Presidents/Executive Committee Chairs: Emily Ardell & Beth Shank

Role: Serves as the chair of the Board of Directors and supports the Director in leading the school to fulfill its mission and goals.

Emily Ardell: This is our family’s third year at FTCNS and my second year serving on the board. When we were visiting preschools and heard families describe their exceptional experiences at FTCNS, we could hardly believe that such a wonderful place existed! Over the past couple of years we’ve grown to adore our school, and the incredible families and caregivers that form the fabric of this uniquely progressive, nurturing community. Last year I served as an at-large board member, engaging in ad-hoc projects and learning more about strategic priorities for the years ahead. This coming year, as co-president, I am looking forward to channeling the energy and creativity of our community as we push forward with our ambitious strategic plan. When I’m not spending time with our family, I also work as the Director of Program Quality at Heartland Alliance International, where (among other things) I work to lead FUN meetings! I am looking forward to putting these skills to good use with this year’s board.

Beth Shank: This is our family’s fourth year at FTCNS and my third year serving on the board. When visiting the school for the first time, we felt an instant connection and couldn’t wait to get more involved. Over the years, my kids have been enrolled in Junipers, Maples, Oaks and Dandelions. We live nearby and enjoy walking to school and seeing friends in the neighborhood. I’ve been involved with the social committee as class rep and executive board as secretary. Last year I worked on diversity & outreach efforts and built a partnership with the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society. The board has made tremendous strides on many important strategic plan initiatives. As co-president, I’m excited to continue these efforts as we grow and become a model for the larger community.


Treasurer: Matt Wolfe

Role: Serves as the short- and long-range financial planner for the school and oversees the schoolʼs budget and financial transactions.

I am excited to continue serving on the FTCNS board. I have lived in Edgewater for 10 years and my wife, Kara Riggio, and I now live right around the corner from the school on Norwood. Our daughter Georgia is heading to kindergarten at Peirce this fall after two great years at FTCNS. We also have a two-year old daughter, Hazel, and another baby on the way this fall, both of whom may be FTCNS students some day. Professionally, I am a lawyer and a former elementary school teacher.


Secretary: Tiffany Gates Etchell

Role: Documents and helps to define the agenda for the Boardʼs monthly meetings and provides administrative support for the Director and Business Manager.

This is the Etchell family’s fourth year at FTCNS and my second year serving on the board. My son, Harrison, is in second grade and loved his two years here in the Junipers and Oaks classes. Now little sister, Evelyn, will be returning for her second and final year of preschool in the Oaks class! Outside of being a mom, I own a Music Together Center called Harmonious Horizons. We teach weekly music and movement classes for babies-5 year olds and their parents/caregivers. I am also the Head of the Voice Department at Metropolis School of the Performing Arts and teach vocal lessons to all ages.


Diversity, Anti-Oppression and Belonging Committee Chairs: Joe Lorenzo & Christina Woods

Role: This committee drives diversity, equity and anti-oppression work at FTCNS.

Joe Lorenzo: This will be our second year at FTCNS, and our family already feels at home here. Our daughter Violet, started as a Juniper and will be a Willow next year. My background is in Marketing & Communications and I’m currently pursuing opportunities in People & Workplace Culture while at home with our two daughters. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as an at­ large member of the board this year and hope to learn from the team while exploring new ideas to accomplish our organizational goals. Our family lives in Andersonville and we love exploring the neighborhood on our bikes every chance we get.

Christina Woods: This will be our third year at FTCNS. Our daughter, Evie, will be in Oaks this year, and our son, Caius, will be a Maple. Our family lives in Andersonville, and we love to spend time at the beach. I work part-time as a professor at Loyola University Chicago in the Department of Education, and I taught special education for several years. I’m excited about the opportunity to serve on the board at FTCNS as chair of the Diversity, Equity and Anti-Bias committee. The school community has been so responsive and reflective this past year around issues of resistance and liberation, and I love to watch my kids grow in understanding of themselves and others. I think that Families Together has a real opportunity to grow in inclusivity, and I’m excited to do work that makes such a wonderful organization accessible to even more families.


Family and Staff Support Committee Chair: Aisha Noble

Role: Organizes resources, activities and events to support the needs of school families and staff.

We are embarking on our second year at FTCNS and my second year on the Board. Our son, Robert (Bobby) will be attending 3-day Junipers in the Fall. Our connection to FTCNS goes back 16 years, through our godson who will be a freshman in college! My role on the Board will be as Family & Staff Support Chair. I am interested in ways we can continue to strengthen connections at FTCNS and the surrounding community. I am a native of Edgewater while my husband, Gus, is from Duns, Scotland. We live about a 5-minute walk away on Hermitage. I am a full-time mom/community organizer while Gus works full-time in elder care. We look forward to meeting everyone!


Fundraising Committee Chair: Abby McKenna

Role: Oversees and coordinates the school’s fundraising and development efforts.

