2018 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows

Samuel Aguirre, Division Supervisor-Division of English Learners, Illinois State Board of Education

Samuel Aguirre serves as the supervisor for the Division of English Learners at the Illinois State Board of Education where he continues his commitment to equity in education and supporting the whole child. Through his work, he oversees a number of programs in Illinois, including those of migrant education, immigrant students, and multilingual learners.

Aguirre focused on the study of engaged language policy and practice in Hawaii. He worked with members of the Hawaii State Board of Education and diverse communities of stakeholders in adopting a multilingual policy for the agency. He also had the opportunity to teach Earth and space science for 8th graders at Dole Middle School on O‘ahu.

Aguirre holds a bachelor’s degree in bilingual bicultural elementary education from Northeastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in second language studies from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

 

Rep. Avery Bourne, Illinois State House of Representatives, 95th District

Rep. Avery Bourne was sworn into office in February 2015 to represent the 95th District and was re-elected in 2016. Bourne grew up in rural Montgomery County where her family has farmed for generations.

Prior to serving in the legislature, Bourne worked for three members of Congress at various levels and volunteered/worked on various campaigns for local, state and federal offices. She also worked with Running Start, a nonpartisan organization that encourages young women to run for office.

Since taking office, Bourne has focused on issues in agriculture, education and political reform. She currently serves on the following committees: Aging; Agriculture & Conservation; Appropriations-Elementary & Secondary Education; Elections & Campaign Finance; and Judiciary-Civil. She also served on the House Education Funding Task Force and the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission that worked on a bipartisan, statewide solution to funding disparities in our public education system.

Bourne graduated from Columbia College with a bachelor’s in American studies with minors in history, political science, and legal studies. She is currently on a leave of absence from Washington University School of Law. She resides in Raymond, Ill.., with her husband.

 

Judge Andrea M. Buford, Child Protection Division, Circuit Court of Cook County
Judge Andrea M. Buford is a lifelong resident of Chicago appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in April 2013. She serves the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County where she presides over cases involving abuse and neglect allegations. She is on the Supreme Court Committee on Equality as well as the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility.

Prior to joining the bench, Buford practiced law and focused on civil defense litigation, representing various corporations, insurance companies, and municipalities. She also served as a commissioner on the Illinois Court of Claims, and a hearing officer for the State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Board of Education. As an attorney, she was appointed federal foreclosure commissioner, special assistant attorney general, and special assistant corporation counsel.

She created a mentoring program for youth, served as a Principal for the Day, oversaw a career program that introduced students to the legal field, and initiated a pro bono legal clinic. She volunteers regularly to speak at schools, serves meals to senior citizens, and volunteers to serve during expungement seminars.

She is chair of the Illinois Judicial Council and served as president of the Cook County Bar Association and The Cook County Bar Association Foundation. She earned her undergraduate degree in speech from Northwestern University and her juris doctorate from IIT Chicago Kent College of Law. She has received numerous awards including a Presidential Award from the National Black Expo, the Presidential Award from the Cook County Bar Association, the Vanguard Award from the Chicago Bar Association, the Everyday Hero award from the Chicago Urban League, and the Flame Award from Black United Fund of Illinois, to name a few. She was a contributor to the ABA publication, “The Road to Independence.”

 

John Burkey, Executive Director, Large Unit District Association (LUDA)

John Burkey is currently the executive director of the Large Unit School District Association of Illinois. In his role, he provides professional development and legislative advocacy to the leadership of the largest unit school districts in Illinois. Prior to LUDA, he was superintendent for 12 years at the Huntley Community School District 158. He also served as assistant superintendent at Dunlap Community Unit School District 323 for four years and, before that, was a middle school principal for the district.

He obtained a doctorate degree in education and bachelor’s degree in history-economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives in Huntley with his wife, who is a school principal, and has two children.

