November 1, 2021. Following an extensive national search, Cheung was selected due to his deep experience as a leader in education, his relational leadership style and ability to drive student outcomes while maintaining a well-run organization. 

    “Kris is a seasoned leader who we are confident has the experience and capabilities to lead CICS into our next phase,” said Evan Sharp, member of CICS’ Board of Directors and chair of the CEO Search Committee. “What stood out to us about Kris was his ability to ask thoughtful questions and listen intently, surround himself with experts, and galvanize people around a common goal. Our Board is deeply grateful to the entire CICS team for providing stability and continuity for our students, families and staff while we found the right person for the role.”

    Cheung comes to CICS with more than a decade of leadership at two of the nation’s highly regarded charter networks: Success Academy in New York and KIPP Texas. As the Chief Operating Officer at Success Academy, he helped the organization grow from seven schools serving 2,400 students to 46 schools serving more than 16,000 students. At KIPP Texas, he led the consolidation of four KIPP regions across Texas, now serving 34,000 students at 59 schools statewide. In both roles, Kris brought stakeholders together across departments and regions, while navigating significant complexity, to create more high-quality opportunities for students. 

    “CICS has been an education leader in Chicago for more than 24 years and I’m eager to build upon the amazing work of our students, families and staff in the years to come,” said Cheung. “I know the last 18 months have been challenging for everyone and I’m excited to lead a team that has demonstrated resilience, perseverance and a relentless focus on students in the face of significant obstacles. I look forward to building relationships with everyone who is committed to the success of Chicago’s children.” 

     About Chicago International Charter School

    Chicago International Charter School is a vibrant network of diverse Chicago charter schools that enable students to thrive every day, put them on a path to success in college and life, and empower entrepreneurial educators to pursue excellence through innovation. CICS is serving more than 7,400 students at 13 campuses across Chicago. To learn more, visit

    Press Release_Chicago International Charter School selects seasoned education leader as next chief executive

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  • How CICS Bucktown is using social-emotional learning in the classroom

    CICS Bucktown

    Congrats CICS Bucktown!

    The Today Show featured CICS Bucktown teachers and students this morning discussing SEL (Social Emotional Learning). Listen to some of Bucktown's teachers and students discussing the prioritization of the student-teacher relationship in their everyday curriculum. 
    Great work team!
    Check out the feature story:

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  • Welcome Back!

    Dear Teachers and Staff,

    I am grateful and excited to be welcoming staff and students back into our school buildings this month. While I cannot say for sure what the coming weeks and months may hold, I can say with complete confidence that teachers and staff and all of our School Management Operators (SMO) partners and teams are ready to jump back into supporting student learning, collaborating with one another, and welcoming students and families back into our CICS community with open arms.

    By now, you have all heard from your SMO leadership and school leaders about the logistics of your first days back and you should have a good idea of what to expect. Today, I’d like to focus on the slightly bigger picture as we navigate a return back to school buildings and continue adjusting to the changing landscape around us.

    This school year, I hope we take with us some hard-earned lessons from last year and commit to creating an even brighter path ahead. I hope we maintain our commitment to truly supporting one another, being nimble and innovative, and keeping a laser focus on supporting our students both academically and emotionally regardless of the context or challenges. I hope we carve a new path – one that brings our Graduate Aims to life on a daily basis; one that doesn’t just fill gaps from the last year but actually accelerates student learning and opportunity; and one that brings our community closer together and engages and invests even more people in the success of our students.

    I am absolutely delighted and honored to start this new school year on a positive and safe note with this team of exceptional educators and staff members. Our CICS team is working very closely with our SMO partners and closely monitoring local school health data, as well as school reopening guidance from local, state and federal agencies to ensure a safe and successful experience for all. We ask that you continue partnering with us in finding the balance in providing a safe learning environment and educating all of our students during this time. I look forward to engaging and communicating with you all as we begin this journey together.

    With gratitude,

    Pelin Deniz

    Chief Operations Officer 
    Chicago International Charter School 


    [Spanish translation]

    Estimados maestros y personal de las escuelas CICS,

    Estoy agradecida de dar la bienvenida al personal y a los estudiantes de nuevo a nuestros edificios escolares este mes. Si bien no puedo decir con certeza lo que depararán las próximas semanas y meses, puedo decir con total confianza que los maestros y el personal y todos nuestros socios y equipos de Operadores de Administración Escolar (SMO) están listos para volver a apoyar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes, colaborando con unos a otros, y dar la bienvenida a los estudiantes y sus familias a nuestra comunidad CICS con los brazos abiertos.

    A estas alturas, todos habrán escuchado de sus líderes del SMO y líderes escolares sobre la logística de sus primeros días de regreso y deberían tener una buena idea de qué esperar. Hoy, me gustaría centrarme en el panorama un poco más amplio mientras navegamos de regreso a los edificios escolares y continuamos ajustándonos al panorama cambiante que nos rodea.

    Este año escolar, espero que llevemos con nosotros algunas lecciones del año pasado que tanto nos costó ganar y nos comprometemos a crear un camino aún más brillante por delante. Espero que mantengamos nuestro compromiso de apoyarnos mutuamente, ser ágiles e innovadores, y mantener un enfoque en apoyar a nuestros estudiantes tanto académica como emocionalmente, independientemente del contexto o los desafíos. Espero que logremos un nuevo camino, uno que dé vida a nuestros objetivos de posgrado a diario; uno que no solo llena los vacíos del año pasado, sino que en realidad acelera el aprendizaje y las oportunidades de los estudiantes; y una que acerque a nuestra comunidad e involucre e invierta aún más personas en el éxito de nuestros estudiantes.

