Leadership Team

Joshua Hale
President and Chief Executive Officer
Joshua Hale began at the Big Shoulders Fund as Executive Director in 2005 and was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer in 2012. He previously served as Director of Development and Public Relations for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a nationally recognized model for inner-city college preparatory education.
Read Josh Hale’s full biography.

Dan Bennett
Director, Leadership and Scholarship Support
312.374.5670 ✶
At Big Shoulders Fund, Dan is responsible for recruiting and coaching emerging school leaders and supporting academic programming across the Big Shoulders network of schools.  He is also an integral member of the scholarship team, supporting student enrichment programs and scholarship receptions.  Prior to coming to Big Shoulders, Dan was an award-winning principal for nine years at St. Sylvester School in Logan Square, where he more than doubled enrollment and oversaw a dramatic increase in the vitality of the school.  He is excited for the opportunity to support more students and more schools. Bennett was fortunate to receive a high-quality Catholic education at Holy Spirit High School in his native southern New Jersey before moving west and attending the University of Notre Dame.

Eliza Bryant
Director, Academic Programs and Enrichment
312.544.8683  ✶
Eliza Bryant hails from New York but became a proud Maroon at the University of Chicago and has not left Hyde Park since, except when hunting for NY pizza. Eliza holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP) and a Bachelor in History from the University of Chicago. Eliza is a true lover of math and puts her prior teaching in Chicago Public Schools and instructional coaching expertise to work making sure Big Shoulders Fund schools have access to high-quality curricula and professional development.

Samantha Clark
Senior Accountant
312.544.8682  ✶
Samantha, a lifelong Chicago north-sider, brings 24 years of financial management expertise and a dedication to service in a non-profit setting to Big Shoulders Fund’s finance team.  Formerly the Director of Finance at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, Samantha was responsible for many mission-critical functions including payroll, accounts receivables and payables, cash management, budgeting, forecasting, and annual audits that safeguarded financial solvency and cost-effective operations for the organization.  Samantha graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and a minor in Accountancy.

Malcolm Douglas
Chief Financial Officer
312.751.5294  ✶
Malcolm Douglas brings a passion for education and more than 20 years of financial and administrative experience in the not-for profit sector. He is responsible for optimizing the financial performance of Big Shoulders Fund including operational efficiency, risk management, budgeting, and financial controls. He served as Chief Financial Officer at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, where his responsibilities included finance, budgeting, facilities management, and student financial aid. Continuing his involvement in the nonprofit sector, Malcolm also held senior financial positions at Loyola University, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and Pillars Community Health. Malcolm, a CPA, holds an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Amelia “Amy” Drozda
Senior Director, Philanthropy, Partnerships, and Engagement
312.751.3850  ✶
Amy Drozda grew up in Omaha, NE, where she was instilled with the drive to serve. This drive brought her to Milwaukee, WI where the Jesuits expanded on it as she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marquette University with a major in marketing. Upon graduation the lure of Chicago called where she worked for Sentry Insurance and the Hertz Corporation. In 2007 she joined the Big Shoulders Fund team. Amy completed her MBA at DePaul University with a focus in marketing management. It is her drive to serve and provide the chance for a brighter future that keeps Amy here and keeps our service arm growing.

Matthew Katzfey
Director, Alumni Outreach and High School Development
312-544-8692 ✶
At Big Shoulders Fund, Matt is responsible for building and enhancing elementary school alumni outreach efforts, as well as creating and implementing fully-functioning advancement programs within participating high schools. These initiatives progressively improve each school’s viability, not only through financial contributions, but also through active community engagement and volunteerism.

In a former life, he employed his relationship building and fundraising skills in the private sector, successfully selling print and online advertising for the Chicago Tribune and award-winning Chicago Parent magazine. Matt was born in Chicago, lives in Albany Park, and holds an undergraduate degree from Millikin University.

Outside of Big Shoulders schools, you can find Matt attempting to learn how to tie a bow tie (it’s not going well), asking his kids if his sock game is “on fleek” (progressing), and cheering on the Cubs (this is the year – again!).

