Mayor Jada Curry

A Historic Opportunity Born of Education

“It’s been quite a journey!” said Jada D. Curry, recalling the pathway that led to her historic mayoral victory in the Village of Lynwood last year. Curry, 48, was elected the first Black female mayor of this south suburban community in 2021. Mayor Curry recognizes one of the most valuable stepping stones that led this resilient leader to find success was South Suburban College (SSC).

During her days as a Thornton Township High School student and Dolton resident, Curry had a keen focus on academics. The drive of this honor roll student landed her a spot at a prestigious university. However, once she began attending classes, she lost the motivation she once had in school. Curry recalled, “My mom was funding my education. Between losing my focus and being worried about my mom, I decided to leave the university.” After taking a semester off, she quickly realized how much she missed academia.

Curry’s next stop was the admissions office at South Suburban College. Her thought was to attend a few courses while determining which four-year university would best fit her educational goals. While at SSC, Curry became hooked on earning an Associate of Arts (AA) in history. “I had such an amazing experience at South Suburban College because of professors like the recently deceased David Johnson,” she remarked. “He was exactly what I needed at that time while I was trying to hit the reset button and get myself refocused. I really had that experience with every faculty member at SSC.”

After achieving her AA degree from SSC in 1993, Curry continued her education at Governors State University (GSU), earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Integrative Studies with a History focus and a Master of Arts (MA) in Multicategorical Special Education. This opened the door for her to become a licensed special education teacher. Receiving an MA was exceptionally impactful for Curry. “The same month that I graduated with my master’s degree, my son graduated from eighth grade, and my mom graduated with her bachelor’s degree! We had three generations of graduates in one month,” Curry stated.

In addition to collegiate degrees, Curry earned her Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) certification. She utilizes interpersonal communication skills to connect with residents and enact a positive transformation in her community. Curry spent the past 17-years as an involved resident of the Lynwood community. Prior to being elected mayor, she served six years on the school board of Sunny Brook school district 171. She also held a trustee role for two years. “I have a passion for education. Being on the school board definitely made me more aware of politics and leadership,” Curry added. “I knew what I wanted to do as a leader in a mayoral role, but offering events where I connect with other residents in the village allows me to better understand their needs. I’m going to continue to pull as many resources together to make things happen in Lynwood.”

Although South Suburban College was a stepping stone in Mayor Curry’s professional journey, she is grateful for the experience she initially received as a community college student. She concluded, “I want young people to know that they shouldn’t feel pressured to go to a four-year university, especially if they’re not ready. SSC can provide the perfect atmosphere to grow, like me, or students may get everything they need to enter their careers right away. South Suburban College has so many pathways to success.”