Board of Directors

The Baker Board of Directors oversees the strategic, long-term direction of the school and establishes goals and plans consistent with Baker’s mission and vision. There are up to 18 directors who serve three-year terms, and both standing and ad hoc committees to address fulfillment of strategic goals. Our directors are current and former parents, alumni and friends from the local community.

The day-to-day operations of the school are overseen by the Head of School and her administrative team. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Board of Directors via email.

Board of Directors, 2017-2018

Stacey Empson, President
Ralph Walsh, President Emeritus
Jonathan Cowan, Treasurer
Matt Rooney, Secretary
Mike Doornweerd
David Flatley
Susan Gallun
Elizabeth Gillette
Kirk Greer
Tammy Ho
Bill Michalski
Kim Ptak
Mason Rocca
Lisa Sparrow
Alexa Starr
Osvaldo Valenzuela
Shane Winn

Stacey Empson
Current Parent, Director since 2010
Board President
Serves on Executive, External Relations, Governance and Internal Operations Committees

Stacey has been a healthcare consulting executive for more than 20 years. She is a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), serves as PwC’s Health Industries Management Consulting Leader, and previously served as the Health Industries Diversity & Inclusion Leader. Trained as an attorney, Stacey brings legal experience to the board, in addition to expertise in strategic planning, marketing and fundraising. Stacey chaired Baker’s Search Committee that selected Carly Andrews as our Head of School. Stacey earned her Juris Doctorate (JD), Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Kansas.

Ralph Walsh
Alumni Parent, Director since 2010
Board President Emeritus
Co-Chair Governance Committee
Serves on Executive Committee

Ralph is a current stay-at-home parent. He has worked as a research associate for a local child advocacy organization, taught English at the university level in China, and for twelve years was co-director of Walsh Gallery, specializing in contemporary Asian art. Ralph received his BA from Brown University.

Jonathan Cowan
Current Parent, Director since 2012
Board Treasurer
Serves on Executive and Internal Operations Committees

Jonathan is the Chief Research, Data, and Innovation Officer at the KIPP Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the national network of 200 KIPP public charter schools. KIPP schools serve 80,000 students from educationally underserved communities and help them develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits of mind needed to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond. Prior to joining KIPP, Jonathan worked for over 10 years at The Boston Consulting Group where he assisted senior executives of large, complex organizations in addressing strategic, operational, and organizational issues and in managing large scale change. Jonathan has an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a BS in applied mathematics from Yale University.

Matt Rooney
Alumni Parent, Director since 2012
Board Secretary
Serves on Executive and Internal Operations Committees

For 30 years Matt was a litigation partner at the international law firm of Mayer Brown in Chicago, handling complex commercial, antitrust and securities cases. For his last three years as a partner, he co-chaired the firm’s worldwide pro bono committee, which supervised the provision of free legal services to people of limited means and for the advancement of human rights. He spearheaded the firm’s efforts to give its pro bono program a global reach. As of January 1, 2011, he became a Senior Counsel at the firm and since then has devoted his time to helping developing counties strengthen their rule of law and ensuring that their citizens’ human rights are protected. As part of those efforts he has provided free legal and consulting services in Cambodia, Iraq, South Africa, China and Sri Lanka. Matt served for three years on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation and chaired its Advocacy Committee. Matt earned his Juris Doctorate (JD) from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts (AB) in Economics from Georgetown University.

Mike Doornweerd
Alumni Parent, Director since 2014
Serves on Governance Committee

Mike is a litigation partner at the national law firm of Jenner & Block LLP, where he is a member of the Firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation and International Arbitration Practices. Mike has a broad range of experience handling trial, pre-trial, and post-trial proceedings in state and federal courts, and extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution forums, having successfully litigated several large and complex arbitrations to final awards. Mike also has an active pro bono practice and has represented indigent clients in federal appellate and trial courts. Mike earned his Juris Doctorate (JD) from Northwestern University School of Law, and Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Kalamazoo College.

David Flatley
Current Parent, Director since 2017
Serves on Governance Committee

David is currently working on several consulting projects in the arts education realm (grant writing, evaluation, and arts integration program design) as he is in transition between full time positions. A thought leader in the arts and education space for over two decades, David has significant experience in K-12 and higher education leading arts and education initiatives with a focus on whole school reform, grant-based fund raising and professional development. His most recent role was as Executive Director of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago where he spent a decade leading multiple large scale initiatives supporting under-served youth. David has also worked with various groups nationally and in the UK that focus on the integration of arts learning and creativity across content areas. David received his B.S. in Business Adminstration from the University of Illnois-Urbana; and an M.A. in Arts Adminstration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Susan Gallun
Current Parent, Director since 2017
Serves on External Relations Committee and is BPO Liaison

Susan is a writer, editor and marketing communications specialist with over 25 years experience, including positions with the Estee Lauder Companies in New York and most recently as head of Marketing at bswift, an employee benefits administration software and services company in Chicago. Susan graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a BA in Art History.

Elizabeth Gillette
Current Parent, Director since 2015
Co-Chair of External Relations Committee, leading Advancement Taskforce

Liz has been involved with fundraising for healthcare, independent schools and cultural institutions for more than 20 years. As the Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts at Lincoln Park Zoo, the nation’s oldest zoological institutions that remains admission-free, she is responsible for the planning, oversight, and implementation of a strategic and comprehensive major and planned giving program and leads the $125 million “Pride of Chicago” Campaign. Liz received a B.S. from Lake Forest College and a M.S. in Organizational Development from Case Western Reserve University.

