Office of the CEO

Elizabeth D. Purvis, Ed.D. - Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Beth Purvis came to Chicago International Charter School in March 2003 with more than 15 years' experience working with children with disabilities and their families. After completing her doctoral degree in 1997, Dr. Purvis was a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago where her work focused on research and personnel preparation in urban education.

Under the leadership of Dr. Purvis, CICS has added nine campuses and more than 5,000 students.  In addition, the organization successfully designed and implemented a performance evaluation system that resulted in significantly improved student outcomes and continued financial efficiency.  As of the 2011-2012 school year, the average student at a CICS elementary school open for three or more years are performing at or above the level of their more privileged peers.  CICS high school campuses are among the top performing in the city in terms of student gains, graduation rate, and college placement.

Dr. Purvis currently serves on the boards of the Illinois Network of Charter School and the Illinois State Advisory Council to the Illinois State Board of Education.  Previously she served on Charter Review and Evaluation committees for Chicago Public Schools; was President of the Illinois Division of Early Childhood, 2003-2004; and was an Executive Board Member of the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Purvis has served on the editorial review board of two peer-reviewed professional journals, has published and presented numerous papers, and been awarded various grants in her field.  

Dr. Purvis earned her B.S. in educational research from Bucknell University, her M.A. in special education from Teachers College at Columbia University, and her EdD in special education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.  She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Dr. Purvis can be reached here.


Mike Bower - Chief of Staff

Mike joins CICS through the Broad Residency Program and manages advocacy, internal strategy and cultural initiatives as the Chief of Staff for CICS. He was previously the Director of Strategic Projects at Sears in the fitness and sporting goods business. Before this position, he was a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. Mike received his Masters in Business Administration degree from MIT's Sloan School of Management.

Mike can be reached here.

Marisol Duerr - Office Manager

Marisol can be reached here.

Facilities and Finance

Kathleen Clarke - Chief of Network Operations

Kathleen joined the CICS team in October 2013 and brings over ten years of experience in the education sector to CICS, most recently from Namaste Charter School and Chicago Public Schools (CPS). As Director of Operations at Namaste, she oversaw financial, human resources, legal, information technology, office management, and facility operations. She was instrumental in the school’s expansion from serving 90 children to over 465 students in grades K – 8 by continuously developing and implementing strategic plans for growth in collaboration with its Board of Directors. During her eight years there, Kathleen directed a $7.5M facility improvement project, managed the annual budget process, and monitored Namaste’s financial status.

Kathleen’s work at CPS as Charter Schools Office Accountability Coordinator provides another perspective to inform her work with CICS. In that role, she supported the programs and operations of charter schools and managed all aspects of the charter school application and renewal process for the district. Most notably, she analyzed each charter school’s quarterly cash flow and financials to assess each school’s financial position.

Kathleen graduated from Grinnell College and earned her Masters of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, where she was a Levin Fellowship recipient.  She also served as a director and member of the finance committee of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS).

Kathleen is responsible for finance and facilities management across the CICS network. She leads the accounting and facilities teams, contract negotiations, budget planning, and financial oversight that support the smooth operations of CICS and its network of 16 campuses across Chicago and in Rockford, Illinois.

Kathleen can be reached here.

Mark Nagode - Director of Facilities

Mark can be reached here.

Development & External Relations

Anne M Kostyo - Development Manager

Anne joined CICS in 2013, with over five years of experience in non-profit marketing, communications, event management, and fundraising.  She previously worked as the Events and Communications Coordinator for Head Start’s National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement in conjunction with Children’s Hospital Boston. Her work included everything from creating a visual identity system to managing the design and implementation of online tools used by more than 1,600 programs nationwide.  In her work with the Alzheimer’s Association, Anne focused on membership programming, streamlining the submission process for conference presenters.  She also concentrated on increasing the brand recognition and strength of the organization's International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART). Anne received her Bachelor of the Arts degree from Indiana University, and her Master’s degree in Arts Administration with a focus on Fundraising Management from Boston University.

Anne can be reached here.

Meghan Schmidt - Director of Community & Family Engagement

Meghan Schmidt joined CICS in 2004. Ms. Schmidt has more than 10 years of experience as an educator in both public and private school settings. Most recently, her responsibilities were focused on middle-school curriculum and assessment. Ms. Schmidt works with the Education Management Organizations (EMO) and CICS campus personnel to coordinate special school programs and monitor needs as they relate to student performance. Currently, she facilitates community and family engagement at all 16 of Chicago International's campuses, coordinates more than 150 after-school and community-based programs across the network and facilitates the CICS Advisory Board. Ms. Schmidt is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Meghan can be reached here.

Strategy & Accountability

Natalie Neris - Deputy Chief of Academic Accountability

Natalie joined CICS after working within CPS for over ten years. Most recently, she served in the role of Instructional Support Leader in the Fulton Network and then as the Assistant Principal in the Burnham Park Network. Natalie is responsible for monitoring the organization and delivery of all curricular and instructional programs and services in order to ensure that they are based on best practices and aligned with district and state standards and assessments.

Natalie can be reached here.

Opportunities at CICS

If you are interested in roles at the campuses (teaching/leadership/staff) or at the School Management level, please visit our careers page for more information. 


If you are interested in a position with CICS's central office only, please email your resume to