Tap each Board member’s name to see more information.
Co-President Lauren Polite is the mom to Tia (U-High ’18), and Max (U-High senior), and wife to Blase Polite. They are a Hyde Park family, and affiliated with the university. Since there is something magical about 3’s–she is humbled to be serving her third term as PA President after a six-year hiatus. In her younger parenting days Lauren was involved as a room parent, on N/K Council, Book Swap, Rites of May, Connections, Used Book BuyBack, and other community-building events. She has enjoyed being a “sports mom” with Tia and looks forward to representing the parents in working with the current school administration, and faculty on the many opportunities available to our growing Laboratory Schools. Lauren has a background in health policy and currently works for the State of Illinois; Medicaid program. Lauren encourages all parents to become involved at the schools as much as one’s schedule allows, and to feel free to reach out directly to her or to any member of the PA Board. We want to hear from you! Please email Lauren Polite
with any concerns or questions.
Co-President Barbara Kern is mom to Ethan (11th grade) and Abbie (5th grade). A long time parent (her son started in Nursey 4) she has had many great opportunities to volunteer for Lab Schools, including NK Council, LS Council, Rites of May, and Co-PA President in 2014, and once again this year. Barb is thrilled to be working closely with her good friend Lauren Polite and all of the wonderful parents who volunteer their time and energy on the PA Board, committees, groups and more. Please contact Barbara
with any concerns or questions, she would love to hear from you.
Angela and her husband, Darryl, have two children at Lab–Myles an 8th grader, and Zoe, a 5th grader.Both began attending Lab in Nursery 3. Since joining the Lab Schools community, Angela has worked in many volunteer capacities including, serving as a room parent, launching the Parent Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2010, leading that group for 5-years, and also working with school leadership to launch the all schools Diversity, Advisory Committee in 2013. In her day job Angela runs her own consulting practice – FirstGen Partners – working with education nonprofits, schools, and other social enterprise to enhance their programs and become more diverse, equitable and inclusive. If you have any questions or concerns about Middle School, please reach out to Angela
Lena Jessen has three kids at Lab all of whom started in N3 – a son in 3rd grade, a daughter in 5th
grade and a daughter in 9th
grade. Lena grew up in Carlsbad, NM, moved to Dallas for college (after a brief stint in Connecticut), came to the University of Chicago for graduate school and never left town. Despite preferring sun and warmth to grey and cold, she and her family are happy to make Chicago and Hyde Park home. During the week, she and the family can been spotted shuttling between school, South Side Fire soccer on the Midway ballet at Hyde Park Dance, karate at Enso Studio, and piano on the North side. Weekends are full of museum visits and backyard time. Please stop in if you hear us playing outside. We would love to have you. If you have any questions or concerns about Middle School, please reach out to Lena
Rupert joined the Lab community in 2014, when his twin boys, Xavier and Dominic, transferred in as first graders. This is Rupert’s first term with the PA, though he has been a room parent and has served as a Lab volunteer in other capacities. Outside of Lab, Rupert volunteers at Ronald McDonald House every week, and cooks dinners for the RMH monthly. He lives with his wife, Sherry, in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and spends as much time as he can cooking, reading, gardening, hiking and generally puttering around at the family’s log cabin in rural Indiana. Please contact Rupert
with any questions about the PA treasury.
Many may agree that the University of Chicago’s distinct intellectual environment of rigorous inquiry depends upon diversity of perspectives and experiences among those who compose it. We, as part of this great University, through our children’s eyes, have affirmed this charge, by collaborating side by side with men and women, members of many races, and those part of a wide range of religious and economic backgrounds. Being outnumbered by women in his own home, Abundio is thoughtful of his daughters’ own citizenship and independent thinking, and he is compelled to use their and the voice of his own experiences to inspire creative outside-the-box thinking as he works together with you to support our children’s education. Abundio and his wife, Elizabeth, are the proud parents of Liv (5th Grade), Sophie (3rd Grade), and Eli (K). Please reach out to Abundio
with any questions or concerns.
Mariana and her husband, Paul, have three high school sons, two of them at Lab. Mariana has been an avid volunteer at Lab for many years. She has been a room parent, a volunteer at Rites of May and other festivals, a Connections Co-Chair, as well as a founding member of the parents group LASO (Latin American Spanish Organization). Mariana is also a trustee board member of High Jump, an organization working to expand the accessibility of our academic enrichment program to talented and motivated middle school students with limited family income. In her free time, Mariana enjoys playing tennis, and gardening.
Zainab is a practicing physician. She has an 8th grader at Lab, and a freshman in college. At Lab, Zainab has served as a mentor to new families, hosted neighborhood socials and volunteered at PA/faculty events. She has previously been on the board of an independent K-8 school, chaired the school auction and capital campaign. As part of the HS Council, Zainab hopes to bring her passion and commitment for the Lab community to support students, teachers and the administration to the fullest extent possible. Please email Zainab
with any questions.
