Karen Gatsis Anderson
Karen Gatsis Anderson is a retired attorney still licensed in Illinois. Her employment experience includes 9 years in-house with the Chicago Board of Education where she was a supervisor and specialized in school law, civil rights and litigation. Karen has extensive experience on non-profit Boards. In addition to being a founding Board member of MSE, she is on the Board and serves on the Finance Committee of Equip for Equality, which provides legal services statewide for persons with disabilities. For nearly 20 years she was on the Board of Near North Montessori School (NNMS) including 4 years as the Board Preaident. Her three adult daughters are graduates of NNMS, so Karen has extensive experience with the Montessori approach to education from both a parent and management perspective.
Peter Cunningham is the Executive Director of Education Post, a Chicago-based non-profit communications organization promoting education reform. Previously, Peter was President of Cunningham Communications, a Chicago-based communications company serving public, private and non-profit sector clients. He is also affiliated with Whiteboard Advisors, a DC-based education policy and research firm. He recently served as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama Administration's first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan in Chicago when he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. For several years Peter was affiliated with the political consulting firm Axelrod and Associates, and also served for five years in the administration of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. A native New Yorker, Peter began his career as a journalist with small weekly newspapers in New York. He earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia and a B.A. in Philosophy from Duke. He is married to an artist, Jackie Kazarian and they have two adult children who are proud graduates of the Chicago Public Schools.
Thomas Hale has been President of the Board of The Montessori Network and The Montessori School of Englewood since 2010. His daughter was educated through 8th grade in a Montessori School and was a board member of Near North Montessori School for 6 years, during which he was Chair of the Facilities Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. He is currently a board member and Past President of The Partners of the Americas, Chicago chapter, an organization involved in the pursuit of cultural, art, and education collaborations within the Americas. He is founder and President of Hale Technologies, involved in the design, development and manufacture of ethical pharmaceuticals, with operations in the US and Brazil.
Marvin Hoffman is the founding director of the University of Chicago Charter School North Kenwood/Oakland Campus and the associate director of the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program.
As CEO of The Trotter Project, Derrek Hull leads and focuses the mission and multi-year strategic plan, developed to foster the next generation of industry leaders. Before joining The Trotter Project, Derrek was director of marketing and communications for celebrity chef Homaro Cantu’s Cantu Restaurant Group. His 15+ years of brand strategy, advocacy, and nonprofit experience also include major roles at the National Restaurant Association, where he led marketing and communications efforts and strengthened core operations, including refining its Educational Foundation around a mission to develop a strong workforce by educating students on the restaurant business through the ProStart program – running in high schools nationwide. Additionally, Hull grew the Association’s annual tradeshow – the largest restaurant and hospitality tradeshow in the U.S. – resulting in growth in both revenue and impact, including $100+ million injected into the city of Chicago over the course of four days annually. Derrek served as Assistant Press Secretary at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs while promoting Chicago as a premier travel destination. As director of the U.S. Department of State’s International Press Center Chicago, Derrek provided U.S.-based international bureau chiefs and journalists with a variety of services to aid them report on American society, politics and culture. Derrek also serves on committees and boards, including the Jackson Chance Foundation, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and Share Our Strength.
Ebonie Townsend is an entrepreneur, freelance writer, and parent to two Montessori students. After running a social media marketing business for 6 years, Ebonie now runs Soccer Momish Blog, a blog that teachers mothers how to make a living through entrepreneurship so that they, too, can have the income and flexibility to be available to their children and families. As a Montessori parent, Ebonie hopes to bring this unique perspective to the board to help drive the mission of the Montessori School of Englewood, and to elevate the voice of every parent and guardian of TMSOE’s community.
Joseph Motto is an Associate with Winston & Strawn, LLP, in Chicago, Illinois with a concentration on securities litigation, white-collar criminal and regulatory defense, civil and criminal antitrust, and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Motto’s pro bono efforts include representation of deaf and hard-of-hearing inmates incarcerated in Illinois state prison system, making sure they receive accommodations for communication and equal access to programs and services.
Tanesha Peeples is a civic engagement professional who combines passion, experience and critical thinking to achieve results with skills including but not limited to coalition building and community organizing of all demographics, volunteer and staff management, strategy design and implementation, training development and facilitation, and research and data reporting/analysis.
Marcus Robinson, D.C.H., serves as the Executive Director of Collaboraction Theatre Company, curating socially conscious theatre in Chicago, IL, MI. Dr. Robinson is an accomplished leader in the nonprofit management and community development. He has served a consultant and trainer in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion with many of the world’s leading companies, including Whirlpool Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, Whirlpool Europe, Honeywell Canada, as well as governmental entities, such as the City and County of Santa Barbara, City of Rochester, NY, the League of Cities of California, and the State of California. He earned his doctorate focusing on adult-learning and personal transformation from the American Institute of Hypnotherapy. Dr. Robinson maintains his boutique business consultancy under the name of Social Innovation Group, Inc. This practice serves as a vehicle for generating profound breakthroughs in the ecology of being human.
Gabrielle R. Sansonetti is principle of The Law Office of Gabrielle R. Sansonetti, a law practice that specializes in criminal defense. Gabrielle represents individuals from all segments of society who may be or who have been charged with a crime. But throughout her career, Gabrielle has been specifically dedicated to advancing criminal justice reform through the representation of individuals in challenging socio-economic circumstances. Advocating on behalf of individuals who face inequality and disproportionate systemic challenges is her natural drive. Gabrielle grew up in South Bend, Indiana, the daughter of a teacher and a construction worker. Her working class background provided perspective throughout her own life’s successes and challenges that hard work and drive mean nothing without opportunity, and in most cases education provides the opportunity. Gabrielle is proud to be a member of the board of The Montessori School of Englewood and is committed to working with others to provide the highest level of education to the children of Englewood.
Michael Sculnick is a Managing Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global HR Solutions Group in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, he leads a team of specialists who advise clients on the HR and benefits issues involved in mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, and other similar transactions. Before joining Coopers & Lybrand Mr. Sculnick was a partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz, concentrating in labor and employment law and employee benefits.
James M. Sulzer has been a practicing attorney since 1977. He is admitted to practice in Illinois, Federal Court and the U.S.Tax Court. Jim received a Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Illinois in 1974, his Juris Doctor in 1977 at the University of Illinois and a Certificate from the Basic Program of Liberal Education from The University of Chicago, Graham School of General Studies in 2009. Jim is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association having served as the Chair of the Legislative Executive Committee. He is a former instructor at the American Institute for Paralegal Studies. Jim’s practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial real estate and development, small business planning and estate planning.
Peter Talmers is management consultant at Slalom Consulting. He helps public, private, and non-profit clients achieve their goals by maximizing the potential of their leaders, teams, and organizations. Previously he worked at Accenture advising financial services organizations in the capital markets, banking, and insurance sectors. Mr. Talmers has a deep interest in education and investment in young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Mr. Talmers received B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan.