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Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot announced today that Maurice Classen, Lisa Schneider-Fabes, Manuel Perez, Ra Joy and Sarah Pang will be special advisors to her transition team. “We have a lot of hard work ahead to bring about the change Chicagoans demanded on April 2. I am proud to entrust Ra, Sarah, Manny, Maurice and Lisa to advise us as we set up this administration to be both bold and effective,” said Lightfoot. “Together, we can deliver on the broad mandate for change given to us by voters all across Chicago.”

Maurice Classen will serve as Chief of Staff for the transition. Maurice has focused his life’s work on public safety, justice and police reform issues. Classen long served as a program officer focused on criminal justice reform and violence reduction at the MacArthur Foundation before joining the Chicago Police Department (CPD) as a key advisor on strategic transformation. At CPD he focused on improvements in community policing, increasing training, using data analytics and community partnerships to build safe streets, and enforce reform mandates under the consent decree. He served on the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force under Mayor-elect Lightfoot’s leadership. Before MacArthur, Maurice led programs as a prosecutor that focused on reducing domestic violence, using community engagement to improve public safety, and reducing crime while building alternatives to incarceration. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in international politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and earned his J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law.

Lisa Schneider-Fabes will serve as the Transition Manager. Lisa brings an extensive background in housing, education and management to the transition. At the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), she helped local governments and HUD clients comply with public housing regulations and environmental laws. At the Chicago Public Schools, Lisa led special projects for the CEO and Chief Education Officer, focusing on the quality and experience of teachers and principals. For the last 14 years, Lisa has run her own consultancy, providing project management, strategic planning, program design and evaluation for not-for-profit and public sector clients, including Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force. Lisa holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Chicago Kent College of Law.  

Manuel Pérez will serve as Intergovernmental Affairs advisor for the transition. Manuel most recently served as Campaign Manager for the Lori Lightfoot campaign for Mayor of Chicago. He has led a variety of campaigns at the local, state, and federal level, including Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García’s successful run for Congress in 2018. In Cook County government, Manuel has served as Special Assistant to the President of the County Board, Chief of Staff to the County Clerk, and Chief of Staff to then-Commissioner Garcia. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and resides in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Ra Joy, who will serve as Senior Advisor, is a civic entrepreneur, organizer, and progressive activist from Chicago. With a career that spans the fields of public policy, issue advocacy, civic engagement, coalition building and the arts, Joy specializes in bringing diverse people and organizations together to pursue policy reform and social change. He previously served as Executive Director of CHANGE Illinois (Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics), a non-partisan statewide coalition leading systemic political and government reform. Prior to his work in democracy reform, Joy served as Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois, one of the nation’s most prominent arts advocacy and service organizations. From 2001 to 2007, Joy served as a senior aide to U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09). Ra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Sarah Pang, who will serve as Senior Advisor, is the president of the One Chicago Fund, which contributes to building Chicago’s population in thriving, safe, affordable neighborhoods. She was CNA’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications from 2001 through 2018. Sarah spent nine years as First Deputy Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and served as liaison to federal, state and local government officials, civic organizations and private sector partners. Sarah has served on the board of the Civic Federation, Chinese American Service League and Lincoln Park Zoo. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from the University of Iowa.

Additional appointees to the transition will be announced in the coming days.