 

Rebecca Cacayuran, Program Officer, Evanston Community Foundation
Rebecca Cacayuran serves as program officer for the Evanston Community Foundation. She manages the community process of grantee selection, oversees outcomes-based planning and evaluation systems, and acts as a coach and liaison to the Evanston nonprofit community. The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) focuses its investments on inclusion and racial equity, an empowered and engaged community that collaborates, and a thriving nonprofit sector. Since 2006, ECF has made significant investments in the Evanston early childhood system.

Cacayuran has nearly 20 years of experience in fund development, community education, and cross-sector collaboration, having held the post of director of major and planned gifts and interim vice president of development at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Prior to that, she was director of development and communications at the Evanston Community Foundation, and served in the development office of the former Evanston Northwestern Healthcare.

She earned her B.A. at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and is currently pursuing an Executive Scholar Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. A graduate of Leadership Evanston, Cacayuran is a participant in SEED Training (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) and a committee member of Dementia Friendly Evanston and the Creative Commerce Committee of the City of Evanston. She serves on the board of directors for Episcopal Charities and Community Services. She lives in “Skevanston” along with her husband and young children.

 

Judge J. Imani Drew, Associate Judge, Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Kankakee County

J. Imani Drew is the presiding judge of the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Kankakee County, Illinois, appointed in 2016. Prior to that, she was the chief of the Juvenile Division for the Office of the Kankakee County Public Defender.

She began her legal career in Kankakee County in 1982 as a Reginal Heber Smith Community Law Fellow with Prairie State Legal Services. In a legal career that has spanned over 33 years, Drew worked as a prosecutor in the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office, serving in various positions including civil division chief and chief of the Felony Sex Crimes Division, a municipal law attorney for the City of Kankakee, and a consumer law attorney in the office of the Illinois Attorney General.

Drew is a member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois Judicial Conference Civil Justice Committee, chair of the Kankakee County Child Welfare Action Team, and serves on the board of the Kankakee County Teen Court program. She is an adjunct law professor at Kankakee Community College where she also serves as an advisory board member for the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Studies Program.

She has a juris doctor degree from the University of Iowa and an undergraduate degree from Illinois State University.

 

James Duggan, Director of Instruction, Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53

James Duggan has over 19 years of experience in education. During this time, he has worked closely with families in high-risk communities with the hope of building bridges to greater educational access. This work has included developing a school/community outreach team as well as the development of a community garden in Bourbonnais. He is currently working with a team to build a trauma-informed infrastructure within the Bourbonnais schools as well as utilizing geographic information system software to seek location-based solutions to academic challenges.

Prior to his current position, Duggan was a dual principal at Nathan Hale Elementary and Nathan Hale Intermediate School in Crestwood.

 

Superintendent Paul Goren, Evanston/Skokie School District 65

In March 2014, the Board of Education of Evanston/Skokie District 65 appointed Paul Goren as its Superintendent of Schools. In close to 36 years in education, his focus—both locally and nationally—has been on addressing the achievement gap, promoting healthy child development, helping make data more usable, and improving teaching and learning.

Prior to joining the school district, he served as the senior vice president for programs at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning in Chicago. He also served as the interim chief for strategy and accountability for Chicago Public Schools while working as executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research. A former middle school social studies and math teacher and basketball coach, Goren also worked on the senior administrative teams of the Minneapolis Public Schools and the San Diego Unified School District. He served for over a decade as senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation, and as a program director for child and youth development at the MacArthur Foundation.

Goren graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s of public affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the University of Texas, and a PhD from Stanford University. He is a longtime Evanston resident along with his wife, Gwen Macsai, a public radio host and producer, and their three children.

 

Judge Maxwell Griffin Jr., Associate Judge, Child Protection Division, Cook County Juvenile Court

Judge Maxwell Griffin Jr. has served in the Child Protection Division of the Cook County Juvenile Court since 2003. He joined the bench after a 22-year career as a trial attorney during which he was recognized as one of the Top 20 Tort Defense Lawyers in Chicago. He also serves as co-lead judge for the Chicago Model Court and has been an adjunct faculty at IIT Chicago-Kent School of Law.

