Brian King, President
Brian King has worked in the field of government and not-for-profit project finance for more than 20 years. Brian worked for the City of Chicago as its Deputy Comptroller and Debt Manager during which time he structured and sold dozens of bond issues to finance city infrastructure or to provide funds for programs such as first-time homebuyer assistance. Brian currently works as a Managing Director in the Public Finance group of Mesirow Financial in Chicago, Illinois. Brian has been involved in school governance for eight years, having served on the Board of Directors of Near North Montessori in the role of Treasurer and as Chairman of their Finance Committee. Brian has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Knox College and an MBA from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Brian has two children currently enrolled at Near North.
Jim Masterson, Vice President
Jim Masterson started his professional career in the trading pits on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and currently owns two separate trading firms: M&N Trading and Port 22. Moreover, Jim is also the co-creator of a casual Mexican restaurant concept called Flaco’s Tacos which just recently opened up its 3rd location in Wrigleyville. Jim attended Indiana University and graduated in 1989 with a Finance degree with a concentration in Real Estate. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Beth, and their five Montessori-educated children.
Patty Abrams, Secretary
Patty Abrams is the parent of two montessori-educated daughters. She has worked as corporate project manager for Solo Cup Company, and has served as a board member and officer at Corporate Imaging Concepts, a brand marketing company. She was on the board of directors for the Montessori School of Lake Forest before serving on the founding board of Beacon Academy. She has tutored both adults and at-risk youth in North Chicago. She has a BA in Humanities from John Carroll University and is currently in the MLS program at Lake Forest College. She and her husband Brian live with their children in Lake Bluff.
Jim Preschlack, Treasurer
Jim is a partner at Copia Capital, an energy related hedge fund based in Evanston. Jim is responsible for strategic planning, investor relations, and business development activities. Prior to his work in the alternative investment industry, Jim spent 20 years in management consulting, with major stints at Accenture and KPMG Consulting. Jim specialized in helping companies manage large-scale, strategic transformation programs across a variety of industries and business functions. He received an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business and a BA in Economics from Hamilton College. Jim lives in Lake Forest with his wife and two children. Jim’s son Stanley is a freshman at Beacon and having a blast. Jim serves as the Chairman of Lake Forest’s Historic Preservation Commission and is an active member of The Church of the Holy Spirit. Jim enjoys reading, golf, squash, crossfit, skiing, and being with his family and friends.
Danielle Loevy, Immediate Past President
Danielle’s career began as a lawyer in the area of employment discrimination and civil rights law, after which her focus shifted to the prevention of lawsuits and disputes through mediation, facilitation and training. She was elected President of the Association for Conflict Resolution in Chicago, and Vice President of the Mediation Council of Illinois. Danielle designed and led diversity workshops with Kaleidoscope Group, a nationally (and internationally) known diversity consulting firm based in Chicago, and worked with the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in many different capacities. Having been involved in Beacon’s formation since 2011, Danielle is immediate board past president, and this year joins the rank as a proud parent of two incoming ninth grade Beacon students. She currently chairs the board at Rogers Park Montessori School, where her youngest son remains a student. In her free time, you can find Danielle playing tennis, riding her bike, reading, or looking for a place to go hiking with her husband, Jon.
Lissa has been active in the field of Montessori education since 1978 as an administrator, teacher, teacher educator and consultant, including leading the Montessori School of Lake Forest through its most ambitious period of expansion, from 1981 through her retirement in 2011. Lissa holds a Business Degree from the Private Handelsschule Holzberger in Munich Germany. Lissa is the parent of three children and the grandparent to seven grandchildren. She is proud that her own children graduated from Montessori and that five of her seven grandchildren currently attend a Montessori School.
Lynn Lillard Jessen
Lynn co-founded Forest Bluff School and was its first teacher, leading the original primary class in 1982. Two years later, she established the Young Children’s Community for the youngest children, ages 18 months to 3 years. Lynn is co-author with Paula Polk Lillard of “Montessori From the Start,” a guide for helping the young child at home from birth on. Lynn is a graduate of Smith College and has AMI training at both the Assistants to Infancy and Primary levels. She is married to Ned Jessen and their three children are all graduates of Forest Bluff. Her youngest daughter is also a graduate of the Montessori High School in Cleveland, Ohio, the first Montessori boarding school at the high school level in the United States. Lynn and Ned both serve on its Board of Directors.
Jackie Kaplan-Perkins currently serves as the Midwest Director for Human Rights Watch. Prior to that Jackie had worked as a consultant to dozens of non-profit organizations in Chicago as well as senior staff at the Chicago Foundation for Women, the National Center on Poverty Law, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps and as the finance director for Jan Schakowsky’s successful bid for United States Congress. Jackie was a fellow in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership program, American Jewish World Service Global Justice fellowship and Leadership Greater Chicago. Jackie lives in Chicago with her wife Ann and son David, who is a student at Beacon Academy.
As the current Executive Director at Near North Montessori School and with over 24 years of experience in Montessori education, Audrey comes to the Board interested in assisting with the creation of Beacon. Audrey believes in a high school that prepares students for success in the 21st century and meets the needs of the adolescent students in accordance with the principles of Montessori’s third plane of development.
Roc is a parent and former board member at Near North Montessori School where he chaired the Facility Committee during a period of extensive facility upgrades and served on several committees during his tenure as trustee. Roc has a general contracting firm, Crescent Rock Builders, Inc. with years of experience design/building architectural homes and commercial and industrial sites with a concentration in the reuse and adaption of historic properties. Roc attended Albion College where he graduated in 1986 with an Economics degree and where he is currently involved with economic development activities in the community. Roc and his wife Debbie have been involved in national health organization advocacy and advancement. They have three teenage daughters and live in the Lakewood Balmoral Neighborhood of Chicago.
Debbie has taught preschool through elementary in Montessori schools around the world and is currently the Head of School at Rogers Park Montessori School. Ms. Senoff-Langford holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, completed the Ph.D. dissertation and received a certification in non-profit leadership from Kellogg School of Management and Type 75 certification from the State of Illinois. Ms. Senoff-Langford is currently the president of AIMS (Association of Illinois Montessori Schools), Executive Committee of LMAIS (Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools), and Executive Committee of ICNS (Illinois Coalition of Non-Profit Schools).
Susan Stearn has 20 years of project management experience representing owners’ interests for major mixed-use commercial developments. Susan is a registered architect and a LEED AP. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from University of Illinois, Chicago. Susan was involved with Chicago Women in Architecture in the early ’90s, serving as Vice President and President. She also served on the board of Joel Hall Dancers and Center from 2005 to 2007 and was on the Building Committee at Near North Montessori during its recent new gymnasium capital campaign. She has been the Wellness Council chairperson at Walter Payton College Prep for the past four years. Susan and her husband Howard have three daughters and live in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood of Chicago.
David Stone is a senior partner at inQUEST Consulting where he focuses his practice on diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, leadership, and conflict resolution. David is also a founding board member of the Chicago Jewish Day School, has served on the board of the Mediation Council of Illinois, Association for Conflict Resolution-Chicago, and is a long-term volunteer at the Center for Conflict Resolution. David received a BA in American Studies from Brandeis University and a JD from Columbia Law School in New York. David lives in Lakeview with his family.
Bryn Wagner Hanson
Bryn is the proud parent of student Lily Hanson and likes to think that she’s responsible for a little of the intellect and entrepreneurial spirit which led her daughter to choose Beacon Academy. Prior to starting a family, Bryn graduated from Smith College with a degree in sociology and economics and from the Kellogg Graduate School with an MBA in marketing and non-profit management, and built a career in non-profit management and education. She has worked for the National Arts Journalism Program at Northwestern University, the Field Museum, founded and directed Project Millennium, and taught at the School of the Art Institute. In recent years Bryn has been fortunate to dedicate her free time to family, civic, and volunteer interests.