Board Calendar

Board Calendar





6:00 PM

The Cara Program, 237 S Desplaines St, Chicago, IL


6:00 PM

DLA Piper, 203 N. LaSalle, Chicago, Illinois


6:00 PM

DLA Piper, 203 N. LaSalle, Chicago, Illinois


7:00 AM

EPIC Academy, 8255 S. Houston Ave. Chicago, IL


6:00 PM

DLA Piper, 203 N. LaSalle, Chicago, Illinois


6:00 PM

DLA Piper, 203 N. LaSalle, Chicago, Illinois

For a complete listing of meeting dates, locations and agendas for the EPIC Academy Board of Directors and its subcommittees, please visit our school calendar under For Current Students.

Board Members

Joshua Milberg, President

Joshua Milberg serves as the Director of Technology Strategy at Allstate Insurance.  He has previously served in a number of leadership roles in the energy, environmental and strategy consulting sectors. Josh holds a bachelors degree from Claremont McKenna College.  He received his Masters in Business Administration with concentrations in Strategy and Finance from the Yale School of Management.

Aaron O’Donnell, Vice President

Aaron O’Donnell is an associate in the Chicago office of DLA Piper LLP (US).  His practice centers on all aspects of commercial real estate law including the acquisition, disposition and development of office, retail, hotel, multi-family and industrial properties, joint venture and private and preferred equity investments, mortgage and mezzanine financing and lease negotiations.   Aaron received a BBA in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.

Carrie Stewart

Carrie is co-founder and CEO of Afton Partners, a finance and strategy advisory firm that serves organizations seeking to effect positive social change in distressed communities.  Prior to founding Afton Partners, Carrie was a Senior Director at Alvarez & Marsal, and in that role served as the Chief Operating Officer of the start-up Charter Management Organization in New Orleans and as Interim Treasurer of New Orleans Public Schools immediately prior to and after Hurricane Katrina. Carrie earned her BBA in Finance with a second major in French from the University of Notre Dame and is a CFA charter holder.  She is the founding Board Chair of EPIC Academy, served on the steering committee for New Schools for New Orleans, and currently serves as Board Member and Chair of the Academic Committee of North Lawndale College Prep Charter High School in Chicago.

Ted Fetters

Edward “Ted” Fetters is the Midwest Operations Manager at Willdan Energy Solutions in Chicago.  Prior to joining Willdan, Ted was the Managing Director of Program Management at the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition and Chief of Staff to Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie. Ted holds a JD from the Valparaiso University School of Law and an AB from the University of Chicago.

Mark Haggarty, Vice President

Mark currently serves as Director of New Site Development for ONEGOAL, the country's only teacher-led college persistence organization.   Prior to joining ONEGOAL, Mark served as an interactive editor and account executive at and Network Director for  Mark received a BA in English from Kenyon College and a Masters in Business Administration from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University of Chicago. 

Maria Kim

After 14 years in the insurance industry (with her last position leading the technology division for a $400m insurance firm), Maria Kim joined Cara – a suite of bootcamps and businesses that uplift people and communities through the power of employment. Cara produces hundreds of jobs each year, at retention rates over 20 points higher than national norms, and with over 80% of employed participants pivoting from homelessness to permanent housing in which their families can thrive. Maria serves on the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation and the State of Illinois 21st Century Workforce Development Fund Advisory Committee. Her board experience includes EPIC Academy, a charter high school in South Chicago, Rebuilding Exchange (a social enterprise in the circular economy) and Chicago Women in Philanthropy. She was a fellow for Leadership Greater Chicago’s Class of 2008, a 2012 American Marshall Memorial Fellow and a 2013 TEDxMidwest Emerging Leader. Maria holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. 

