Who We Are » Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Beacon Academy's Board of Trustees is responsible for supporting and promoting the school’s mission and making polices consistent with our values as a leading edge high school that nurtures students'  independence, innovation, community inclusiveness, and interdependence. Comprised of parents, alumni parents, and community members, our board also always has at least one trustee who is a Montessori educator. Governed by Bylaws, Trustees establish long-range strategic plans and oversee the fiscal health of the school. Among the Board's most important responsibilities is the selection, support, and evaluation of the Head of School, as well as Head of School succession planning. The Board of Trustees collaborates with the administration, faculty, and community of students and families to advance Beacon Academy's values as a Montessori high school that is at the forefront of reimagining a 21st century high school education.
 
DEVIN MATHEWS, PRESIDENT

Devin is a Partner at ParkerGale, a Chicago-based private equity fund focused on buying and transforming small software companies. Prior to co-founding ParkerGale, Devin was a Managing Partner and a member of the investment committee at Chicago Growth Partners where he ran their technology group. He also spent five years at Baird Venture Partners where he was the Managing Partner and chair of the investment committee. Early in his career, Devin worked at Great Hill Partners and William Blair Capital Partners. He studied Art History at SUNY Binghamton and received his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Devin supports Chicago’s visual arts community as a Board member of threewalls. Devin and his wife live in Winnetka, with one Beacon graduate and a sophomore at Beacon Academy.
 
DEVIN PARSONS, VICE PRESIDENT
 
Devin is the Director of Digital Product Delivery and Principal at Highland Solutions, a Chicago-based mission driven consultancy that helps other mission driven organizations make the world a better place through research, design, and product delivery. Earlier in his career, Devin worked at Aetna, a CVS Health company, where he led technology strategy and innovation and Xerox Business Services where he led product strategy and delivery. He has been actively involved in Montessori based education for over 12 years and has served on the Board of Directors for Country Meadows Montessori School since 2011. Devin lives in Evanston with his wife and twin boys who attend Beacon Academy.  

SHUBHA K. CHAKRAVARTHY, TREASURER

Shubha is a financial services entrepreneur and founder of Achiiv, a financial upskilling platform for women entrepreneurs. She has over twenty years’ experience in financial services with leading companies including HSBC, Allstate Financial and McKinsey & Company. She has an MBA (High Honors) in Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an MS (Honors) in Financial Markets & Trading from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She’s passionate about equalizing the financial playing field for women and women-identifying individuals. A long-time Montessori parent, she lives in Evanston with her husband and son, who is currently a student at Beacon Academy.
 
LIZ AL-DAJANI, SECRETARY
 
Liz is a lawyer and founding partner of Kerkonian Dajani LLP specializing in appeals, commercial and international litigation. She litigates in courts across the country and in the European Court of Human Rights. She has volunteered actively for over 20 years in the areas of restorative justice, inclusion and equitable community development. She has participated in two conflict-resolution fact-finding missions in the Middle East and the Caucasus. Liz's grounding in social justice began as a child at the Evanston Friends Meeting on Greenleaf.  She is a founding board member of the Muslim Women Resource Center in Chicago, and also serves on the boards of Chiaravalle Montessori School and the Armenian Bar Association. Liz is a parent of three Montessori kids, including a graduating senior at Beacon Academy. She lives in Skokie with her family and two dogs.
 
BRIAN KING, PAST PRESIDENT
 
Brian King is a founding trustee of Beacon Academy and a proud parent of two Beacon graduates. Julia King was a member of the first graduating class in 2017 and Jeremy King graduated in 2019.  Brian has served on the Boards of Near North Montessori and Beacon Academy where he served as Board Chair.  Brian has a passion for infrastructure finance and currently works in the Public Finance group of Cabrera Capital Markets where his clients are states, cities, universities and hospitals.  Brian has a BA in Anthropology from Knox College and an MM from Northwestern University.
 
BRIAN ABRAMS
 
Brian is the founder and until 2017 served as CEO and Board Chair of Corporate Imaging Concepts, LLC. Currently, Brian serves as an Independent Director for three private equity backed companies and also serves on the Advisory Board of Fort Point Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm, and the Baumhart Center at Loyola University where he also is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and corporate strategy. Brian served as Beacon's founding Board Chair. Their daughter, Michaela, is a ‘19 Beacon graduate who is currently studying at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Their other daughter Erin graduated from Vassar College in ‘20. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Accountancy (BS ’90) and the University of Michigan Law School (JD ’93), Brian is an attorney and CPA who previously practiced law with Schiff Hardin and Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll. 
 
