Kayla Valenti, Program & Office Coordinator, KJ Hardy, Co-Executive Director and Sarah Hoppe Knight, Co-Executive Director

Kayla Valenti, Program & Office Coordinator, KJ Hardy, Co-Executive Director and Sarah Hoppe Knight, Co-Executive Director

Staff & Board | Auxiliary Board | Teacher of the Year | Annual Reports


Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE) offers grants and professional development opportunities to Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers. For 35 years, CFE initiatives have supported CPS teachers by enhancing teacher expertise, developing their leadership capacity, and creating learning communities.


CFE currently offers five grant‐based programs and a teacher workshop to encourage curricular innovation and the replication of effective instruction.  These include:

  • Teacher Workshop

  • Small Grants

  • Study Group Team Member Grants

  • Study Group Coach Grants

  • Action Research Leadership Institute (ARLI) Fellowships

  • Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellowships

We also offer SEL Bonus Grants to fund the integration of teaching practices that encourage responsible decision‐making and emphasize the need for teamwork, respect, and tolerance in the classroom. Outreach efforts include Teacher Liaison and Teacher‐to‐Teacher initiatives.

During the past fiscal year alone, CFE funded 475 grants and worked with 430 teachers across 212 schools.



Sarah Hoppe Knight, Co-Executive Director

KJ Hardy, Co-Executive Director

Kayla Valenti, Program & Office Coordinator

Catherine Ashton, Marketing Consultant

Sue Hansen PhD, Advisor to ARLI Program

Kate Carter, Advisor to ARLI Program

Life Trustees

Joyce Rumsfeld (Founder)

Judith S. Block

Wiley N. Caldwell

John B. Foster

Mary Galvin

Robert J. Gariano, Robert Gariano & Associates

Robert D. Horne, Dodge Capital

Edgar D. Jannotta

Frederick A. Krehbiel

Josephine B. Minow

Newton Minow

Shirley Ryan

Stephen R. Wilson

Board of Directors

Jen Kobayashi, Wang Kobayashi  Austin, LLC (Chairperson)

Michael Patock, Ellwood Associates (Vice Chairperson)

Talbott Baldwin, DCS Advisory (Treasurer)

Julie Anastos (Secretary)

Brian Duwe, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLC

Chris Santiago, BlueRoad Ventures

C. Graham Gerst, Global IP Law Group LLC

Jeannine W. James

Ann Streeper

Rebecca Berger

Mary Beth Canfield 

Patricia S. Hagenah

Kat Henry, Pulaski International School of Chicago

Tony Hoban, William Blair

Nancy Jaffee

Sue Laue

Lisa Caputo Love, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy

Chris Smith

Nicholas Gowan


The Chicago Foundation for Education's Auxiliary Board is actively engaged in supporting all aspects of CFE programs and development. Founded in 2011 by a group of young professionals interested in making a sustainable impact in a nonprofit setting, ongoing activities include:

  • Planning the WhirlyBall Tournament (Winter) and the Toast to Teachers Happy Hour (Summer)

  • Reviewing teacher grant applications

  • Visiting schools to observe award-winning teachers

The Auxiliary Board meets regularly for various events and holds conference calls throughout the year. The Roles and Responsibilities of AB Members can be found here. We ask that members volunteer regularly and attend at least two of the Board’s main events.

Membership to the committee is by application and interview process. We are accepting applications for the 2019 year.  For more information about CFE or the process for joining the committee, contact KJ Hardy

Associate Committee Members as of SEPTEMBER 2019


Sebastian Garcia

Danny McDonough

Michael Patterson, Fundraising Chair

Nicole Peterson, Volunteer Chair

Shrey Shetye

Shawn Xiao

Brooke Winterhalter

Auxiliary Board Affiliations

CFE's Auxiliary Board Members represent:

Robert W. Baird & Co., Booth School of Business, Chicago Pacific Founders, Goldman Sachs, GTCR, HandsOn Suburban Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy, Morningstar, Northern Trust, Rush University Medical Center, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Teach for America, Twitter, Waud Capital, William Blair & Co. and Wind Point Partners.



On the occasion of CFE’s 25th anniversary, the Board of Directors established the Debby Jannotta and Shirley Jaffee CFE Teacher of the Year award in honor of two outstanding volunteers who have been instrumental throughout our organization’s development and growth.

This award is presented annually to a Chicago Public School teacher who, among other criteria: enhances the classroom experience and provides effective instruction to students; seeks opportunities to engage in professional development and share effective practices with colleagues; and is currently an active member of the CFE community.

Each award winner is awarded a $1,000 honorarium. The 2019 CFE Teacher of the Year was announced in February 2019 (the 2020 award specs document is available here).


2020: Nominate a colleague or friend for this year’s CFE TotY Award!

2019: Hannah Nolan-Spohn, Pulaski International School of Chicago

2018: Lisa Caputo Love, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy

2017: Kat Henry, Pulaski International School of Chicago

2015: Mona Iehl, Polaris Charter Academy

2014: Elizabeth Valente, Otis Elementary School

2013: Bob Hauser, Legacy Elementary Charter School

2012: Cara Bucciarelli, LaSalle II Elementary School

2011: Nicole Zumpano, May Elementary Community Academy

2010: Monica Sims, Pershing West Middle School


The Chicago Foundation for Education is proud to honor Chicago Public School teachers with leadership, learning, and grant opportunities. During the past year alone (2017-2018), we funded 504 grants and worked with 442 teachers across 202 schools.

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