Kate LaMantia
Scholarship System Coordinator
312.751.3896  ✶
A product of Catholic education from grade school through college, Kate LaMantia is proud to carry on supporting Catholic education not only with her work at Big Shoulders, but also in sending her children to Catholic school. After graduating from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and from IIT with an MBA in Finance, Kate moved up the ladder in different positions for the City of Chicago’s Office of Budget and Management & the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Prior to Big Shoulders, Kate was the Chief Financial Officer for After School Matters, where she caught the non-profit bug.

Rebecca Lindsay-Ryan
Senior Director, Academic Programs and External Affairs
312.751.3851  ✶
Rebecca Lindsay-Ryan started out her career in education at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, then wandered north to Francis W. Parker School before ending up at the Big Shoulders Fund picking up experience in teaching, fundraising, program development and coaching along the way. A Double Demon, she has an undergraduate degree in History and Secondary Education and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University. Using her blend of academic, analytical, and development skills, Rebecca is driven to help change lives through access to a quality education for all children. Rebecca is both an Erikson Institute Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellow and a member of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ 2018 Emerging Leaders cohort.

Tim Liston
Director, Donor Engagement and Partnerships
312.374.5676  ✶                                                                                    Growing up in Chicago’s Southwest Side, Tim Liston is a product of Catholic education from grade school to college having graduated from St. Christina School, Brother Rice High School, and Marquette University. With more than 11 years of development experience at WXRT, Old St. Pat’s, and Navy Pier – focused on donor relations, board development/management, and corporate partnerships – he knows the importance of building strong relationships and engagement with supporters. Tim considers his Catholic education a critical aspect of his formation, and he looks forward to helping to support the same foundational experience for Big Shoulders Fund scholars. Tim lives in Humboldt Park with his wife and two daughters, and he loves exploring and learning more about this great City.

Michaela Metzger
Senior Director, Strategy and Communication
312.544.8680  ✶
Michaela Metzger initially got hooked on education as a Teach For America corps member and has learned a lot along the way from her experience at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago Public Schools, and now Big Shoulders. A graduate of Northwestern University, she pursued her MBA at Loyola University Chicago to build her skill base for educational program implementation, evaluation, and marketing. She is passionate about getting the word out about Big Shoulders Fund schools that are producing life-changing outcomes for students all across the city.

John Moran
Senior Director, Patrons Program
312.751.3897  ✶
John Moran is the Patrons Program Senior Director, a position he has served in since 2006. In this role he not only administers the Patrons Program, but also leads Big Shoulders Fund’s efforts to help improve school operations. Prior to joining Big Shoulders, he spent over twenty years in a variety of executive positions in Fortune 500 firms including IBM and AT&T, where he was responsible for both revenue and profitability in a competitive business-to-business setting. John earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and passed the CPA exam after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. He is the proud father of four, and an alumnus of a Catholic elementary school, high school, and university.

Laura Nalley
Senior Director,  People and Leadership
773.251.9032 ✶
Laura Nalley came to education through Teach For America’s (TFA) national teaching corps in 1998 as a junior high Spanish teacher in Washington, D.C.  In 2002, she joined staff at TFA where she worked for 15 years focused especially on talent acquisition and leadership development. She made the leap to Catholic education in 2017 by joining the team at the Big Shoulders Fund. In addition to serving as Big Shoulders Fund’s human resources lead, Laura also manages the Sullivan Leadership Fellows program which seeks to recognize, support, and develop outstanding principals within the Big Shoulders Fund network. Laura has an undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa, and an MA in teaching from Trinity College in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Powers
Director,  Patrons Program and Operational Support
312.374.5678 ✶                                                                                            Kevin was born and raised in Boston, MA and has worked in education for more than 10 years.  He graduated from the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame and has taught at Catholic schools in both Los Angeles and Chicago. He went on to pursue his master’s in Educational Leadership at DePaul University and served as the principal of St. Margaret of Scotland School in the South Side of Chicago for four years.  Kevin is a strong advocate for Big Shoulders Fund schools, and believes all children deserve the right to receive a quality education. Kevin is married to Molly and they have two daughters, Clare and Mary Colette.

Danielle Robinson
Director, Patrons Program
312-544-8696 ✶
Danielle Robinson is ferociously committed to providing transformative educational experiences to the most traditionally underserved communities. During her 19-year educational career, she served as a teacher for 12 years, teaching grades 1-10 and leading instruction in all core content areas. Danielle also served as a school turn-around principal for Barbara A. Sizemore Academy, located in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood. With her leadership, the Sizemore Campus improved student academic growth from the first percentile to the 98th percentile in both ELA and math, increased Sizemore’s CPS school performance rating, and was recognized by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel for improved student performance in mathematics.

