Mary Beth Arzac – Community Volunteer
Mary Beth and her husband Joe have lived in Highland Park for the past 10 years with their two children Christopher (HPHS ’20) and Andrew (Northwood ’19). She received her BA from the University of Chicago and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Management. Currently she works at Mainbridge Health Partners, a start up focused on new healthcare technologies.
Steve Bell – Community Volunteer
Steve and his wife Sara have lived in Highland Park for 10 years with their daughter Dana, who is currently a junior at HPHS. Steve is founder and President of SDS Clinical, a consulting and staffing organization providing expertise in development strategies to biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices companies. Steve has 28 years successful experience in companies such as Glaxo SmithKline, Takeda, and Baxter, developing drugs and devices in the international market. Steve has an Honours Degree in Microbiology from the University of Surrey in the UK, and his passion is in developing creative solutions for patients with unmet medical needs.
Christopher Dignam – Superintendent, District 113
Christopher Dignam serves as Superintendent of Schools for Township High School District 113. Previous to becoming Superintendent, Chris served as principal of Deerfield High School. In addition, Chris served as principal of Lane Tech College Prep, a public four-year selective enrollment high school in Chicago. Chris also served as assistant principal at Lane Tech, as a science coach at the district office level, and as a high school science teacher, teaching content areas such AP biology, physics, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from Northeastern Illinois University, a master’s degree in school leadership from Concordia University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Olivet Nazarene University, a doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University, and Superintendent certification from Concordia University’s doctor of education program. In 2012, Chris traveled to Washington D.C. to accept the National Blue Ribbon award on behalf of his students, parents, staff, and community. In 2013, and again in 2015, Chris was awarded the Principal Achievement Award for the outstanding academic growth of students and for his efforts as an exceptional educational leader. In addition, in 2014, Chris was named the McCormick Foundation High School Media Illinois Principal of the Year.
Sherrie Feinstein – Community Volunteer
Sherrie received her B.S. degree from Northwestern University, in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences. She received her M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Sherrie worked for Citibank for over ten years in a variety of management positions and departments. Currently, she works for Mann. Weitz & Associates, L.L.C. in Deerfield where her focus is on not-for-profit accounting and tax. She lives in Deerfield with her husband Todd, and their two daughters Suzanne (DHS ’14) and Jill (DHS ’17).
Aaron Ferrer – Community Volunteer
Aaron and his wife Yvonne have lived in Highland Park for since 2010 with their two children, Aaron Jr. (HPHS ’16) and Ayiana (HPHS ’22). Aaron is currently employed with Peoples Gas based out of their headquarters in Chicago, IL. Prior to joining Peoples Gas, Aaron served 22 years in the United States Army and Illinois Army National Guard. He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Arkansas State University and B.S. in Public Administration from Roger Williams University.
Debby Finn – Faculty, Highland Park High School
Debby has served as Math Department Chair at Highland Park High School since 2008. She received a B.S. in Finance from the University of Iowa; M.S.Ed. in Mathematics from Tufts University; and a C.A.S. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. She has spent the majority of her career in District 113, teaching proudly at both DHS and HPHS since 1996. She is a resident of Deerfield and both of her children have attended Deerfield High School, Her son, Jaime, is a 2014 graduate, now attending The Ohio State University and daughter Samantha will graduate from DHS in 2017.
Issac Freedman – Student, Highland Park High School
Isaac Freedman grew up in Highland Park and is currently a junior at Highland Park High School. During his free periods at school he works in the student learning center as a peer tutor. After school he works as a music teacher and song leader at North Shore Congregation Israel. He also enjoys playing guitar and singing with his band. He is looking forward to making contributions to the District 113 Foundation Board.
Daphne Kass – Student, Highland Park High School
Alena K. Laube – District 113 Board of Education Representative
Alena K. Laube is an educator with 33 years of experience as a classroom teacher (Waukegan High School), department chair (Highland Park High School), and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction (Barrington School District 220). After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, Alena continued her studies earning a Masters Degree from Middlebury College, VT, and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University, Chicago. Having worked in the school district for eight years, Alena recognizes the commitment of District 113 staff to the success of every student. Thus, in 2009 she and her husband, Ken, moved to Highland Park to allow the youngest of their three children to benefit from the superb education and cultural opportunities available in the District 113 community.
Sue Libowsky – Community Volunteer
Sue and her family have lived in Highland Park for over 20 years. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Finance, and received her J.D. from Washington University School of Law. She practiced law with a title insurance company and several Chicago law firms and now has her own law practice, focusing on real estate. She was an active member of the Wayne Thomas, Northwood Jr. High and Highland Park High School PTOs and was a committee chair for Focus on the Arts (HPHS). Sue and her husband Steve have 3 children, Sam (HPHS ’08), Sarah (HPHS ’11) and Ruth (HPHS ’14).
Abby Miller – Deerfield High School Student
Abby has grown up in Deerfield and is currently a sophomore at Deerfield High School. She is involved in many clubs including Student Council, Key Club (a philanthropy club), DECA (a business club), and Student Congress (congressional debate). Abby loves playing tennis and running. In addition, she enjoys traveling and hanging out with friends. She is beyond excited to contribute to the improvements of the District 113 schools through the District 113 Education Foundation’s Board!
