Mary Beth Arzac – President
Mary Beth, Foundation Board President, and her husband Joe have lived in Highland Park for the past 17 years with their two children Christopher (HPHS ’20) and Andrew (HPHS ’23). She received her BA from the University of Chicago and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Management. Mary Beth currently works as a consultant supporting healthcare manufacturers and startups. She currently serves on the Advisory Board at NeuroPath serving people who live with Parkinson’s Disease, and serves on the Advisory Board at Inference Analytics, unlocking the potential of unstructured text in health systems. Mary Beth also serves as a lead mentor at MATTER Health through their C2MP program, and as a Midwest Co-Chair for the University of Chicago Alumnae New Venture Challenge (ANVC).
Leslie Alter – Community Volunteer
Leslie has lived in Highland Park for 20 years with her husband Jay (HPHS graduate) and their children Will, Cate (HPHS ’23) and Tommy (HPHS ’23). Leslie earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Leslie’s professional background is in Human Resources and College Career Services/Recruiting. Leslie is currently the Director of Donor Relations at College Bound Opportunities (CBO). Leslie has served in leadership roles in D112 elementary and middle school PTOs, the PTO Presidents’ Council, and at Family Service of Lake County as a Development Associate. She is also current Trustee and past Chairman of the 112 Education Foundation.
Dan Chamberlin – Deerfield High School Teacher Liason
Dan Chamberlin is a dedicated educator with a 20-year tenure at Deerfield High School. His journey at DHS began as a special education teacher, and over the years, he demonstrated his commitment to the school community by transitioning into various leadership roles. For six years, he served as the dean and then transitioned into the Special Education Department Chair for nine years, where he made significant contributions to the department’s growth and success. Currently, Dan Chamberlin holds the role of Assistant Principal at Deerfield High School. Beyond his administrative responsibilities, he has been an active force in extracurricular activities, sponsoring clubs such as the Student Council, Human Rights, and Role Game Club. It’s worth noting that Dan’s roots at Highland Park High School run deep, as both he and his daughter, a 2021 graduate, are proud alumni of the school.
Luisa Espinosa-Lara – Grants Committee
In the summer of 2023, Luisa Espinosa Lara became a member of The 113 Education Foundation, driven by her desire to give back to the community that welcomed her and her passion for education. Currently, she works as a School Parent Liaison at Highland Park High School. Luisa holds a BA in Advertising from Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Master’s in Liberal Studies with a Spanish concentration from Lake Forest College. She has been serving the Latino community in the Highland Park and Highwood areas since 2000, and her bilingual and bicultural background makes her passionate about providing access to quality education. Luisa enjoys using her skills to help and support others. She believes that the Foundation plays a crucial role in promoting innovation in classrooms by offering grants to teachers. This belief motivated her decision to join the board. Her husband and children graduated from Highland Park High School. It is an honor to serve on the board of such a wonderful organization, which is dedicated to fostering innovation in teaching. Luisa looks forward to encouraging teachers to apply for grants and our community to support them by raising funds for grants.
Aaron Ferrer – Vice President
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.
Karen Frey – Executive Committee and Communications Chair
Karen currently manages philanthropy for Medline Industries located in Northfield, IL. Previously, she worked in public policy communications for a variety of clients in the high technology industry and the federal government. Karen is an HPHS 1988 alum and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a B.A. in philosophy and political science. Karen received her Masters in public communication from the American University. She and her husband Seth have lived in Deerfield for more than 10 years raising their three children Casey (DHS ’18), Leah (DHS ’20) and Jayne (DHS ’24).
Janea Harris – Executive Committee and Recruitment Chair
Janea and her husband have resided in Highland Park with their two children for the past 5 years. She is an author and poet who loves writing for children and adults of all ages. Janea is the owner of SupHERbooks, LLC and has published two children’s books. Additionally, her works of poetry have been published in several Highland Park Poetry anthologies. Previously, Janea spent over 15 years as an educator at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. She currently serves on the Board of Reach Out and Read, IL, is the President of D112’s PTO Presidents Council and was recently appointed to the City of Highland Park’s Human Relations Advisory Group. Janea holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Mercer University and a Master of Education from Notre Dame College.
Pam Hollander – Executive Committee and Grants Chair
Pam Hollander is an innovative marketing executive with a passion for advancing brands through sponsorships and brand engagement. As Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Allstate, Hollander developed and led the brand’s national sponsorship and engagement marketing Center of Excellence. Pam also spent her early career on the PR agency side prior to joining Allstate. She is a Syracuse University graduate, serves on the Board of Directors for the Falk School of Sport Management at Syracuse University, as well as on the Board for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. She and her husband, Gregg, along with their two sons (one a recent HPHS graduate and D113 Foundation Board Member, and one a current HPHS student) and their dog, Dunkin, live in HP. Pam is also a graduate of HPHS.
