CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL
CHARTER SCHOOL

ABOUT US

Board of Directors

LAURA THONN, President

is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in their business assurance practice. She is a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. She earned her B.S. from Boston College and also has a master's degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago. Ms. Thonn has previously served on the board of directors for Onward Neighborhood House, as a social worker for high school students, and as a program assistant for Voices for Illinois Children, the leading advocacy organization serving children and families in Illinois. 

CRAIG W. HENDERSON*, Treasurer

has specialized in the municipal bond markets throughout his 32-year professional investment career. Mr. Henderson is founder of C.W. Henderson & Associates, Inc., an investment-counseling firm that specializes in tax-exempt municipal securities and manages assets totaling approximately $2 billion. Prior to starting the firm in 1991, Mr. Henderson spent 15 years at the First Boston Corporation (now Credit Suisse First Boston), where he managed the Chicago municipal securities division for seven years. During his tenure with First Boston, he was chosen by management to be one of five registered principals in the Chicago office of 175 employees.

He is a founding member and has served as president of the board of directors of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Foundation. He has served as president of the Municipal Bond Club of Chicago and as an arbitrator for both the N.A.S.D. and the M.S.R.B. Mr. Henderson received his B.S. in accounting from Western Michigan University and passed the CPA Exam in 1975. 

ARTHUR J RELIFORD, JR., Secretary

is an equity partner at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. A general litigator, Art has successfully represented as lead and co-counsel a variety of professionals, businesses, major corporations and municipalities in state and federal courts across the country. He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, product liability law, and complex civil litigation. He has tried as lead and co-trial counsel a variety of jury and bench trials to verdict and participated in arbitrations and mediations. Art is co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and a member of the firm’s Associates Committee. Art has been selected multiple times for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition in general litigation.

Art is a sponsor in LINK Unlimited. He is a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, the Professional Liability Defense Federation and the American Bar Association. A Chicago native, Art attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School. He received his B.A. from Hamilton College in 1996 and his law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He and his family reside in Chicago’s Hyde Park area.

DAVID J. CHIZEWER*

is a Partner in Goldberg Kohn, Ltd. Litigation Group and is the chair of the firm's Education Industry Practice. He was recently featured in the National Law Journal's list of 10 of the nation's top litigators. In 2007, he was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation. He was runner-up for that same award in 2006.

Mr. Chizewer served as co lead trial counsel in two of the country's most prominent public interest cases to be tried in the past several years. In United States of America ex. rel. Cleveland A. Tyson, et al. v. Amerigroup Corporation, et al., he obtained for the government and his client the largest verdict in the history of the federal false claims act; in Memisovski, et al. v. Patla, he obtained a declaratory judgment against the State of Illinois, resulting in hundreds of millions of additional dollars worth of health care to Illinois children. Mr. Chizewer has more than 15 years of experience litigating complex commercial cases in courts throughout the country. He has been an expert witness, frequent speaker, and author on a variety of litigation topics.

In his civic work, Mr. Chizewer is a recognized expert on charter schools, having co-founded two charter school organizations: Chicago International Charter School and Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS). He was a member of the Education Policy Group for the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. In May 2005, he argued a seminal charter school case before the Illinois Supreme Court. Mr. Chizewer has been a frequent speaker on education reform topics.

Mr. Chizewer received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1991 and his B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Pomona College in 1988. Mr. Chizewer is the president of the board of the Chicago International Charter School.

VIOLET M. CLARK

is a Partner at Laner, Munchin, Dombrow, Becker, Levin and Tominberg where she specializes in labor and employment law. Ms. Clark has been name one of the leading Lawyers in Illinois and was selected as one of Illinois' "Super Lawyers" in labor and employment law.

Prior to joining Laner, Ms. Clark served as a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and as a Trial Attorney with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Clark currently serves as a Hearing Officer for the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and the Cook County Human Rights Commission. Ms. Clark is a member of the Black Women Lawyers Association and the Cook County Bar Association. She serves as the Vice President of the United States Tennis Association/Midwest Section. Additionally, Ms. Clark is a founding member of Friends of CICS Tennis, whose mission is to broaden tennis opportunities for CICS students. Ms. Clark received her law degree from Cornell University Law School and her B.A. from Brown University in 1979.

CATHERINE H. GOTTFRED Ph.D.*

received her doctoral degree in speech pathology from Northwestern University in 1979, and founded Leap Learning Systems in 1988. She has teaching and clinical experience, and has held numerous positions in the field's state and national associations. A few of note include: 2008 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, President of the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Legislative Counselor to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Council on Professional Ethics and Ethical Practices Board, and she has served as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Vice President of Governmental and Social Policies.