    Estoy absolutamente encantada y honrada de comenzar este nuevo año escolar con una nota positiva y segura con este equipo de educadores y miembros del personal excepcionales. Nuestro equipo de CICS está trabajando muy de cerca con nuestros socios del SMO y monitoreando de cerca los datos de salud de las escuelas locales, así como la orientación de reapertura de escuelas de las agencias locales, estatales y federales para garantizar una experiencia segura y exitosa para todos. Le pedimos que continúe asociándose con nosotros para encontrar el equilibrio para brindar un entorno de aprendizaje seguro y educar a todos nuestros estudiantes durante este tiempo. Espero involucrarme y comunicarme con todos ustedes mientras comenzamos este viaje juntos.


    Pelin Deniz

    Jefa de Operaciones

    Escuela Charter Internacional de Chicago

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  • Reopening CICS Schools In The Fall

    Dear CICS Families,

    I hope that you all have found moments of relaxation and rejuvenation as summer weather finally graces our beautiful city. After an exceedingly difficult year, we all deserve time to celebrate what we accomplished, mourn what we lost, and feel grateful for what lies ahead.

    Speaking of what lies ahead, it is with great excitement that I am writing to officially notify you that our CICS campuses will return for full-time, in-person learning this fall. We are working closely and collaborating with all our SMO partners for a strong and safe launch. Planning is ongoing and new information is gathered daily, and we are confident that we will be ready to welcome back students into our school buildings when we begin the 2021-2022 school year.

    There will be many more details and conversations in the weeks ahead, and you should expect outreach from your individual school campus as plans evolve. Please reach out directly to your school leaders with any questions that you have. And, in the meantime, continue to rest and find moments of joy as you soak in a long-awaited Chicago summer.

    I look forward to seeing our community back together soon.

    With warmest regards,

    Pelin Deniz
    Chief Operations Officer 
    Chicago International Charter School 


    [Spanish Translation]

    Estimadas familias de CICS,

    Espero que todos hayan encontrado momentos de relajación y rejuvenecimiento mientras el clima de verano finalmente adorna nuestra hermosa ciudad. Después de un año extremadamente difícil, todos merecemos tiempo para celebrar lo que logramos, lamentar lo que perdimos y sentirnos agradecidos por lo que nos espera.

    Hablando de lo que nos espera, les escribo con gran entusiasmo para notificarles oficialmente que nuestros escuelas de CICS volverán para el aprendizaje en persona a tiempo completo este otoño. Trabajamos cerca y colaboramos con todos nuestros socios del SMO para un lanzamiento sólido y seguro. La planificación es continuada y se recopila nueva información todos los días, y estamos seguros de que estaremos listos para recibir a los estudiantes en nuestros edificios escolares cuando comencemos el año escolar 2021-2022.

    Habrá muchos más detalles y conversaciones en las próximas semanas, y debe esperar un acercamiento de su escuela escolar individual a medida que evolucionen los planes. Comuníquese directamente con los líderes de su escuela si tiene alguna pregunta. Y, mientras tanto, continúe descansando y encuentre momentos de alegría mientras se sumerge en un verano de Chicago tan esperado.

    Espero ver a nuestra comunidad nuevamente unida pronto.

    Con mis mejores deseos,

    Pelin Deniz
    Chief Operations Officer 
    Chicago International Charter School 

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Follow CICS

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    CICS Northtown Academy invites parents and students to a series of virtual open houses-October 20, November 13 and December 2! The first virtual open house event is on October 20 at 5pm! To RSVP for a specific date and to receive a video link, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Releases


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Video Releases

  • CICS: ChicagoRise (Lloyd Bond) Innovation Spotlight Video

    In honor of Black History Month, CICS is highlighting the latest Innovation Spotlight video showcasing ChicagoRise-the bold school model integrating identity-affirming pedagogy with a rigorous intentional curriculum.

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  • CICS-ChicagoQuest, Civitas Community Impact Experience Innovation Spotlight Video

    Our students are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, designers and civic leaders, and they need opportunities to develop and exercise their skills and knowledge through problems in real-world situations and circumstances.

    At CICS ChicagoQuest, seniors are in a 6-10 week long project, the Civitas Community Impact Experience (CCIE), that addresses authentic issues, tasks, and topics proposed by sponsors and community partners. Students earn high school credit and may also have opportunities to pursue professional certifications.

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  • CICS Boy's Lab Innovation Spotlight Video

    Innovation. Empowerment and Academic Achievement.  
    At CICS-Boy's Lab, a unique three-year cohort learning experience for boys, we know what it takes to enhance our scholars’ education.
    Check out the latest Innovation Spotlight video that showcases the unique approach to learning and the top quality faculty makes Boy's Lab more than just a physical school - it’s a life experience.

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  • iHeartRadio interviews Dr. Kenyatta Starks

    iHeartRadio interviews Dr. Kenyatta Starks, Co-Founder of Empowered Schools, discussing why rising 9th graders should apply and rank CICS Longwood #1 on their GoCPS application!

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CICS Documents

Chicago International Charter Schools: Frequently Asked Questions
CICS Our Network One Pager
Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program Information
CICS Longwood

CICS External Newsletter

  • Online Application
  • CICS Network Staff Hub
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Chicago International Charter School

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