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Into the Second Century: Continuing SSA’s Tradition of Improving Urban Education

Panelist Bios

Ted Christians first came to Umoja as a masters in social work intern in 1999. He holds a BSW from Calvin College and an AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He is responsible for maintaining the vision for leadership and college & career programming, overseeing the development of a continuum of services, activities, and resources in support of that vision, overseeing the evaluation and documentation of programming efforts, assisting in fundraising and overseeing general operations. His experiences working in youth and community development include small business development, juvenile probation, residential treatment, and education. Mr. Christians, with his wife Marissa and son Dominic, resides in the North Lawndale community.

Barbara Crock is Director of University of Chicago Charter School, Woodlawn High School campus. The new high school aims to prepare students who are eager to learn and willing to work hard for success in four-year colleges. In addition to taking challenging course work, the students work under the guidance of University faculty on research projects in the humanities, social sciences and environmental sciences. Ms. Crock has 14 years of experience as a former mathematics teacher, instructional improvement coach, and high school administrator in public schools in Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco.

Greg Darnieder has a BA in Sociology, a K-8 teaching certificate from St. Louis University and an MA in Christian Education from Wheaton College. Mr. Darnieder has worked for organizations such as the I Have a Dream Foundation, LaSalle Street Community Youth Creative Learning Experience (CYCLE), and Chicago Cluster Initiative, among others, designing and implementing programs for each that assist students in reaching new levels of education. He serves on the Board of the Albert Pick Jr. Fund , the Steans Family Foundation, The Roberta Bachmann Lewis Scholarship Fund, Scholarship Chicago, The Illinois Education Foundation and the North Lawndale College Prep Charter High School.

Mr. Darnieder established the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development, designing and implementing an assortment of postsecondary, academic, financial, and social support programs and building university, corporate and civic partnerships to enhance college access. Mr. Darnieder currently serves as Director of the Department of College and Career Preparation at Chicago Public Schools, a newly formed department that consists of the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development and the Department of Education To Careers (Career and Technical Education).

Sarah Duncan graduated from Harvard University, majoring in psychology. Her background is in youth development, school-community partnerships, and leadership. Ms. Duncan currently holds the position of Coordinator of the Leadership in Community Schools Program at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where she developed the Leadership in Community Schools Program and helped to found a professional development network for Chicago high school principals, the Network for College Success.

Shayne Evans is the Assistant Director of Carter G. Woodson Middle School. He has 13 years of experience in education having worked in four different school systems. He is a Chicago Public Schools graduate and earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois in Political Science. He is currently working toward a doctorate in Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a south side resident.

Paul Fagen, LCSW, is currently part of the support team at Chicago Public Schools that is responsible for helping schools implement a three-tiered model of behavioral supports for students. Previously, he was a Community Support Worker with Pathways Independent Living, a counselor at North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School, and a social worker in the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Children's Memorial hospital, providing group interventions both at the hospital and in schools, as well as teaching Social Emotional Learning curriculum in schools and various youth agencies.

John J. Fanning is a recent graduate of the part-time master's degree program at The School of Social Service Administration (SSA) at The University of Chicago. At SSA, Mr. Fanning was a McCormick-Tribune Fellow and a Community Schools Fellow, and he was the first student to complete a double concentration in Community Development and Community Schools. He interned at North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School on Chicago's West Side and is currently employed as the Director of Counseling and College Counseling at Jones College Prep, a Chicago Public Schools selective enrollment high school.

John Horan was one of the founders of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School (NLCP). He served as the Dean of Students at NLCP for eight years and was responsible for student development programs, discipline, special education, extra-curricular activities and school culture. Mr. Horan currently serves as President of North Lawndale College Prep and is helping with the expansion of the new NLCP campus at Collins High School which began in August 2007. In 2011, both NLCP campuses will take on the great responsibility of educating a total of 1,000 students from Chicago's West Side.

Previously Mr. Horan served as Executive Director of the I Have a Dream Foundation and Director of the Catholic Youth Office for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is one of the founders of Amate House, a year long program of service and faith formation for young adults, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Mr. Horan holds a Masters in Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake. He and his wife Mary live in Chicago's Edgewater community.