Jacqueline Samuel

Jackie is a Director of the South Chicago New Communities Program and has an extensive history in the performing arts, arts education and administration in addition to contributing her arts education experiences in two books, Teachers Doing Research and Renaissance in the Classroom. Jackie previously served as the lead arts consultant for LISC/Chicago’s Building Communities through the Arts (BCA) program. Jackie has provided and coordinated professional development programs for the Bureau of Cultural Arts of the Chicago Board of Education, and has served as an arts consultant and teaching artist for Chicago Arts Partnership in Education since its inception. She also served as the Director of Bethel Cultural Arts Center for the parent community development corporation, Bethel New Life.

Chris Martin, Treasurer

Chris is a Managing Director at TwinBrook Capital Partners and joined the Epic Academy board in 2013. Prior to joining TwinBrook, Chris was a Director at Madison Capital Funding. Chris holds a B.A. in Finance from the University of Delaware Lerner College of Business and Economics, and a Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. Chris has been involved with Epic Academy since 2011, and helped develop a financial based intensives program for students. 

Katheryn Hayes

Katheryn currently serves as the Senior Director, Communications for the City Colleges of Chicago.  Prior to joining City Colleges, Katheryn was a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, Communications Director for the Renaissance Schools Fund (now New Schools for Chicago), and a Senior Account Executive at MK Communications.  Katheryn received a BA from Harvard University.

Andrew Annacone, Secretary

Andy has spent his career creating growth strategies and building businesses. Most recently, he was Vice President of Innovation & New Ventures at Outerwall, Inc. Prior to joining Outerwall, Andy was a Principal with a management consulting firm, Galt & Company, where he advised Fortune 500 CEOs on broad strategic repositioning and growth strategies. Andy earned his MBA from the University of Illinois. He is active in the start-up community, serving as a seed investor and board member to several early-stage companies, acting as a business mentor with the Junto Institute, and lecturing on venturing at various universities.

Leigha Haynes

Leigha Haynes is a Vice President at Madison Capital Funding LLC and focuses on structuring and managing investment vehicles on behalf of investors. Prior to joining Madison Capital in 2012, she worked at KPMG LLP in the Financial Services Audit practice. Leigha holds a B.S. and M.A.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently working towards completing a Masters in Business Administration at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Amir Badr

Amir Badr fled his home country, Iran, in pursuit of a more promising future. He arrived at O’Hare Airport alone and without a word of English in his vocabulary. Through a series of fortuitous encounters, Amir met a mentor who guided him through college and gave him what would be his breakthrough opportunity at Exelon. With an advocate in his corner and an unquenchable thirst to prove himself, Amir quickly climbed the corporate ladder. His appreciation for his “airport to Exelon” experience led him to found a nonprofit that matched other underrepresented students with mentors in the corporate world. Soon, Amir was leading Exelon’s diversity and inclusion program, and revolutionizing the way firms can improve on their diversity efforts. Upkey is a culmination of Amir’s journey, offering a platform that enables companies to better source top talent while empowering students to showcase their personality and potential beyond bullets and numbers.

Michael Johns

Michael Johns is an educational director who strives to inspire the next generation of leaders through his passion and dedication. Currently, he serves as the Director of Mentors and Volunteers for Chicago Scholars, a comprehensive mentorship program that facilitates students’ persistence in high school and transition into higher education. In this role, he leverages his excellent relationship building skills to recruit, train, and manage over 300 mentors and volunteers. Specifically, he has collaborated to develop an intensive mentorship program, connect students to their mentors, and coordinate volunteer events to inspire students to become better learners and give them the tools to confidently pursue their dreams.

Dan Lira

Dan Lira, is the Executive Director of the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce. The South Chicago Chamber of Commerce is a 93-year-old business organization responsible for the economic development for the 180-year-old South Chicago neighborhood which include Vets Park, South Deering, Jeffrey Manor, Calumet Heights and The Bush. Dan facilitated the partnership of the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce and UIC’s Great Cities Institute to create and develop a revitalization plan for the Commercial Business District in South Chicago that was completed in October, 2016. Dan is a lifelong resident of the South Chicago Community. He owns and is the former publisher of the community newspaper ONT Media, serving the Southeast Side Communities for the past 20 years.