Board Members

Les F. Bond, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer, Attucks Asset Management, LLC
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Les Bond is co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Attucks Asset Management, LLC responsible for portfolio management and the development of new business. Attucks is a minority-owned and operated firm that understands the unique challenges of this market segment, and currently manages over $1.8 billion in assets for some of the largest institutional investors in the country, helping them structure and run customized investment programs. Prior to founding Attucks Asset Management, LLC, Mr. Bond held senior positions in both government and the investment banking industry. He served as Deputy General Counsel for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority of Chicago. Subsequently, he served as General Counsel to the Comptroller of the City of St. Louis, with additional responsibilities as Fiscal Manager of External Finance. Mr. Bond founded Columbia Capital Management, LLC, which provides financial and investment advisory services to government entities and treasuries. Mr. Bond divested his ownership interest in Columbia in 2009. He is also an active member of the Alliance of Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs, the New America Alliance, and the Association of Asian American Investment Managers. Mr. Bond is also a frequent commentator and lecturer on emerging managers.

David Borris

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David Borris grew up in Glencoe, Illinois & studied Hotel & Restaurant Administration at the University of  Nevada in Las Vegas. After several years working for others in the industry, he and his wife, Cari, opened a small gourmet retail carry out concept, Hel’s Kitchen, in 1985, in Highland Park, Il. on Chicago’s north shore. The parents of three children, they learned early the difficulties entrepreneurs face in striving for work life balance, and the importance of developing and compensating high quality staff in building a successful enterprise. Having grown from 1 employee in a 900 square ft. store front to occupying close to 10,000 sq. ft. with 38 full time and over 70 part time and seasonal workers, the couple sold the company in 2019, and are now retired.

David became involved in the fight for the Affordable Care Act in 2008, taking a position on the executive board of the nascent Main Street Alliance,  the progressive voice for issues that impact small business at the local and national level. In that capacity, Borris has testified in front of various congressional committees and taken part in numerous press conferences and hearings on issues ranging from health care, wages and tax policy to transparency and Wall Street reform. 

David serves on the policy council for Citizen Action-Illinois. He also serves as Board president for Chicago Area Peace Action – the Illinois affiliate of the largest grassroots peace and justice organization in the country. CAPA focuses its work on the intersectionalities of climate disruption, defense spending, and foreign policy through a lens of equity and justice, both nationally and internationally.

Regina Buccola

Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences, Roosevelt University
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Regina Buccola is Interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences (CHESS) at Roosevelt University in Chicago. A Professor of English, she has published several books on early modern British drama and culture, most recently Haunting History Onstage: Shakespeare in the USA and Canada for Cambridge Elements, as editor of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Critical Guide and co-editor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Suiting the Action to the Word. Recent journal publications include Shakespeare Bulletin, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England and Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation. She serves as the scholar in residence at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Her poetry has appeared in Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and in Elia Magazine. In July 2022, a piece of her creative non-fiction appeared in Glacial Hills Review.

Randy (RJ) Dunn

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Randy Dunn has been a leader in PK-12 and higher education over a thirty-eight year career. Following his tenure as a teacher and administrator in a number of Illinois school districts, and then as a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Dunn served as state superintendent for the Illinois State Board of Education from 2004-06. After working as president at state universities in Kentucky and Ohio, Dunn returned to Illinois as president of the SIU System before retiring in 2018. In addition to undergraduate and master's degrees from Illinois State University, he holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dunn has served as a board member and consultant for several school districts and nonprofit agencies and is the author of The Change-Making Board: Consequential Governance for Public & Nonprofit Organizations, published by Mill City Press in 2021. 

Robin Kelly

Honorable Robin Kelly, U.S. House of Representatives (IL-District 2)
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Congresswoman Robin Kelly was elected to represent Illinois’ 2nd District on April 9, 2013.

As a former State Representative, Kelly brings extensive legislative experience to the 2nd District. She successfully sponsored bills to protect consumers from fraud, support economic development, and increase the minimum wage. She also led the fight for landmark legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and improve public safety.

During her tenure in the Illinois Legislature, Kelly mentored progressive candidates and encouraged new leaders, including one of her colleagues, Barack Obama, in his successful 2004 bid for U.S. Senate. Most recently, Kelly was Chief Administrative Officer of Cook County, where she was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and implementing policy for the second largest county in the United States.

