ChiArts is grateful to the following people who serve on the School Board of The Chicago High School for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) corporation committed to supporting this high school and providing it with leadership and encouragement.
Cynthia Plouché, Chair
Duffie Adelson, Vice Chair
Warren Chapman, Secretary
Christine Gallagher, Treasurer
*Parent Representatives and Ex-Officio Directors
You may contact the Board of Directors via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET TO KNOW OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Cynthia Plouché (Chair)
Cynthia has an extensive background in the financial services industry with more than twenty-five years of experience as a fixed income portfolio manager and financial executive. Additionally she has extensive experience in the financial and operational oversight of for-profit, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. Her career has incorporated risk, control and compliance responsibility at both implementation and oversight levels. She serves on the boards of the Northern Institutional Funds and Northern Funds and is chair of the Funds’ governance committees. She also currently serves as an Independent Director of Barings Fund Trust, a registered investment company and an Independent Trustee of Barings Global Short Duration High Yield Fund, a closed-end investment company. She began her investment management career with Equitable Capital Management Corporation.
Cynthia regularly volunteers her time in consulting to non-profit and women-lead business initiatives. She is an Advisor to a STEM organization that, to date, has educated over 4K girls through 3D printing, CAD and other leading technologies. Her community and civic leadership is extensive with over twelve years of serving in locally elected leadership roles. Cynthia served as Township Assessor for Moraine Township (Illinois) from January 2014 to June 2018. At North Shore School District 112, she is a prior school Board Member and Vice President. She also was a Moraine Township Board Trustee for four years. Cynthia is a long-time volunteer with local high school student programs and is a school liaison and interviewer for the Harvard Club of Chicago. In recent years she has participated as panelist and moderator for youth oriented events, Environment Social & Governance (ESG), Diversity & Inclusion, and Fund industry forums.
Cynthia has a Wharton MBA and a Harvard University undergraduate degree. She is a lifelong learner who continues to pursue impactful learning and involvement related to educational access and the impact of belonging and inclusion on the success of young adults from under-resourced communities.
Duffie A. Adelson (Vice Chair)
Duffie Adelson is a Life Trustee and past president of Merit School of Music, a community music school nationally renowned for the caliber of instruction and level of financial support provided to thousands of students annually. Prior to her work at Merit, Duffie directed school music programs in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Illinois. In addition to her service as a trustee of ChiArts, she serves on the boards of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the Chicago Philharmonic Society, and Pilgrim Chamber Players, and is a member of the WFMT Radio Committee of WTTW: Window to the World. Duffie received a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Warren Chapman (Secretary)
As a visiting assistant professor at UIUC, Warren Chapman taught graduate courses in social foundations and sociology of education. He has served as Senior Vice President and Interim Vice President for Institutional Development at Columbia College of Chicago; Vice Chancellor for External Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Vice President and National Philanthropic Advisor at JPMorgan Chase; President, Bank One Foundation; and Lead Program Officer at the Joyce Foundation. Warren also serves on the Boards of the Chicago History Museum; The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired; and the Chicago Jazz Institute. Previous Board appointments include; Columbia College Chicago; The Donors Forum of Chicago; The Community Renewal Society; and Grantmakers for Education.
Christine Gallagher (Treasurer)
Christine is the Vice President, Chief Audit Executive at Illinois Tool Works, a Fortune 250 global industrial company located in Glenview, IL. In this role, Christine is responsible for providing assurance on the effectiveness of risk management and the strength of the control environment in the organization. Previously, Christine worked for KPMG for 16 years, helping some of the world’s leading organizations manage compliance and execute their growth strategies. She appreciates and values the importance of building a leadership culture that promotes company values and inspires the individual, team and organizational performance. From 2010 through 2016, Christine served on the Finance Committee of the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, a non-for-profit organization located in Plymouth, MA, which she continues to support and enjoy. Christine holds a B.A. from Babson College (Wellesley, MA) and is a Certified Public Accountant (MA).
Dr. Carlos Azcoitia is the Founding Principal of a new “Comprehensive Community School” concept in Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood. He has been a teacher, administrator, and has served as principal in the Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Azcoitia served as the Deputy Chief of Education in the Chicago Public Schools, where he was administratively responsible for a large number of wide-ranging departments, programs and services. He has been a mentor, coach and assessor for new and aspiring Principals and has a long history of being at the forefront of educational reform. Currently, Dr. Azcoitia serves as Professor Emeritus in Educational Leadership at National Louis University. He was appointed by the Mayor to serve for 2.5 years on the Chicago Board of Education and is a current member and former Chair of the Board of Trustees at Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. Azcoitia is a Steering Committee Member of the Coalition of Community Schools in Washington DC. He also serves on a Budget Task Force to address equity issues in school budgets and Advisory Board Member to School and Community Initiatives in the Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Azcoitia is also a Board Member of the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Miami, a Family Retreat Center founded by his uncle who was a Jesuit priest. He has been a keynote speaker and presenter in many countries, including the United States, Thailand, Poland, Ecuador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Canada, Puerto Rico, Portugal, India, and Hungary.
