The Intercultural Montessori Language School Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the school.
Our Board 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, 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 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:
(listed in alphabetical order by last name)
Mr. Alexis Aguilú
Mr. Aguilú has served for over 12 years in different roles at the Ounce of Prevention Fund. As Assistant Director of Operations, he oversees daily operations, budget monitoring and internal infrastructures for the Educare Learning Network division to ensure that processes, procedures and policies are developed to maintain efficient project management, data management and communication systems. He has the primary responsibility for the day-to-day management of the administrative staff activities for the division team and serves as the main liaison with Educare schools around the country. Alexis also oversees all network training and learning events logistics providing leadership and guidance to ensure high quality end-user experiences. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University.
Mr. Frank Bear
Mr. Bear is an in-house lawyer who represents the Walgreens pharmacy chain in all aspects of labor and employment law across the United States. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from DePaul University’s College of Law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Bear worked as an Investigator at the Federal Defender Program. He has volunteered at the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Center for Disability and Elder Law, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. Mr. Bear is married to Angeles, and has three sons, who all attended Spanish immersion Montessori schools. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Mr. Mathew Ditto
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.
Mr. Adam Drake
Mr. Drake is a Senior Manager with Salo, LLC where he helps organizations to be more efficient in their finance and accounting operations. He is a graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and of Loyola University Chicago where he earned both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. He is the father of two Intercultural students.
Ms. Rosi Hasan
Rosi Hasan is a Vice President, Head of Strategy and Process Improvements in the Corporate & Shared Services (CSS) Finance team for Northern Trust. She joined Northern Trust in February 2016. Prior to joining Northern Trust, she worked 8 years in public accounting. Rosi received a Bachelor in Accounting from INTEC in Dominican Republic and obtained her Master in Financial Management (double diploma) with the University of Montesquieu, Bourdeaux IV in France and the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Dominican Republic.
Rosi is a Board Member for The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network (The Network) and a Co-Chair (Founder) for Northern Trust’s Women in Leadership – Women of Color Alliance (WIL WOCA). She is an Intercultural parent with experience serving as a Co-Chair of the Parent Teacher Alliance.
Ms. Cheryl LaCost
Ms. LaCost has served as Head of School for Brickton Montessori School since July 2012. In that capacity, she ensures the quality of Montessori programs and day-to-day school operations, working strategically with the Board of Directors. Prior to serving in her current role, Cheryl was a Primary Directress for six years. She enjoys combining her love of the Montessori environment with her background in operational and financial management, to serve the Brickton community. Both of Cheryl’s daughters had the opportunity to attend Brickton Montessori from primary through 8th grade.
In her interest to support Montessori advocacy, Cheryl currently serves as the President of the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools. Cheryl holds AMS Montessori primary and administrator credentials. In addition, she holds an MBA from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a BS in Economics from Illinois State University. She has had a variety of work experiences, beginning in state government transitioning into the consulting world, focused on healthcare and government. After consulting, she moved into the healthcare industry, holding various management positions in operations and finance in hospital management.
Ms. Karen Lazar
Ms. Lazar recently moved to Chicago from Cleveland after retiring as Executive Director of an arts organization. Prior to her five-year tenure as Executive Director, Ms. Lazar was the Director of Development at Hudson Montessori School for 10 years. During that time, she was responsible for several capital campaigns, the Annual Fund campaign, grant writing and developing a comprehensive grandparent program. The latter provided opportunities for grandparents to volunteer in the classroom, both in-person and remotely. She and her husband are the proud grandparents of one current and one future Intercultural student.
Mr. Bret Ruiz
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. Jeffrey Schroeder
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.
Ms. Vesna Stelcer
Ms. Stelcer received her Honours BA international Relations from the University of Windsor and her MA International Studies with Distinction from DePaul University. Vesna is the Board Chair of the Ed Paschke Foundation and Director of the Ed Paschke Art Center. She is the past Executive Director of the MGR Foundation, a non-profit that focused on empowering youth through innovative health and well-being programs. Vesna is the co-founder of the Rabb Family Foundation, along with her soulmate, Lionel Rabb and their two daughters that both attend Intercultural Montessori Language School. The mission of the Rabb Family Foundation is to make our world a better place.
Mr. Ryan White
Mr. White is a Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting LLP, based in downtown Chicago, where he focuses on providing financial support for professional services engagements. Mr. White is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he obtained his B.A. in Economics and of Loyola University Chicago where he obtained his M.S. in Accountancy. He also holds a CPA license. He is the father of three Intercultural students – two of whom graduated from Oak Park’s Primary program and one of whom is a current student – and has been actively involved in school volunteer activities since 2012.