Kelly has also served as chief of staff in the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. As the first African American woman to serve as chief of staff for a constitutional officer in Illinois, Kelly pursued a progressive agenda rooted in promoting small business job creation, investment strategy innovation, eliminating food deserts, and advancing financial literacy in underserved areas. She also helped to transform the Treasurer’s Office – an agency that manages as much as $17 billion in state funds – by improving efficiencies, streamlining expenses, and demanding stronger ethical guidelines.

A New York native, Kelly moved to Illinois after high school to attend Bradley University in Peoria, where she earned her B.A. in psychology and a M.A. in counseling. She later received a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University.

Kelly serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the Cook County Human Rights Commission and the Hate Crimes Commission. She also serves as a Bradley University Trustee and is a board member of the Bradley University Council. In 2009, she was inducted into the university’s Centurion Society for honored alumni. She is also an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.

Kelly lives in Matteson with her husband, Dr. Nathaniel Horn and has two adult children, Kelly and Ryan.

Jane Lehmann

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Jane Lehmann is retired from Elgin Community College where she was a professor of reading and education for over 40 years. In addition to teaching, she was, for ten years, the Director of the Learning Skills Center.   She served in leadership positions at the college as well as in state and national professional organizations.  Jane is the co-author of two textbooks that have been widely used in community college reading classes, and she has served as a consultant in reading to elementary, secondary and post-secondary faculties.   She holds a BA and Ms.Ed from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, and is active at the local and state level in the State University Annuitants Association, an advocacy organization for Illinois University and community college employees.  

David May

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David May is a La Grange resident with 3 adult sons and 3 grandchildren. He is retired from Walsh Construction in Chicago. He formerly served as Board President of La Grange Elementary School District 102; and as Chair of the Executive Board of Ed-Red, a legislative advocacy consortium of 90 suburban school districts.

William McNary

Co-Director, Citizen Action/Illinois
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William McNary has been called one of the most electrifying and inspirational speakers of our time. He is the Co-Director for Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization working on an ambitious agenda that includes the fight for workers’ rights, advancing public education funding, utility rate and insurance rate reform, environmental safety, and protecting consumers from unfair predatory loan practices. He previously served as the Legislative Director for Citizen Action/Illinois.

He is the Legislative Chair of “A Better Illinois” a coalition dedicated to making the Illinois tax structure fairer in order to provide the revenues needed to create jobs, educate our children, provide for health care, human service, and public safety.

One of the nation’s leading advocates for health care reform, McNary is one of the founding members of Health Care for America Now!, the largest national grassroots health care coalition which led to the successful passage of the national Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama.

He is the Co-Chairman of the Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services, dedicated to reforming, rescuing and restoring the Cook County public health safety net.

McNary has been appointed by 2 Illinois Governors, the Illinois Attorney General, the Cook County Board President and other State Constitutional Officers to serve on several state boards, task forces, and transition teams. Most recently, Governor Pat Quinn appointed McNary to serve on the Illinois Campaign Reform Task Force where he spearheaded the push for public funded clean elections to lessen the influence of corporate campaign money.

McNary served as the founding president of USAction, one of the nation’s largest coalitions of progressive grassroots organizations. He served as a surrogate speaker for President Barack Obama in his first run for President. He was also elected as an Obama delegate and served as Illinois Convention Floor Whip at the Denver Democratic Convention in 2008.

McNary also serves on the board of the Voter Participation Center, an organization that empowers unmarried women, people of color and other underrepresented groups to participate in the democratic process.

Over seven election cycles, McNary has worked with the Rainbow/Push Coalition where he co-directed targeted voter registration and “Get Out the Vote” campaign efforts. He has a degree in journalism and communications from the University of Iowa.

Martha Merrill

Director of Research and Employee Benefits, AFSCME Council 31
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Martha Merrill has over 15 years of experience as a union researcher, with accrued knowledge and expertise in areas related to collective bargaining, benefit administration, and public finance. Ms. Merrill currently serves as the Director of Research and Employee Benefits for AFSCME Council 31, a position held since November 2013.  Prior she worked as a Research Analyst for AFSCME Council 40 in Wisconsin.