Dr. Azcoitia is the author of many published articles about school reform. His latest book is titled “Creating Engagement between Schools and their Communities: Lessons from Educational Leaders”. He has been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding leadership. Dr. Azcoitia served as a founding board member for The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). Dr. Azcoitia received his Doctorate in Education from the School of Leadership and Educational Policy with a major in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.
Lesley-Ann Brown-Henderson, Ph.D is the Acting Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the Department of Campus Inclusion and Community at Northwestern University. In this role, Lesley-Ann supports the Division of Student Affairs by working as strategic partner with the Vice President of Student Affairs, overseeing communications, working with the Board of Trustees and playing an integral role in the division’s development and fundraising efforts. Additionally, Lesley-Ann oversees three units: Multicultural Student Affairs, Student Enrichment Services, and Social Justice Education. Lesley-Ann is also responsible for overseeing and responding to bias incidents reported through the RespectNU website; supporting students who are recipients of bias incidents; working with staff, faculty and students to engage in ongoing dialogue centered on social justice, respect, and inclusion; developing cultural competence training for students; and collaborating with various departments across campus. Additionally she coordinates Northwestern’s Posse Scholars Program.
Dr. Brown-Henderson earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Chemistry and African Caribbean Studies from the University of Miami, master’s degrees in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education and Counseling Psychology and her doctorate in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on multicultural issues in higher education from Texas A&M University.
Prior to arriving at Northwestern, Lesley-Ann worked in the Counseling Center at Michigan State University and in the Department of Multicultural Services at Texas A&M University. She has also been heavily involved with NASPA, a leading association for administrators working in higher education. Lesley-Ann also enjoys spending time with her husband Bryon, their two kids Xavier and Yara, their puppy Eddy, traveling, cooking, shopping, and teaching boot camp style classes in Chicago.
Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She is also a mindfulness trainer and certified yoga instructor.
She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Cornell University, doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in mental health services research at the University of Michigan.
Inger has over 15 years of clinical experience providing psychological interventions to help clients with mood and anxiety disorders, stress management, and interpersonal relationships. She has an integrative therapeutic approach that includes supportive psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation and mindfulness based interventions.
Her scholarly work focuses on the role that social determinants of health play in disparities in mental illness and treatment, particularly in the African-American community. In her research, she examines the factors associated with access and engagement in mental health service utilization and uses this data to develop, test and implement acceptable and accessible evidence based interventions in community based settings.
Inger is a fierce advocate for eliminating mental illness stigma and normalizing participation in mental health care. She is actively involved in the community and serves on several non-profit boards including Thresholds, Heartland Alliance Health and the African American Legacy of the Chicago Community Trust. She frequently consults with corporate, government, non-profit, and church groups to help them meet the mental health needs and improve the overall wellness of their constituents.
Inger is a prolific contributor to the public discourse on mental health and wellness. Her op-eds have been featured in The New York Times, TIME magazine, The Hill and Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She has also been seen on CNN, WGN-TV and WTTW Chicago Tonight. She is currently writing the book “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen: Exploring the Emotional Lives of Black Women” (Amistad Press, 2021). Inger is a proud south-side Chicagoan. She enjoys the arts, yoga and travel.
Janette has been in the teaching field for 26 years. She has worked as a Speech Therapist, a Special Education Teacher and for the last 6 years she has led the Special Education Department at Gray Elementary as a School Case Manager. During her career she has mentored teachers, presented at conferences, provided professional development and earned her National Board Certification in the area of Exceptional Needs. She has also earned a Master’s degree in Special Education as well as a 2nd graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Administration. She is well versed in the areas of inclusive classroom practices, diverse learning needs, evaluation and instruction, ESL strategies and instruction, Multi-tiered Systems of Support and School Administrative Practices.
Janette believes strongly in the benefits of volunteerism. Janette has served as President of the Council of Catholic Women (2020-21), Is a board member of the Appalachian Service Project, has volunteered with the Appalachian Service Project for 5 years. She has also served on the ChiArts Parent Support Organization Executive Committee for the past 7 years.
