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Foundation Board of Trustees 2019-2020

Executive Board



Mary Zarr

Illinois State University Professional Development School


Business: Mary retired from Community Consolidated School District 15 in 2014 after spending close to 40 years as a teacher and school administrator both in Palatine and Community Unit School District 95 in Lake Zurich. She now works as an Educational Consultant and Coordinator of the Illinois State University Professional Development School for Palatine. 

Volunteering: Mary is a long time supporter of the Foundation and Palatine Opportunity Center. She voluntarily serves as a scholarship judge for various awarding organizations. 

Personal: Mary has been married to John for 41 years and they have 4 children and two grandchildren.  They enjoy traveling, fishing, boating, golfing and especially treasure any time spent with their grandchildren.  Mary holds a BA, MA and Doctor of Education degree. 




Kelly Schmidt

O'Bryan Commodities, Inc.


Business: Kelly is the Chief Compliance Officer and a director for a commodity futures trading firm in Chicago. She is responsible for Trade Compliance and Human Resources for the firm.  

Volunteering: Kelly is the VP of Legislation for the PTA at Marion Jordan, a Girl Scout troop leader, preschool social events co-chair, Sunday School teacher and Vacation Bible School co-chair for the past 2 years. 

Personal: Kelly and her husband, Barry, have 3 children. A daughter in second grade at Marion Jordan and 4 year old boy/girl twins who will enter Kindergarten in the Fall of 2017. Kelly enjoys a good read, college basketball and planning her next family vacation. 




Valerie Lucas

North Shore University Health System


Business: Valerie is a clinical psychologist at North Shore University Health Systems. She previously worked in a number of other clinical settings, including university counseling center, children's advocacy center, community mental health and acute inpatient setting.

Volunteering: Valerie serves on the Pleasant Hill PTA as the Health and Safety Chair and is involved in volunteering with a number of activities at Pleasant Hill. She is also an avid supporter of the Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County. 

Personal: Valerie has 2 children attending Pleasant Hill and when she isn't chauffeuring them around to their various sporting events, she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. 



Foundation Immediate Past Chair

Christopher Svec

Northrop Grumman


Professional: Chris has worked as an Optical Engineer in and around the Palatine area for over 20 years.  He has held Integrated Product Team lead and management positions in addition to his technical responsibilities.  He holds several patents and Trade Secret inventions.


Volunteer work: Trustee for the one-five foundation since 2011; teaching supplemental science and engineering lessons in elementary and junior high schools; involvement with the Fremd Music Association; several roles at Heritage Church, where he has attended since 2004; 3 years as a soccer coach in the Palatine Celtic Soccer House League; and student Liaison for American Field Service foreign exchange program.


Personal: Chris is husband of Kristi Svec for over 20 years; father of 2 beautiful and intelligent daughters, Carlee and Abby; is a movie buff; and can be found (occasionally) editing/producing videos; his family also hosts foreign exchange students through American Field Service.





Tim Knecht

Cornerstone National Bank & Trust Company


Business: Vice President of Business Banking at Cornerstone National Bank & Trust Company. Tim has been working with the Bank since 2002 and works out of the Bank’s Lake Zurich location.  Works with family owned businesses and its owners to meet their banking and financing  needs. Earned a BBA with a concentration in Finance from Roosevelt University and a MBA from Roosevelt University.

Volunteering: Mentor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy – District 15 students.  Past Board Member of the Junior Advisory Board for Roosevelt University   

Personal: Tim and his wife, Kim have two children and live in Palatine.



Allison Cutinello

Lou Malnati's 


Business: Allison has worked for Lou Malnati’s for the past 23 years and is a Sales Account Executive.  In her role as Account Executive her job is to promote the catering and community outreach opportunities to companies, schools and organizations.  

Volunteering: She has worked with Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago with local fundraising.  She has a brother who is a client of Clearbrook, has worked with different fundraising events over the years.

Personal: Allison and her husband, Chuck, enjoy spending time with their friends and family.  They have 2 children who attend Winston Campus elementary school.  


Jen DeFranco

Magical Vacation Planner


Business: Jen is a Travel Specialist with Magical Vacation Planner. She specializes in all things Disney, Universal, Cruising and All-Inclusive travel. 

Volunteering: Jen has served in many roles over her years in the community. She has served at all levels of PTA from local President to National PTA Social Media Ambassador and Advocacy Trainer. She has served as President of the Palatine Celtic Soccer Club, a member of the All Saints Lutheran Church Council, a running Ambassador for All Community Events, United Nations Shot@Life Volunteer Advocate, PADS volunteer, EF High School Exchange Year Host Family, former Girl Scout Leader, and Mom Congress delegate & Mentor for Illinois. She has also served on the ISBE Standardized Testing Review Committee, and various task force teams for CCSD15. Jen is also the founder and chairman of the Batchelor Family Foundation - founded in 2014.

