Alumni Association Board

Our Mission

The Alumni Association Board is dedicated to advancing the mission, vision, and values of the Crown Family School. We strive to build, strengthen, and maintain strong, mutually beneficial relationships between the alumni and all facets of the School. We connect with students and alumni across the country, advance the reputation of the School, and develop a pipeline to build capacity for student scholarships. 

Executive Committee

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Peter Gaumond AM ’93, President

Peter Gaumond has more than 25 years of experience in the substance use disorder treatment and recovery field. For the past seven years, Peter has played a key role in the development of federal drug policy and in coordinating its implementation across federal agencies. He has focused especially on policy development in relation to addiction treatment and recovery support, including the national opioid crisis.

Before his work with the federal government, Peter served as a Senior Associate at Altarum Institute, where he provided technical assistance to states and tribes implementing programs under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/CSAT) Access to Recovery Program, and at Abt Associates, where he served as Project Manager for the SAMHSA/CSATPartners for Recovery Initiative. Before moving to the Washington, DC area, Peter served as the Administrator of Program Development for the Illinois Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA). In that role, he was charged with improving systems and services, and overseeing a wide range of initiatives, programs and projects budgeted at approximately $30 million annually. He led a team of 10 who applied for and managed federal grants and who implemented and managed innovative projects funded by the state, such as the development of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder treatment networks, compulsive gambling treatment, and cross-system, cross-agency teams to serve homeless people with substance use, mental health, or co-occurring disorders. He also served on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Continuum of Care. Peter’s service with the State of Illinois began in 1993, when he served as an analyst in the Illinois Bureau of the Budget (now the Illinois Office of Management and Budget), where he was responsible for the budgets of the Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, the Department of Aging, and the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. Before joining the State of Illinois, Peter served as a program director, family educator, and counselor in the addictions treatment field; as an English and French instructor; and, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina-Faso, West Africa, where he taught at the University of Ouagadougou.

Inspired to enter the addictions field by his personal experience of addiction to alcohol and recovery from it and his experience growing up in a family affected by alcohol addiction, Peter has worked personally to reduce the stigma and misunderstanding that surround addiction and recovery by educating the public and policy makers about the science and the experience of addiction and recovery. To this end, he speaks publicly and writes as a person in recovery from addiction.

Peter holds an AM from the University of Chicago School of Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and a BA in English from Marquette University. He also studied at the Université de Paris V (Académie Rene Descartes) and at the Université de Paris IV (La Sorbonne).

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Paul Colson AM ’82, PhD ’90, Vice President

Dr. Paul W. Colson holds a Master's and doctoral degrees in social work from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, University of Chicago. Following his doctoral work, he relocated to New York City for over 25 years for Columbia University. He served as the Program Director for the Charles P. Felton National Tuberculosis Center at Harlem Hospital and then as an Associate Research Scientist at ICAP, Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Colson has an overarching interest in the delivery of health and mental health services for disadvantaged populations, including behavioral and systemic issues that impact service use. With NIH funding, he has conducted studies of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and peer interventions to increase adherence among patients with HIV and with latent tuberculosis infection. Dr. Colson relocated to Chicago in 2018 to continue working on issues related to HIV/AIDS and peer workers.

Teresa Handy in a black blouse and glasses against a brown background
Teresa Leary Handy AM ’92, EdD, Secretary

Dr. Teresa Leary Handy is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Dr. Handy leads the ASH 101 course program. She is the former Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at an all-girl private school. She has worked in public, charter, and private schools as an early childhood and elementary educator and a learning specialist. She has presented at national and international conferences, serves as a journal reviewer, and is a published author. Her first children's book, "I Have an Elephant in my Ear,” tackles how to have courageous conversations with young children about the diversity of abilities. Finally, Dr. Handy is an active community volunteer where she lives in Memphis, TN, and she serves as a board member of a charter school. Teresa is married to Carl, a farmer and business owner in Mississippi. She is the proud mother of James, a senior at Arizona State University, and Phoebe, a sophomore in high school. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, knitting (scarves only), and planning a delightful retirement in Hampton, Virginia.