Griffin is active with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services initiatives, addressing disproportionate minority representation in child welfare. He is a regular judicial education faculty member for the Illinois Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts (AOIC). Recently, he helped develop the AOIC’s first biennial training designed specifically for judges serving in Illinois’ juvenile courts. That 2017 program explored making the courts that serve our children and their families more trauma-informed.

In 2012, he led the development of anti-racism training used at the mandatory education conference for Illinois judges. In 2014, he served on a committee under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, with experts from across the country, to make recommendations to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on the implementation of a developmental approach to Juvenile Justice Reform.

Griffin is a past member of the board of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a past member of its executive committee. He received his undergraduate degree and juris doctor degree from the University of Notre Dame.

 

Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, Illinois State House of Representatives, 24th District

Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, a longtime Cicero community activist, is serving in her sixth term as state representative of the 24th District. She has helped pass measures to improve government transparency, increase child care assistance for families, protect victims of domestic violence, provide funding for vital anti-crime programs, and expand access to quality health and dental care. She also worked with senior service providers to revamp the state’s senior services, care for seniors with mental health issues, and provide more money to support in-home care workers.

Hernandez chairs the Illinois State Legislature’s Consumer Protection Committee and is vice-chair of the Appropriations for Elementary and Secondary Education. She co-sponsored Senate bill SB-957, which allows the Secretary of State to issue temporary visitor driver’s licenses to Illinois drivers who are undocumented. She also led the effort to make Illinois a welcoming state and is currently working on U-Visas, which would allow undocumented individuals, who are victims of a crime, to report the crime without fear of deportation.

Before serving as a state lawmaker, Hernandez worked for former Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn as a senior policy advisor and, prior to that, she completed a 17-year career in Cicero Public School District 99 where she managed the district’s multi-million dollar educational grants office.

She has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Northeastern University. Born in Missouri and raised in Chicago, she grew up in Little Village and graduated from Jones Academy High School.

 

Felice Hybert, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Kankakee School District 111

Felice Hybert is assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Kankakee School District 111. She is dedicated to providing visionary and engaging learning opportunities for students, families, and staff. Kankakee School District serves 5,200 preK-12 students. With more than 20 years of experience in education, Hybert has served as a director of curriculum, principal, assistant principal, and a classroom teacher in both special education and general education settings. Her experience in early childhood, specifically the classrooms of Reggio Emilia, has shaped her pedagogy and her vision. Her signature always includes “children first,” which all her decisions are based on.

Hybert is a sought-after presenter who designs opportunities to transform education for all students and their families. She has presented and shared her experiences at national, state, and local conferences and panels, and has been featured in several articles on problem-based learning in the past year. In addition, she recently spoke about the Illinois State Board of Education’s pilot program for competency-based learning at the House Appropriations Elementary and Secondary Education Committee hearing.

She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s of education in educational administration.

 

Dr. Shawn Jackson, Interim President, Harry S. Truman College

Shawn L. Jackson is interim president of Harry S. Truman College and a longtime educator who has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district office administrator over a 15-year span in primary and secondary education. Most recently, he served as chief of leadership and learning. While in this role he worked to scale essential district-wide efforts such as CPS’s Parent University, P.L.A.Y. (Personalized Learning Advancing Youth), and CPS Connects.

Known for his innovation in education, Jackson utilizes technology as a means to stretch learning beyond the classroom. While principal at Spencer Technology Academy, he spearheaded the writing of a multimillion-dollar technology grant, awarded to only five of Chicago’s 600 public schools. He is also credited with the creation of Spencer’s Parent University and The Cornerstone: Community Technology Center.

Jackson also continues to support new leaders and researchers in the field of education by serving on dissertation committees, mentoring doctoral students, and serving as a part-time faculty member at Loyola University’s School of Education. He has also been a guest lecturer at several of Chicago’s universities and served on panels across the country including the Superintendent’s Hot Seat at the LearnLaunch Conference at the Harvard Business School.

