In addition to participate in citywide coalitions such as CODE (Communities Organized for Democratic Education), More Than a Score, and CPQE (Chicago Parents for Quality Education), Raise Your Hand has parent reps in many Chicago Public Schools. Members help inform schools of our initiatives, help get parents informed on how to have a stronger voice at the school, local and state level. If you are interested in real education reform and becoming a parent representative, contact us!
RYH Board of Directors
Wendy Katten is a parent of a fifth grader in CPS. She has worked in social services for eleven years and has a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has published short-stories, volunteered at many organizations around Chicago from Cabrini Green Tutoring to Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly, and served on the board of the Friends of group at her son’s school for four years. Wendy is the Director of Raise Your Hand.
Dwayne Truss has been involved in education advocacy in the Austin area for over fifteen years. He serves as a community representative on the LSC at Ella Flagg Young Elementary and raised five children who attended CPS schools. Dwayne is the Assistant Director of Raise Your Hand.
Jennie Biggs is a parent of 3 children in CPS. She is a former high school science teacher and has a BS and a MS in Education. She is actively involved at her children's school as a science lab aide and as the Garden Team Chairperson. Jennie is also trying to reach out to her community to educate them on CPS issues and to encourage them to take an active role within their own school community. Jennie lives in Bridgeport.
Jill Wohl has been involved in school reform and Local School Council governance for almost a decade. She has public policy experience in early education, bilingualism/biliteracy and children with disabilities. Jill is a proud CPS parent and graduate of NYC public schools, where her father served on a democratically elected school board.
June Coutre serves on numerous boards in Chinatown, including the Ping Tom Advisory Board, the Chinatown Public Library Advisory Board and the Pan Asian Advisory Board. She is on the LSC at her daughter’s school, Haines Elementary.
Heather Hootman is a parent of three sons attending three CPS schools, including two high schools. Her training in architecture focused on the need for educational buildings to support broad and progressive curricula in an ecologically sustainable manner. Heather is a CPS graduate.
Sonia Kwon, a graduate of CPS, is a parent of two children who attend their neighborhood CPS school. She is actively involved in her community and local school and served on the school’s “Friends of’ board. Sonia recently served as the head of the Education transition committee for Ameya Pawar, 47th ward alderman. She is president and owner of Cipo, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in Microsoft ERP and CRM systems. Sonia is the Treasurer of Raise Your Hand.
Eric Reyes Eric is a proud product of CPS and a parent of a CPS student. His work in education has been driven by an interest in social justice. He holds an M.A. in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. There his graduate studies focused on school equity, dropout prevention, gender and schools, school discipline policies, charter schools, and education policy. Eric lives in Pilsen.
Cassie Creswell Cassandre is the parent of a second grader and a preschooler at Goethe Elementary. She is an active member of the Logan Square community, having served on Goethe's Title I Parent Advisory Council and the board of Friends of Goethe School and helping establish and run a community garden at Haas Park. She has a PhD in linguistics and an MSE in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a research scientist in the software industry before staying at home with her daughters.
Christopher Ball is the father of an elementary CPS student in the Sheffield neighborhood. He supports the Montessori pedagogy and similar methods that draw on the scientific study of children's natural intellectual and social development. He taught political science at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State University before moving to Chicago, and has adjuncted at Loyola and DePaul universities in Chicago
Martin Perez Starting as a parent volunteer at Robert Healy School in 2002, Martin has played many support roles to improve the quality of education and community and involvement. He supported bilingual and parent clubs, invited many speakers and programs, and launched a Cubs and Boys Scout Unit. He was elected to the LSC in 2010 to evaluate candidates and hire a new principal. All three of his children graduated from Healy. Martin is an actively involved in: Rotary International Little Village Charter Founder, Domestic Violence Stakeholder, Juvenile Justice Parent Advisory Board, American Heart Association Multicultural Leadership Committee, Pilsen Neighbors Educational Task Force, Career Day Volunteer for Junior Achievement, Chicago Día del Niño Committee. DHS-Parent Matters! for Dating Matters Program, and DIF-México Family Guidance.