ABOUT

INSPIRING DISTRICT 97 KIDS FOR 30+ YEARS

OUR MISSION

To bring hands-on STEAM opportunities to youth that inspire a life-long love of learning

 

OUR VALUES

To develop and support programs that embody these guiding principles:

Equity and inclusion

A sense of belonging

Inspiration

Real-world Connections

Innovation

Community Engagement

Fun

 

OUR VISION

Every child served by OPEF has the opportunity to explore curiosities, dream big and find their passion and purpose in life.

OUR TEAM

Tracy Dell'Angela Barber

Tracy Dell'Angela Barber

Executive Director

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.

Seth Baker

Seth Baker

Science Alliance Co-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.

Maya Bird-Murphy

Maya Bird-Murphy

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.

Karen Daily

Karen Daily

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

Anne Doherty

Operations Manager

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. 

Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia

Director of Marketing and Communications

Laura Garcia is a leader in the visual storytelling industry, and brings her experience in the marketing, editorial and art industries to OPEF. Having spent more than 20 years in the newspaper industry, Laura’s work includes being an award-winning photo editor at The Chicago Tribune and the Santa Fe New Mexican. She is co-founder and Creative Director of Three Story Media, a media production business, and an accomplished artist who exhibits her work in museums and galleries internationally. Laura lives with her husband and two children, who have fond memories of their time in D97 schools.

Heather Guido

Heather Guido

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.

Angie Hawkins

Angie Hawkins

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.

Joel Javier

Joel Javier

Arts Coordinator (Art Start & Spoken Word)

Joel Javier is an accomplished artist, educator and education program manager. With over 15 years of experience in the museum and art education field, he has a passion for mentoring youth and integrating art into school curriculum.  Previously, Joel administered and facilitated education programming at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art and most recently as Education Manager at Intuit: Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, where he was instrumental in expanding public programming and advancing an award-winning fellowship program for Chicago Public School teachers. Joel earned his MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Murray State University. A D97 parent, Joel can be spotted riding his bike through town or making mixed media paintings for exhibitions and collections. 

Gretchen Junker

Gretchen Junker

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.”

Michelle McAndrews

Michelle McAndrews

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.

Amy Struckmeyer

Amy Struckmeyer

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.

OUR BOARD

OPEF IS GOVERNED AND MANAGED BY A VOLUNTEER BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Steve Miller

Steve Miller

President

Carrie Cotter

Carrie Cotter

Vice President

Bob Walicki

Bob Walicki

Treasurer

Nora Flynn

Nora Flynn

Secretary

OVERVIEW


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 board president Steve Miller here.

MEMBERS


JENNIFER ABELLA
MOLLY ANDOLINA
JASON CASCARINO
MONICA COLLINS
JONATHAN ELLWANGER
DOUGLAS HYMAN
CAROL KELLEY
JUNG KIM
CHEE-YOUNG KIM
LISA KITZMAN
JAMIE KLOBUCHAR
EBONEY LOFTON
SHARI NOLAND
CARRIE POWERS
HOLLY SPURLOCK
LESLIE TRUELOVE

NON-PROFIT REPORTS


Please feel free to view:

Recent Tax Filings:

Oak Park Education Foundation’s Non-Profit Bylaws

OUR ANNUAL REPORTS

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.

OUR PARTNERS

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.

BUSINESS SUPPORTERS


  • 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.
  • Mathnasium
  • Montessori Language Academy
  • Oak Park Pediatrics
  • PMA Financial Network, Inc.
  • Precision Control Systems
  • Robbins Schwartz
  • Sassetti, LLC
  • STR Partners

D97 GROUPS


PTOs

  • Beye Elementary
  • Brooks Middle
  • Hatch Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Irving Elementary
  • Julian Middle
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Longfellow Elementary
  • Mann Elementary
  • Whittier ElementarY

