Staff

At Parenthesis Family Center we consider the experience and education of our staff to be one of our greatest assets in meeting family needs. Social workers and child care staff as well as administrative staff represent a broad base of knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.

We recognize that building a strong relationship with a family is critical to that family’s success in meeting their parenting goals. Social workers design workshop, home visits, and meeting topics around the expressed needs of the parents, while degreed child care staff facilitates classroom activities for young children. Both promote experiences that enrich family relationships.

Staff Bios

Kathy Kern

Kathy Kern - Executive Director
Kathy Kern received her BA (1973) and MA (1980) in Education from Northeastern Illinois University, and her CAS(1995) in Early Childhood Leadership from Concordia University. Kathy has taught at the elementary, high school and college level. In 1980, Kathy began her professional life in Early Childhood Education by developing and managing child care centers for the Norridge Park District and Ravenswood Hospital in Chicago. Since 2002, Kathy has been the Executive Director of Parenthesis Family Center. Under Kathy’s leadership, Parenthesis has expanded programming to suit community needs, refined its accounting infrastructure and developed a long term growth plan. Email Kathy at kkern@parenthesis-info.org

Bonnie Andorka

Bonnie Andorka - Director of Development
Bonnie Andorka received her BS in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University. For many years she was a primary school teacher and day care owner. Bonnie came to Parenthesis Family Center in May 2008 with 8 years of experience working in the nonprofit setting as a Community Relations Coordinator. Her area of specialization has been in family support, event planning and development. Under her leadership Parenthesis has increased its fundraising events, developed a new identity system, and enhanced its direct mail solicitations. Bonnie is married with three children. Email Bonnie at bandorka@parenthesis-info.org

 Leah Vergotine- Administrative Assistant & Morning Program Coordinator

Leah Vergotine joined the Parenthesis Staff in January 2013 as Administrative Assistant & Morning Program Coordinator.  She has spent the past 14 years raising her two sons and volunteering as an event planner and fundraiser for various organizations in the community.  Leah earned her Bachelor’s degree from Denison University and worked for the March Of Dimes, Boy Scouts of America and MCI Telecommunications before starting her family.  She lives in Oak Park with her husband and two sons. Email Leah at lvergotine@parenthesis-info.org

Ann Puccetti

Ann Puccetti - Program Director, Family Support Specialist
Ann Puccetti, LCSW, received her BA from Stonehill College in Massachusetts and her MA in Social Work from the University of Chicago. Most of Ann’s career has been in providing family support services to families in need, starting at Abraham Lincoln Center on Chicago’s south side. Ann has also worked at Catholic Charities, as director of their Basic Human Needs program, and later as a social worker in the Arts of Living program for teen parents. Ann joined the Parenthesis staff in 2004 as a Family Wrap specialist, and now serves as program director. Ann considers it a privilege to assist families in reaching their parenting goals. Ann is married with four children. Email Ann at apuccetti@parenthesis-info.org

Peggy Wright

Peggy Wright - Family Support Specialist
Peggy Wright received her BA in Social Work from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and Masters in Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago. Peggy has worked with families in a variety of settings including foster care/adoption, group homes, and early intervention. Peggy joined the staff at Parenthesis Family Center in 2006 as a part time Family Support Specialist with the Parenteen program. Peggy is a resident of Oak Park and has four small children. Email Peggy at pwright@parenthesis-info.org

 Michelle Nache- Family Support Specialist

Michelle Nache received her Bachelor’s in Social Work and Master’s in Social Work at Arizona State University. Michelle has vast experience in home visits and case management working with children, adults and families in several different settings such as homeless shelters, mental health clinics, and groups homes.  Most recently she worked with hospice patients and their families in their homes and in inpatient settings. Michelle joined Parenthesis in March 2013  working part-time as a Family Support Specialist in the Mothering On Our Own Program.  She has 2 children and lives in Oak Park. Email Michelle at mnache@parenthesis-info.org

 

Noemy Cespedes- Family Support Specialist

Noemy Cespedes, MSW received her BA from Columbia College Chicago and her MA is Social Work from Dominican University. Noemy has worked with families and individuals in various settings including hospitals, group homes and long term acute care facilities. Noemy has also worked in the past with caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren. She is a fluent in Spanish speaker and has worked in Hispanic communities to conduct outreach efforts of services for families and adults who are Spanish speaking only. Noemy joined Parenthesis in 2013 as a part time Family Support Specialist with the Parenteen Program.  Noemy is married and a mother of one. Email Noemy at ncespedes@parenthesis-info.org

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters - Infant Teacher
Barbara Walters has been employed at Parenthesis Family Center since 1991. She came to Parenthesis when her youngest child entered school. Barbara has a degree in elementary education and psychology from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the Parenthesis staff, Barbara had taught elementary school for over ten years. Barbara and her husband reside in Berwyn; they have three grown sons.

Linda Gary

Linda Gary - Toddler Teacher
Linda has been employed at Parenthesis Family Center since 1997 as a Toddler teacher. Linda continues to pursue her Bachelor’s degree, taking classes in Education. Outside of Parenthesis, Linda is an Assistant Youth Leader in her church. She has two sons.

 Tonia BinderPreschool Teacher

Tonia Binder received her BA in Psychology and Women’s Issues from the University of CT. She worked in Community Education at the Women’s Center in New London, CT and ran the preschool and after-school mentoring program for the 3 shelters. Her experience also includes 2 yrs. as a Recruitment/Training Specialist for Human Resources. Tonia and her husband moved to Oak Park in 2009 with their son. Before she moved she taught preschool for 5 yrs. at St. Andrew’s Day School in Peachtree City, GA. She has been with Parenthesis since July 2011.


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