Alumni Association Committee Chairs

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Tawa Mitchell AM ’01, African American Alumni Committee

Tawakalitu J. Mitchell is a Senior Program Officer at the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she has responsibility for grantmaking in the Chicago Commitment program.

Before joining MacArthur, Tawa spent thirteen years in various education policy and program roles in city government, including the Offices of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mayor Richard M. Daley, the City Colleges of Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools.

Tawa holds an M.A. from the Crown Family School and a B.A. from Spelman College. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Chicago Women in Philanthropy, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Illinois, and the Parks Foundation of Oak Park. Tawa is also a member of the Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Lake Shore Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, organizations dedicated to community service.

Tawa is a Class of 2018 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, the region’s premier civic leadership development program.

Dana Franceschini
Dana Franceschini AM '17, Alumni Engagement Committee

Dana Franceschini is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her BS in Psychology (2014) from Michigan State University and AM in Social Services Administration (2017) from the University of Chicago in the Older Adult Program of Study. Her previous work experience was as the Transitional Care Supervisor at a non-profit, overseeing the coordination and implementation of two social work-led care management models. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Social Work at UIC. Her research interests include aging, social and structural determinants of health, social work in healthcare, and health equity. She is also a yoga instructor and a proud dog mom.

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Briahna Williams AM ’21, Alumni Engagement Committee

Briahna Williams is a school social worker who is passionate about supporting adolescent youth
in their transition to young adulthood. Prior to working in schools, Briahna worked in
college access and college retention programs to support underrepresented students’
journey towards earning a college degree. As a recent graduate and a new member of
the board, Briahna is excited about creating opportunities for recent graduates to remain
connected to the Crown School through professional development and
community-building opportunities. Briahna received her bachelor of arts in social theory
and practice from the University of Michigan. She received her master of arts in social
work, social policy, and social administration from the Crown Family School of Social
Work, Policy, and Practice.

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Dagené Z. Brown AM ’13, Board Development Committee

Dagené Z. Brown is the Director of Racial Equity Practice for the Department of Child and Family
Services. She oversees the Department’s initiatives to address systematic and institutional racism that perpetuates disproportionality for black and brown children in Illinois. Dagené has been instrumental in leading the statewide implementation of the Department’s program initiatives. She specializes in leading multi-disciplinary teams to deliver effective programmatic and operational solutions in a fast-paced execution environment to achieve organizational objectives, particularly in achieving systems integration and program alignments. Dagené is a licensed social worker and has more than 20 years of experience in family advocacy. Her background also includes delivering social work services in the education and nonprofit arenas, as well as in healthcare. Ms. Brown is a 2023 recipient of the “Women Making History” award from the National Council of Negro Women. She is a graduate of Bradley University and the University of Chicago, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.

Denise Murray in a black blouse and silver chain necklace in front of a white background
Denice Murray AM '95, Board Development Committee

Denice Murray is a Lecturer in the Social Sector Leadership & Nonprofit Management Masters Degree Program at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice. She was previously appointed to the Governor’s Child Welfare Workforce Crisis Taskforce (2020) and currently serves on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Reducing the Disproportionate Representation of African-American Children in Foster Care.

Ms. Murray’s commitment to the well-being of children and families has spanned over 35 years. She attended Illinois State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, where she received a Masters degree with a concentration in Social Service Administration. She is a Certified Trainer in Psychological First Aid, received a Certificate in Mediation Skills Training from Northwestern University, and is a Fellow of Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform. Ms. Murray has held executive-level positions in child welfare, in both the public and provider sectors, including Chief of Staff at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, CEO at Chicago Child Care Society, and Associate Executive Director at The Child Care Association of Illinois (now Illinois Collaboration On Youth). 