Yumi Ross – Community Volunteer
Yumi Ross is an architect who has lived in Highland Park for more than 18 years. She is in her second term on NSSD 112’s school board and is board representative to the North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED), serving on it’s Leadership Council. She is also board representative to the 112 Education Foundation and a trustee. She is a member of Hyde Park Art Center’s Board of Directors, Design Chair and member of the Board of Directors of Project 120 in Chicago, and has served on the Women’s Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago for 19 years. She is also a member of the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch. Yumi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s in Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She and her husband Doug have twins– Camryn (HPHS ’17) and Ian (HPHS ’17).
Marjie Sandlow – Community Volunteer
Marjie has served on the District 113 Education Foundation since 2012. She is presently vice president and chair of the development committee. She served on the District 113 Board of Education from 2006 until 2015, serving two years as president and three years as vice president. She also served on the Northern Suburban Special Education School District (NSSED) Governing Board, where she was president during the 2013-14 school year, and the NSSED Foundation Board. Marjie was an active member of the Highland Park High School PTO, having served as Vice President, as well as chairing various committees. Marjie has a B.S. in Industrial Psychology from the University of Illinois, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and worked as a Marketing Consultant. She has lived in Highland Park with her husband Barry Rosen for 26 years. They have 3 children – Hillary (HPHS 2007), Peter (HPHS 2010), and Brian (HPHS 2011).
Barbara Sereda – Community Volunteer
Barbara, Foundation Board Co-President, is the founder and president of Adoption Advocates of America, a non-profit organization which has advocated for legislation on behalf of adoptive families for over 15 years. Previously she worked as Counsel in Allstate Insurance Company’s Corporate Litigation Division. She serves on Advisory Councils relating to adoption for the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as a member of the boards of The Cradle adoption agency, Families and Children’s AIDS Network, and as a member of the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, which she chaired. Barbara has served on the NSSD 112 Foundation Board and as PTO co-president of Indian Trail School. She received her B.S. degree from Wellesley College and her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. She has lived in Highland Park for 25 years with her husband, Peter, and has three children, Joey (HPHS ‘17), Natalie (HPHS ‘14) and Maddie (HPHS ‘11).
George Spathis – Community Volunteer
George and his wife, Lisa, have resided in the District since 1995. Their three children are graduates of Highland Park High School (classes of 2011, 2014 and 2017). George has been a practicing attorney for more than twenty-six years. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (B.A. Political Science), and earned his J.D. (with High Honors) from Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he served as an Executive Articles Editor for the Law Review. George is a partner in the Chicago law firm of Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC, and for the last four years, he has been a volunteer coach for the HPHS Mock Trial Team.
Joe Taylor – Deerfield High School Assistant Principal
Joe Taylor has spent more than 20 years in education as a teacher, activity sponsor, and instructional technology leader. Joe came to Deerfield High School in 2014 and has served as both Director of Instructional Technology and Assistant Principal for STEAM Instruction. Joe studied history and English as an undergrad and has postgraduate degrees in history and school leadership. He is currently working on a Doctorate in Instructional Technology. Outside of school, Joe spends his time with his wife Nicki, teenage daughter Katherine, and a Labrador retriever named Phantom.
Elaine Van Dusen – Highland Park High School PTO Liaison
Elaine has been a Highland Park resident for over 20 years along with her husband Dave and daughter Katie (HPHS ’20). She serves on the Executive Committee of the HPHS PTO as well as the HPHS Discretionary Committee. Over the years, she has served in a variety of PTO roles at both Wayne Thomas Elementary and Northwood Junior High schools. Currently, she works in the Foundation at NorthShore University HealthSystems.
Susie Wexler – Community Volunteer
Susie, Foundation Board Co-President, is the director of BJBE’s Early Childhood Program at the Chava Center in Deerfield. A previous chairperson for the Deerfield Caucus, she currently serves as the Chairperson of the Deerfield Volunteer Engagement Commission. She has served in a variety of volunteer roles at the elementary, middle and high school level. She earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and an MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work. Susie lives in Deerfield with her husband Dave and her children Matthew (DHS ‘13), Jonathan (DHS ‘15) and Allison (DHS ’18).
Dylan Wheatley – Student, Deerfield High School
Dylan is currently a junior at Deerfield High School. He has lived in Deerfield and Riverwoods for his entire life. During school, Dylan works in the Academic Tutoring Center (ARC), where he tutors other students in math and science related topics. At school, Dylan is involved in Student Council, Junior Executive Board, DECA (a business club), and researches for Student Congress (a congressional style debate team). After school, Dylan runs for Cross Country and Track. Dylan is really excited to help in fostering innovation at District 113’s schools, by being apart of the District 113 Education Foundation Board.
Lisa Xilas – HPHS PTO Representative
Lisa has been a Highland Park resident for over 20 years. She has a BA in Business Administration from Hope College and has worked in the Human Resources field, specifically in Compensation & Benefits. She has been on PTA/PTO boards as Lincoln, Edgewood, and Highland Park High School. She is actively involved with College Bound Opportunities, District 112 Fun(d) Run, and Focus on the Arts. Lisa and her husband Andy have two daughters: Madison (HPHS ’15), and Brayden (HPHS ’17).