Founders, Visionaries, and Former Board Members

The Collaboration for Early Childhood’s Board of Directors, Task Group Members, Founders and Committee Members not only built the Collaboration for Early Childhood into what it is today, they also continue to provide important institutional memory and valuable guidance to the work of the agency as it evolves and grows.

Below you can see a list of former board members, and below that, we’re proud to share our founders and early visionaries. This includes former staff, volunteers, educators and community members that played pivotal roles in helping to bring people together and pave the way for the Collaboration’s development. They all believed that a more coordinated system of early childhood care and education could make all the difference. 

The establishment of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2013 was a watershed moment for early childhood development in Oak Park and River Forest. The leaders and policymakers at District 97, District 200, and The Village of Oak Park who established this unique funding structure to support early childhood work are visionaries in their own right. You can see a list of the members of the board members and administrators of those three governing bodies who played a pivotal role in making that a reality at the bottom of this page. You can learn more about the IGA “Contract for Early Childhood Services” here.    

Past Board Members

Catherine Amato

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Secretary, Fundraising Committee

Years on Board:
2010 – 2012

Susie Breitenstein

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Home Visiting Committee

Years on Board:
2013-2019

Shannon Callahan

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:

Years on Board:
2018-2019

Ann Courter

Chair, Board of Directors

Previous Positions Include:
Vice President, Chair (2014-2016)
Developmental Screening Committee Chair

Years on Board:
2012-2016

Marcus Croom

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Professional Development Committee, Publicly Funded Preschool Committee

Years on Board:
2017-2020

Michelle Harton

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Governance Committee

Years on Board:
2014-2018

Bernadette Hicks

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Public Preschool Committee, Ad Hoc Home Visiting Committee, Finance Committee

Years on Board:
2013-2021

Rick Jasculca

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Communications Committee

Years on Board: 
2015-2017

Laura Jordahl

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Parenting Resource Program Committee, Development Committee

Years on Board:
2014-2018

Marie Masterson

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Measurement and Evaluation Committee

Years on Board:
2013-2016

Amy McCormack

Chair, Board of Directors

Previous Positions Include:
Board Chair (2016-2018), Development Committee

Years on Board:
2014-2019

Christopher D. Miller

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Secretary (2015-2017) Fundraising Committee, Ad Hoc Home Visiting Committee

Years on Board:
2014-2022

Emily Paster

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Secretary, Communications Committee Co-Chair 2011

Years on Board:
2011-2015

Carollina Song

Chair, Board of Directors

Previous Positions Include:
Chair (2012-2014), Vice Chair (2011-2012), Parent Information and Support Committee, Development Committee, Governance Committee.

Years on Board:
2010-2020

Jason Smith

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Measurement and Evaluation Committee

Years on Board:
2017-2019

Bob Spatz

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Treasurer (2005-2008), Measurement and Evaluation Committee

Years on Board:
2005-2008

Rick Tanksley

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:

Years on Board Office:
2013-2016

Allison Wainer

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Developmental Screening Committee

Years on Board Office:
2018-2020

Penny Wallingford

Chair, Board of Directors

Previous Positions Include:
Board Chair (2018-2020) Human Resource and Finance Committees

Years on Board Office:
2015-2022

Anne Warden

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Communications Committee, Measurement and Evaluation Committee

Years on Board:
2015-2017

David Weindling

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Treasurer (2014-2016), Finance Committee, HR Committee, Development Committee

Years on Board:
2012-2020

Jeff Weissglass

Board Member

Previous Positions Include:
Treasurer (2012)

Years on Board:
2009-2022

Founder’s Board and Visionaries

Before the establishment of the Collaboration’s Board of Directors in 2012, the work of the Collaboration for Early Childhood was driven by a task group and committees. Although the organization was established in 2002, work was already well-underway before that. It wasn’t until 2009 that an executive director was hired. With this flat governance structure, many people played essential roles in the organization and were the backbone of our early successes. Those people are listed below.

Eric Gershenson

Founder's Board

Previous Positions Include:
Founding Board Member, Nominating an Ad Hoc Home Visiting Committee

Years on Board:
2005-2012

Catherine Hart

Founder's Board

Previous Positions Include:
Founding Board Member, Professional Development Committee Member

Years on Board:
2005-2012

Carolyn Newberry Schwartz

Founding Member

Previous Positions Include: Executive Director (2009-2018)

Joan White

Founder's Board

Previous Positions Include:
Founding Board Member, Professional Development Committee Member

Years on Board:
2005-2012

Julie Bernstein

Jack Fagan

DeeDee Farmer*

Marie Fegan*

Barbara Furlong*

Lisa Ginet

Chelsea Guillen

Rogene Hill

Kathy Kern

Elizabeth Lippitt

Current Board Member

Ruth Martin

Chris Meyer

Cindy Michul

Judi Minter

Shirley Morgenthaler

Therese Parr

BJ Richards

Diana Rosenbrock

Mary Schneider

Jane Samuelson

Carol Schmidt

Elizabeth Smith

Carollina Song

Bob Spatz

Kathy Stohr

Sharon Stolz

Board members and administrators of the three governing bodies that worked together to create the Intergovernmental Agreement in 2013

Terry Finnegan

Valerie Fischer

Ralph Lee

Dee Millard

Amy McCormack

Sharon Patchak-Layman

John Phelan

Steven Isoye (Superintendent)

Peter Barber

Amy Felton

Jim Gates

Jim O’Connor

Albert Roberts (Superintendent)

Denise Sacks

Bob Spatz

Peter Traczyk*

Glenn Brewer

John Hedges

Ray Johnson

Colette Lueck

Cara Pavlicek (Village Manager)

David Pope

Adam Salzman

Bob Tucker

*Deceased

Take a Look Back

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We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.