Wolcott College Prep Board of Trustees
Governance for the school is provided by the Board of Trustees whose membership includes the Head of School. The Board carries the overall and ultimate responsibility of the school’s management, policies, and perpetuation. It hires and evaluates the Head of School, who is responsible for the oversight of the daily operations and for the implementation of Board policies. The Board of Trustees serves as a major resource for the support and growth of the school.
Jennifer Levine, President
Jennifer Levine, along with her husband Jeff Aeder, is a founder of Wolcott and parent of four Wolcott graduates. Subsequent to the founding of the school, she and her husband were named 2013 Chicagoans of the Year by Chicago Magazine. She currently volunteers at Wolcott in a variety of capacities.
Formerly a practicing lawyer, Jennifer worked as a litigator in corporate, government, and private practices. She also served as an administrative law judge at the Illinois Human Rights Committee. She formerly served as board chair of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
Jennifer is a graduate of Brown University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Jeff Aeder is the Chairman and co-founded JDI Realty in 1988. Before forming JDI, Jeff worked from 1985 to 1988 as a Vice President with LaSalle Partners, a Chicago-based national commercial real estate firm.
Jeff is a graduate of New York University with a Bachelor of Science
Jeff and his wife Jennifer Levine co-founded Wolcott School to make quality high school education possible for Chicago students with learning differences. Jeff created Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed a Kosher BBQ restaurant located in Chicago’s Lakeview Community.
Heidi Albert is currently the Research Manager in Investment Management at William Blair where she also serves on the Global Inclusion Council. Prior to her currently position, she founded a not-for-profit focused on financial literacy and inclusion, and co-founded Dr. Bobby Skin Caring for Kids. Heidi has also worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and in institutional sales at Lehman Brothers, where she was involved in diversity programs and recruiting efforts. Heidi grew up in New York City where she learned how to achieve short-term goals and go after long-term dreams. Heidi is a graduate of Trinity College in CT and got her J.D. at New York University Law School. Heidi is a founding Trustee and became involved with Wolcott because she understood the enormous positive impact that at school like Wolcott could have on students, as well as the broader community.
Sheryl Bellick is a psychologist and private school and educational consultant.
Sheryl is a graduate of Emory University, BA; New York University, MSW; Illinois School of Professional Psychology, PsyD; Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Certificate in Health Coaching
Sheryl, a founding Trustee, became involved with Wolcott School to help provide every child with a positive developmental, academic, and social high school experience so that they can achieve all their goals.
Sheryl also founded Bellick Bakes, a mail order gift chocolate chip cookie business.
Joel received his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and then went on to attend the DePaul College of Law where he received his JD in 1989. He worked for the firm of Hlusitk, Huizenga, Williams and VanderWoulde from 1989 through 1995 focusing on transactional matters and environmental law. In 1995 Joel joined Help At Home to become General Counsel. Help At Home provides home care services to elderly, disabled and intellectually disabled individuals with the goal of allowing them to remain connected to their community and avoid institutional placement.
Currently, Joel is a principle at Help At Home where he also serves as President and General Counsel.
Geoffrey P. Dybas
Geoffrey P. Dybas, Executive Managing Director, heads the Duff & Phelps’ Global Real Estate Securities team. He is Senior Portfolio Manager and co-founder of all dedicated REIT strategies managed by Duff & Phelps. He joined Duff & Phelps in 1995. Mr. Dybas was a corporate banker for Bank One and began his investment career in 1989.
Mr. Dybas holds a BS degree, cum laude, from Marquette University (1989) and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (1995).
Mr. Dybas became a CFA Charterholder in 1992 and is a member of the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of Chicago, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), NAREIT’s Real Estate Investment Advisory Council (REIAC), and European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA). He is also a member of the Chicago Regional Advisory Board for CareerSpring, a recently launched non-profit organization committed to helping first generation college students, graduates and high-quality employers realize mutual and maximum benefits through each other.
Mr. Dybas enjoys playing golf with his wife Lisa and their son Evan, a Wolcott student. They can be heard speaking Spanish on the course. Mr. Dybas also speaks French and Portuguese. In the offseason, Mr. Dybas spends a fair amount of time rebounding basketball for Evan as he practices his outside game.
Mr. Dybas was born in Princeton, N.J. He enjoys catching up with extended family each year in the Adirondacks.
Eric Henschel is a partner of Wolverine Holdings, L.P., a diversified financial services company that primarily engages in proprietary trading, order routing, and asset management. Mr. Henschel has been with the firm since its inception in 1994 and has been an integral member of the management team. He is responsible for overseeing risk management and operational areas within the company. Prior to joining Wolverine, Mr. Henschel was Certified Public Accountant at Arthur Andersen.
Mr. Henschel is a graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He holds Series 24, 56, and 99 registrations.
Mr. Henschel, a founding Trustee, became involved with Wolcott School early on after having a conversation with founders Jeff Aeder and Jennifer Levine about making quality high school education possible for Chicago students with learning differences.
Marilyn is currently the Vice President for Marketing and Communications for United Way of Metro Chicago where she works collaboratively with the CEO, senior team and board of directors to establish a vision for resource development and community impact. Marilyn is responsible for the marketing and communications strategy including brand positioning, visibility, public relations, internal communications and stakeholder messaging.