Kirk Greer
Current Parent, Director since 2017
Serves on Internal Operations Committee

Most recently, Kirk served as interim Director of Studies and Professional Development at the Latin School of Chicago. In that role his responsibilities included enhancing and managing the teacher evaluation system, designing and implementing Latin’s new Statement of Teaching and Learning, and working to assure JK-12 curricular alignment. He also lead the development of a Strategic Plan Dashboard in conjunction with Board leadership. Not ready to leave the classroom quite yet, he will return to serve as Upper School History Department Chair and faculty member. He has taught at Latin for 12 years and is a Junior Faculty Fellow. He will continue to serve as Manager for Latin’s 10 year/$5 million Teacher Excellence Grant, the largest award in the school’s history. Kirk graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in political science and economics and from the University of Chicago with an MA in political science.

Tammy Ho
Current Parent, Director since 2012
Chair of Governance Committee
Serves on Executive Committee

Tammy is a nephrologist with the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, NorthShore University Healthsystem. She serves as Medical Director of the Acute Dialysis Facilities and Chronic Kidney Disease Care Program. Her responsibilities outside of direct patient care include internal medicine resident and nephrology fellow training and clinical research in the area of chronic kidney disease management and care. She sits on the Department of Medicine Quality Committee and oversees quality assessment of provided care and ongoing policies of the Division. She is active in a number of national organizations and sits on a variety of additional committees. Tammy earned her MD at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University and a fellowship in Nephrology at the University of Chicago.

Bill Michalski
Current Parent, Director since 2016
Co-Chair of External Relations Committee, leading Admissions/Recruitment/Communications Taskforce

Bill is the Chief Product Officer at ArrowStream, a technology company that provides supply chain management and logistics software to national restaurant chains, foodservice distributors and suppliers. In his role, Bill leads the Product Management, Software Development, and Marketing functions within the company, and has held senior positions in Sales and Process Engineering. Bill has spent over 20 years leading software product and development teams with technology companies across multiple industries, including financial services, telecommunications, online retail and logistics. Bill graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BAS in Computer Science and a BA in English, and received an MA in English Literature from the University of Chicago.

Kim Ptak
Current Parent, Director since 2016
Serves on Internal Operations Committee

Kim currently serves as the Director of Operations for Glenbrook High School District 225. In this role, Kim leads all financial and facilities efforts including budgeting, bidding, risk management, strategic planning, construction, accounts payable, and food and transportation services. Prior to employment at Glenbrook, Kim worked at Arthur Andersen as the Director of Finance and Operations. Kim has her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Illinois University.

Mason Rocca
Alumni and Current Parent, Director since 2017
Serves on External Relations Committee

Mason is a math teacher at Evanston Township High School. He recently completed his Masters in Education from Northwestern and received a Fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. He is a Baker alumni, class of 1992, and former professional basketball player who spent most of his 15-year career in Italy. Mason graduated with a BSE in electrical engineering from Princeton University.

Lisa Sparrow
Current Parent, Director since 2016
Chair of External Relations Committee
Serves on Executive Committee

Lisa Sparrow is the President and CEO of Utilities, Inc. (UI), a national water and wastewater utility with operations in 17 states. Prior to joining UI, she was with BP and General Motors. She has spent over 25 years in infrastructure and energy. Lisa brings a variety of management, leadership and governance experience. She has held board positions with Kennicott Brothers Company, PharMore Drugs, the Water Research Foundation, the National Association of Water Companies, the University of Missouri’s Financial Research Institute Advisory Board, and Michigan State University’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, among others. Lisa holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Alexa Starr
Current Parent, Director since 2016
Chair of Internal Operations Committee
Serves on Executive Committee

Alexa is the Senior Director of Finance for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has spent over 10 years working in finance for higher education helping drive strategic financial planning, leading teams responsible for accounting operations, financial reporting and analytics, and project management. She participates on school initiatives including the Diversity & Inclusion staff council for Kellogg and the Finance/IT prioritization planning committee for Northwestern. In previous years she worked for SunTrust Bank and taught Microeconomics to undergraduate business students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Alexa graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a MA in Economics and from Salem College with a BA in Economics.

Osvaldo Valenzuela
Current Parent, Director since 2017
Serves on Internal Operations Committee

Before coming to live in the U.S., Osvaldo studied diplomacy, with a specialization in international conflicts, and he later worked for the Panamanian government as Executive Secretary of International Technical Cooperation. Once in the U.S., he recruited the children of migrant farmworkers for federal educational programs. He later joined the Labor Movement as a business manager and contract negotiator, from which he has currently transitioned to consulting as a labor strategist, helping private companies design procedures for more effective relationships with unions.

Shane Winn
Current Parent, Director since 2016
Serves on the External Relations Committee

Shane is the General Manager of the Chicago office of Allison+Partners, a global public relations and integrated marketing agency based in San Francisco. In addition to his responsibilities growing new business and the Chicago office, Shane spearheads the Chicago office’s pro bono efforts, which are focused on education. His team does pro bono work on behalf of WITS, or Working in the Schools, which is the largest volunteer organization in the City of Chicago, fostering a love of reading at an early age through one-on-one mentoring relationships amongst Chicago Public School children. The Chicago office also volunteers with the City Colleges of Chicago, with a goal of attracting more diversity in the field of public relations, while providing mentorship to entering students. Shane’s career spans 20+ years, and includes both public relations and public policy work with companies and organizations across Chicagoland.