I used to think that the most important thing for people to know about me was my educational and professional achievements and accomplishments. Now I believe the most important thing to tell people is that I have a lifelong commitment to my family and community. I believe in God and the inherent goodness of mankind. I believe that character and integrity are uncompromising and it is important to stand up for what you believe to be right.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” - Shirley Chisholm

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Kimberly McGee AM ’14, Board Governance Committee

Kimberly McGee is a former Medical Laboratory Scientist who specialized in Immunology, Microbiology, Serology, and Infectious Diseases. She also supervised volunteers on the Rape Crisis Hotline. During her time at the Crown Family School, she was enrolled in the Older Adult program. She completed courses in leadership and policy at the Harris School of Public Policy. She also served as the Director of Partnerships for a start-up company that participated in Booth's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation New Venture Accelerator. As a consultant, she organized global volunteer events for a technology and communications company and developed and directed innovative STEM and Robotics programs for high school students from underserved communities. She has assisted in launching various start-ups, including both for-profit and non-profit entities. Currently, as Associate Director, she is responsible for creating, implementing, and assessing programs and initiatives that enhance the faculty experience and
support faculty career development within the Biological Sciences Division.


Ronda Franks
Ronda Franks AM ’74, MAT, LCSW

Ronda Franks has worked as both a clinical social worker and an English teacher over the past 40 years. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, a M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a M.A.T. from National Louis University with a certification in Secondary English. Most recently she taught Language Arts for 12 years to 7th and 8th grade students at Springman Middle School in Glenview. Prior to that she worked with adolescents and their families as a clinical social worker. Additionally, she was a member of the Northfield District 29 School Board for 8 years where she served as Vice-President and Chairman of the Education Committee and is currently a member of the Alumni Board at the Crown School of Social Work at the University of Chicago. Finally, she is thrilled to now blend her social work and teaching skills by co-facilitating parent discussion groups with a former teaching colleague.

Karen Graham headshot; Karen has short light brown hair, wears black framed glasses and a black collared shirt and poses in front of a green leafy background
Karen Kozlowski Graham AM ’82

After graduating from the Crown Family School, Karen developed and directed one of the country's first psychiatric rehabilitation programs for deaf people while working at Thresholds, Inc. in Chicago. She has led in advocating for and helping create legislation in Illinois toward statewide mental health services for persons who are deaf and mentally ill and has consulted on similar projects in other states. In addition, Karen co-founded a sign language interpreter agency and an organization for families adopting children from the former Soviet Union. She is an active advocate in PFLAG, a support group for families of LGBTQ individuals, and is involved in promoting accessible mental health services.

While living in Seattle, Karen worked with several interpreters to start a woman and employee-focused for-profit sign language interpreter business as an alternative to the more corporate independent-contractor model. After that business, she worked with her husband to set up another for-profit service company providing captioning for deaf people (or anyone wanting to view the text of what was being spoken in real-time). Meanwhile, she has maintained a small private clinical psychotherapy practice to stay in touch with her passion for working with individuals and families.

Karen has won widespread recognition for her work, including an award from the American Psychiatric Association. But she is most proud of being the first recipient of the University of Chicago Crown Family School's Elizabeth Butler Award in 1992.

Kai Guterman
Kai Guterman AM ’10 / MPP ’10

Kai Guterman is the Senior Manager of Knowledge Management at the Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the US Children’s Bureau. With 19 years of experience in child welfare and human services, his work has ranged from the frontlines to conducting research and delivering technical assistance at county, state, and federal levels. His current work in knowledge management seeks to leverage the collective expertise, data, and insights of groups in order to solve systemic problems and rapidly spread ideas and innovation--in service of meeting the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Amy Hurd
Amy Hurd AM ’03, DSW

Dr. Amy L. Hurd (she/her) is a mitigation specialist and Licensed Master’s Social Worker in Virginia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work from Christopher Newport University, an Artium Magister degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago, and a Doctor of Social Work degree in organizational leadership from the University of Alabama.

In 2014, Amy joined the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk), where she works as a mitigation specialist on behalf of clients charged with crimes ranging from federal misdemeanors to capital-eligible offenses. Amy values a holistic defense and practices with an unconditional positive regard for her clients. Prior to working at the trial level, Amy was a capital mitigation specialist on behalf of clients sentenced to death in Idaho, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Ohio.