We’re delighted to continue our journey at Families Together this fall. This will be our fifth year here, our youngest daughter, Avery will be starting 2-day Junipers this fall. She is thrilled to follow in her big brother and sisters footsteps. Alexander and Audrey will be in second grade and Kindergarten at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy this year. We live in Andersonville and love to spend our time riding our bikes to the beach, going out for coffee and visiting family all over the United States. When I’m not hanging out with my three energetic kids, I’m a portrait and event photographer. This will be my second year on the board and am looking forward working with everyone to make the fundraising experience a positive one.


Human Resources Committee Chair: Amanda McClintock

Role: Oversees and coordinates the school’s fundraising and development efforts.

This will be my family’s first year at FTCNS. Our one and only, Duncan, will be attending 2-day Junipers this fall. We live in Andersonville, just behind M Henry, which is both a blessing and a curse. (Did you know they now employ a couple former Swedish Bakery chefs’?) I’m currently a full-time SAHP and Duncan and I can often be found exploring our neighborhood, attending the Monday morning Japanese/English program, Tanpopokai, at JASC (Clark and Montrose), attending Merry Music Makers classes as well as rocking out on mom’s drums at home. I’m looking forward to putting my past 17 years of experience in education, both in the US as well as in Japan, to work for the FTCNS board in the role of Human Resources Chair. In the two opportunities I had to speak with FTCNS teachers I was deeply impressed by how brightly their teaching-torches burned. It is tragic to see those fires dwindle and go out and I hope to do everything I can to help create and keep the space needed to allow for those fires to continue to burn so brightly.


Marketing and Outreach Committee Chair: Erin English Bailey

Role: Oversees and coordinates school marketing, public relations, and outreach to prospective families.

This will be my third year on the FTCNS board, and my fourth year at the school! My son, Linus, is heading off to kindergarten, and now it’s time for independent and determined little sister, Lennie, to take the preschool baton. She will be in 2-day Junipers. I live with my wife and kids in West Rogers Park and work in non-profit administration.


Program Review Committee Chair: Tom Ferrone

Role: Oversees and coordinates program review—the process through which the school evaluates the extent to which it is meeting goals for the educational, administrative, and cooperative aspects of the program.

Our son Marty will be starting his second year at Families Together, in the Maples class. We love the school and the community. We live just down the street from the school, so you will see us at the park. In my day job, I am counsel to a healthcare organization in Chicago. As a board member, I will be helping Families Together with its preschool accreditation.


Social Committee Chair: Jane Ford

Role: Oversees and coordinates class and all-school social events.

The 2018-2019 school year will be our second at FTCNS, and will be my first year serving on the board. Our son, Cub, is currently a 3 Day Juniper and attends Lunch Bunch; next year he will be a Willow and a Dandelion, and will continue attending Lunch Bunch. We live in Ravenswood and love our neighborhood. We can often be found scooting around to all the area parks and playlots, playing tennis at Chase Park during the warmer months, and sitting al fresco at Spacca Napoli. Outside of parenthood and FTCNS, I am a freelance production designer for print and web, and run a small photography business. I look forward to working with the social committee to plan events that continue to bring our wonderful community together.


Board Member At Large: Marina Punda

Role: This board member does not run a committee but rather focuses on a special project.

Excited to join FTCNS, and serve on the board in our very first year. My daughter Nikolina is looking forward to being an official Juniper, instead of just tagging along with other FTCNS kids at the park! Our family lives in Rogers Park. We look forward to contributing to the school’s expansion.


Board Member At Large: Mark Emmler

Role: This board member does not run a committee but rather focuses on a special project.

The Emmlers are excited to join the FTCNS community for our very first year this fall. Kidri starts year one of his preschool adventure in the Maples program. We hope Riles, his younger sister who is still less than a year old, will join in a couple years. We love the Andersonville/Edgewater/Uptown community where we built our lives and started our family over the last decade. During our time here, I led and developed local early childhood literacy, and school fundraising and advocacy groups. I’m eager to collaborate with the FTCNS community.


Board Member At Large: Shana Heller-Ogden

Role: This board member does not run a committee but rather focuses on a special project.

This is our family’s first year at FTCNS, with our daughter Jane joining the Maples. She and her little brother Peter have spent a lot of time across the street from the school at Senn Park, and we’re thrilled to be joining the FTCNS community. We have lived in Edgewater for years and love the neighborhood. My professional background is in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the External Relations Director for a legal aid organization serving the state of Illinois. I feel very fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom these days, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to put my years of fundraising and communications experience to work for FTCNS.


Board Member At Large: Anne Raih

Role: This board member does not run a committee but rather focuses on a special project.

I am very excited to be joining the FTCNS board as a new family representative. This is our first year at Families Together and our second year in Edgewater. I live just around the corner from school with my husband Jake and our two sons, Augie and William. Augie is 3 ½ and will be joining the Maples and Dandelions classes in the fall, and William will be following in a few short years. I am originally from Colorado, and we enjoy spending time outdoors and finding new ways to explore Chicago. I have a background in media, digital publishing and education, and am looking forward to using my skills to help FTCNS achieve its goals.