Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the school. It establishes policies for the school, oversees finances, and provides continuity and direction. Board members are elected by the current Board for three-year terms and are recruited and trained by the Committee on Trustees. Each member of the Board must endorse the Montessori philosophy of learning, language immersion education, and the purpose and values described in Intercultural Montessori Language School’s current strategic plan. The Board’s primary role is to focus on fiscal and strategic planning, policy, hiring and evaluating the Executive Director, and institutional and organizational stability and sustainability.
Among the Board as a whole, the Committee on Trustees looks for members with experience that supports initiatives on the strategic plan, in addition to in education administration or Montessori education, bilingual experience, strategy/strategic planning, business management, financial/accounting, marketing, fundraising, law/policy, human resources, communications, and site management or real estate development.
The Board currently has the following members:
(presented in alphabetical order by last name)
Ms. Beach is a Vice President of Human Resources for AST Corporation an Oracle consulting partner firm headquartered in Naperville, IL where she focuses on employee workplace strategic initiatives. Ms. Beach is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago where she received both her Master of Science degree in Human Resources and her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance. She has volunteered and organized large charity events for not-for-profit schools. She has lived abroad, traveled locally and internationally for business and has presented at various large Oracle user group conferences throughout the U.S.
Mr. Ditto came to Chicago via the Urban Teachers Corps and DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education after serving in various capacities with the United States Peace Corps in Kenya, East Africa and Uganda, East Africa. He has served for the last eight years as the principal of Andrew Jackson Language Academy. Most recently he serves in the role of CEO Administrator for School Transformation for Chicago Public Schools. He believes that elementary education is the process by which students discover, develop and share their gifts and talents.
Ms. Kovalan is Senior Director of US Safety at McDonald’s Corporation. Previously she served as Chief Safety & Security Officer at the Chicago Transit Authority and as Chicago’s Chief Compliance Officer. Ms. Kovalan has also held leadership positions at DePaul University in compliance and at Northwestern University in operations and finance. Ms. Kovalan holds a BA in Government from the University of Notre Dame, a J.D. from John Marshall Law School, and an Executive MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
Ms. Langley is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in working with children, adolescents and their families. She is currently the Director of Developmental Disabilities and Special Needs services at a group practice in Oak Brook, IL and maintains a private practice in Chicago. She has extensive experience working in school settings, including therapeutic day schools, and frequently consults with teachers and other school personnel to address the needs of students. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mr. Liang, Ph.D., is a partner at Baird Capital, focusing on venture capital investments in healthcare. He has been a venture capitalist for the past 12 years and before that was a Director of R&D at a spinal orthopedics company. He is currently a member of the board of directors of a number of different medical companies and also serves on the Rush University Medical Center Associates Board, the Chicago MATTERS board, and advisory boards at Northwestern University, University of Illinois-Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a B.S. from the University of California Berkeley, a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Stanford University, and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.
Ms. McGivern is the CEO, Executive Director and President of Intercultural Montessori Language School, and a 25-year educator. As a Montessori-trained educator, she has trained teachers and served as academic program coordinator in several schools. She was a co-founder of River House Montessori School in London. Ms. McGivern holds a BA Honors Degree in Social Anthropology and Social Studies from Queens University, Belfast, N. Ireland, a Master of Science in Education from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Ph.D. in Organization Development from Benedictine University.
Mr. Mickus is a partner in the Law Firm Neal Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP where he focuses on complex commercial litigation and other forms of dispute resolution, as well as advertising law. Mr. Mickus is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School (J.D. 1999) and Benedictine University (B.A. 1996). Mr. Mickus has an active pro bono practice which includes the representation of One Heartland, Inc., a non-profit organization serving families and individuals living with HIV/AIDS and other life challenges. Mr. Mickus is an Adjunct Faculty Member at The John Marshall Law School.
Mr. Ruiz is an education professional with over 10 years’ experience in teaching and academic leadership. His work portfolio includes: teaching at Le Cordon Bleu-Chicago, The University of Notre Dame, and Northwestern University. He has successfully managed several non-profit organizations. Mr. Ruiz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in American Studies and an MBA in marketing from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management.
Mr. Schroeder is a Managing Director and Partner with The PFM Group. Public Financial Management (PFM) advises government entities including school districts on financial and investment matters. Previously, he was also an Educational Services Manager with the Foundation for Educational Services. Mr. Schroeder holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Valparaiso University and a Masters in Business from Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Schwallie is a Regional Director for Humana in the Strategic Development group. He previously worked as a Vice President within the Duff & Phelps Investment Banking unit and with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Business Advisory Services group. Additionally, he served on the Board of the Association for Corporate Growth in Houston. Mr. Schwallie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Mr. Shaw is originally from Panama City, Panama. He is a member of the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools’ (AIMS) Board of Directors and also serves as Treasurer. He earned a B.S. in Economics and an M.B.A. in Management from Northern Illinois University, and has more than 15 years of operations management experience. He has been Intercultural Montessori’s Oak Park Campus Director since 2011.
Mr. Torres is a Senior Counsel in the labor & employment group at Seyfarth
Shaw LLP, and an adjunct professor in Northwestern University’s trial
advocacy program. He graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with
degrees in Public Management (B.S. 1999) and Law (J.D. 2002). He happily
dedicates time to providing pro bono legal services to immigrants through
the National Immigration Justice Center and to serving on the board of
directors for various community organizations.