Prior to joining United Way in 2016, Marilyn served at the Vice President of Marketing and Audience Strategy for the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) where she was responsible for marketing strategy, media relations, membership, audience research and digital initiatives. In her role she guided the CAF brand and positioned CAF as one of Chicago’s leading cultural organizations. Working in partnership with the CEO on a long-term growth strategy initiative the organization experienced significant increases in programming, visibility, communications, social media participation, event attendance, membership and revenue. During her six year tenure the organization achieved 82% growth in the annual budget with commensurate growth in attendance across all facets of the organization.
From 2004 through 2010, Marilyn served as the Director of Marketing at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago where she was responsible for marketing strategy, advertising, promotions, audience research and sponsorship. Marilyn oversaw the strategy, development and execution of the Museum’s complete rebranding. She also participated in the planning and development of the Museum’s transformational $205 million capital campaign, Science Rediscovered. Under her leadership the marketing department created and executed award-winning marketing campaigns which set national attendance records for several traveling exhibitions.
Her career blends more than 20 years of marketing and strategic planning experience in both nonprofit and corporate environments. Marilyn has held management positions at Six Flags Theme Parks and the Ameritech Corporation. She earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Society from Cornell University.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Marilyn has called Chicago her home for more than 20 years. She currently lives in South Shore with her husband and three teen children.
Stacey Kole is a clinical professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. From 2004-2020 she served as the deputy dean for MBA Programs at the same institution. Previously Stacey served as a member of the faculty and associate dean for MBA Programs at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. Prior to her career in academics, Kole was a financial economist in the Office of Economic Analysis at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and began her career at the New York Federal Reserve Bank working on country risk analysis.
Stacey Kole received a bachelor’s degree in history and economics from the University of Rochester in 1982. She received her PhD in economics in1992 from the University of Chicago.
Stacey became involved with Wolcott School as the parent of a Wolcott student and seeks to make quality high school education possible for Chicago students with learning differences.
Jill Mirkovic is a parent of Kyle Mirkovic, Class of 2020 from Wolcott Colllege Prep. She has served as a Wolcott trustee since 2019. Prior to serving on the Wolcott Board, she was elected to the Sunset Ridge School (SRS) District 29 school board for 4 years in Northfiled IL. During her term on the District 29 board, the board approved and built a $27M state of the art middle school without requiring a referendum on the ballot. She also served on the Education Committee and Professional Development Committee.
Mrs. Mirkovic’s professional background is in marketing and information systems. She has worked in various roles for Deloitte & Touche, Ameritech and Electronic Data Systems. She has a BS Economics ‘83 from the Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Harvard Business School ‘89. Her husband, Dr. Srdjan Mirkovic is an orthopedic surgeon with Northshore University Health Systems and they have two other children Erin (22) and Matthew (20).
Leah Pittacora is a results-driven strategy and operations professional with experience leading global teams in the identification and implementation of growth and continuous improvement initiatives.
Leah is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a BS in Biochemistry and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA with concentrations in Finance, Strategic Management, and Economics.
Leah became involved with Wolcott School to contribute to the school’s mission to make an improved high school experience, education, and future an option for students in the Chicago area with learning differences.
Peter Rahal is an American entrepreneur and investor, best known for being the Co-Founder and former CEO of RXBAR. Bootstrapped from his parents basement with his co-founder, in less than 5 years Peter led, built, and scaled the business from idea to a successful exit In 2017, selling the business to Kellogg for $600 million. In addition to his work at RXBAR, Peter is also an active investor and is involved in advising like-minded companies under his family office Litani Management. He has a passion for building and enjoys learning about science, technology, and all the social sciences in his spare time.
Jamie Diamond Schwartz
Jamie Diamond Schwartz is a member of the Next Generation Board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). She co-chaired the Museum’s 2015 Chicago Luncheon which raised nearly $6 million. In April 2017, Jamie received the National Leadership Award for the Midwest Region of the USHMM. Jamie recently served for more than a decade on the board of Friends Against AIDS at The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.
Mrs. Schwartz has a BA from the University of Michigan.
She is a founding Trustee who became involved with Wolcott School to help make it possible for Chicago students with learning differences to get a quality education without having to leave home to attend high school.
Dr. Nancia Shawver is an experienced psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor at the Center for Personal Development. Dr. Shawver operates a private practice in downtown Chicago where she works with a broad range of clients, and consults with families of children with learning challenges.
Nancia, a founding Trustee, became involved with Wolcott School to help create a quality high school where students with learning differences can thrive.
Evonne is the CEO and President of Taylor Made Business Solutions LLC. She worked with Fortune 1000 companies to structure their short- and long-term investment grade debt at First Chicago/Bank One/Chase and managed a $185 million real estate portfolio for CIGNA Investments. She also worked as the Chief Financial Officer of Francis W. Parker School.
Evonne earned a BBA from Howard University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Eve Tyree is Chairman of the James Tyree Foundation. She serves on the boards of Erikson Institute and the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center.
Eve is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Accounting.
Eve, a founding Trustee, became involved with Wolcott School to provide Chicago area high school students with a learning environment that maximizes each student’s academic success.
A special thank you to all of our past Board of Trustees members for your dedication and commitment to our mission. Wolcott owes a particular debt of gratitude to George Gaines, Founding Board President Emeritus and Don Monroe, Founding Board Member.