Commission Bios

Frank M. Clark - Chair
 retired in 2012 as the chairman and chief executive officer of ComEd, where he started in 1966 in the mailroom. Today Clark serves as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust and on the boards of the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Metropolitan Family Services, DePaul University, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, University of Chicago Medical Center, Big Shoulders Fund, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and Illinois Manufacturers Association. He is co-founder of the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy and co-chair of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership Board. Clark serves on the boards of Waste Management, Inc., Aetna Inc. and Harris Financial Corporation.

Ald. Howard B. Brookins 
is serving his third term in the 21st ward. The Alderman has had a distinguished career in the public sector, serving as an Assistant Public Defender, Assistant State’s Attorney and Special Assistant Attorney General. Ald. Brookins, a longtime Chicago resident, is a graduate of Mendel Catholic High School, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the Northern Illinois University School of Law. He participates in a number of committees and organizations, including Trinity United Church of Christ, Prince Hall Mason Eureka Lodge #64, Board of Directors of the Community Media Workshop, Board of Directors of the NIU Alumni Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Vice Chair of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, and Chairman of the City of Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus. Brookins and his wife, Ebonie Taylor-Brookins, have two children, Howard B. Brookins III and Harihson Bilal Brookins.

Earnest Gates
 is one of the principal people responsible for the transformation of the newly named "West Haven" neighborhood. He has worked relentlessly to transform it into a stable, working-class community. Gates joined forces with the Interfaith Organizing Project, a coalition of churches, to prevent developers from leveling the neighborhood and displacing residents. Last year, he helped negotiate the plan to transform Crane High School into a health sciences school. As head of the nonprofit Near West Side Community Development Commission, Gates’ goal is to make the neighborhood a more appealing place to live and do business.

Pastor John Hannah
 was born and raised in Chicago. He is the senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church and radio host for Chicago’s top-rated gospel radio program, “The John Hannah Morning Show.” Motivated to eliminate the walls of religion and denominationalism, Pastor Hannah founded New Life Covenant Church, which consists of individuals from different races, cultures and backgrounds. He recently wrote his first book, What to Do While You're Waiting. Pastor Hannah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Alabama State University.

Terry Hillard spent more than three decades protecting and serving the 2.8 million citizens of Chicago, culminating in a distinguished tenure as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), where he oversaw an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. Hillard earned the CPD’s highest rank and distinction the old-fashioned way: one step at a time. He started as a Patrol Officer. He went on to become a Gang Crimes Specialist, a member of the mayoral Executive Security Detail, Intelligence Division Sergeant, District Commander, Chief of Detectives, Coordinator of the Chicago Terrorist Task Force and Lieutenant in Gang Crimes and Narcotics Sections. As a partner and co-founder of Hillard Heintze, Hillard taps this leadership experience to advise an exclusive roster of senior decision makers responsible for the performance of some of the most important public and private organizations in the United States, South America and the Caribbean.

Dr. Fausto E. López
 is a lifelong educator, principal, and administrator committed to service in support of educational and community organizations across Chicago. His tenure at Chicago Public Schools began in 1971 as a teacher at John Le Moyne Elementary School. He served as a school psychologist and human resources coordinator before becoming principal at Jungman Elementary School and James Bowen High School. In recent years, he has taught at the North Park College of Education and served as a Leadership Coach at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Principals Training Program. He also provides support to the city’s public schools regarding management, administration, and school supervision.

Hon. Iris Y. Martinez 
was sworn into her first term in the Illinois State Senate on January 8, 2003 to represent the people of Illinois’ 20th Legislative District. Her election marked the first time a Hispanic woman had been elected to the State Senate in Illinois history. Senator Martinez has used her position as a State Senator to be an advocate for affordable housing and a strong voice for Illinois’ children. Senator Martinez has been a tireless promoter of programs to improve the quality of education for youth in Illinois, including the Grow Your Own Teachers Initiative, an effort to place 1,000 teachers in low-income, hard-to-staff Illinois public schools. She has also worked to support the Golden Apple Scholar Program, which seeks to place highly qualified teachers in Illnois’ hard-to-staff schools. Martinez was born and raised in Chicago’s West Town community.

Deberah Perkins is a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher who taught mathematics for 38 years. She taught high school math for 29 years at Paul Robeson High School and served as the mathematics department chair for 10 years. Previously, she served on Paul Robeson High School’s Local School Council. Prior to teaching at Paul Robeson High School, she taught high school mathematics and Advanced Placement Calculus for nine years at Von Steuben High School. She holds a Master of Arts from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science from Chicago State University.