Michael Kristovic, LSW, is the School Social Worker at Perspectives-Calumet Middle School, a Chicago Public Charter School. Mr. Kristovic received his AB (psychology) from the University of Chicago, his AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (Community Schools, School Social Work), and is currently pursuing a Post-Master's Certificate in Advanced Practice in Schools in the Family and School Partnerships Program at Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work. He is a 2003 Teach for America alum, having taught 5th and 6th grades in the Mississippi Delta region. Mr. Kristovic's clinical focus is on children, adolescents, and families. His many interests include micro and macro-level school mental health issues, grief and loss, trauma, violence, as well as the racial, spiritual, moral, and ethical development of adolescents.

Lila Leff founded Umoja Student Development Corporation in 1997 as a one-person organization providing leadership opportunities to a small group of under-served high school students on Chicago's West side. Currently, Umoja is a million dollar organization that provides academic, social, leadership, and college and career supports to more than 3,500 young people living in some of Chicago's most challenged neighborhoods as well as professional development to more than 200 teachers within those school communities. When Umoja began its college counseling program at Manley Career Academy in 1999, fewer than 10% of the seniors were enrolling in college after high school graduations. In 2006, with Umoja's help, that figure stood at more than 60%, with Manley graduates attending colleges and universities throughout the country.

Prior to her work with Umoja, Ms. Leff was the co-founder and founding director of Illinois' first federally funded education-to-careers initiative sponsored by Senator Paul Simon. Ms. Leff's vision for youth development includes creating meaningful opportunities for young people to assume responsibility for themselves, their development and their role as active citizens; building bridges between schools, business, and community in support of holistic youth development, and furthering positive relationship development between youth and between youth and adults. Over the last twelve years, Ms. Leff has provided support and consulting to organizations and schools in Chicago and across the nation in the development of cooperative partnerships, school-to-work programs, curriculum integration and project-based learning, and holistic youth development.

Vivian Loseth is the executive director of Youth Guidance, a non-profit social service agency, and the director of the Chicago Comer School Development Program. She received a master's degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a two-year postgraduate certificate from The Family Institute of Northwestern University. For the past eleven years she has participated in the annual training in the Comer School Development Program at Yale University Child Study Center. She currently serves as a National Faculty and Implementation Coordinator for the Yale Child Study Center.

During her thirty years with Youth Guidance, Ms. Loseth has worked at the elementary and high school levels, teaching, counseling and supervising graduate students. Ms. Loseth consults with private social service agencies and the Chicago Public Schools, along with presenting regularly at major national conferences and workshops in the areas of family systems and child centered schools, and full service school programs. In 1990 she helped found the Chicago Comer School Development Program. Since then she has promoted extensive growth in the organization, which now works for systemic reform in several Chicago public elementary schools and throughout the Midwest region. Ms. Loseth has received several honors including the Golden Apple Award For Supporting Family Involvement In Education and she has been honored at the Congressional Black Caucus. In addition, she has been recognized by the National Association of Social Workers as Social Worker of the Year for both the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

Jennifer Loudon is a 1998 graduate of SSA. Prior to coming to SSA, she taught elementary school special education as part of the Teach for America corps of 1994. Since graduation, she has worked in research and evaluation for nonprofit organizations and, since 2002, strategic planning and implementation for the Chicago Public Schools. Most recently, her planning and implementation work has focused on social and emotional learning supports, behavioral health interventions and developing academic and behavioral RtI (Response to Intervention) system components for the district as a whole. Traveling and practicing ever-rudimentary Spanish are her only escapes from the hallowed halls of public education.

Sybil Madison-Boyd has been working in urban schools for almost 20 years. Ms. Madison-Boyd joined the Urban Education Institute (UEI), at the University of Chicago, in 2003 and helped develop and lead the Academic and Social Support Initiative. In that role, she consulted directly with educators and administrators to develop proactive, systemic practices that addressed individual, classroom, and school barriers to student learning in preventive and responsive ways. Currently, Ms. Madison-Boyd leads UEI's Urban School Improvement (USI) Network, which provides focused supports for teaching and learning through coaching and professional development designed to enhance the instructional leadership capacity of principals, teachers, and staff. Ms. Madison-Boyd earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Greg Mooney is the Executive Director of the Comer Science and Education Foundation, where he oversees all aspects of the Foundation's engagement in Paul Revere Elementary School, the Gary Comer Youth Center, Gary Comer College Prep and the surrounding community. In addition to providing strategic direction for all school-based and community development projects, he oversees the activities of Foundation staff and collaborates with school officials to support the activities of teachers, staff, and social workers in the School and the Center.