As the Director of Research and Employee Benefits, Ms. Merrill is responsible for providing analyses and reports on a wide variety of issues connected to public services and public employees. Key duties include analysis of city, county and state budgets to review local fiscal policy, conditions and ability to pay; review of state legislative initiatives in the fields of pensions, state and local finance, health care, insurance, pensions and other related fields to determine their impact on AFSCME members and make recommendations; analysis of health and pension plan documents and actuarial reports in order to develop appropriate responses to employers, policy makers, union staff and members; and represent AFSCME on various task forces, coalitions, and panels including the We Are One Coalition and the Chicago Labor Management Cooperation Committee.

Martha aids Executive Staff during AFSCME negotiations with the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and Cook County, and as such has a depth of knowledge on a wide array of issues impacting public employees across the state, from the privatization and reduction of public services to job safety and dangerous work conditions to fair wages and equitable compensation structures.

Ms. Merrill has a MPA from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. UW Madison is also where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts.  In addition, Martha holds a MSW from Arizona State University. She resides in Bowmanville (just north of Lincoln Square) with her husband Matt, two children (Harper age 10 and Cooper age 7) and two COVID puppies Luna and Milligan.

Daniel J. Montgomery

President, Illinois Federation of Teachers
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Daniel J. Montgomery has worked on behalf of public education and the rights of working men and women for over 15 years. He was elected to a three-year term as president of the 103,000-member Illinois Federation of Teachers at the union’s 2010 Convention. A veteran educator and union activist, Montgomery has been an IFT member since 1993. He served as head of the 1,700-member North Suburban Teachers Union, Local 1274, for nearly 10 years and was a vice president on the IFT Executive Board from 2002 until his election to the IFT presidency. As a board member, he chaired numerous Executive Board committees, including the Personnel, Negotiations and Locals Committees and was a member of the board’s 12-member Executive Committee. He also served as chair of the union’s PreK-12 Constituency Council and the 2009 IFT President’s Conference Planning Committee. Montgomery has also been active at the national level. Since 2004 he has been the co-chair of the American Federation of Teachers K-12 Program and Policy Council. A dedicated and experienced educator, Montgomery taught English for 18 years at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois. He also taught in the City Colleges of Chicago and at Northwestern University. His teaching expertise has earned him a place as a member on the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Montgomery is married with three children and resides in Evanston.

Edward (Eddie) Olivieri

Managing Principal, EKI-Digital
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Edward (Eddie) Olivieri is the Managing Principal at EKI-Digital, a Chicago based Minority-owned IT consultancy where he is responsible for leading public sector business development.  Eddie previously was an attorney in the private practice, general counsel for a not-for-profit community mental health agency, and served as Director of the Cook County Office of Contract Compliance under President Toni Preckwinkle, where he administered Cook County's minority and women-owned business program.  

Sylvia Puente (she, her)

President & CEO, Latino Policy Forum
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Sylvia Puente is the President and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, a nonprofit that works for equity, justice, and economic prosperity on behalf of Latinos in Chicago and Illinois. The Forum does public-policy analysis and advocacy on issues including education, housing, and immigration. Over more than a decade at the helm of the Forum, Puente has grown the organization into a central voice on Latino issues and has established herself as a thought leader in the arena.

In 2020, the Forum led the response to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Latinos and communities of color by securing economic assistance for hundreds of affected families; advocating for them in conversations with city and state leaders; and compiling data, information, and resources for its Acuerdo partner network of over 130 local organizations serving the Latino community, which the Forum convenes, among other efforts.

Puente was selected by Governor JB Pritzker to serve on his transition team as part of the Educational Success Committee. She was recently appointed to the Restore, Reinvest, Renew Board and the State Housing Task Force. She was appointed by previous Illinois governors to the Illinois Early Learning Council, on which she still serves, and the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board. She is also a board director of Advance Illinois, a public policy agency working to improve education in the state, and a member of Illinois Unidos, a consortium of local Latino leaders dedicated to addressing the public-health and economic impact of COVID-19 on Latinos statewide.

Puente is frequently cited as an expert on Latino issues and has published numerous reports and articles that articulate the vital role they play in society. She is a recipient of the Ohtli Award, Mexico’s highest recognition of those serving the Mexican community outside of Mexico, and received an honorary PhD for her social justice work from Roosevelt University in 2021. She has been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.”

