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.

 

BRIAN KING, 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.

 

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.

 

ISAAC AKERS

 

Isaac is a recent Beacon Academy Alum of the class of ‘21, currently studying voice at Berklee College of Music with a double major in Vocal Performance and Music Business. During his time at Beacon, Isaac was a student ambassador, acting as the student panelist for two years, and was a member of the head of school search committee. He was an active participant in programs such as Model United Nations, Interact and Serve, the Beacon musical, cross country, and track and field.

 

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.

 

JENNIFER HODGES

 

Jennifer is the Vice President of the Whole Child Initiative with KIPP Chicago, directing the school’s growth and development as an anti-racist organization.  Prior to KIPP, she served as Director of Corporate Development at United Way of Metro Chicago, where she also co-founded and co-chaired United Way’s internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies.  Her many professional accomplishments include:  being named one of Crain’s Chicago 2021 Leading Black Executive; 2021 3Arts Make A Wave artist; and named a 2020 Game Changer by Ariel Investments and WVON.  Jennifer is a proud IMPACT alumnus through the Urban League and The University of Chicago.  Her extensive volunteer work includes serving as a member of the Local School Council of Phillip Murray Language Academy, Big Shoulders Fund, Calm Classroom, and Black Creativity Council.  From a young age, art has been a vital part of her life, and today she continues selling her own original art and textile designs.  Jennifer also teaches youth art classes at the Bridgeport Art Center.  She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, majoring in finance and real estate, and she earned her MBA from Loyola University Chicago as part of the inaugural cohort of the Baumhart MBA Program. 

 

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.

 

INBAR KIRSON

 

Inbar Kirson is the proud parent of twins who recently graduated Beacon Academy, and a rising junior. She earned her medical degree at Rush University Medical Center and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Inbar pursued a second board certification in Obesity Medicine and currently manages two practices, Physicians for Weight Loss and Illinois Bone and Joint OrthoHealth Weight Management program.  She combines her 20 plus years of clinical experience with her passion for improving metabolic wellness to help every patient achieve their optimal health. Inbar has a passion for teaching and has lectured and taught locally, regionally, and nationally on Obesity Medicine for both lay audiences and health care professionals. She extends this passion to Beacon by offering her expertise yearly to teach nutrition to the first-year wellness class. She was also responsible for initiating Beacon’s Covid testing program and while serving on the Beacon Medical Task Force she helped to establish protocols and guidance allowing Beacon to safely resume in- person learning. Inbar loves living in Evanston with her family.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.  

 

COMMITTEES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

The following are the working committees of the Board of Trustees.  

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Comprised of the Board’s Officers, the Committee represents our leadership overseeing the Board’s operations and policies.  They are the primary point of contact for the Head of School and other senior administrators.

Brian King, President
Devin Parsons, Vice President
Shubha Chakravarthy, Treasurer
Liz Al-Dajani, Secretary

 

FINANCE
Shubha Chakravarthy and Bob Goldman, Co-Chairs
Members of the Finance Committee oversee the school's budget, working closely with the Head of School and Business Manager to responsibly manage the school's day-to-day and annual finances. The Committee is responsible for proposing each annual budget to the full Board for vote, including establishing our annual tuition rate.
Committee Members:
Brian King, Board President

 

INVESTMENT
Shubha Chakravarthy, Chair
The Committee works closely with our investment management firm, Alliance Bernstein, to manage and invest responsibly our Sustainability Fund with the goal of preserving and maximizing the financial health of our school.
Committee Members:
Bob Goldman
Brian King, Board President

 

COMMUNICATIONS
Jeannette Schar, Chair
Members of this committee are responsible for messages from the Board and its committees to our community and beyond.

 

TRUSTEES
Liz Al-Dajani and Jeannette Schar, Co-Chairs
The Trustees’ Committee is charged with ensuring Board meetings are scheduled and posted and maintaining the Board’s records of meeting minutes, policies, and trustee tenures. Committee Co-Chairs are responsible for working with our community to identify and recruit new trustees.  

HEAD OF SCHOOL SEARCH 
Liz Al-Dajani and Shubha Chakravarthy, Co-Chairs
Leading the search of our next Head of School, the Committee is comprised of Trustees, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni student representatives.  Beginning in September 2022, the Committee will work closely with our search firm, Diversified Search Group, to carefully and methodically interview prospective candidates for the position as well as introduce them to the community at-large.  Upon completing the interview process, the Committee will recommend one candidate to be hired by the Board.  
Committee Members:
Isaac Akers, Alumni Student Representative
Christian Brown, Administrative Representative
Sara Folger, Faculty Representative
Jennifer Hodges, Trustee
Brian Kavanagh, Trustee/Parent
Brian King, Board President ex-officio
Inbar Kirsons, Trustee/Parent
Robyn McCloud-Springer, Montessori Educator/Alumni Parent
Jennifer Pack McDill, Parent 
Gretchen Wooldridge, Parent