Karyn Karel – Community Volunteer
Karyn has been working as a school social worker in District 112 at Braeside School in Highland Park since 1999. She is an alumnus of Deerfield High School Class of 1991, and lives in Deerfield with her husband and two daughters (DHS ’22 and ’24). She is excited to be a part of the District 113 Education Foundation as she values education and community partnership.
Lindsey Katai – Deerfield High School Student
Dr. Bruce Law – Superintendent District 113
Sara Lubezny – Executive Committee and Secretary
Sara is currently an attorney with Hilgers Graben, PLLC, and has also enjoyed her various roles as stay-at-home parent, Montessori preschool teacher, volunteer, business manager and academic tutor. She is a member of the District 109 Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Lake Forest Civic Orchestra (viola), Deerfield Plan Commission and Tennaqua Board of Directors. Sara is from Flint, Michigan. She graduated from Albion College with a B.A. in political science and earned her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Sara and her husband, Steve, have lived in Deerfield for 11 years, raising their children Jake (Shepard Middle School – DHS ’28) and Neva (Kipling Elementary – DHS ’30), as well as everyone’s favorite family member Sully (their Golden Retriever.)
Jon Mall – Community Volunteer
Jon is a social studies teacher in Highland Park (since 2003) at Northwood Jr. High School and a life-long resident of the community (HPHS ‘91). He graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Journalism and has his Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University. In 2018 Jon was awarded the Highland Park Community Foundation Golden Apple Award for excellence within the teaching profession. Over the years he has written and received several grants from the 112 Education Foundation and is looking to pay it forward by helping to “promote and support innovative educational opportunities” for Highland Park and Deerfield High School students as part of the 113 Education Foundation Board. Jon and his wife Jamie (DHS ‘91) have twin boys, Jacob (HPHS ‘22) and Eli (HPHS ‘22), and two dogs, Willy and Rudy.
Julia Nathanson – Highland Park High School Student
Ameeta Reed – Treasurer and Executive Committee
Ameeta and her husband Dan have lived in Deerfield since 2016 with their two children, Nishant (DHS ’27) and Nalini (DHS ’29). Ameeta is currently employed with Roberson and Associates as a Lead Platform Architect and is also part of a startup in Schaumburg, IL. Prior to that Ameeta’s career included a role as a System Architect at Nokia and that of a Principal Staff Engineer at Motorola. She holds a Master of Science in Embedded Software Engineering from Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering from University of Mumbai, India.
Davis Risko-Juarez – Highland Park High School Student
Yumi Ross – Past President and Executive Committee
Yumi is an architect who has lived in Highland Park for more than 23 years. She served two terms on the NSSD 112 school board and was board representative to: the North Suburban Special Education District, the City of Highland Parks Human Relations Commission, Community the Anti-Drug. She serves on the 112 Education Foundation’s Board. She is President of The Art Center Highland Park, has served on the Women’s Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art for 23 years and is on the MCA’s Exhibitions Committee. She is a board member of CPS Lives. 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).
Silvia Rota – Community Volunteer
Silvia and her family have lived in Highland Park for 18 years with her son Giulio (HPHS ‘20). She is an attorney and a teacher. She has been on TriCon board, volunteered for the North Shore legal aid, and is currently involved with College Bound Opportunities (CBO), Boho Theater and FOCUS on the Arts at HPHS.
Merari Ruiz – Deerfield High School Student
George Spathis – Executive Committee and co-chair of Vision and Strategic Planning
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.
Aparna Vasanthakumar – DHS Events Committee
Aparna Vasanthakumar is a scientist and researcher at Abbvie Inc. where she heads up genetic and genomic work to support Neurology and Virology trials. She is originally from Chennai, India and moved to the United States to pursue her PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She then worked at the University of Chicago before moving on to Abbvie. She has been an active volunteer at many events organized by the Kipling and Shepard PTOs including the biggest annual fundraiser for Kipling PTO, Pumpkinfest. She and her husband Vinu have lived in Deerfield for 7 years with their two children Vihaan (8th grade at SMS- DHS ’28) and Rhea (5th grade at Kipling- DHS ’31) and their Superpup Carson.
Susie Wexler – Executive Committee and Community Volunteer
Susie, Foundation Board Co-President from 2013-2016, 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, an MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work and is currently workin towards a Masters in Jewish Education and Leadership at HUC-JIR. Susie lives in Deerfield with her husband Dave, maintaining the home that their children – Marisa (DHS ‘13), Jonathan (DHS ‘15) and Allison (DHS ’18)- use as a base for their life adventures.
Lisa Xilas – Executive Committee and Secretary
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).