Michael ("Mike") Shoudy

Executive Director, Illinois Education Association
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Michael (Mike) Shoudy is the Executive Director of the Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA).  Prior to that, he was the Executive Director of the Michigan Education Association (MEA-NEA).  Mike started his career as an attorney and shareholder with the White Schneider law firm in Lansing, Michigan, where he represented MEA, its locals, and its members in a variety of legal matters.  After 14 years in private practice, he continued his advocacy for educators as the General Counsel of the MEA.

A strong believer in public education, Mike graduated from public schools in Fulton County, Georgia, and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor degree from Michigan State University. He served as an adjunct professor for six years at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, where he taught collective bargaining and workplace and employment discrimination law.  Mike and his husband, Ryan, live in Chicago with their French bulldog, Lucy.    

Marleis Trover

Associate Professor, McKendree University
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Dr. Marleis Trover is an Associate Professor at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She teaches educational leadership classes in Finance, Curriculum and Supervision, and is a consultant to the Consortia for Educational Change. She has taught educational leadership courses at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. and at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL.

Dr. Trover retired as superintendent of Vienna High School in 2008. During her administrative service, she has been a unit, high school and elementary superintendent. In addition to service as a superintendent, she has been a curriculum director, principal and teacher in elementary, junior and senior high school classes. 

Dr. Trover served as the 2004-2005 Illinois Association of School Administrators’ President and as a two-term Governing Board Member of the American Association of School Administrators from 2004-2010. Also, she was a designer/facilitator for the Motorola University/Illinois Association of School Administrators’ Leadership Partnership from 1990-2005. 

In addition, Dr. Trover served as facilitator for the Bill and Melinda Gates Learning Technology Grant (ILTC). The sessions were designed to integrate Data Driven Schools, Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortia Standards (ISLLC), and Baldrige Criteria for Systemic Educational Change and Innovation and increased student achievement.

Dr. Trover has also served on the Governor’s Team for Educational Excellence, the Illinois Virtual High School Board, and the Illinois (BiN) Baldrige in Education Board. She served two terms on the Illinois Educational Funding Advisory Board (EFAB). She currently serves on the Illinois Rural School Board and is past President of the Johnson County Illinois Retired Educators’ Association. 

She co-authored a biography, Pass the Plate: The Life and Legacy of US Congressman, Kenneth J. Gray in 2009. The authors share the book with public libraries and schools. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Higher Education from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. She resides in Vienna, IL with her husband Bob Trover. They have three grown children.

Kyle Westbrook

Founder, NXGRAD
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Kyle Westbrook is the Founder of NXGRAD, a forthcoming college application platform for the 21st century. Previously, he was the Founding Executive Director of the Partnership for College Completion (PCC). Before being named founding executive director of PCC, he served as the Executive Director of Education Policy in the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Kyle has extensive experience in public education having spent 20 years in public education as a teacher, teacher leader, leadership consultant, and district level administrator including 5 years leading the Office of Magnet, Gifted, and International Baccalaureate programs in the Chicago Public Schools. He has also held posts at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute, and teaching positions at Walter Payton College Prep, and Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. In addition, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in history and the history of education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Illinois Chicago.  He has served on the Board of Directors for the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community, Project Onward, and ACE Technical Charter High School. He has served on advisory committees for the Library of Congress, the Newberry Library, and currently serves on the Illinois Advisory Council for the US Commission on Civil Rights. Kyle holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education Policy from the University of Illinois Chicago and Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Addison Woodward

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Addison Woodward has spent over 55 years in higher education, first as a student where he earned three degrees, the first a B.S in Psychology Summa Cum Laude from C.W. Post College of Long Island University, the last a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Toronto in 1968.

Addison retired from Governors State University after 30 years, the last 23 of which he was Chairperson of the Division of Psychology and Counseling. Prior to that he was an instructor and assistant professor of psychology at Albion College for four years.

He has served on the Illinois Board of Higher Education since 2005. Addison has also served in leadership positions with the first public university Union in Illinois as well as with the State University Annuitants Association, an association with 16,000 members advocating on behalf of all community college and public university employees in Illinois.

After living in the south suburbs for 40 some years, Addison and his wife Pamela now live in Chicago.