Becky Slenk | Interim Executive Director
Becky holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Nonprofit Leadership and has served in many capacities at the McGaw YMCA over the past 15 years. She has become a Y-lifer because it inspires her to do work that positively impacts this community.
Danny Profit, Jr. | Children’s Center Director of Operations
Danny has over 10 years of experience as a non-profit professional working in the areas of youth programming, leadership development, and program operations. Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in theology.
Luba Dimitrova | Children’s Center Early Childhood Director
Luba earned two master’s degrees, one in Early Childhood Curriculum and another in Visual Art Education. For 18 years, through her work as an early childhood teacher, coordinator, and director, Luba understands that the early years, from birth to age 5, have the most significant impact on educational and personal success in life.
Andrea Hillsamer | Children’s Center School Age Director
Andrea is the Director of School Age programs for the McGaw YMCA where she oversees Day Camp, Summer Learning and Remote Learning programs for students Kindergarten through 8th grade. Andrea will support the project operations by: overseeing the budget, training, monitoring program fidelity, and creating a system to maintain high quality outcomes. Andrea received an MA in Youth and Community Development from Columbia College Chicago. Her 15 year experience working in both direct youth service and youth program management will provide a unique perspective that will ensure effective and lasting outcomes for youth.
Teyona James-Harris | Children’s Center Head Start Site Director
Teyona has twenty years of experience in the education field as a teacher and in leadership. She has a master’s degree in Education from University of Pennsylvania and is Nationally Board Certifies in Early Childhood. Through her experiences, she has learned and strongly believes in the power of a quality early childhood education having a positive trajectory of a child’s future. She commits to the futures of all children who she serves at McGaw YMCA Head Start!
Nicole Woodard is Chief Operating Officer at McGaw YMCA and will serve as Senior Personnel for the RETTL project team. She holds a master’s degree from the Stanford University School of Graduate Education. Nicole has over 20 years of experience in education as a teacher, administrator, and Non-profit leader. Nicole was the Executive Director of Garfield Charter School in Redwood City, California, a community school serving grades PreK -8th, before returning to Evanston. She is also the founding Director of the University of Chicago Charter School, Donoghue Campus, a Prek-5th grade school focused on creating educational equity. Her commitment to provide high quality learning opportunities to vulnerable communities positions her to lead the team in this important endeavor.
Michael Zang (co-PI) is the Program Administrator at McGaw YMCA in Meta Media, an out-of-school STEM space for middle school youth. As a co-PI, he will facilitate the implementation of the project by: designing curriculum, training and overseeing youth mentors, designing and fabricating supplementary learning tools, and collecting research data. Michael received an MFA in Fine Art from Northern Illinois University, with thesis work that focused on the intersection of emerging digital technology and sculpture. Combining this background with five years of on-the-ground experience as an educator, he will bring a creative approach to the project and how youth interact with it.