Board of Trustees

The Baker Board of Trustees 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 trustees who serve three-year terms, and contribute to both standing and ad hoc committees to address fulfillment of strategic goals. Our trustees 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 Trustees via email.

Board of Trustees, 2018-2019

Stacey Empson, President

Lisa Sparrow, Treasurer

Matt Rooney, Secretary

Shana Bernstein

Christine DiBartolo

David Flatley

Elizabeth Gillette

Eric Liu

Bill Michalski

Peter Poulos

Kim Ptak

Amanda Reid

Mason Rocca

Alexa Starr

Don Sweeney

Alvin B. Tillery, Jr.

Osvaldo Valenzuela

Shana Bernstein, PhD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on External Relations Committee

Shana is a Clinical Associate Professor of Legal Studies and American Studies at Northwestern University. She specializes in U.S. History, particularly comparative race and ethnicity and social reform movements. Before joining Northwestern University’s faculty, she was Associate Professor of History at Southwestern University in Texas. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has won fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the Huntington Library, among other institutions. Her first book, Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Oxford University Press, 2011), reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism by revealing its roots in the interracial efforts of Mexican, Jewish, African, and Japanese Americans in mid-century Los Angeles. Shana received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Christine DiBartolo
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Chairs External Relations Committee; Serves on Executive Committee

Christine is Senior Managing Director and Americas Head, Corporate Reputation Practice of FTI Consulting Strategic Communications. Her professional experience includes public education campaigns, corporate social responsibility, and government relations. Earlier in her career, Christine served as an aide to former Attorney General Janet Reno. During this time, Christine also served as the spokesperson for the Civil Rights Division, addressing all media inquiries related to civil rights issues. Christine received a B.A. in Communications and International Studies from Loyola University Chicago.

Stacey Empson, JD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2010
Board President; Serves on All Board Committees

Stacey is a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and serves as PwC’s Health Industries Management Consulting Leader. She also previously served as PwC’s Health Industries Diversity and Inclusion Leader. Trained as an attorney, Stacey brings legal experience to the board, in addition to expertise in strategic planning, marketing and fundraising. She has served on many non-profit and professional boards. Stacey chaired Baker’s Search Committee that selected Carly Andrews as Head of School in 2017. Stacey earned her Juris Doctorate, Masters in Healthcare Administration, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas.

David Flatley
Baker Alumni Parent; Board Member Since 2017
Serves on External Relations and Governance Committees

David consults both locally and nationally in the areas of arts integration, grant writing, and external evaluation. A thought leader in the arts and education space for more than 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 fundraising and professional development. He was previously 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 Administration from the University of Illinois-Urbana; and an M.A. in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Elizabeth Gillette
Baker Alumni Parent; Board Member Since 2015
Serves on External Relations Committee

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 institution 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.

Eric Liu, MBA
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on Internal Operations Committee
Eric is a partner at Harris Associates, an investment management firm in Chicago and advisor to the Oakmark family of funds. He serves as Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst on their international team. Eric has spent the last 17 years in the investment and finance industry. Eric holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and BA from UCLA.
 
Bill Michalski

Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2016
Serves on External Relations Committee

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 and Software Development functions within the company, and has held senior positions in Sales, Marketing, and Process Engineering. He has spent more than 20 years leading software product and development teams with technology companies serving multiple industries, including financial services, telecommunications, online retail and logistics. Bill received a B.A.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Chicago.

Peter Poulos, JD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on Governance Committee

Peter is a managing director in Tax Practice Policy and Quality at Grant Thornton LLP. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Peter was a law firm tax partner and had 20 years of experience in representing public companies, significant privately held entities, and other clients in complex federal and state tax controversy, planning and compliance matters. His prior roles included tax partner at both Locke Lord LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP, and senior tax consultant at Arthur Andersen. Peter received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley — Boalt Hall School of Law; and a B.S., Accountancy from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kim Ptak, EdD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member 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.

Amanda Reid, PhD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on Internal Operations Committee

Amanda has nearly 20 years of experience designing and implementing social science research projects in humanitarian, academic and private sectors. She specializes in work with underserved communities and survivors of trauma – locally and globally. Amanda currently serves as Senior Research and Evaluation Partner at Rotary International where she has led research and training activities in East Africa, West Africa and India. Amanda earned a BA in psychology at Spelman College and a Ph.D. in clinical and community psychology at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Mason Rocca
Baker Alumni and Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2017
Serves on Internal Operations Committee

Mason is a math teacher at Evanston Township High School. He recently completed his Masters in Education from Northwestern University and received a Fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. Mason 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 B.S.E. in electrical engineering from Princeton University.

Matt Rooney, JD
Baker Alumni Parent; Board Member 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, Indonesia, Myanmar, El Salvador, Bahrain 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 a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and graduated with majors in Government and Economics from Georgetown University.

Lisa Sparrow, MBA
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2016
Board Treasurer; Serves on Executive and Internal Operations Committees

Lisa 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 more than 25 years in infrastructure and energy. Lisa brings a variety of management, leadership and governance experience to the board. 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 M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Alexa Starr
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2016
Chairs Internal Operations Committee; Serves on Executive Committee

Alexa is the Managing Director of Finance for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has spent more than 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 and 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 M.A. in Economics and from Salem College with a B.A. in Economics.

Don Sweeney
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on Governance Committee

Don is the co-founder and CEO of Ashling Partners, a professional services firm that drives efficiency gains and process improvement through automation and targeted Artificial Intelligence. He has worked in professional services for more than 20 years. Don currently sits on the local board for Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit focusing on character development of youth through sports, and sits on the advisory board for The University of Michigan Department of Economics. Don is an acting advisor to various technology startups, as well as an investor through his participation in Hyde Park Angels. Don received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Alvin Tillery, Jr., PhD
Current Baker Parent; Board Member Since 2018
Serves on Governance Committee

Al is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of American politics and political theory and African American Studies at Northwestern University. Al’s research in American politics focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics. His research in political theory focuses on American political thought and critical race theory. His book Between Homeland and Motherland: Africa, U.S. Foreign Policy and Black Leadership in America (Cornell University Press, 2011) won the W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Al received a B.A. from Morehouse College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Osvaldo Valenzuela
Current Baker Parent; Board Member 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.