Carole Jones, President and Far West Suburban Coordinator
Carole is the co- founder and director of SOS of 2e (Supports, Options and Solutions for Twice Exceptional Children) organization in Western Suburbs of Chicago. SOS for 2e empowers parents, educators and professionals to advocate for their unique gifted learners by driving awareness, supporting continued education and developing appropriate accommodations. Carole facilitates all Guest Speaker events for SOS for 2e and this organization has grown from 20 to over 300 members since 2012. Carole is an active mother of two and works full time for Dole Packaged Foods. Carole is honored to join the Chicago Gifted Community Center Board of Directors and will continue to contribute to the Gifted and 2e communities through her new position.
Amy Weaver, Vice President and Volunteer Coordinator
Amy was a classic "sleeper" gifted girl that wasn't identified until shortly before dropping out of high school sophomore year to go to MIT. A math and computer geek now living in Hinsdale with her profoundly gifted son and her "sleeper" daughter.
Linda Zanieski, Treasurer
Linda is the mother of one son. Prior to becoming a mother, she was a consultant with Cap Gemini. She is the quiet driving force behind the scenes; she keeps the calendar full of area events, updates the summer programs information, pays the bills, writes the updates and is in a constant search for enrichment activities for her son.
Katherine Peterson, Secretary and Professional Member Coordinator
Katherine is first and foremost the mother of two 2E young adults, through whom she discovered the challenging and joyful world of giftedness. She has been a SENG Model Parent Facilitator since 2010 supporting her children by emphasizing their unique personal process. Her family has public, private, & home schooled, traveled for learning, devised a self directed gap year abroad, and continues to be fascinated by giftedness through all life chapters. Katherine takes great joy as a Coach, supporting the grounded and purposeful self development of women through self discovery and the uniqueness of their personal process.
Rhonda Stern, Professional Member Liaison and Kids Climate Summit Coordinator
Rhonda has been in the field of gifted and talented education since 2000. She is also a certified mediator and an attorney. Rhonda, a newly minted Curriculum Studies PhD, works with gifted, talented, and twice exceptional students privately. Stern sits on the Social and Emotional Committee of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children and is a lecturer and writer on gifted and talented issues.
Violeta Balan, City of Chicago Coordinator
Violeta, a parent of two gifted elementary-aged children, is forever grateful to CGCC for helping her survive the shock that followed the finding that she was raising exceptional children. Originally from Romania, she moved to Chicago almost 30 years ago and fell in love with the city at first sight. Before becoming a mother, she worked in international arbitration and litigation for a major global law firm, enjoyed being an adjunct law professor, traveled the world as a global business development manager and learned the inner workings of an agency of the United Nations before graduating from college. Her most demanding and rewarding job, however, has been that of a parent and she is on a continuous quest how to better understand and support her children’s gifts and challenges. Her favorite CGCC activities are its book club gatherings and the parent SENG-model seminars. As the city of Chicago’s coordinator, she has the honor to welcome new members and she is looking forward to be of assistance and grow our community of local gifted families.
Sarah Alexander, LOGYC Leader and North Suburban Coordinator
Sarah is homeschooling her two gifted children in the northern suburbs. Before she realized that being gifted is also a special need, she worked full-time as a Hazzan. She now has a part-time pulpit but is somehow busier than ever as she co-coordinates (and teaches some of) the classes for LOGYC Gifted Coop and tries to stay at least one step ahead of her children. Homeschooled herself, Sarah always swore that she would never homeschool – while she loved it, it was so much work for her mother. Now she has come to realize that it is not only extremely rewarding, it is also much easier than when she was a kid, thanks to resources like the CGCC.
Newenka DuMont, West Suburban Coordinator
Newenka has two gifted children who are now adults. She became active in the gifted community in order to be a better advocate for her girls and now looks for opportunities such as CGCC to pass on what she has learned. She founded a parent support and advocacy group in her area, she is working with the Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) as a member of their board, and she is a trained SENG Parent Group master facilitator.
Pamela Shaw, Social Media Editor, Far North Suburban Coordinator
Pamela has multiple part-time jobs which allow her the flexibility to manage the ups and downs that come with parenting two twice exceptional teens. She is a substitute teacher, private music teacher, virtual school teacher, professional development facilitator, and online course reviewer. She received her M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis on Gifted Education from the University of Missouri. Her Illinois teaching endorsements include K-12 Music, K-12 Gifted, 5-8 General Science, and 5-8 Language Arts. She served on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Gifted Advisory Council for three years, and currently serves on the board of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children as Co-Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Niamh Muir, Social Media Editor
Niamh hails from Ireland and has been an active member of CGCC. She started the Kids Board Game club which meets during the school year. Niamh works in downtown Chicago and is raising her profoundly gifted son with her Scottish husband in the southwest suburbs. Niamh is responsible for our social media and she is looking to help grow a social community for gifted children and their families in the Chicago area.