MRS. MICHELLE HOERETH - PRESIDENT
Michelle is currently a PH.d Candidate in Educational Policy Studies at the university of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interest in an extension of her work as an Urban Planner for over 17 years as she focuses on the relationship between educational policy and community development. Her research interest includes issues of race and class inequality, political economy of urban education, and critical geography.
Aside from serving as an Instructor at UIC, Michelle is also the Director of Community Development at IFF, a regional community developmental financial institution. In this capacity, she focuses on the continued growth of IFF and works on broader comprehensive community development efforts within the organization. She is currently the lead on IFF's anchor institution initiative which is working to connect the relationship between community development and healthcare.
Michelle has a Masters in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a BA in Economics from Howard University. She plans to complete her Ph.D. in 2016.
Michelle resides in Flossmoor with her husband and four sons.
MR. STEPHEN PAREDES - VICE PRESIDENT
Steve Paredes is a life-long learner who holds a BA in English Literature form Loyola University of Chicago, an MA in Education Administration from Governors state University, an MA in Education, and an MA in Reading from Saint Xavier University. Mr. Paredes is a high school reading specialist at Bloom High School. He has taught high school in a variety of learning environments in both New Jersey and Illinois. He started teaching in 1994 at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, working with at-risk students with a variety of social, learning and behavioral challenges. He has since worked extensively with students from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural-linguistic backgrounds, including a wide spectrum of students who have special needs. He has served on the Board since 2013 and as Board President since 2015.
Additionally, Mr Paredes is a long-time resident of Flossmoor. Both he and his wife graduated from Flossmoor Junior High School (now Parker Junior High School), and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He has two young children in the district that will also share in the success story of our Flossmoor elementary and secondary school systems.
MRS. MERLE HUCKABEE - SECRETARY
Mrs. Huckabee is a wife and a mother of two daughters. Her oldest daughter matriculated through School District 161 and 233 graduating from H-F High School in 2013. Her youngest daughter is a fifth grader in the district. She has resided in Hazel Crest for the past nine years with her family. She is also a member of New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson.
Mrs. Huckabee was a stay at home mom for nearly seventeen years. She recently rejoined corporate America a few years ago and works at the University of Chicago. She has been active in the school district. A former Room Parent Volunteer and Senior Building Chair at Flossmoor Hills. Currently, she serves as a Board Member on the Club Community Home Owners Association. She graduated from Prairie State College, earning an Associates in Health Administration.
Mrs. Huckabee is an advocate. In 2009, she worked with State Representative Al Riley (38thDistrict) to create new legislation to abolish Section 41. It was a 64 year old law that denied CTA claimants a right to sue and recover for their injuries if any errors were made on claims. She appeared in Springfield to testify before The House Judicial Committee. Section 41 was abolished and the new law allows future legitimate claimants their day in court and holds the CTA accountable for public safety. She has also advocated on behalf of children both at the high school and elementary level especially when it comes to safety. Mrs. Huckabee was awarded the 2015 Citizen Advocacy Award by State Representative Al Riley for implementing policies to improve the safety of Flossmoor School District 161 students.
Mrs. Huckabee will continue to advocate on behalf of all children‘s safety and interests. She is vested in this district and like every parent/stakeholder, believes it’s our responsibility to protect, educate, and preserve our children and communities.
MR. JOHN SIMMONS
John C. Simmons, CFA, is a senior investment strategist for a venerated global macro investment team and oversees client engagement globally on behalf of the team. Mr. Simmons earned a BA (cum laude) and an MBA from Saint Xavier University. Mr. Simmons is an active member of a number of professional, civic, and charitable organizations including the CFA Society of Chicago, the CFA Institute, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executives' Club of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Association of Professional Ball Players of America among others. He also serves as a Trustee for Saint Xavier University, serving on the executive and finance committees as well as chairing the audit committee and investment sub-committee. Mr. Simmons is serving his third elected term as a member of the Board of Education of School District 161.
MISHA LYNN BLACKMAN
Dr. Carolyn Griggs is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning, & Diversity at Concordia University Chicago. In this position, she is responsible for and provides oversight for the following programs: English as a Second Language (ESL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Differentiated Instruction, Teaching and Learning, and Urban Schooling. There are approximately 850 students, 11 full-time faculty, and over 100 adjunct faculty in her department. She has been in higher education for 14 years.
She has presented workshops and professional development seminars to various schools in the Chicagoland area on topics ranging from differentiated instruction and classroom assessment to parental involvement in public schools. She has collaborated with colleagues to present nationally on topics such as the academic engagement for Amerasian youth in Okinawa, digital storytelling, challenges in internationalizing in higher education, and stakeholder advocacy.
Dr. Theard-Griggs has been a plenary and featured speaker at the Illinois TESOL conference in 2015 and 2017. She has also been invited to speak on differentiated instruction for the annual CLEF conference in 2015 and 2016. In collaboration with her sister Dr. Theard, she received a Legacy Foundation Grant through Randall Children’s Hospital for $22,000 to conduct a pilot study on the Benefits of Preoperative Education. She is a founding member and Vice-President of the Illinois chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education.
Prior to teaching in higher education, she was a classroom teacher, grades K-3, for 10 years. She also served as an instructional coach and team leader. Her research interests include parental involvement in elementary schools, culturally responsive teaching, instructional coaching, teacher leadership, assessment, differentiated instruction and curriculum development. She has also been a curriculum writer and independent consultant for ETA/Cuisenaire (ETA Hand 2 Mind.)
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University, Chicago, and a Doctorate Degree and principal licensure from Loyola University, Chicago.
Carolyn is a member of the Lighthouse Church of All Nations and serves as the All Nation’s Children’s Choir Parent Helper. She lives in Flossmoor with her husband and their 4 children. You will most likely find her on a baseball or softball field with her family.