Patty has three children at Lab: a daughter in 11th grade, a daughter in sixth grade, and a son in 2nd grade. They have been a Lab family since 2006. Patty has been a room parent, tour guide, volunteered for Connections, Rites of May, Multilingual Storytime, and is a founding member of LASO (Latin American Spanish Organization). This is her seventh year serving on the PA Board, and her sixth year involved with PA Communications. Patty was born and raised in Panama, and grew up bilingual and bicultural. Patty is a co-chair of the Mad Hatters, a children’s improv storytelling troupe that performs throughout Chicago, promoting reading and children’s literacy. She and her husband Andrew serve as Resident Deans for Burton-Judson Courts, a dorm for undergraduates at the University of Chicago. Please reach out to Patty
with any questions, concerns, or suggestions about the P.A., Lab, and P.A. communications.
Melissa has a daughter in 5th grade, and a son in 2nd grade. Melissa has served as room parent and volunteered in multiple classroom and school events. She grew up in Minneapolis and went to college in Colorado. After school, she moved to Manhattan and then finally to Chicago for graduate school where she met her husband, who works at the U of C Medical Center. They live in Kenwood and enjoy being part of the Lab School and Hyde Park communities. Please email Melissa
with any questions–she’d love to hear from you.
Samreen joined the Lab community in 2017, when her daughter, Sanaa, started at U-High as a freshman. Since then, she has been involved at Lab in a number of volunteer opportunities. Outside of Lab, her volunteer experiences include serving on the Avery Coonley School parent board, chairing many fundraising events and projects, and designing the catalog for the annual ACS auction. She is also part of the Chicago Alumni Chapter at Columbia College, where she volunteers her time for events and mentoring opportunities for college students. In addition, she has worked on several community building and service events with the Muslim Women’s Alliance. Samreen’s professional background includes more than a decade of experience in marketing, communications, multimedia design, and teaching. When she is not working or volunteering, Samreen enjoys reading, painting, mountain biking, Spinning, and yoga.
High School Council
Cindy has a 10th grade son and 8th grade daughter at Lab, both here since N3. Aside from having volunteered for many of the PA’s annually sponsored events Cindy has served on the Lower School Council, provided Admissions tours for over a decade, chaired the 5th grade yearbook project for several years, and has mentored many new Lab families. As part of the HS Council, Cindy looks forward to helping support parents, students, faculty, and our new HS Principal, Paul Beekmeyer, throughout the year. She is especially passionate about helping rising 9th grade families and HS families new to Lab have as smooth a transition year as possible. Outside of Lab, Cindy is a practicing Genealogist and house historian. Please feel welcome to reach out to Cindy
with any questions about the High School or the PA’s High School Council.
Chris has a Senior and an 8th grader at Lab, and a college freshman who recently graduated from Walter Payton. This is the Chris’ family 12th year at Lab. In Chris’ twelve years at Lab, he has served as a Room Parent, Tour Guide, Lab Board Member, co-chaired Lab’s Development, and Connections Committees. Chris recently completed a two-year term as President of Walter Payton’s Parents Association and Fundraising Committee equivalents (a.k.a. Friends of Payton). Chris is honored to serve on Lab’s High School Council in order to work with and support new and current parents, faculty and the administration, especially welcoming new HS Principal, Paul Beekmeyer.
Farah, originally a physician by profession, has dedicated a majority of her time to being an active volunteer at her children’s’ establishments. She has an 11th grader, Noor, who came to Lab from The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL. While at ACS, Farah served as a room parent, headed the Cultural Connections program, and served as the treasurer for Home and School Association. She also organized events such as the school auction, eighth grade graduation, and was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. During her first year at Lab, she has co-chaired the Rites of May Festival and helped with high school graduation. Farah has also served on the board of the HUNAR foundation, an international nonprofit organization whose objective is to provide young adults within the underprivileged and marginalized segments of society with standard vocational training, leading to economic freedom and empowerment. As a member of HSPC, she hopes to contribute the same zeal and dedication towards aiding the Lab community. Please reach out to Farah
to discuss any high school concerns or suggestions for the High School Council. She would love to hear from you!
Kevin is a retired Chief Investment Officer who enjoys chess, fishing and soccer. He also serves as Park Commissioner and Treasurer for the Oak Brook Park District. His daughter, Jasmine, joined UHigh in 2017-2018 as a freshman. She enjoys theather, fencing, debate and Karate. Kevin likes making new friends so please reach out to Kevin
with any questions or concerns about U-High.
Middle School Council
Sara and her husband have two children at Lab, both here since N3. Since becoming part of the Lab community, Sara has served as a room parent, on the ESH, LS and now MS Councils, and is on the planning committee for Rites of May. She can also be seen leading the Halloween and Winter decorating of Blaine Lobby. Any questions about Middle School or commuting on Lake Shore Drive, please reach out to Sara .