He has earned various awards including the Chicago Urban League Innovator Award in 2015, the CPS’ Spotlight on Technology Award in 2013, the Illinois 7th Congressional District Outstanding Administrator Award in 2012, and the Comcast Outstanding Achievement in Education from Comcast in 2011. He is also featured in the documentary, “College Week.”

He holds a PhD in administration and supervision from Loyola University, a master’s in curriculum and instruction from St. Xavier University, and bachelor’s in education from Northeastern Illinois University. His research on Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Consent Decree earned a Dissertation with Distinction Award in 2010.

 

Sunith Kartha, School Board President, Evanston/Skokie Elementary School District 65

Suni Kartha has been a member of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 school board since 2013. She has served on numerous board and district committees, including four years as the chair of the board’s policy committee. She is currently serving her second year as board president. A key driver of her board service has been a commitment to racial equity and positive school climates.

Kartha is also heavily involved in Evanston Cradle to Career, a citywide collective impact initiative. She serves as co-chair of the Parent and Caregiver Empowerment Team, which focuses on supporting the development and welfare of children ages 0-3.

She received her bachelor’s from Northwestern University and her juris doctor degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

 

Ernesto Matias, Chief of Office of Language and Cultural Education, Chicago Public Schools

Ernesto Matias is chief of the Office of Language and Cultural Education at Chicago Public Schools. In this capacity, he is responsible for ensuring all language learners receive a high-quality education that is attentive to a culturally and linguistically diverse community of students, families, and educators.

Prior to his current position, Matias was chief of schools for Network 4 for three years. He also served as principal of Wells Community Academy from 2008 to 2013, where he was able to move the school from its probation-level status.

He began his professional career in Montana and later moved to Evansville, Ind., to teach at Bosse High School from 1994 to 1997. While teaching at Evansville Bosse High School, he was nominated for district teacher of the year in 1994-1995. He returned to Chicago and taught at Moos Elementary School from 1997 to 2002 and, while there, received a nomination for the Golden Apple Teacher of the year award in 1999. He later became an assistant principal at Kanoon Magnet Elementary School from 2002 to 2008 and was awarded the Arne Duncan Leadership Award from The Associated Colleges of Illinois.

Matias received a bachelor’s degree in education from Greenville College, a master’s degree from Governor State University and his doctorate (EdD) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was raised in Humboldt Park, Chicago.

 

LaTanya McDade, Chief Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools

An alum of Chicago Public Schools , LaTanya McDade has nearly 20 years experience working for the school system in a variety of roles that include teacher, assistant principal, and principal. As the newly appointed chief education officer, she oversees all academic officers within the CPS Central Office and supports all principals and network chiefs in their leadership roles.

Previously, she was chief officer of the Office of Teaching and Learning, where she managed all core academic departments and oversaw the design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional programs and services for CPS teachers and administrators. As a veteran of education, she also challenged the efficacy of traditional education models and initiated the preK-12 Curriculum System Project to modernize instructional practices across the district.

Prior to that, she served as chief officer for Network 12 and led the transformation and expansion of instruction-centered programs for a diverse portfolio of 37 elementary and high schools, yielding the highest gains across all networks for Northwestern Evaluation Association Measures in literacy and math for grades 3 through 8.

She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in leadership and administration, and is currently pursuing her PhD.

 

State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney Office 

Michael Nerheim was elected to serve as Lake County State’s Attorney in 2012. He has focused on preventing wrongful convictions, addressing the surge in gangs and gang violence in the community, developing a countywide opioid-prevention strategy, and he co-founded the Lake County Opioid Initiative. In his role, he oversees an office of 144 attorneys, investigators, victim coordinators, paralegals, and support staff, plus two certified facility dogs, one cyber search dog, and a corps of volunteers.

His legal career began in 1999 as an assistant state’s attorney, and he has extensive experience working in all criminal divisions of the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. As a prosecutor and former defense attorney, Nerheim has more than 16 years of experience in criminal law, civil litigation and municipal law. As a private practitioner, he was appointed by the courts to investigate post-conviction issues and has represented defendants.