She has investigated across the United States and internationally in Austria, Canada, and Japan. Before relocating to Norfolk, Amy worked as a professional advisor to MSW students at the Virginia
Commonwealth University School of Social Work, where she helped begin an internal, career services program and chaired the University's Burnside Watstein LGBTQIA Awards nominations committee.

Amy has presented to legal, social work, and university audiences on topics such as mitigation practice, mental health and the law, and forensic social work. She serves on the Executive Committee for the National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists. Her work on promoting the versatility of social workers within public defender offices was recently published in Social Work. Amy enjoys serving as a part-time instructor in the Doctor of Social Work program at the University of Kentucky. In 2023, Amy was accepted into Columbia School of Social Work's "Institute on Pedagogy and Technology for Online Courses" which generously contributed to her knowledge and passion for online learning.

Amy is a 2023 recipient of the Milestone Achievement Award from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago. In 2021, Amy received the Doctor of Social Work Writing Award for Social Work Practice and Social Justice from the University of Alabama School of Social Work.

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Youngjo Im AM '93, PhD ’13

Dr. Youngjo Im is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at Chicago State University. She conducts research on child development and social policy, as well as studies the link between educational attainment and youth labor market outcomes. She teaches Social Science Research Methods I & II, and Capstone Seminar, in which students work on real-world projects to improve people’s lives and communities through critical analysis. She serves on the Diversity Network Committee (DNC) and Early Career Preventionists Network (ECPN) Steering Committee of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR). She is also involved in SPR’s Standards of Knowledge Update Task Force. Youngjo received a PhD and an AM from the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. She also received an SM in Data Science from the University of Chicago. She enjoys architecture, statistics, backlot coffee, and Korean calligraphy (seoye).

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Peter Kamps AM ’85

Peter Kamps is a Grants Associate in the development team for Hunger Free America, a not-for-profit in New York City focused on policy, advocacy, and direct service in the area of food insecurity. Peter is involved with the management of government grants and private foundation funding for HFA. He is also engaged in researching potential new revenue sources for the organization and work involving the submission of private foundation grants for HFA programming.  

Peter received his master's degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. He's also served as an instructor with the University of Chicago's Professional Development Program. Some of his favorite hobbies include biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, camping, and reading. 

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Jenny Weiser AM ’99

Jenny Weiser is a federal employee at the Administration for Children and Family (ACF) and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs. As a student at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice (formerly the School of Social Service Administration), Jenny completed her second-year field placement focusing on Child Welfare and TANF at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Region 5 in Chicago.  After Jenny received her A.M. with a Concentration in Administration and Family Support Specialization in 1999, she launched her dream career at the same agency- while obtaining her LSW at the same time.    

For over 20 years, Jenny has continued to feel very passionate about her work in positive youth development and ending youth homelessness. Before this, Jenny worked at Jane Addams Hull House Association as an Emancipation Services Coordinator for former foster care youth, helping them achieve their goals.   

Board Members Emeriti

Headshot of alumuns Jacob Dancer III
Jacob Dancer III, AB '89, AM '04, LCSW

Jacob Dancer is the Clinical Program Director of Behavioral Health Services at Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet, located in the Roseland Community on the south side of Chicago. Before coming to Metropolitan Family Services, Jacob served as the Residential Clinical Director of UCAN, a social service agency that serves and impacts over 21,000 at-risk children, youth, and families across Illinois. For over twenty-eight years, Jacob served as a frontline residential staff member and therapist before joining leadership, whereby he was involved in the development and coordination of many ranges of clinical, mentoring, youth leadership, mental health, and family-related services through engagement and collaboration with community organizations across the Chicagoland area as Program Manager in the outpatient clinical director and eventually as the program manager for UCAN's innovative Violence Intervention and Prevention Services Department.

As the Clinical Program Director, Jacob actively works to address the behavioral health needs of the south side of Chicago by overseeing leadership and staff who provide therapy, counseling, case management, and peer support services. Additionally, Jacob sets the clinical tone for the culture of the Behavioral Health Department at Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet to ensure that the department and the site demonstrate a trauma-informed care culture.

