Edgar Ramirez, President and CEO, joined Chicago Commons in 2010 as Associate Executive Director. Edgar has experience as a community organizer in the Little Village neighborhood, working on issues such as youth and parent leadership development, green space improvement, and anti-violence campaigns. In 2008, Edgar became the Advocacy and Leadership Director at Erie Neighborhood House, where he was instrumental in organizing agency staff and participants on behalf of issues such as child care income eligibility, comprehensive immigration reform, and job development for youth. Edgar also served as an adjunct professor at Loyola University. He currently serves on Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s Latino Advisory Committee and several neighborhood planning groups. Edgar holds a master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. Edgar was also selected as a fellow for the 2016 Leadership Greater Chicago Class.
Dhiren Shah, Chief Financial Officer, joined Chicago Commons in 2001 and has been in the financial sector since 1987. Dhiren began working in nonprofit management as the Chief Financial Officer for Bethel New Life, Inc. in 1991. From 1998-2001, Dhiren led the financial team at Francis W. Parker School as the Chief Financial Officer. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Bombay received in 1979 and he is also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. Dhiren is a member of the Illinois CPA Society and a committee member for H.O.M.E. and the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Association. He volunteers for CPAs for the Public Interest, and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States.
Sarah Frick, Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Strategy, oversees the organization’s communications and fundraising efforts. Prior to joining Commons, Sarah was the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, which in partnership with United Way World Wide, is part of a global system of change in more than 40 countries. In her role, Sarah led the organization in creating community awareness of the issues surrounding income, education and health. She was responsible for brand stewardship in marketing, advertising and public relations. Sarah has developed and executed outreach plans for year-round communication with traditional and social media outlets, securing media placements valued at more than $700,000. She has secured partnerships with the NFL’s Bears Care and Play 60, Israel Idonije Foundation, Paramount Pictures, the City of Chicago, Crain’s Chicago Business, The Chicago Tribune, ABC, NBC, White House Strategies, and Celebrated Chefs. Sarah has guest lectured on branding, advertising and non-profit management at college campuses including Loyola and East West University. Her volunteer work includes serving as Team Captain for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, Fundraising Chair for Texas A&M University Alumni Association, Chicago Children’s Museum Volunteer and being an active member of the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way. In 2012, Sarah was announced as one of Today Chicago Woman’s Top 100 Women to Watch. Sarah graduated from Texas A&M University with her bachelor’s in Communications and a minor in English.
Cary Crawford, Vice President of Senior Care, began his career in senior care administration in 1994, as a branch manager for Home Care Personal Services, Inc. in Naperville, Illinois. He has held various leadership roles in the field, joining Chicago Commons in 2011 as the Director of Senior Care. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis on healthcare administration from Benedictine University, where he also obtained a Bachelors of Business Administration degree. Cary is a board member and past Vice President at Illinois Association of Community Care Programs Homecare Providers, an Advisory Committee Board Member and former Board of Trustees member for the Community Care Program, and a former trustee of the SEIU Healthcare Illinois Home Care & Child Care. Cary is also a fund member of the American Society on Aging.
Andrew Krugly, Vice President of Education and Program Operations, oversees operations, curriculum and staff training for Commons’ early education and adult education programs. His past roles include serving as the Director of Education at the Ounce of Prevention Fund for the Educare Learning Network, and serving as a successful elementary school principal for over seventeen years. In his role as principal Andrew was a vanguard in behavioral and academic reform. He led sustained implementation of systemic change including: the integration of a Spanish immersion program, the shift in the Special Education service delivery model to one of inclusion, and the implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI). As a nationally recognized presenter and consultant he has spoken around the country on the use of data for continuous quality improvement in early education, high impact early childhood education instructional strategies, and PBIS. Andrew has a Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education both from the University of Illinois, and is a past recipient of Kohl International Teaching Award.
Carman Weathington, Vice President of Human Resources, joined Chicago Commons in October 2014, and has been a leader in human resources since 1989.
Carman began her leadership in HR at Advocate Health Care in 1992 were she served in several leadership roles. After leaving Advocate, she led HR at several quality driven organizations, The Family Link, Britannica.com, Vanguard Healthcare – MacNeal Hospital, Independent HR Consultants, and The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Prior to taking the helm at Chicago Commons, Carman led the HR department at LEARN Charter School Network. She is employee focused, culture sensitive, compliance driven, promotes best practices and values the input and feedback from managers to create a customer focused and friendly HR function. Carman has experience in creating an HR department, establishing workflows, create performance feedback systems, successful skilled base talent acquisition, on boarding and retention strategies.
Eric Woods, Director of Facilities and Procurement, provides facilities oversight and general management for Chicago Commons Child Development and Senior Services portfolios. Eric has been with Chicago Commons since 2011 and has 20+ years of experience in business and facilities management with extensive background in facility design, construction, energy management, operations and maintenance while working for nonprofits and the private sector. Eric specializes in: emergency preparedness, business continuity planning, administration management, space planning, real estate management, corporate relocation management, cost containment and internal client facilities-related service. Eric is currently affiliated with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA); Corporate Real Estate Group; Building Owners and Managers Associations (BOMA); Association for Facility Engineering and Nonprofit Professionals. Eric attended Rock Valley College for Business Administration (1989) and is a Facilities Management Professional (FMP) with technical knowledge ensuring a safe work environment through compliance with regulatory agencies and standards (EPA, OSHA, ADA, etc).
Janice Woods, Child Development Program Director, has been part of the education community for 35 years. Janice has a Masters in Educational Leadership from Argosy University and a bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Roosevelt University with concentration in Early Childhood Education. She began teaching at the University of Chicago Laboratory Nursery School in 1978, and later became Director of the Parent Cooperative School in Hyde Park. Janice came to Chicago Commons in 1998 as an assistant director and became the Program Director in 2005. Janice has worked with her team to produce a book entitled “Chicago Commons Adaptations of the Reggio Emilia Approach Deeply Rooted in Theory & Practice.” The book provides insights into the award-winning Reggio Emilia Approach, based out of Italy. Janice provides leadership to four “Reggio inspired”, nationally accredited sites through the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She also leads an initiative to provide consulting to 16 partner head start schools in Chicago. Janice is an active member of the Chicago Coalition of Site Administered Child Care Programs, the Illinois Head Start Association, and a chosen participant on the Mayor’s Early Childhood Task Force.