Christopher House employees are dedicated, highly qualified individuals who reflect the diverse communities we serve. Are you interested in joining our team? Check out our current job opportunities.
Click below or scroll down to view the profiles of our staff leadership team:
Lori Ann Baas, Chief Executive Officer
Craig Maki, Chief Operating Officer
Jill Antoniewicz, Director of External Affairs
Julie Dakers, Director of Early Childhood Development Services
Janet Heiman, Founding Principal, Christopher House Elementary School
Gloria Kuechenberg, Director of Family Support Services
Traci Stanley, Director of Quality Assurance
Lori Ann Baas, Chief Executive Officer
Lori Ann Baas is responsible for all of Christopher House's programs and services, including overseeing the agency’s five locations on Chicago's north and west sides. Since assuming the organization's top leadership position in 2002, Ms. Baas has guided Christopher House through an intensive strategic planning process. By implementing a new agency-wide program evaluation process and redefining the organization’s vision and purpose, Baas is raising the bar throughout the organization and building its overall capacity to serve more low-income families and children in Chicago. Under her guidance, the agency developed and implemented outcome measurements for each of its programs and started a collaborative evaluation benchmarking project with other Chicago human service agencies that will benchmark service delivery results in order to better serve the city's low-income children and families.
She is currently spearheading the agency’s expansion to Belmont Cragin, a low-income, high-need community on the city’s Northwest Side, which includes a new Family Resource Center as well as a K-8 charter school. This new center will offer Christopher House’s high-quality early childhood education, after-school programming, and extensive support services to over 500 families annually. Ms. Baas is also managing the planning process for the agency’s first charter school, approved by the Chicago Board of Education in December 2011. The school will open in fall 2013 and will expand Christopher House’s mission by providing children six weeks old through eighth grade with a continuum of high-quality educational services, intensive parent education, and social/emotional support for students and families.
Prior to her work at Christopher House, Ms. Baas served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Finance Director for Representative Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) for almost 10 years. In these roles, Ms. Baas helped Gutierrez become the first Latino to be elected to Congress from the Midwest. Prior to working with Congressman Gutierrez, Ms. Baas founded her own fundraising consulting firm that served several public officials as clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Kellogg Management Institute. She is the co-chair of Illinois Partners for Human Service and serves on the Illinois Learning Council.
Craig Maki, Ed.D, Chief Operating Officer
Craig Maki oversees all of the back office infrastructure that enables Christopher House to meet the needs of the children and families we serve; his responsibilities include Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Contract Compliance / Eligibility, and Facilities.
Prior to his work at Christopher House, Dr. Maki served as the Director of Educational Services for the Maryville Jen School. He designed and started the Non-Public Special Education School in the fall of 2007. The Jen School serves students who could otherwise not be provided for within the public or private school landscape due to severe and profound emotional, behavioral and cognitive disabilities. Under his leadership, the Jen School faculty developed academic, social-emotional and vocational programs which were highly recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education and became a national model for the integration of Trauma Informed Care within the school environment.
Dr. Maki currently serves as the President of the Board for the Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Schools. Through this organization, his work is focused on making the State of Illinois and its teachers national leaders in the 21st Century Skills teaching movement. He received his Doctorate in Education from National-Louis University, Master's in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his undergraduate degree from Hope College.
JILL ANTONIEWICZ, DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
As Director of External Affairs, Jill leads Christopher House’s development and communications efforts to engage private support for our mission and to further our impact. Jill rejoined Christopher House’s leadership in the fall of 2013. Previously, Jill was the director of development for Christopher House from 2002 to 2005. Between her tenures with Christopher House, Jill was the Director of Public Affairs for U.S. Cellular, where she led the company’s corporate responsibility efforts including charitable giving, volunteerism and executive nonprofit board placement.
Jill is the Chair of Pulaski International School of Chicago’s Local School Council and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Jill is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio).
JULIE DAKERS, DIRECTOR OF EARLY CHILDHOOD & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
Julie Dakers is responsible for ensuring high-quality early childhood education that has a measurable impact on children’s preparedness for kindergarten. Under her leadership, Christopher House’s Early Childhood Development Services recently expanded to serve an additional 68 early childhood participants ages six weeks to two-years-old, filling a critical gap in services in high need communities. She joined Christopher House in 2004.Prior to her current position, Ms. Dakers oversaw Christopher House’s Youth Development Program, implementing a college and career preparation program and leading the School Age department in the initiative to receive accreditation from the National After School Association.
She has strong knowledge of best practice programming in early childhood education and youth development .Ms. Dakers sits on the board of directors of the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club and is the Vice President of the Illinois AfterSchool Network. In addition, she is a MOST (Making the Most of Out of School Time) Trainer and has been a facilitator at several conferences, including the Illinois School Age Conference and the Chicago Metro AEYC (Association for the Education of Young Children) conference.
JANET HEIMAN, FOUNDING PRINCIPAL, CHRISTOPHER HOUSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Janet Heiman joined the Christopher House team in 2012 to serve as the first Principal of Christopher House Elementary School. Janet will draw on her past successes as a principal and educator to extend our culture of high performance to our unique birth through eighth grade elementary school—the first of its kind in the nation.
Janet comes to us after an extraordinarily successful tenure as Principal at Chicago International Charter School (CICS) - Irving Park. Under her leadership, within five years of opening its doors, CICS Irving Park became the top performing charter school in Chicago. In 2011, 92.5% of the school’s students met or exceeded state ISAT standards in math, reading, and science. Janet’s commitment to using data-driven methods, her experience with preschool, and her expertise in helping students from diverse backgrounds thrive are great assets to Christopher House as we continue to prepare for the opening of our school.
GLORIA KUECHENBERG, DIRECTOR OF FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
Gloria Kuechenberg joined Christopher House in 2008 and oversees the agency’s social work services, food pantries, financial assistance program, clothing and housewares giveaway and literacy services. A native of Colombia, Ms. Kuechenberg is fluent in both Spanish and English. She has over 9 years experience working as a community organizer in Chicago’s low-income, Latino communities. In her most recent position as Executive Director of Northwest Neighborhood Federation, Ms. Kuechenberg revitalized a community center, expanding services to meet the needs of families and leveraging community partnerships to increase the agency’s capacity. She has also worked as a Spanish language consultant for hospitals and corporations. Ms. Kuechenberg brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and community resources to Christopher House’s efforts to stabilize families and help them reach self-sufficiency and success. Ms. Kuechenberg holds a Master’s degree in criminal law from the Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Traci Stanley, Director of Quality Assurance
Traci Stanley ensures that Christopher House continues to increase its capacity to have a positive impact on low-income children and their families. Traci currently oversees Christopher House’s evaluation efforts including implementation and maintenance of an agency-wide database system to track outcome information for all programs to help ensure participants receive the highest quality services. Traci is also leading a collaboration of six social service agencies engaged in a project to improve measured evaluation and program quality.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Stanley previously served as Associate Director and, earlier, Director of Youth Development Services at Christopher House. Through her leadership, tutoring and adult literacy programs expanded to other sites and new program initiatives were launched including mentoring, family literacy, an apprenticeship program, and a college and career preparation program for youth. She increased quality of services by developing evaluation tools and systems to measure and monitor service delivery and improvements in participant status. Ms. Stanley has been with Christopher House since 2000. She is a graduate of DePaul University.