ABOUTINSPIRING DISTRICT 97 KIDS FOR 25+ YEARS
The Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that brings artists, architects, scientists, and technology experts into K-8th grade classrooms at every District 97 school. Our professional partners share their passion for learning while conducting free, hands-on residencies with more than 4,200 students each year. OPEF also runs BASE Camp, exceptional summer enrichment programs that make learning fun and grounded in the real world. BASE Camp helps to fund OPEF’s free in-school programming.
Tracy Dell'Angela Barber
Tracy Dell’Angela Barber comes to OPEF after serving as a founding director and managing editor at Education Post, a nonprofit education communications organization. Previously, Tracy was Director of Outreach and Communications for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. She came to IES from the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research, which conducts research that drives improvement in Chicago and nationwide. Tracy spent her early career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, including 12 years at the Chicago Tribune as an education reporter covering national education policy and the Chicago Public Schools. Tracy has strong and lasting ties to the Oak Park community as a parent, school and community volunteer, and the spouse of a former D97 School Board President.
Science Alliance Coordinator
Seth Baker has been teaching in District 97 since 1994. During his career he has taught students from 3rd – 8th grade. He has participated in Science Alliance as a teacher partner since 1994, and began coordinating the Science Alliance program in 2005. A Golden Apple recipient, he has earned degrees in biology, education, as well as a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. He lives in Oak Park with his three children, and his wife who also teaches in District 97.
Architecture Adventure Coordinator
Maya Bird-Murphy has been a designer at several award-winning architecture firms and is the founder of Chicago Mobile Makers, a nonprofit organization that offers accessible design workshops for Chicago Area youth. Maya believes architecture should not be a privilege and must expand to accommodate more people through teaching and community engagement. Maya holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Architecture and is a 2018 Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship Recipient and AIGA Design+Diversity Fellow.
Director of Communications
Marta Segal Block has a long and varied career in marketing, publishing, and education. A former teacher, Marta is passionate about ensuring that all children have access to rich and diverse educational experiences. Although her most recent work has been on the corporate side, providing marketing and editorial direction for small and large companies, her nonprofit experience includes The Great Books Foundation and Chicago Children’s Museum. Marta lives in Oak Park with her husband, one poorly trained dog, and two slightly better trained children.
Director of Development
Karen Daily is a seasoned fundraising professional with more than ten years of experience working on education-related development campaigns. Most recently, as Advancement Specialist for Pillars Community Services, she helped coordinate the social service agency’s largest fundraiser, recruiting, placing and overseeing volunteers. Karen earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois. She lives in Oak Park with her husband and two sons.
Anne Doherty is an experienced finance and marketing professional. Having managed operations from both sides of the table, her skills in problem solving, communication, and organizational efficiencies bring solid synergies to our team. She has an Accounting degree from DePaul University and an Executive MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.She has been a resident of Oak Park for over 20 years. Within the community, Anne has been a supporting member of her PTO’s, both in active and passive roles. She lives with her husband, two sons and a daughter.
Jill Kramer Goldstein
Art Start Coordinator, Spoken Word Coordinator
Jill Kramer Goldstein received her MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA in printmaking from Kent State University. Since 2012, Jill has served as OPEF’s Art Start program coordinator. Jill took on leadership of the Spoken Word program in 2018. Jill has experience teaching in museum & community art settings and has facilitated programs for preschoolers to seniors. Her artistic practice focuses on illustrative portraits of historic architecture, re-interpretations of deteriorating and idealized landscape. Jill works from her home studio in Oak Park where she lives with her husband and two children.
Science Alliance Co-Coordinator
Raised on a grape farm in rural New York Heather Guido has a lifelong interest in agriculture and science. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Syracuse University. Heather volunteers with the Cook County Forest Preserves at Trailside Museum, with the Oak Park Conservatory and as the Hatch Patch volunteer coordinator. At Hatch she brings science to the students when they visit the garden during harvest and again at planting time in the spring. She also brings enrichment activities into the classrooms when teachers request. She especially enjoys showing students how to be citizen scientists and has shown students the Journey North Monarch tagging project and tulip test garden project. Heather lives in Oak Park with her husband and two sons.
BASE Camp Co-Director
Angie Hawkins, a 13-year veteran art teacher, worked primarily at Burnham Elementary School in Cicero. In addition to teaching, she collaborated with colleagues on various committees aimed at using data analysis to increase student achievement and parent involvement. She also brings several summers of experience working in a north suburban park district as a camp coordinator providing a safe and fun outdoor learning environment for children of all age ranges. Angie holds a BFA in Art Education from Michigan State University as well as a Master of Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois.
Geared Up Coordinator, Julian VEX Robotics Coach
Gretchen Junker is the community member who proposed Geared Up to the Oak Park Education Foundation during our Call for Ideas to the community in May, 2008. She is the parent of 3 young boys and has lived in Oak Park for 3 years. Gretchen has a B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington. “Geared Up shows kids that science (and school) can be fun,” she says. “Our family has always had an interest in how things work, and that curiosity has managed to fuel our day-to-day life. For me, Geared Up is a natural extension of what my 3 sons and I have already incorporated into our ongoing family dialogue.”
VEX Robotics Coordinator
Michele McAndrews lives in Oak Park with her husband and three teenage children. For the past 15 years Michele has been an active volunteer in the Oak Park community including serving on the Board of Pilgrim Nursery School, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Vex Robotics Parent Mentor. Michele also has run Brooks Middle School’s primary PTO fundraiser since 2013. Before moving to Oak Park, Michele had a successful career in Management and Customer Service.
