Julia deBettencourt is chief of staff to the Policy and Evaluation practice area at Bellwether.
Prior to Bellwether, she worked for five years as the executive director of arts education for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), one of the largest school districts in the country. At CPS, she drove districtwide strategic implementation of all departmental initiatives in service of increasing equity in the arts, and led on city, state, and national policy matters related to the arts and public education.
Julia also served as the program director for Snow City Arts, an organization that provides standards-based arts education to children and youth in Chicagoland hospitals. She worked extensively as a facilitator, with a special focus on leading universally-designed, inclusive projects that foster dialogue, creative thinking, and civic imagination for all participants.
Julia completed her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University, holds a master’s degree in applied theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and a master’s degree in arts in education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She resides in Chicago with her husband, a pediatrician, and son.
Why I do this work:
I am the proud granddaughter of Jewish immigrants who met as CPS students while living in public housing. They were the first in their families to graduate high school and attend college, leveraging their privilege and educational opportunity into multigenerational stability. At a very young age, they instilled education equity in me as a nonnegotiable and I have devoted my career to ensuring that students have equitable access to the best opportunities, regardless of circumstance.