Personal: Jen has 2 children who have graduated from D15 schools. Her oldest is at University of Minnesota and her youngest attends Fremd High School. In her spare time she loves to travel, read, and run. You will often find her combining travel and running creating a wonderful run-cation!



Denise Loiterstein

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office


Business: Denise has been a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney for the past 15 years. She

has worked in numerous divisions of her office, including Appeals, Juvenile Justice, Preliminary

Hearings, Grand Jury, and Felony Trials. Currently, she is assigned to the Rolling Meadows

Courthouse and prosecutes all felony crimes committed in the Third District of Cook County.

Volunteering: Denise is a member of Beth Tikvah Congregation and serves as co-chair of the

religious school. She is a member of the PTA at Winston Campus Elementary School and has

participated in Career Day at the school. At the State’s Attorney’s Office, Denise has mentored

numerous legal interns and high school students interested in a career in criminal justice.

Personal: Denise and her husband, Paul, have three children. Her daughter and son attend

Winston and her youngest son is in preschool. Denise enjoys reading, spending time with her

family and friends, and meeting new people in the community



Adriana Koenig

Continental Automotive Systems


Business: Adriana is a Sr. Purchasing Manager at Continental Automotive Systems, she’s

been working with strategic sourcing and purchasing in companies such as Motorola Inc and

Sears Holding. Adriana also has an Executive MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of

Management and speaks German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Volunteering: Adriana was part of the Motorola Women Business Council and part of the

board of Sears Holdings WILD (Women In Leadership Development) group. Most recently

Adriana helped to create and was part of the board of the Continental Deer Park Women

Forum. Besides volunteering in diversity network groups, Adriana is a supportive Room

Parent at Lincoln Elementary School.

Personal: Adriana has a son attending Lincoln Elementary and when she isn't chauffeuring

him to ice hockey practices and games, she enjoys reading, adventure traveling (skiing, ice

skating, hiking and biking) and spending time with family and friends.



Lauren Josko


Volunteer: Lauren Josko has been an active member in the Paddock PTA for 6 years volunteering on the executive board for the last 4 years.  She has also chaired as Health and Safety for the NWSC PTA for 2 years. She is also currently volunteering with NWSRA.

Personal: Lauren and her husband, Jason, have loved living in Palatine for the last 11 years.  Their 2 children attend Stuart R. Paddock elementary school.

Natalie DiCosola

Volunteer:  Natalie DiCosola has been an active member in the Pleasant Hill PTA for 6 years volunteering on the executive board for the last 4 years.  She has also served as the Communications, Box Tops, and Back to School Picnic Committee chairs.  Natalie was the State and National representative for the Mother's of Multiples Organization for two years, she has been a Girl Scout leader for the last two years, and has coached her kids softball, soccer, and basketball teams. 

Personal: Natalie and her husband, Dan have three children that attend Pleasant  Hill Elementary School and have lived in Palatine for the last 14 years. Natalie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, boxing, crossfit, and watching her kids play sports.


Dr. Laurie Heinz

CCSD15 Superintendent


The superintendent of schools serves as the district's chief executive officer and is responsible for administering and supervising all district activities to achieve the goals established by the Board of Education. The superintendent is responsible for making recommendations to the Board concerning all functions of the school district and its daily operation, which include business and auxiliary servicesinstructional and special servicespersonnel and human services, and administrative services.



Tom Edgar*

Executive Director of Assessment, Accountability, and Programs


The Department of Instructional Services is responsible for the development, implementation, instructional technology support, and assessment of the district's instructional program. The department's major goal is to provide support to the schools, enabling staff to implement and refine the district's educational program. This goal is accomplished through service to the buildings with the department acting as a resource and clearinghouse. Services of the department include curriculum development, instructional material development and adoptions, instructional strategies, student assessment, staff development, technology applications, and specialized programs (gifted education, second-language programs, Title I reading services, etc.).



Barb Kain*

Board of Education Liaison


Barbara (Barb) Kain works for District 214 in the Teaching and Learning Department. She has been working in education for a couple of years after previously spending 17 years working in the research industry managing innovation research. She left the corporate sector for the world of education to spend her days doing more meaningful work that touches the local community. Barb holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She and her husband, Patrick, have two sons that attend Gray M. Sanborn School. While Barb has been a District 15 resident for 12 years, her husband Patrick has lived in District 15 nearly all his life. 



Rachel Bland*

Principal Liaison







Foundation Coordinator

Pam Seick







* Non-Voting Liaison