Prior to joining Big Shoulders Fund, Danielle served as Superintendent-Regional Director for Phalen Leadership Academies, as well as the contracted Chief Academic Strategist for Chicago Shabazz Schools. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and holds a BA in Humanities and a Masters of Public Administration degree with a concentration in non-profit management.

Christine Sweeney
Director, Development Operations and Donor Services

312.544.8693  ✶
Christine Sweeney has spent most of her life within a 90 mile radius of Chicago. She grew up in South Bend, IN and later traveled north to Milwaukee where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications at Marquette University. She gained fund development experience in the service of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Habitat for Humanity, and finally, COA Youth & Family Centers. Her passion for the nonprofit sector led her to pursue a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  She is thrilled to be in Chicago and excited to be part of Big Shoulders Fund’s mission and the larger effort to provide high-quality, values-based education in Chicago.

Tom Zbierski
Senior Director, Scholarship Programs and School Relations
312.751.8365  ✶
Tom Zbierski has overseen the scholarship program in his 18 years at Big Shoulders Fund. Originally from Missoura (a.k.a. Missouri) Tom has spent his entire lifetime in Catholic schools. His current challenge is that he wants to build the scholarship program to 10,000 so any fiscal help you can give him to achieve his goal would be appreciated. A Golden-Apple Award winning teacher and former school principal, Big Shoulders relies on Tom’s understanding of schools inside and out the classroom to reach students all across Chicago.


Kamilah Anderson
Accounting Project Coordinator
312.374.5672 ✶
Kamilah Anderson graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Previously an auditor for Deloitte and then Northern Trust, Kamilah helped ensure control environments were appropriately developed and implemented and consistently maintained. Today, she brings her passion for travel and accounting expertise to help cultivate a worldly and fiscally responsible Big Shoulders Fund office culture. Kamilah is excited to have an impact on the lives of Big Shoulders Fund schools and students every day.

Elizabeth Bartley
Lead Instructional Coach, Data Analysis
312.374.5673 ✶
Originally hailing from Portage, Indiana, Elizabeth Bartley (also known as Liz) always knew two things: she wanted to be a teacher and she wanted to live in Chicago. After earning her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, she fulfilled her first dream by joining the Waukegan Public Schools team as a fourth grade teacher. She realized her second dream when she moved to Chicago and began teaching at the LEARN Charter School Network. During her time in Chicago, Liz became an Assistant Principal and earned her Master’s in Educational Leadership. She joined Big Shoulders Fund to assist schools in using data to improve instruction and elevate student achievement.

Luis Calderon
Associate Scholarship Program
312-566-4401 ✶
Born in the heart of Little Village, Luis Calderon has been living the majority of his life in Chicago’s southwest side. Luis is a graduate of Saint Xavier University with a BA in Psychology, and minors in mathematics and communication. After graduation, Luis went onto Georgetown University to work as a residence counselor for Summer Discovery. Following that, he went to work at a charter school in Manhattan, NY working for AmeriCorps where he taught sixth grade mathematics. Now, Luis is excited to work with Big Shoulders Fund’s Scholarship team and help to provide support to as many scholars and families as he possibly can.

Jacqueline Chapman
Associate, Marketing & Enrollment
312-544-8694 ✶
Jacqueline is a Chicago native who grew up in the City’s north side. She graduated from Lake Forest College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and double minor in Business and African American Studies. Throughout her time at Lake Forest College, she worked as the Assistant in the Office of Communication and Marketing, and as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Admissions. Jacqueline also interned at Stewart Talent, a talent agency where she strengthened her marketing and media skills. Prior to working at Big Shoulders Fund, she served as a Development and Marketing Associate at VOCEL, a non-profit organization focused on early learning and family support which operates innovative child-parent programs that are accessible to families facing adversity.

Amanda Conley
Administrative Assistant
312.751.3895 ✶
Amanda Conley was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. She worked hard throughout her time in college in the service industry to finance her own way through school. In her prior office management experience, she provided exceptional administrative support, coordinating schedules between contractors and customers to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services all over the Chicagoland area. She is now looking to grow her skills by joining an organization whose mission inspires her, and that’s what has brought her to Big Shoulders Fund. She loves children and helping others in need. Amanda’s hard-working, positive energy have clearly fueled her academic and professional success to this point.