Mr. Mooney began his career as a junior high school teacher and coach on Chicago's South Side. Prior to joining the Comer Science & Education Foundation in 2002, Mr. Mooney served as Executive Director of the Inner-City Teaching Corps, where he helped to launch the first alternative teacher certification program in the State of Illinois. He also served as Vice President of 21st Century Urban Schools, assisting with the opening of a charter elementary school on Chicago's West Side. A summa cum laude graduate of Villanova University, Mr. Mooney received a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Laura "Lo" Patrick is the social worker at the University of Chicago Charter School, Dongohue campus and has worked in CPS schools since 1998, when she received her master's degree from SSA. She provides direct service to children and families, and also serves on the leadership team, working to ensure that children's social-emotional and developmental needs are considered when making instructional, programming and financial decisions for the community school. She also supports and pushes teachers to develop caring communities within their classes and within the school as a whole. Her interests include: how trauma affects learning, and special education inclusion.

April A. Porter is Director of School Social Work Programs at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration (SSA), and is a 2001 graduate of SSA. Her interests include urban education and school reform issues, community schools and the preparation, education and professional development of school-based social workers. Prior to completing her MA, April served in Latin America as a Peace Corps Volunteer focusing on community and youth development. Formerly a clinical social worker at Children's Memorial Hospital, she has worked extensively with communities, schools and families to promote and provide social supports at all stages of child and adolescent development. April is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

Jane Quinn is a social worker and youth worker with more than 35 years experience, including direct service with children and families, program development, fundraising, grantmaking, research and advocacy. She currently serves as the Assistant Executive Director for Community Schools at The Children's Aid Society (CAS) in New York City, where she leads and oversees local and national work to forge effective long-term partnerships between public schools and other community resources. Jane came to CAS from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, where she served as Program Director for seven years. Prior to that, she directed a national study of community-based youth organizations for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which resulted in the publication of a book entitled A Matter of Time: Risk and Opportunity in the Nonschool Hours. Together with Joy Dryfoos, Jane co-edited a book entitled Community Schools in Action: Lessons from a Decade of Practice, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2005. In addition, she writes a regular column on youth development practice issues for Youth Today.

Bryan Samuels was named Chief of Staff, Chicago Public Schools, by Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan in December 2006. The Chicago Board of Education confirmed the appointment. As a member of the CPS Senior Leadership Team, Mr. Samuels has focused on forwarding the district's ambitious reform agenda through improved alignment across divisions. He plays a key role in developing and executing intergovernmental, community and private sector collaborations to maximize resources for CPS schools and students. Mr. Samuels also leads the district's Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation planning process. RtI is a federal and state mandate to provide high quality instruction and early intervention academic and behavioral supports for struggling learners at all grade levels.

Margaret Small is a founding Director of the Young Women's Leadership Charter School of Chicago (YWLCS). She joined the staff of YWLCS in 2000 as the co-director and has overseen the founding of the school with 150 6th and 9th graders to a fully-enrolled middle and high school serving 350 girls in grades 7-12. Ms. Small brings a remarkable breadth of experience to her position. She did her undergraduate work at Duke University, majoring in Political Science, spent a year as a community organizer in the Durham area, and then moved to Buffalo and received Masters of Arts degrees in both History and Women's Studies from SUNY Buffalo.

Margaret Beale Spencer, a developmental psychologist and University of Chicago graduate, is the Board of Overseers Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Beginning January 2009, she will join the Comparative Human Development faculty at Chicago. Her published research on resiliency and identity-focused scholarship have been supported by federal and foundation grants as well as state level contacts and are available as virtually 100 articles and chapters and as three edited volumes.

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Michael E. Woolley

Michael E. Woolley

Melissa Roderick

Melissa Roderick

Charles M. Payne

Charles M. Payne