The Urban Prairie Board of Trustees is the planning and oversight body for the school. The Board keeps the school’s mission central in all of its processes. The Board is accountable for the fiscal and legal health of the school.
The Board of Trustees welcomes all members of our community to its monthly study and meeting. Board meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public prior to closed sessions. There is no meeting in July or December.
Minutes for the monthly meetings are available to the community.
Aimee Krall-LanoueBoard Member
Aimee Krall-Lanoue has served on the Board of Trustees since 2018, most recently leading Urban Prairie's governance task force. She has been parent in the Urban Prairie community since 2012 when her oldest son began first grade at the first Urban Prairie location on Halsted. She also has a son in fourth grade who entered into the Waldorf world at City Garden. A writing teacher and researcher, Aimee is a professor of English at Concordia University Chicago. She also directs the Writing Center.
Catherine FrancisVice President
Catherine Francis joined the Board in June 2017 and is a member of the UPWS Facilities Committee and AWSNA Committee Chair. Catherine has spent her career working in child welfare, managing projects mostly in the area of youth residential care and psychotropic medication monitoring for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS). Catherine currently works at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago on efforts to improve access and quality of mental health services for children with public insurance. She has a Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School with a focus in Child and Family Policy. She has been a parent at Urban Prairie since the spring of 2016. She and her husband, Ryan, are parents of a 7th grader at UPWS. In her free time, she likes to swim, bike, run and keep active outside.
Michael LevineBoard Member
A founding Board member, Michael has served the school since 2009. Michael was the first President of the Board, serving in that capacity from 2009 – 2012. During his tenure, he has also served on the Executive Committee (former chair), Marketing Committee (former chair and former member) and Strategic Planning Committee (former and current chair), lead the school’s search for it’s first full-time Administrator and provided IT support for all areas of the school. Founder and president of AppAbility, a software development consulting firm here in Chicago, Michael has over 20 years of experience in team leadership and strategic decision making. His son, Benjamin, attended City Garden and was a part of Urban Prairie’s inaugural 2009 class.
Nisreen Al-quamariFinance Co-Chair
Nisreen joined the Board in the Fall of 2018 and has been a member of the City Garden-Urban Prairie community since 2014. Her background is in Finance and she started her career doing Business Valuation. After taking a few years off, she now works in the Budget Department at the CTA, which is challenging work considering the financial situation of the city and state! She has 3 children attending UP - two in the class of 2024 and one in the class of 2025.
Rey Phillips SantosBoard Member
Rey Phillips Santos
Rey A. Phillips Santos has been a member of the City Garden-Urban Prairie community since 2015. Rey is a Senior Counsel with the City of Chicago’s Department of Law in the Legal Counsel Division, and has been with the City since 2006. Rey’s background includes environmental law, hotels, finance, education, and history. When not at work, Rey enjoys nothing more than being with his wife, Sarah, and son, Javier. If it involves playing soccer, bicycling, hiking, grilling, or essentially doing anything outdoors, so much the better.
Shannon is a career nonprofit executive working across sectors specializing in campaign fundraising, strategic planning, and board development. As such, she got a ring-side seat for the amazing fundraising prowess and generosity of the Urban Prairie community with the whirlwind 72-hour new building campaign – a career highlight. Shannon is a Vice President for the National Audubon Society where she enjoys exploring wild places and learning about birds, while raising a bit of money. Shannon, her husband and son moved to Chicago in 2014 after 10 years in London and are happily ensconced in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Upon moving to Chicago, their first (and best) decision was to join the City Garden Waldorf School community by sending their then three-year-old son to join Ms Hellesoy’s class. The Callahan family is excited to deepen their relationship with this incredible community.
Sharla PaulDirector of Administration
Sharla Paul (pronouns she/her) holds the new Director of Administration role as part of Urban Prairie's 2019-20 governance restructuring. A founding board member, Sharla has a decade of experience as a leader at Urban Prairie. She fostered the strategic planning initiatives to establish long-term financial modeling, to build reserves, and to create our middle-school-into-high-school plan, and led the school's long-term facility search, culminating in a $600k capital campaign and our 13th and Ashland home. Sharla’s experience in education communications and planning includes her work for the University of Chicago, which has won a Grand Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 2019 she wrote the project plan for the National HeadStart Association to draft ethical guidelines for Artificial Intelligence and technology in early childhood education, and she serves on the year-long working group for that initiative. Sharla enjoys river paddling, bicycling by the lake, and backpacking in the Olympic Peninsula. She has three sons, including a UPWS alumnus in high school and students in the graduating classes of 2020 and 2023.