Leaders in High School Education to Speak at 2017 Albion College Commencement

March 28, 2017

Three noted members of the education field will deliver Commencement remarks to Albion College’s Class of 2017 on Saturday, May 6 from the steps of Kresge Gymnasium on the College Quadrangle. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m., with the Processional starting at 12:45 p.m.

Jess Womack smiling at the camera.Addressing the graduating seniors will be Jess Womack, ’65, former general counsel and inspector general of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) who also served on the board of Green Dot Schools in L.A.; Linda Yonke, ’75, superintendent of the Northfield campus of the New Trier Township High School District in suburban Chicago; and Michael Milkie, CEO and superintendent of the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago.

Womack is an Albion native who graduated from Albion College with a degree in biology. He then served two years in Kenya as part of the Peace Corps, after which he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. He returned and earned his law degree from the University of Michigan, started his career at Ford Motor Company and then spent 18 years at Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) as senior corporate counsel for environmental affairs.

He then moved on to become deputy general counsel and later general counsel of the LAUSD before becoming inspector general in 2010.

In 1999, Womack joined the board of Green Dot Schools, a nonprofit public charter school network in L.A. He also served as a member of Albion College’s Board of Trustees for 12 years and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010.

Linda Yonke smiling at the camera.Yonke, a native of Kankakee, Ill., has spent her entire career in education, first as a high school English teacher and later as principal of York Community High School in Elmhurst, Ill.

She was then named Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at New Trier Township District 203 in Winnetka, Ill., one of the leading public school districts in the country. In 2006, she was named the district’s first female superintendent.

Michael Milkie smiling at the camera.Milkie, a graduate of Indiana University, began his career as a math teacher in Chicago Public Schools. In 1999, he founded the Noble Street Charter School with his then-fiancée Tonya Hernandez to provide educational opportunities for low-income families.

In 2006, he became superintendent of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, and today he oversees 17 high-performing high school campuses serving 12,000 Chicago students.

Albion College Commencement is free and open to the public. In the case of inclement weather, the proceedings will move indoors to Goodrich Chapel and become a ticketed event. For more information about Commencement, visit albion.edu/commencement or contact the Office of College Events at 517/629-0448.