Oak Park Teachers’ Association

GRANTORS


  • Dart Foundation
  • The Driskill Foundation
  • Good Heart Work Smart
  • Manaaki Foundation
  • Oak Park Area Arts Council
  • Nineteenth Century Club

FRIENDS


 
Jennifer and Joseph Abella
Deb and Tom Abrahamson
Jan Arnold and Mary Anderson
Michail and Yoko Avramov
Tracy Dell’Angela Barber and Peter Barber
Christine and Brian Bonomo
Bess and Candelario Celio
Brian Chang
Lisa Colpoys and Catherine Schneider
Matt and Marta Cote
Carrie and Matt Cotter
Karen and Brian Daily
Cathy and Whit Daily
Rupa Datta and Ravi Namana
Mark and Dawn Deaton
Kim Dell’Angela and Tom Baggio
Massimo DiPierro
Angie Dodd and Richard Mertz
Julia Faust
Ken Floody and Elizabeth Freebairn
Jack and Stephanie Flynn
Nora Flynn and Matthew Lynch
Molly and Matt Galo
Jim and Louise Gates
Wendy and David Giardina
Mitch Goldstein and Jill Kramer Goldstein
Clare and Adam Golla
Kristin and Mark Harris
Mary Beth and Phil Hausken
Tree and Brian Havener
Mike and Beth Hayes
Chris and JoAnne Heyer
Andrew Hoog and Chee-Young Kim
Ken and Patty Hunt
Lynn Kamenitsa and Jon Hale
Lisa and Brian Kitzman
Jamie Klobuchar and Laszlo Medgyesy
Liz Kovacs
Nancy and Jack Leavy
Camille Lilly
Nancy Lynn and Andy Teitelman
Julie and Paul Mann
David and Sheryl Martin
Kim and Gary McCullough
Bart Miller and Margaret Jeschke
Steve and Sarah Staszak Miller
Donna Myers and Aaron Lebovitz
Alan and Kathryn Nesburg
Marty and Mary Lou Noll
Emily and Ken Novak
Tom and Gwen O’Loughlin
Darla and John Patterson
Libbey and Michael Paul
Jane and Hank Pearsall
Perry and Diane Pero
Jeffrey and Joan Petertil
Jennifer Pikowski
Jeffrey Piper and Magda Kruszynska-Piper
John and Ethel Piper
Douglas Rainey and Toshiko Uchida
Rachel and Kyle Rettberg
Chris and Kelly Rogala
Monica and Ben Saydah
Ruth and Joel Schoenmeyer
Stephen and Mary Jo Schuler
Lisa and Jason Sensat
Pat and Silvia Shannon
Inga and Bob Simitz
Bob Spatz and Lisa Ginet
Patricia Staszak
Ted and Jennifer Staszak
Susan Tresselt
Rich and Katrina Vigsnes
Michael Wagner
Bob and Nan Walicki
Sally Wallace
David Weindling and Sherry Nordstrom
Andrew Wells
Audrey Williams-Lee and Byron Lee
Joan Winstein
Sara and Josh Yount
Milos Zefran and Barbara DiEugenio
Maura McMahon-Zeller and Steven Zeller

Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund

HONORING HIS LEGACY
 
Former OPEF board member and District 97 board member Peter Traczyk was a remarkably effective community leader because he brought people together to find solutions that leave a positive and lasting impact on children. To honor this legacy, OPEF created the Peter Traczyk Innovation Fund, which provided seed funds for new OPEF initiatives in D97.
 
We were deeply honored to be entrusted with memorial gifts in Peter’s honor, and we used these donations to do what Peter always did — help Oak Park kids realize their fullest potential as curious, compassionate and purposeful human beings.
 
Fund recipient for 2015-2016: Spoken Word. Fund recipient for 2016-2017: In House Robotics League at Julian Middle School.  Fund recipient for 2017-2018: In House Robotics League at Brooks Middle School.
 
The original announcement of the Peter Traczyk fund can be found here.