Susan has one daughter in the Middle School and another in the Lower School. The Farmer household welcomes friends, animals and any mess that involves art-making. Susan is serving on the Middle School Council for a second year, and previously helped to develop the new ColLABorator tool for teachers to draw upon resources within the parent community. Please feel free to reach out to Susan
for all things Middle School. She and her family would love to get to know you.
Cathy grew up in California’s bay area and currently live in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. She has a 7th-grade daughter, Karis, and a 4th- grade son, Carson. Her husband, Mike, works for the Orthopedic Department at the University of Chicago. The family relocated from Seattle and joined Lab in 2014. Cathy has been active in the Parents’ Association as a Room Parent, Tour Guide, Lower School Council member, Third Grade Event Chair, Box Tops Coordinator, and general volunteer. Please reach out to Cathy with any questions about the Middle School.
A mother by trade, a photographer by passion, a foodie by nature, and a Canadian at heart. Monika has been a Lab Parent for over 10 years, during which time she has served on the Lower School Parents Association, a room parent, an advisory parent and has volunteered for events over the years. As a parent of a middle and high schooler, Monika has grown with her children through all the wonderful experiences Lab has to offer and looks forward to her work with the Middle School PA. Please contact Monika with any questions about the PA or Middle School.
Lower School Council
Please contact Jill
with any questions about the P.A., and Lower School events or concerns.
Catherine and her husband, Mike, have recently moved to Kenwood from the Lakeview area and are parents to Ellie who is entering 4th grade. Catherine has enjoyed being a room parent over the past several years as well as volunteering to run ESH’s Picture Day program. Originally from La Jolla, California, she has lived in Chicago for the past 20 years. Catherine spent many years in the healthcare and real estate consulting world before staying home full time with her family and enjoying time volunteering with Lab and the Cradles to Crayons’ organization. This is Catherine’s second year serving on the Lower School Council. Please reach out to Catherine
with any questions!
Cheryl has a 7th-grade son, and 4th-grade twin daughters. She has volunteered in many capacities at school. She is a room parent, former PA president,and current LabArts Co-chair. Please reach out to Cheryl
with any questions!
and her husband, Ajay, have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader at Lab. An attorney by profession, Ramya has volunteered in many Lab events, including the Book Fair, Rites of May, Lab Arts, and as a Tour Guide and Room Parent. Originally from France, Ramya enjoys everything Chicago has to offer. She and her family enjoy traveling near and far. They joined Lab last year and are grateful for the warm welcome from the Lab community. Ramya is looking forward to serving on the Lower School council. Please feel free to reach out to her with any questions about Lower School.
Earl Shapiro Hall Council
Meggan Friedman has been a Lab parent for three years, during which time she has served as a room parent, a mentor to new families, and has volunteered for Connections, Dewey Dance, and the Parents Fund. Meggan is a Senior Investment Sales Strategist for a bank in Chicago, and she and her husband, Sam, live in Old Town and are proud parents of a first-grader. Meggan looks forward to connecting with ESH families in the year ahead and to helping people to get more involved in the life of the school. Please don’t hesitate to contact Meggan
with any questions.
Samantha is in her second year as a Lab parent and lives in Humboldt Park with her husband, Jaime, her daughter, London (K), and their dog Gus. Illinois natives, the Morales clan spends as much time outside as possible, with trips to Lincoln Park Zoo and Maggie Daley Park topping the list of favorite activities. While at Lab, volunteering for admissions tours, the Parents Fund, Connections, and Rites of May have offered Samantha meaningful opportunities to meet and work with other parents. Samantha is a marketing professional for the University’s Alumni Relations and Development office, and is excited to marry her passion for communications with serving the Lab community. Please contact Samantha
with any questions or concerns about ESH or the PA.
Lauren Levine is a second year Lab parent, during which time she has served as a room parent, a mentor to new families and has volunteered for Book Swap, Connections and Dewey Dance. Lauren, her husband, Ross, their two boys and their golden retriever live in East Lakeview. Prior to settling in Chicago, her family has lived in DC, the Bay Area, and Houston, TX. One of Lauren’s favorite parts about joining the Lab community is meeting terrific families and she is excited to find many ways for parents to connect throughout the school year.
and her husband, Omari, have two children at Lab – Taj, a Kindergartner, and Amir, in N4. Both began attending Lab at Nursery 3. Since joining the Lab community, Shara has served on the Black Family Forum Executive Committee. By day, Shara runs her own law practice – WFML, PC, headquartered in the Hyde Park area – specializing in the areas of real estate, business and asset protection.
Matina Marks lives in Wicker Park with her husband Dean and their two sons George and Constantine. Matina grew up in Wilmette and attended Lab for high school. She has served as a room parent and has volunteered to help the admissions office with tours. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her boys, especially in their garden and at the lake front. Matina is looking forward to helping build a stronger community within ESH, and connecting ESH to the other schools. Please
reach out to Matina
with any questions about ESH.
Please contact Carol
with any questions about ESH.