Bill Gerstein has had a long career in education and in business. Most recently Bill led a major effort for the Chicago Public Schools to create a comprehensive community engagement strategy in the Humboldt Park community. Prior to that he was the co-founder and principal of two small high schools. One was the School of Entrepreneurship, a small high school located within the South Shore High School campus in Chicago. In 2007 he left South Shore to start the Austin Polytech Academy in the Austin community. Mr. Gerstein was a high school social studies teacher and track coach for eight years before he became the owner/operator of a small chain of supermarkets (Mr. G. Finer Foods) in Chicago. While in business, Mr. Gerstein became actively involved in many community activities on the South Side of Chicago including public schools. In 1996 Mr. Gerstein sold his business as part of an effort to expand into a bigger location. After running a community based organization, he obtained a masters degree in school administration. Working with the community and teachers he helped organize four small schools within South Shore High School as the school converted its structure from a comprehensive model to a campus of autonomous small high schools. Bill currently works as a senior advisor to Leadership Greater Chicago.
Deirdra grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the era of Counterculture, Free Speech, and Black Power movements and from a very early age bore witness to people pushing against systems of inequity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she was on the front lines of student body efforts that were instrumental in leading the charge for the international movement that ultimately ended apartheid in South Africa. Social justice and change are at the foundation of Deirdra’s life and worldview.
As VP, Director of Equity and Inclusion at the Leo Burnett Group, Deirdra is responsible for ensuring that all talent has access to equitable opportunities and that they feel empowered, supported, and heard.
Deirdra is a certified Co-Active Coach and provides personal and professional growth coaching in and outside of the Agency. Additionally, she offers pro bono coaching to the employees of a New York state violence prevention organization. Deirdra is a mentor to young professional women in several industry organizations including SheRunsIt and ColorComm. She is also a certified Qualified Administrator (QA) of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), an assessment that helps people understand where they sit on the continuum of intercultural living. After they’ve been debriefed on their IDI results, Deirdra works with people to create an individual development plan that will help them move along the continuum in ways that are clear and intentional.
Deirdra lives in the culture rich, historic Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago and she has a daughter that is a student athlete (volleyball) at Seton Hall University.
Kay Mabie has been director of Glenbrook Meals at Home since 1987. She is also a community volunteer with several organizations including the Music Institute of Chicago (trustee since 1993 and former Chair of Board of Trustees), the Women’s Association of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Goodman Theatre Women’s Board. Ms. Mabie is also a former Public Library Trustee, former Girl Scout Leader (nine years), and former district PTA President. She managed the Northfield Public Schools’ lunch programs from 1975-1981. From 1965 to 1970, Ms. Mabie was director of two summer day camps for elementary school students from the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago (one held in Wilmette for four years and one held in Northfield for three years). These camps were run in cooperation with Urban Gateways.
John is of counsel at the law firm of Shook, Hardy, & Bacon. John represents clients in complex business litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country and in arbitrations. He has extensive experience in both jury and bench trials and on appeal. The substantive areas covered in John’s work include breach of fiduciary duty claims against corporate directors and officers; fraudulent conveyance and preference claims in bankruptcy; securities fraud; patent, trademark and copyright infringement; legal and accounting malpractice; misappropriation; antitrust and unfair competition; trade secrets; breach of contract; and civil fraud. John also has substantial experience in professional sports, including collective bargaining, grievance arbitrations and salary arbitrations, and commercial litigation.
Peter is co-founder of RF Investment Partners, a lower middle market Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”). The fund is licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) as a public-private partnership to invest in small businesses in the software, business services, and health care sectors. Peter currently sits on the Board of Directors of: (i) US Endodontics Partners, (ii) GreenTech Environmental, and (iii) Watch Systems.
Prior to that, Peter co-founded Tamarix Capital, a lower-middle market investment fund, and worked for both Allied Capital and LaSalle Bank. Before moving to Chicago 24 years ago, Peter’s previous professional experience included working as a Consultant for The World Bank in both Washington D.C. and Harare, Zimbabwe, on projects that promoted capital access to small-scale businesses in Southern Africa, and Peter also worked as an Intern in the White House National Economic Council under President Clinton.
Peter graduated from Cornell University (1994) and has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1998). Peter’s daughter, Talia, graduated in 2022 from ChiArts in the Visual Arts Conservatory, and the school made a lasting, positive impact on her development as an artist.
Peter believes ChiArts is uniquely suited in its ability to serve as a center of artistic excellence, for kids from every single neighborhood of Chicago. He would like to work on ways to improve communication with various school stakeholders (parents, teachers, students, community leaders), so that the broader school community can better understands the school’s mission, goals, and tactics – and so that more stakeholders feel like partners and advocates in the realization of that mission.
Michelle has many years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, and chief of schools. In addition, she previously served on the LSC at her daughter’s middle school. She enjoyed engaging in key topics to support families and the schools implementation of CWIP. This knowledge, she believes, will provide extra support to the PSO. She desires for ChiArts to be a premier school and believes parents are integral in making that happen.