Sheila Fenn
Assistant Director, Scholar Access and Support
312.374.5677 ✶
Sheila Fenn has been involved in the field of education for most of her adult life. While her four children were growing up, she was involved in their schools working as a volunteer and serving on school boards. For ten years, she worked in kindergarten and second grade classrooms at St. Athanasius School in Evanston. More recently, she was the College Ready Manager at Pass With Flying Colors, a college access and success nonprofit for low-income, underrepresented high school students who are first in their families to attend college. Sheila is passionate about equity in education for all of Chicago’s students, and is thrilled to continue pursuing this mission by joining the efforts at Big Shoulders Fund.

Tammy LoVerde 

312.751.8394  ✶
Tammy LoVerde has been keeping the books in check at Big Shoulders Fund since 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University. A graduate of Chicago Catholic schools herself, Tammy understands the importance of a values-based, quality education.

Jennifer Moran 
Assistant Director, Communication

312.544.8685  ✶
Jennifer Moran has been working with Chicago’s inner-city Catholic schools for more than seven years. She served as a tutor/mentor to elementary school students during her time at DePaul University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies. Prior to joining the Big Shoulders Fund team, she served as the Development and Marketing Director at Our Lady of Grace School in the Logan Square neighborhood. She is excited to be able to showcase the commendable work of Big Shoulders Fund students, teachers, and staff to create a brighter future for Chicago’s youth.

Kevin Pitts
Assistant Director, Next Generation and Events
312.566.4403 ✶
Born in rural Minnesota in a town of 4,000 people, Kevin immediately fell in love with the big city of Chicago. After graduating Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Film/Video, he joined an AmeriCorps program for two years called City Year where he tutored elementary students in the Back of the Yards and North Lawndale neighborhoods. He has led hundreds of community service projects with high school students and traveled abroad to build three schools in high-need communities. Kevin is grateful to be a part of the Big Shoulders Fund team and continue to empower supporters in our mission and for our students.

Marjurie Ribeiro
Data Manager
312.374.5679 ✶
Marjurie Ribeiro graduated from Ball State University with a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology with a cognate in Linguistics. Her passion in education stemmed from her Catholic education and propelled her to explore the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity in education. After graduate school, she served as a Principal Consultant in Data Analysis at the State Board of Education for more than six years. Today, she is excited to strengthen the cause and outreach of schools and programs of Big Shoulders Fund by applying her experience of collecting, analyzing, and reporting impact outcomes and providing data to allocate resources effectively.

Maya Roberts
Assistant Director, Scholarship Program
312-544-8697 ✶
Maya Roberts received her bachelor’s degree from Central State University where she majored in Communications – Broadcast Media. After realizing that she wanted to return to City life, rather than reporting the news to the chickens in the country at 5 am, she decided to look into nonprofit communication which led to her serving two terms in AmeriCorps and then to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Looking for a change of pace and the opportunity to use her degree and skills differently, she ventured into communications, marketing and event planning as a contractor. Prior to joining Big Shoulders Fund, she supported numerous departments in the College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University. Maya is committed to creating a more just world for everyone and spends her time fighting for the underserved and unheard through organizing, volunteering, and now in her role as Assistant Director, Scholarship Programs.

Samuel Rodriguez
Manager, Volunteerism and Engagement
312.566.4404 ✶
Born and raised in Chicago’s southwest side, Samuel or “Sam” attributes his academic success to a strong foundation provided by Catholic School, for he attended St. Nicholas of Tolentine here in Chicago from Pre-K to 8th grade.  After going to one of Chicago’s charter high schools, Sam went on to graduate from Oberlin College, as a Posse Scholar, with a degree in Sociology.  Today, Sam enjoys exploring Chicago and playing pick-up soccer when he can.

