The Intercultural Montessori Language School Board of Trustees 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 Head of School, 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. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to serve.
The Board currently has the following members:
(listed in alphabetical order by last name)
Mr. Alexis Aguilú
Mr. Aguilú has served for over 13 years in different roles at Start Early (formerly 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.
Ms. Imanni Wilkes Burg
Imanni Wilkes Burg is the Social Impact Manager at Wash Cycle Laundry, a social enterprise that creates upwardly mobile careers for formerly incarcerated people, formerly homeless people, and those lifting themselves out of poverty. Imanni has 15 years of experience in fundraising, community organizing, and project management both in the US and in Moscow, Russia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in the history of science from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in public health from Drexel University. Imanni‘s two children attend the Oak Park campus of Intercultural.
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. Julie Einstein
Ms. Einstein has served as Director of Admission at Rogers Park Montessori School (located on the north side of Chicago) since 2005. As a former Montessori parent herself, Julie finds great joy in introducing prospective parents to the wonders of Montessori education as well as cultivating relationships with new families each year. She served on the RPMS Board as Chair of the Parent-Teacher Association prior to moving into her administrative role.
Julie is a board member for the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools (AIMS). Outside of school she practices and teaches contemplative photography which invites her to slow down and connect to the present moment in a more meaningful way.
Ms. Cheryl LaCost
Ms. LaCost served as Head of School for Brickton Montessori School from 2012-2020. In that capacity, she ensured the quality of Montessori programs and day-to-day school operations, working strategically with the Board of Directors. Prior to serving in that 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. 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 Intercultural student.
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 Manager Director with Deloitte 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.