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. 


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


is a strong advocate for diversity and recognizes the need for inclusion and equality.

Her tremendous management and leadership experience has provided her with the acumen to serve as a valuable board member and asset in the areas of governance, public relations, strategic partnerships and philanthropic support.

Johnson serves as a consultant to senior executives in the corporate and private sectors in the areas of policy development, diversity & inclusion, compliance, branding and strategic planning.  She most recently served as National Diversity Manager for Schiff Hardin LLP after serving in local city government for 10 years with four city departments.  

The highlights of Johnson’s career include, serving  Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance Officer for the Office of Compliance where she managed the Diversity and EEO Plan for the City of Chicago and served as an advisor in creation of the first on-line certification system for the Minority and Women Owned Business Program, as Director of Neighborhood Housing for the Department of Housing, overseeing the City’s affordable housing programs and in the Adjudication Division for the Commission on Human Relations with the Mayor’s Advisory Councils focusing on fair housing, equal employment opportunity and public accommodation equality.

Ms. Johnson has served in various capacities over the past 20 years in the areas of civil rights, equality, outreach, education and compliance.  Johnson started her career working with a number of law firms, which sparked her passion to pursue public service and equality of services for underserved populations. After leaving the legal field, she served in the non-profit sector managing testing, outreach and education for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights under Law.  Through leadership roles, she has been materially involved in strategic and tactical decisions including policy development, process improvement and compliance initiatives.  
Alberta Johnson served as EEO Compliance Officer and Secretary for the Executive Diversity Committee for the City of Chicago. Johnson also has provided numerous volunteer hours to various causes including serving on the board of directors for Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS), Pass with Flying Colors, National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), Children’s Hospital University of Illinois (CHUI) and Illinois Diversity Council (ILDC).

She has also served as a mentor for Illinois Institute of Technology’s Academy for Future Leaders in Science and Technology, National Urban Fellows and Junior Achievement.  She has been an advisor and volunteer in career coaching for Global Diversity Solutions Group.

Johnson was recently recognized for her dedication to diversity and education by Diversity MBA Magazine as one of the Top 100 under 50 Diverse and Emerging Leaders in 2014.

Ms. Johnson earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology, her Master’s in Business Administration from Roosevelt University and her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 


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.


Daniel Anello is the CEO of New Schools for Chicago. He previously served as the Chief of Strategy and External Relations for Chicago International Charter School. There, he was responsible for holistic marketing strategy, long-term strategic planning, and identifying organizational growth opportunities for the CICS network. In 2014, Anello played an important role in securing equitable funding for charter school students citywide, working side-by-side with the CPS budget office on the implementation of student-based funding that remained agnostic to school-type. Anello came to CICS through the Broad Residency, a prestigious professional development program in which candidates are trained and placed in the educational field. Prior to joining CICS and The Broad Residency, Daniel was an associate brand manager for Unilever and an associate director of marketing for a medical start-up company.

Daniel received a B.A. in mathematics from Williams College and a M.B.A. from University of Chicago Booth. Currently, Daniel is a member of the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars, an initiative that draws upon the resources of the U.S. presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. These presidential centers have partnered to bring together a select group of leaders who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country.

*denotes founding Board Member

CICS Rockford Charter School Organization


MIKE BOWER, President



Board Meeting Schedule

CICS Board Meetings are open to the public. 


CICS Network Office

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 600

Chicago, IL 60603


3:30pm – 5:00pm


August 18, 2015

September 15, 2015

December 2, 2015

February 16, 2016

March 15, 2016 (CANCELLED)

May 17, 2016

More information can be found on the CICS Calendar

CRCSO Board Meetings

CRCSO Board Meetings are open to the public. 


CICS Jackson

315 Summit Street

Rockford, IL 61107




June 11, 2015

August 19, 2015

October 28, 2015

February 24, 2016

March 14, 2016 (12:00pm-1:00pm)

June 8, 2016

Approved Minutes

October 2014

February 2015

June 2015

August 2015

October 2015

February 2016