Heidi Rouleau
Assistant Director, Scholar Access and Support
312.751.8337 ✶
After many years of collaboration with Big Shoulders Fund staff and schools, Heidi Rouleau joined the Academic Programs team as the Assistant Director, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Programming. In this role Heidi supports schools in building capacity for STEM through in-school, extended day, and enrichment programs. She earned a Master of Education in Secondary Education from DePaul University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Theatre from Millikin University. Heidi has a passion for bringing the rich cultural resources of Chicago to bear to elevate teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the City. Previously, Heidi worked to bridge classroom and informal learning environments through her work as the Senior Manager, School Learning Experiences at the Field Museum and during her time as a high school teacher and educator at the Adler Planetarium. After serving as a science instructor for the Big Shoulders Fund STEM Scholars Program on Saturdays for four years, she was thrilled to be able to make an even greater impact in her current role.

Elizabeth Shea
Assistant Director, School Marketing and Operations

312.374.5671  ✶
Hailing from the Northwest suburbs, Elizabeth Tracy credits her interest in working with inner-city Catholic schools to her experiences from her Jesuit education. Elizabeth graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a double major in economics and marketing and an MBA in marketing. Elizabeth spent two summers as a Marketing Fellow at Big Shoulders Fund working with Santa Lucia School in Bridgeport. She then worked part-time as an Enrollment Marketing Coordinator while completing her MBA. As Assistant Director of School Marketing and Operations, she now continues to work with schools and assist the Big Shoulders Fund staff with the development of new marketing and enrollment projects.

Kyra Strzelczyk
Coordinator, Grants and Donor Relations
312.374.5675 ✶
Born and raised in Chicago, Kyra Strzelczyk comes from a long line of dedicated educators, and has always been passionate about empowering and supporting students and their families. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she also served two years with AmeriCorps, raising funds to promote health and education in rural Indiana schools. Her passion for fundraising and development led her to pursue a Master of Social Work with a specialization in Leadership and Development in Social Services from Loyola University Chicago. She gained additional experience in non-profit development at Rincon Family Services in Humboldt Park and the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township. Kyra is thrilled to join the Big Shoulders Fund team and to be a part of their mission to provide high-quality, values-based education to students across Chicago.

Natalie Sullivan
Executive Assistant to Joshua D. Hale, President and Chief Executive Officer
312.751.3898  ✶
Natalie Sullivan graduated from Elmhurst College with a degree in Interdisciplinary Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising. During Natalie’s last two years of college she worked part-time at a residential facility for children with physical disabilities. It was during her time there that she realized she wanted to work in the non-profit world. Natalie is grateful for finding such a wonderful organization, Big Shoulders Fund, to be a part of!

Sarah Tang
Coordinator, Donor Services
312.544.8691  ✶
Hailing from Hong Kong and Beijing, Sarah Tang has been in Chicago serving in the education sector since 2016. A product of values-based education from preschool to college, she is passionate about increasing accessibility in private education. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Communications. Prior to joining the Big Shoulders Fund team, she worked at a school located in Chinatown where she helped with fundraising efforts for their capital campaign. She joins Big Shoulders Fund excited to maximize her impact in securing funds for inner-city families.

Northwest Indiana Team

Dan Kozlowski
Regional Director, Northwest Indiana Initiative

312.544.8688  ✶
Dan Kozlowski started his career in public accounting before his calling to nonprofit work took him to his alma mater, Valparaiso University, where he worked in development. He was then called to serve as Vice President for Advancement at Marian Catholic High School where he oversaw the complete transformation of the development, alumni outreach, and marketing efforts.

A native of Northwest Indiana, Dan has now heeded the call to serve at Big Shoulders Fund as Regional Director of the new Northwest Indiana Initiative, which will bring vital resources to under-served schools in “The Region.” A product of Catholic education in grade school at St. John the Evangelist and a two time graduate of Valparaiso University with a BA in Business-Accounting and a master’s degree in Business Administration, Dan has a passion for his community and for Catholic education!

Gisele Jones
Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement, Northwest Indiana Initiative

312.544.8688  ✶
Gisele Jones brings to Big Shoulders Fund a passion for servant leadership and 14 years of proven success managing people, projects, and critical resources to drive business outcomes, including grassroots projects in low resource/high expectation environments. She is highly skilled at analyzing customer needs and collaborating across multiple departments to build consensus, internal leadership, and targeted solutions.

At Big Shoulders Fund, Gisele is excited to bring the benefits of Big Shoulders Fund’s work and support to Northwest Indiana. Gisele holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University Northwest.