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Marshall Jacobson, AM ’65

After graduating from Crown Family School in 1965, Marshall served in the Jewish Community for over 40 years. He began as the Assistant Director of the Kansas City Jewish Federation. After learning the intricacies of working in the Jewish community and further developing his leadership skills, Marshall was selected as the Executive Director of the Louisville Jewish Federation. In 1974, he became the Associate Director and Director of Fundraising for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland where, with the help of great volunteers, he raised nearly $180 million dollars over a 10-year span.

He moved with his family to New York in 1984 to become a Vice President of the national United Jewish Appeal (UJA) and was instrumental in the effort to rescue both the Soviet and Ethiopian Jews and led the effort to raise several hundreds of millions of dollars for their resettlement. Marshall finished his career in Chicago serving as the regional Director for the Midwest for the UJA, which had just merged with the Council of Jewish Federations. His final work before retirement was serving as an American representative of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

In 2005, Marshall retired. He is currently a volunteer for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago consulting with non-for-profits; a student at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Northwestern; and owner and president of Tours R Us Chicago LLC, a touring company he began in 2007. He was very pleased to serve on the Crown Family School Board of Directors for the School which gave him the opportunity (in some small ways) to help repair the world! 

Joanna Medak in a green blouse and floral scarf in front of a blue and gold backdrop
Joanne Medak, AM ’74

Joanne Medak is a clinical social worker with more than 40 years of experience in the field.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College and a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Most recently, she worked for 18 years in a public high school where she led a team of teachers charged with early identification of students at risk and active intervention for students and their families.  Her team also established training programs for teachers to address social-emotional learning and adolescent mental health concerns, and established a partnership with agencies in the surrounding community to provide services to students, regardless of their ability to pay for treatment.  Joanne has also maintained a private practice for 35 years; she continues to work with individuals and couples. She has supervised and mentored counseling and social work interns and served as a field work supervisor for the Crown Family School. 

As a board member Joanne would like to increase communication between Crown Family School students and alumni to support active mentorship and to introduce more opportunities for life-long learning to Crown Family School alumni. Joanne loves Chicago Theater and reading, and she is a long distance runner and hiker.

Louise Doss Martin in a red textured jacket in front of a gold background
Louise Doss-Martin, AB ’59, AM ’63

During her long career, Louise Doss-Martin has been a clinician, administrator, researcher, policy and program developer, and international consultant. She made history as one of the youngest members of her Crown Family School class and was one of the first African American women to receive a graduate degree at the University. Louise’s career also includes numerous federal awards, and accolades from the American Public Health Association.  

Examining black maternal mortality and black infant mortality has been a focus for much of Louise’s work. Her research at the US Public Health Service (USPHS) in Chicago generated attention and spurred the creation of comprehensive prenatal care in Illinois. That work led to a position in Washington, D.C. during the crack cocaine epidemic where she helped create programs for addicted women and their infants. Louise retired in 2006 after a 30-year career working in the USPHS and National Health Service Corps, where her efforts in integrating mental health services with primary medical care benefited more than 12 million people nationwide.

Alison Weston
Alison Weston, AM '08, MHA

Alison Weston is a Performance Improvement Consultant at Rush University Medical Center where she leads projects to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Prior to her work at Rush, Alison was an Analyst in the Community Health Department at FirstHealth of the Carolinas, where she helped realigned departmental strategy to better meet the needs of low-income and disparate populations. Prior to FirstHealth, Alison was the Health Policy Coordinator at the American Lung Association where she advocated for the successful Smoke Free Chicago and Smoke Free Illinois campaigns.

Alison graduated from the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice in 2008 with a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration. While at the Crown Family School, she studied administration and participated in the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy (GPHAP) as a Brown Fellow. Alison holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago, a certificate in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from UIC.

Alison joined the Crown Family School alumni board in 2012. Alison is committed to promoting networking among social workers to strengthening our partnerships with each other and improve our collective ability to serve our communities and clients.