Senior Manager of Policy, Illinois Network of Charter Schools
After graduating from Loyola, Pam Witmer became a legislative analyst for StudentsFirst, a national education reform organization created by former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. StudentsFirst aims to put laws and leaders in place that put students' interests over special interests. In that position, Pam reviewed, analyzed, and drafted legislation for several states, including Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and Alabama. She worked alongside state coalitions, advocacy groups, legislators, lobbyists, and other stakeholders to pass laws and regulations and gather support and context for the political and educational atmosphere in each state. She also conducted legal research and drafted memoranda on upcoming litigation in the above mentioned states, potential constitutional conflicts, and due process claims.
After that position, Pam served as a Staff Attorney and Court Coordinator for the Cook County Office of the Chief Judge in the Child Protection Division. Currently, Pam is a Senior Manager of Policy at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, where she advocates on behalf of Illinois charter schools throughout the state. In this position, Pam works to promote policies, practices, and legislation favorable to charter schools, and to advance and promote charter school education for Illinois Public School Students. Pam’s background in education law and policy has been an invaluable asset in her work, allowing her to comprehensively understand the broader relationship between policy and practice and promote positive, systemwide change.
While at Loyola, Pam interned for the Lead Safe Illinois campaign at the ChildLaw Center’s Policy Institute and was an extern at Equip for Equality. Pam also served as a student clinician in the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic. Prior to law school, she taught second and third grades in Atlanta, Georgia as a Teach for America corps member.
The aspect or aspects of the work you find most satisfying:
I really enjoy working with so many different people. My coworkers are energetic, engaged, and truly care about putting policies in place that are good for kids. When I travel to schools, I also have an opportunity to engage with stakeholders on the ground who share this same passion.
How Loyola supported you in your career development:
My legal education at Loyola has played a key role in my success in each position I have held. I apply my degree in a variety of different ways each day, and I rely on my clinic experience and work experience more than I anticipated. I am also thankful to have had such amazing professors that supported me in each step I have taken along the way.
Advice to other Loyola students seeking opportunities in the field:
If other students are seeking to work in education policy, I suggest checking out the Pie Network's career page (http://www.pie-network.org/connect/find-a-job) in addition to reaching out to others who currently work in the field.
Dated: January 6, 2016