Dee Dee Chesley

Vice President

Adnan Assad, Senior Vice President, First Midwest Bank


David W. Rodin, Managing Director, Private Wealth Manager, Merill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorp


Stephen Raquet, Vice President, Institutional Equity Sales, RBC Capital Markets

Board Members

Rolando Acosta, Attorney at Law
Ronit Barrett, Partner, Eimer Stahl LLP
Stacey Blasko
Robert Buono
JoAnne Cicchelli
Roberto Interiano, CIBC Bank USA
Jeff Kemerley, Multi-Family Segment Lead, James Hardie
Kenneth Langston, Director, William Blair
Dan Lynch, Managing Director of Corporate and Government Affairs, United Airlines
Thomas O’Neill, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Exelon Corporation
Stu Reed
George Reimnitz, Senior Vice President, Lending, Wintrust Community Banks
Gregory Spitzer, Partner, Paul Hastings
Homero Tristan, Founding Partner, Tristan and Cervantes, Attorneys at Law
Kimberly White, Corporate Compliance Officer, Ingredion Incorporated
Elizabeth Whitehorn, First Assistant Deputy Governor, Office of the Governor – Illinois
Thomas Woodrow, Partner, Holland and Knight

FY20 Board of Director Meetings

FY19 Board of Director Meetings

Approved Minutes:

June 27, 2019
May 15, 2019
March 13, 2019
January 16, 2019
November 14, 2018
September 12, 2018
July 11, 2018
May 21, 2018
March 19, 2018 
January 22, 2018
November 14, 2017 – with absent
September 18, 2017 – with absent

Education Volunteers

Shari Berland, Education Consultant

Janet Heiman, Education Consultant

Suzanne Miller, Clinical and School Psychologist

Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Policy Director, Erikson Institute

Amy Rasmussen, Executive Director, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education

Daphne Sajous-Brady, Director of Student Services, Wolcott School

Jaclyn Vasquez, EDI Associate Director, Erikson Institute

Monica Williams, Education Consultant

Board Members

Rolando Acosta, Attorney at Law, Acosta Ezgar, LLC

Robert Buono, Owner, Henry Street Partners LLC

Gregory Spitzer, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP

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.


Lori Baas is responsible for all of Christopher House’s programs and services, including overseeing all the agency’s 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 the Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative project. Working with 7 Chicago human service agencies comparing data results; the Collaborative capitalizes on the strengths of seven education and human service agencies, making it possible to make data-based program improvements that deeply and tangibly improve client outcomes.

She oversees the agency’s first elementary school in Belmont Cragin, a low-income, high-need community on the city’s Northwest Side, which includes a new Family Resource Center, and will at full capacity serve children six weeks through eighth grade and their families. This center offers Christopher House’s unique model of  high-quality early childhood education, after-school programming, and extensive support services to children and their 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, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Child Care Advisory Council, and the Alford-Axelson Award Committee.



Kathy Steward joined Christopher House in 2016 to oversee all finance and accounting functions of the organization. Ms. Steward has over 15 years of experience in managing corporation and organization finances. In her most recent position as Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Para Los Ninos in Los Angeles, she was responsible for directing the organization’s financial planning and accounting practices as well as its relationship with lending institutions and the financial community by overseeing and directing treasury, budgeting, audit, tax, accounting, purchasing, real estate, long range forecasting, and insurance activities for the organization.

She has also volunteered and given council to numerous organizations including, the Los Angeles Chapter Tuskegee Airman, Inc., the National Council of Negro Women, San Fernando Valley Section, and LEARN Council, in addition to being a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Los Angeles County – bringing robust knowledge, and experience to Christopher House’s efforts to continue to grow and serve more families in the Chicago area.


Julie Dakers is responsible for overseeing four Christopher House facilities, including managing Human Resources four our growing staff of 220 employees, and IT across the organization. Julie has been with Christopher House is multiple capacities since joining the team in 2004. Under her leadership, as Director of Early Childhood Education and Youth Development, Christopher House’s Early Childhood Development Services 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.  Ms. Dakers was instrumental in earning Christopher House Four-Star Accreditation by the Illinois Quality Rating System and Excelerate Illinois – one of ten in the state to earn the award.   Additionally, overseeing the Christopher House’s Youth Development Program, Ms. Dakers implemented a college and career preparation program and led 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 on the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development Award of Excellence Advisory Panel. She is also 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.


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.


Krissy Novy has served schools in multiple Chicago neighborhoods over the past ten years as a teacher, literacy coach and Resident Principal. As an instructional leader serving culturally and linguistically diverse student populations, she became a leader in creating curriculum and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards at the district level. As a literacy coach, she served a pivotal role in increasing student achievement by coaching teachers, implementing balanced literacy, and working with families to create a culture of high expectations and a love of reading and learning. She has created strong leadership teams at two schools that used data to develop and monitor student progress, resulting in outstanding student growth and a more invested staff. Throughout the years, she secured grants to fund many projects to invest her students in learning, including a school newspaper and literary magazine. She is very excited to join the Christopher House team and provide exceptional educational opportunities and supports to our students and their families.

Krissy holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University, an M.A. in Teaching from Dominican University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University, and earned her school leadership licensure from DePaul University. She achieved National Board Certification in 2009.


Karen Ross-Williams oversees the agency’s early childhood education, and after-school, including youth leadership. Ms. Ross-Williams has over two decades of experience at Christopher House ensuring successful support of children and families through our family of schools. Serving as Site Director in Uptown previously, Ms. Ross-Williams oversaw the NAEYC accreditation of the site and the QRS: 4-Star Award from the State of Illinois. Christopher House Uptown is only the second childcare facility in the city of Chicago, and one of seven in the entire state of Illinois, to earn four stars. Uptown is the largest site in the state to earn this top rating.

Ms. Ross-Williams has a proven track record of high-expectations, high standards, data driven outcomes, a commitment to the Christopher House mission, and the ability to develop and inspire leaders. In 2013, Karen was selected by staff votes Employee of the Year.

Ms. Ross-Williams is on the Truman College advisory board where she also serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Early Childhood Education Department. Ms. Ross-Williams holds a BA in Early Childhood Education, two Masters degrees, in Human Performance Improvement Training and Development, and in Early Childhood Administration. She also holds numerous certifications: Illinois Director Credential: Level 3, Gateways, Infant Toddler Credential: Level 5, Gateways, Christopher House Emerging Leaders Cohort, 2013, Certified CLASS observer, Teachstone.


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.