BASE Camp Co-Director
Amy Struckmeyer worked in the field of architecture for more than a decade, taking on many design and management roles. She has been active in the Irving PTO, developing and growing their relatively new after-school enrichment program. From programming and establishing a budget to facilitating enrollment and managing day-to-day operations, she was involved in overseeing all aspects of the now thriving program. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Washington in Seattle. Amy and her husband, Jim, have lived in Oak Park since 2000. Their two children attend District 97 schools and have enjoyed many BASE Camp experiences.
YEAR AT A GLANCE
2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR
Thanks to supporters like you, the Oak Park Education Foundation (OPEF) is celebrating another successful year of implementing hands-on, curriculum-enriching programs for the children of District 97 public schools.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
OPEF IS GOVERNED AND MANAGED BY A VOLUNTEER BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board members establish policy, monitor finances, raise funds, and plan for the organization’s future. OPEF also has an Executive Director and additional staff who manage day-to-day operations. Together, the Board and staff play key roles in support of our free in-school programs through committee work, fundraising, and other activities. For more information about the Board, contact nominating chair Kyle Rettberg.
OPEF’s partners come in all shapes and sizes — from global corporations and charitable foundations to local businesses, school groups and philanthropic individuals. Every one of these partners is a valued and vital part of our community. We are grateful for their unique contributions to our mission — and their gifts of time, talent, and financial support.
- Aria Group Architects
- Art-Flo Screen Printing
- Chapman and Cutler LLP
- Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest
- Forest Park National Bank and Trust
- Lakeview Bus Lines, Inc.
- Montessori Language Academy
- PMA Financial Network, Inc.
- Precision Control Systems
- Robbins Schwartz
- Sassetti, LLC
- STR Partners
- Beye Elementary
- Brooks Middle
- Hatch Elementary
- Holmes Elementary
- Irving Elementary
- Julian Middle
- Lincoln Elementary
- Longfellow Elementary
- Mann Elementary
- Whittier ElementarY
Oak Park Teachers’ Association
- Dart Foundation
- Good Heart Work Smart
- Manaaki Foundation
- Oak Park Area Arts Council
- Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation
- Future Philanthropists
Deb & Tom Abrahamson
Matt & Carrie Cotter
Matt & Marta Cote
Karen & Brian Daily
Mark & Dawn Deaton
Jack & Stephanie Flynn
Molly & Matt Galo
Louise & Jim Gates
Eric & Angie Gershenson
Adam & Clare Golla
Judy & Bill Greffin
Phil & Mary Beth Hausken
Nancy Lynn & Andy Teitelman
David & Sheryl Martin
John & Leslie McCauley
Lynn & James J. McClure, Jr.
Bart Miller & Margaret Jeschke
Sarah Staszak Miller & Steve Miller
Donna Myers & Aaron Lebovitz
Martin & Mary Lou Noll
Thomas & Gwen O’Loughlin
Libbey & Michael Paul
Jane & Hank Pearsall
Perry & Diane Pero
Jeffrey & Magda Piper
Pat & Silvia Shannon
Bob Spatz & Lisa Ginet
Stephanie Springs & Gary Cole
Ted & Jennifer Staszak
Helen Wei & Paul Henrys
Peter Traczyk Innovation FundHONORING HIS LEGACY
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO, WHAT, HOW?
WHAT ARE THE FOUNDATION'S MISSION AND VALUES?
The mission of the Oak Park Education Foundation is to mobilize community resources to provide innovative, hands-on learning experiences that have the greatest impact on District 97 students. OPEF develops and supports programs that embody these values:
- Inclusiveness and Access
- Real World Connections
- Experiential Learning
- Community Engagement
To view the Oak Park Education Foundation’s bylaws, click here.
WHOM DOES THE FOUNDATION SERVE?
With our free in-school programs, last year we reached 4,100+ K-8 students attending a District 97 school. Because most of our programs take place during the school day, we are able to equitably serve our racially, culturally and economically diverse student body.
Last year we also served nearly 1,350 students through our fee-based summer and day-off BASE Camp, which is open to any student from all area schools.
DO MY TAX DOLLARS PAY FOR THESE PROGRAMS?
No. The Oak Park Education Foundation is a privately-funded, nonprofit organization serving the students and teachers of District 97. Over the past 25+ years, OPEF has raised over $3 million in non-tax revenues for our hands-on enrichment programs. Last year, over 200 volunteers gave 3,600 hours of their time to help inspire kids across Oak Park. Our most important fundraisers include our annual events, BASE Camp revenue, and annual appeal to individual and business donors. View OPEF’s most recent tax filing (form 990) here.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE HIGH QUALITY OF YOUR PROGRAMS?
Each year our Board Audit Committee measures the quality and effectiveness of our in-school programs. With this evaluation tool, we carefully examine input from teachers, students and experts to identify and implement improvements to our programs, Architecture Adventure, Art Start, Geared Up, Science Alliance, Spoken Word, and VEX Robotics. For example, VEX Robotics respondents rate the program’s contributions to students’ abilities in science, technology, engineering and math, problem-solving, project management, teamwork, perseverance and leadership. Our programs are consistently rated very highly by our constituents.
For summer and day-off BASE Camp, we conduct extensive surveys of participating parents and teachers immediately after each BASE Camp program ends, and the program consistently receives high marks. For example, last summer 96% of parent respondents said they are likely or highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to a friend, and 100% of teachers said they were highly likely to recommend BASE Camp to parents and kids.
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT MY SCHOOL?
Community experts are busy experimenting, designing, dancing, crafting and building with kids in more than 140 classrooms plus after-school clubs this year. Check out our news section, and our Year at a Glance (above) to learn about some of hte projects that have taken place at your school. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too.