Dr. Gottfred is extremely active in professional and community affairs. As President and Founder of Leap Learning Systems, a non-profit organization dedicated to language and literacy development, she oversees the development and delivery of training programs and curricula to educators who work with Chicago’s underserved youth.

TOM HAYDEN

joined the Medill School of Journalism as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications, in November of 2006. Prior to this he spent 12 years as president of the Chicago division of Bozell Worldwide, a global marketing and communications firm. During that time he also served on Bozell’s board of directors.

Mr. Hayden has been a member of the board of the Oakmark mutual funds since 1995, currently serving on the Executive, Governance and Performance committees.

Mr. Hayden also serves as the executive director of the Chicago chapter of StandUp For Kids, a national organization that provides outreach and support services for homeless youth and teens. He previously served on the boards of Junior Achievement, the Juvenile Protective Association and Illinois Swimming, Inc.

Mr. Hayden received his BA and JD degrees from Saint Louis University.

GERALD L. JENKINS

is a principal at Goldberg Kohn, Ltd. where he specializes in tax planning and corporate creation. Since receiving his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1975, Mr. Jenkins has become an accomplished attorney, author, and lecturer. He is an adjunct professor in the Center for Information Technology and Privacy Law at the John Marshall Law School. Prior to joining Goldberg, Kohn, he was a partner with McDermott, Will & Emory.

He has served both as president and as a board member of Highland Park School District #108. He is a board member of The Mundanus Foundation and the Green Street Project, and is a member of the Information Technology Committee for the Illinois Coalition. Mr. Jenkins is past president of the board of Chicago International. He received his B.A. from Eastern Illinois University and his law degree from Harvard University.

ALBERTA JOHNSON

serves as the City of Chicago's Associate Compliance Officer for the Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity Division of the Department of Human Resources.  Ms. Johnson has worked in the civil rights field for 15 years focusing on equal opportunity issues for minorities and women in the areas of employment, housing and public/reasonable accommodations.   

Ms. Johnson's background includes Director of Neighborhood Housing for the Department of Housing and Testing and Outreach Coordinator for two fair housing organizations. Through leadership roles, she has been materially involved in strategic and tactical decisions including policy development, process improvement and compliance initiatives.  

Ms. Johnson joined the City of Chicago in 2004 but has worked in 4 different city government departments.  Since that time she has worked to implement policies and programs that would provide equal opportunities in the areas of access to public services, affordable homes, job opportunities and entrepreneurship. In her current role, she manages equal employment monitoring, compliance and policy development, as well as creates training on employment rights and responsibilities. Ms. Johnson has over 15 years of experience in marketing, education and training.

Prior to a career in equal opportunity compliance and education, Ms. Johnson spent 5 years in the legal field and holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and criminal justice. She has merged the disciplines of sociology, compliance, marketing, education and training into her method of designing and implementing successful programs and effecting organizational change.
 
Ms. Johnson received her M.B.A. from Roosevelt University and her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Ms. Johnson is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology.

THOMAS J. NIEMAN

is the owner and president of Nieman Inc., a privately held company that specializes in developing curriculum materials for educational publishers. His company specializes in writing and designing curriculum in reading, language arts, literature, ESL, and social studies for students in grades K-12. A graduate of Northwestern University, he is a former elementary teacher and was for 18 years a marketing director and the vice-president of Reading, Language Arts, and Literature at Scott Foresman and Company.

Tom also has co-authored a number of textbook series, such as the Daybooks of Reading and Writing, The Reading and Writing Sourcebooks, The Reader's Handbooks, and Academic Workout. In addition, he has created ACCESS, a middle school series for English language learners, as well as, among others the American Documents series and World Histories series for National Geographic. Mr. Nieman is currently the secretary of the board for Chicago International Charter School.

*denotes founding Board Member

Board Meeting Schedule

CICS Board Meetings are open to the public. 

Location

CICS Network Office

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 600

Chicago, IL 60603

Time

3:30pm – 5:00pm

Dates

August 12, 2014

September 9, 2014

October 14, 2014

November 18, 2014

January 13, 2014

March 10, 2014

May 12, 2014

More information can be found on the CICS Calendar. 

CRCSO Board Meetings

CRCSO Board Meetings are open to the public. 

Location

CICS Jackson

315 Summit Street

Rockford, IL 61107

Time

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Dates

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, February 12, 2014

Thursday, June 11, 2014