He frequently lectures on a variety of criminal justice issues and is on the faculty at Columbia College of Missouri where he teaches The Laws of Evidence and Ethics in Law Enforcement. Among his many appointments, he chairs the Lake County Domestic Violence Council, the Lake County Sexual Assault Council, and the Lake County Juvenile Justice Council. He is on the board of directors of Nicasa, Lake County Bar Foundation, United Way of Lake County, and Former Inmates Striving Together. He is also engaged in many local initiatives such as the Lake County After School Coalition, and the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force.

He has countless awards and honors for his work but, more recently, he received the 2017 State’s Attorney of the Year by the Illinois State Crime Commission. He earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice and psychology from Winona State University and earned his juris doctor, cum laude, from The John Marshall Law School.

 

Judge John O’Gara, Associate Judge, 20th Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County

Judge John O’Gara has tried numerous cases in the 20th Judicial Circuit in his 30 years as a trial lawyer and a judge. He practiced privately for over 21 years, concentrating in criminal defense with some civil plaintiff and defense work. He was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and he argued appeals before the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit.

O’Gara previously served as the public defender in Knox County and St. Clair County before becoming associate judge. He was the Criminal Justice Act Panel attorney representative for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois from 2014 to 2016. He was appointed as chairman of the 1st and 20th Circuit Illinois Capital Litigation Trial Bar Admission Committee from 2005 to 2011.

He is second vice president of the East St. Louis Bar Association, on the board of Catholic Urban Programs, and a member of the Criminal Justice Council and the Bench and Bar Council of the Illinois State Bar Association. He also volunteers with the Illinois State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitational at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is past president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and St. Clair County Bar Association.

He also frequently lectures with the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Appellate Defender, the Illinois State’s Attorney Association, and the Illinois Homicide Investigators Association. He has received countless honors including the Chief Judge Richard A. Hudlin, IV Award in 2015. From 2009 to 2016, he received an AV Rating and was named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. He’s been named, for multiple years, in Chicago magazine’s Top Attorneys list.

He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Quincy University in 1983 and received his juris doctor degree from St. Louis University School of Law. He is married to Anne O’Gara, and they have two adult children.

 

Cara Pavlicek, Village Manager, Oak Park Illinois

Cara Pavlicek is village manager of the Village of Oak Park, a community of 52,000 residents just west of Chicago. She has held the position since 2012 when she was named the interim manager while working in the organization as a department director. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the village with annual expenditures of $145 million including all public safety, public works, and municipal infrastructure activities.

Prior to Oak Park, Pavlicek worked in Downers Grove, Ill., as village manager, and in La Vista, Neb., as city administrator. Her first municipal position was as an intern in the City Manager’s Office in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been an International City Managers’ Association-credentialed manager since 2003 and has a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in public affairs and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in economics. She resides in Oak Park with her husband of 22 years and their 15-year-old daughter.

 

Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward, City of Chicago
Alderman Ameya Pawar represents Chicago’s 47th Ward and is serving his second term. He was first elected in the 2011 municipal elections and was re-elected in February 2015, securing over 82% of the vote. Pawar is the first Indian-American and Asian-American in Chicago City Council history.

As alderman, he has passed 12 major pieces of citywide legislation, redirected tax-increment finance dollars to public projects, advanced economic development totaling over $500 million in his ward, and launched the City’s first Neighborhood K-12 initiative, Grow47, to support neighborhood public schools and high schools.

Before his current role, Pawar worked at Northwestern University in the Office of Emergency Management. While in this position, he and two of his University of Chicago classmates wrote a textbook on the connections between disaster and poverty based on their thesis paper in the Master of Science in Threat and Response Management program at the University of Chicago.

