Danielle Baran–President. Danielle has a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a Psychoeducational Diagnostician at Advocate Medical Group/Advocate Children’s Hospital in the Educational Consultation and Evaluation Services. She has presented at several of our past conferences.
Eileen Norton – Immediate Past Co-President. Eileen, who served as ERI’s co-president from 2015-2017, has her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Loyola University Chicago, and is the parent of a college student with dyslexia.
Jennifer C. Zvi– Immediate Past Co-President. Jennifer received her doctorate from Northwestern University in the field of learning disabilities and her post doctorate in neuropsychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Jennifer is currently an Adjunct Professor at Lewis University teaching undergraduates and graduates in the newly established Early Childhood Education Program.
Sharon Kacmarcik–Vice-President. Sharon is a lawyer who has been in private practice for over twenty years. She is also one of the founders of the “Resource Association in Special Education” (RAiSE), an association organized to support the educational success of children with special needs and learning disabilities in the western suburbs of Chicago.
Laura Harty — Treasurer. Laura holds a masters in education as well as a masters in business. She is a Project Manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield and previously worked as a Special Education Teacher with the Chicago Public Schools.
Cindy Waltenspiel — Secretary. Cindy is a returning board member having previously served from 2001-2007. Cindy holds a bachelors of arts in elementary education and special education (Behavioral Learning Specialist I) and a master’s degree in reading from Northeastern Illinois University. She is currently a Diagnostician/Special Education Teacher in Barrington School District 220.
Board of Directors
Susan Barkhausen holds a Masters in Learning Disabilities/Behavior Disorders and is currently the Director of Student Services at the School of St. Mary in Lake Forest. She is certified in the Level 1 Wilson Reading System and has tutored pre-schoolers through high school students.
Mina Caputo has a Master of Education degree and a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 Endorsement. She is a special education teacher providing tutoring in remedial math, reading, and writing instruction to K-12 students in a private setting. She is also an elementary special education teacher in a suburban school district and consults on psychoeducational evaluations.
Jessica Douglas holds an M.S. in educational psychology, an Ed.S. in school psychology, and an ED.D in human learning and development. She worked as a School Psychologist in a suburban school district for seven years and has been in private practice for five years.
Kathryn Elsesser has an M.S. in learning disabilities and is retired from CUSD 200 where she was an Elementary Resource Teacher. She has a national perspective on reading issues, having previously taught special education in Connecticut and New York. Kathy is an adult with dyslexia and also has a daughter with dyslexia.
Heather Johnson is the parent of a child with dyslexia, and learned first hand the process of advocating for appropriate services. She has also met with legislators in Springfield regarding the importance of early identification and structured literacy in schools.
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