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 Interim Head of School, Mason Rocca and Baker’s leadership team. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Board of Trustees at board@bakerdemschool.org.

Expression of Interest to Serve on Baker’s Board

If you wish to be considered for the Board of Trustees, please read the Board Expectations, complete this interest form and submit with any supporting materials to board@bakerdemschool.org.

Board of Trustees, 2022-2023

Stephanie Hentz – Chair
Shana Bernstein – Board Secretary
Kim Ptak – Finance Chair

George Gaines
Charis Irving
Hilde Kaiser
Colleen Mastony

Mohamed Nur
Ken Powers
Rhiannon Schmieg
Alvin Tillery, Jr.

 

Committee Chairs and Committee Members

Internal Operations
Kim Ptak
Mohamed Nur
George Gaines
Ken Powers

External Relations
Colleen Mastony
Hilde Kaiser
Rhiannon Schmieg

Governance
Charis Irving
Shana Bernstein
Hilde Kaiser
Alvin Tillery

Shana Bernstein, PhD

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.

George Gaines

George retired in 2019 after a 40 year career in which he practiced law and served in senior positions in the investment management and investment banking industries.  Over the years he has supported a number of independent schools including previously serving on the board (and for two years as board Chair) of Baker; being the founding board President for five years of Wolcott College Prep, a high school in Chicago for bright students with learning differences; and serving on the board (including three years as board President) of Monica Ros School in Ojai, California. George received his high school degree from The Lawrenceville School, his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of Virginia.

Stephanie Hentz

Stephanie is the Director of Special Education at Niles West High School, District 219. In this role, her work focuses on meeting the needs of diverse learners, with a particular interest in decreasing the racial and disability predictors of educational achievement. Stephanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and began her career as a School Social Worker. She earned her B.A. from Northwestern University, her Masters in Social Work from the Jane Addams College at University of Illinois Chicago, and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.

Hilde Kaiser

Hilde is a wellness facilitator and the founder of The Poetic Field LLC. Her professional passion is to create opportunities for cultivating wisdom. She has numerous fitness certifications, including a black belt in the Nia technique, as well as certifications in primal vinyasa and daring to rest yoga nidra (expected completion 2023). She studied earth medicine and circle and discussion ethics for many years with author Pixie Lighthorse. Hilde previously served on the Baker board 2010-2013 and her work included serving as board liaison to the BPO to support the planning and execution of positive community experiences. She and her spouse Bill Michalski live in Evanston and are proud parents of Baker alumn Karl Michalski (Baker ’19). She received a BA in English at Texas A&M University and an MA in English Literature at The University of Chicago.

Colleen Mastony

Colleen is a communications strategist who currently serves as the senior director of media relations at the University of Chicago. In that role, she oversees a team that works with local, national and international media to distribute research news and institutional announcements, with the aim of bolstering public understanding of complex ideas and breakthroughs, advancing effective public policies and building the reputation of the university. Earlier, she worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years and wrote for the Palm Beach Post, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes magazine. She received a B.A. in psychology from University of Pennsylvania.

Mohamed Nur

Mohamed is Finance Director at Wolters Kluwer and spent the last 18 years working in finance with diverse companies. During his finance leadership, he led various global projects from financial strategy, business integration to organizational transformation. Mohamed received a B.B.A in Finance and Economics in from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Ken Powers

Ken Powers is the President of Titobi Ventures (TVI) a firm that invests in small businesses and focuses on unlocking value thru commercial excellence and operational improvement. Prior to founding TVI, Ken was responsible for the development and commercialization of infusion pump technology at Baxter and led the integration efforts for several clinical software company acquisitions. He has more than 15 years of experience in the Healthcare and Industrial sectors. Thru his career Ken has advanced thru a series of roles in general management, global finance, and commercial operations. Ken earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Strategy from the University of Michigan. He lives in Evanston with his wife Allison and two kids, Sydney and Julian who all keep him quite busy and entertained.

Kim Ptak, EdD

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.

Rhiannon E. Schmieg

Rhiannon spent 25 years practicing law in the areas of employment, litigation, and compliance, with 15 of those years serving as in-house counsel in the financial services industry and industrial sectors. As a lawyer, Rhiannon focused on problem-solving and identifying creative and practical, business-oriented solutions. She managed complex litigation and class actions, advised human resources regarding sensitive employee relations issues, managed teams, and led operational excellence efforts in legal departments. During her legal career, Rhiannon provided pro bono services to a non-profit organization supporting the homeless for 10 years and took a break from legal practice in order to teach at a private high school in Mexico. Rhiannon received a B.S. from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Rhiannon looks forward to her daughter graduating with the Baker Class of 2022-23.

Alvin Tillery, Jr., PhD

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.