Pawar has a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Missouri Valley College and a master’s degree in public administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Additionally, he has a master’s in threat and response management, and a master’s in social service administration from the University of Chicago. Pawar is a U.S. State Department Critical Language Program alum, a 2012 University of Illinois Edgar Fellow, and he was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40 in 2011.

 

Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Rodemeyer, Cook County State’s Attorney Office
Robert Rodemeyer has served Cook County as an attorney in the Juvenile Court System since 2006. After graduating law school, he began his career as a guardian ad litem and attorney with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian, where he represented the best interest and position of youth in care.

In 2010, he was sworn in as an assistant state’s attorney and was assigned to the Child Protection Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. As an abuse and neglect specialist, Rodemeyer oversaw a wide variety of abuse and neglect trials and worked to ensure permanency for youth in care. He transitioned to the Juvenile Justice Division of the State’s Attorney’s Office in 2015 where he tried felony cases committed by youth under 18 years of age and monitored delinquency probation to ensure that youth were compliant and adequately served. In 2017, he returned to the Child Protection Division as a supervisor where he oversees five courtrooms including the Division’s Early Childhood Court.

Rodemeyer was born and raised in metro-Detroit. He moved to Chicago in 2015 where he currently lives with his family. He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his juris doctorate from Wayne State University.

 

Superintendent James Stelter, Bensenville School District 2

James Stelter has served the Bensenville School District 2 community since 2003 and has led and supported numerous strategic plan initiatives for the benefit of students and staff in the district. He also built community with local non-profits, faith organizations, and the business community to help fill gaps in services for students and families.

Under his leadership, the district was awarded a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2011. In 2012, the district joined the Race to the Top (Rt3) initiative. In 2014, the district completed a $65 million project to renovate and build additions to two K-5 schools without a tax increase referendum. In 2016, the state Board of Education awarded the district the distinction of being the highest-performing Rt3 district in the state. In early 2018, the district opened an early childhood center in partnership with Metropolitan Family Services to serve birth-to-5 students under the national Head Start program.

Stelter originally joined the district as assistant superintendent for business services. He then served the district as associate superintendent and was appointed superintendent in 2010. Before joining District 2, he worked as the business manager for Park Forest Elementary School District 163. He also has substantial experience in the private sector with Nike and General Electric, where he held senior operations and financial positions. He holds a doctorate of educational leadership from National-Louis University and a master’s in finance from the University of Memphis.

 

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McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows Alumni

2017 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows

Senator Omar Aquino, Illinois State Senate, 2nd District
Judge Robert Balanoff, 
Circuit Judge, Child Protection Division, Cook County
Candance Chow, 
School Board Member, Evanston/Skokie SD 65
Superintendent Arthur Culver
, East St. Louis SD 189
Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García, 
7th District, Cook County Board
Diego Giraldo, 
Chief Early Childhood Education Officer, Chicago Public Schools
Judge Andrew Gleeson, Chief Judge, 20th Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County
Superintendent Scott Goselin, 
Bradley SD 61
Christina Hachikian
, Executive Director, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation University of Chicago
Deputy Superintendent Jason Helfer, Teaching & Learning, Illinois State Board of Education
Superintendent
Carol L. Kelley, Oak Park SD 97
Judge Michael D. Kramer, Chief Judge, 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County
Senator Kimberly Lightford, Illinois State Senate, 4th District
Jennifer Maddox, 
Chicago Police Department, CNN Community Hero
Judge Patricia Martin, 
Presiding Judge, Child Protection Division, Cook County
Ralph Martire, 
Executive Director, Ctr. for Tax and Budget Accountability and School Board President, River Forest SD 90
Alderman Ricardo Muñoz, 22nd Ward, Chicago
Hilary Bishop Scott, Regional Board & Executive Committee Member, UNICEF
Bob Spatz, 
School Board Member, Oak Park SD 97
Representative Juliana Stratton, 
Illinois State House of Representatives, 5th District
Treasurer Kurt Summers, Jr., City Treasurer, City of Chicago
Superintendent
Genevra Walters, Kankakee SD 111