ISAAC AKERS
 
Bio coming soon
 
CHRIS AMBROSO

Christopher Ambroso is the Junior High Director at Near North Montessori in Chicago. He works with the students, teachers and parents during their 7th and 8th grade years and helps families prepare for the transition into high school. During his 27 years in Montessori education, Chris taught in the lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Junior High before moving into Administration. Chris is dedicated to getting students out of the school building and out into the real world. He's led student groups to every corner of Chicago and made trips with students to Wisconsin; Indiana; New York City; Washington, DC; Mesa Verde, Colorado; Guatemala; China; Italy and Honduras. Chris also serves on the Board of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), an organization that provides homes, education, and a family to children in need in nine Central American and Caribbean countries. Chris is an avid long distance runner and recently completed his 30 marathon. In March, 2020, he will run the Tokyo Marathon in pursuit of the "Six Majors" medal.
 
ROBERT GOLDMAN
 
Bob is a Vice President at Charles River Associates, an economics consultancy, where he provides valuations of intellectual property for companies and litigation attorneys. Bob is a recovering engineer, having worked at a major automaker and as a founding team member of a start-up sensor company in his early career. He has an MBA in finance from Northwestern, and bachelor and master degrees in engineering from the University of Illinois. Bob has served on a variety of boards, including as Treasurer of a national professional society and cooperative apartment corporation. His daughter is a recent Beacon graduate, and he lives with his wife, Anne Ryan, in Evanston.
 
BRIAN P. KAVANAUGH
 
Brian is a parent of a current Beacon student and a partner in the law firm Sidley Austin LLP. He represents clients in a wide range of complex litigation matters in arbitration and in state and federal courts, focusing primarily on disputes arising in the healthcare, insurance, and cybersecurity industries. Brian received his B.A. in History from Northwestern University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. He lives with his wife, Julie, two children, and a golden retriever in Northfield.
 
DAVID RHIND

David Rhind is a lawyer and parent of a recent Beacon graduate. For twelve years David was General Counsel, North America, for Hudson Global, Inc., a global, publicly-traded professional staffing and recruitment firm. Before Hudson, David served for eight years as Associate General Counsel at Technology Solutions Company, a technology consulting company. David spent the first five years of his career practicing corporate and securities law at Gardner, Carton & Douglas in Chicago. David is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kewaunee Scientific Corporation, a publicly-traded global manufacturer of laboratory casework, furniture, and equipment, and serves as chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. For thirteen years David served as a trustee of Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he was chair of the Nominating Committee. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Lawyers Club. David received his J.D. degree from Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana and his B.A. degree in English from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

SUSAN SATTELL

Susan Sattell is entering her sixth year on Beacon Academy’s Board of Trustees. During her tenure, Susan led the school through a strategic planning process that resulted in the school’s first strategic plan. She also served a term as Secretary. Susan has a Ph.D. in Communication/Rhetoric from Northwestern University with a specialty in risk and environmental communication, and worked for many years in public relations, where she managed global accounts. Susan also has an M.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Journalism, and is bilingual English/Spanish. Susan lives in Chicago with her husband Chip Hunter and their daughter, Emily Hunter, who is a currently a junior at Beacon. Their son, Grayson Hunter, is a Beacon Academy alum and is currently a junior at Northeastern University in Boston.
 
JEANNETTE SCHAR

Jeannette is a proud parent of three Montessori-educated children, one a 2021 Beacon graduate. In her early career upon graduation from law school, Jeannette was a development officer working on capital campaigns, major gifts, and corporate and foundation relations for some of Chicago’s leading cultural and educational institutions. She has also served as Chair of the Local School Council of a selective enrollment elementary school in Chicago. She has been an active parent volunteer in her children’s school communities in Chicago.Thanks to Zoom, Jeannette is able to continue her dedicated work for Beacon from the San Francisco Bay Area, continuing to advance our mission to reimagine high school.