Brian Abrahams - Board member since 2005
Brian Abrahams is the Vice President of Communications for Avant, a financial technology company, and serves as President of the Avant Foundation. Prior to joining Avant, he spent 12 years as Midwest Regional Director for AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He has also worked for the United Jewish Appeal and the United Jewish Communities in a number of national and regional roles, and as Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Mr. Abrahams is the founder of several organizations including a foundation that raised two million dollars for cancer research and another that has raised many millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research. He is a founding board member of Mishkan, a synagogue formed in 2011 that drew over 1500 people to High Holiday services this year. Mr. Abrahams has two sons who attended Bernard Zell and a daughter who is currently in seventh grade.
Craig C. Albert - Board member since 2013
Craig Albert has twice served as Co-Chair of the Guardian Level for the Bernard Zell Annual Campaign and now serves as the Development Chair. Mr. Albert is a partner and portfolio manager of Sheffield Asset Management, L.L.C., a Chicago-based investment management firm focused on equity long/short investing, primarily in equities in North America, Western Europe and Australia. He is a CFA charterholder. Mr. Albert holds degrees in economics and international relations from Lehigh University. He earned a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, followed by two years of corporate law practice for Dewey Ballantine and for Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Albert is the parent of a Bernard Zell alumnus and three current Bernard Zell students.
Daniel Baskes - Board member since 2012
Daniel Baskes serves as the Chair of the Committee on Trustees, and is a past Chair of the school’s Annual Campaign. Mr. Baskes is an attorney with his own practice focused on transactional real estate. He is the President of the Camp Thunderbird Charitable Foundation, an affiliate of Camp Thunderbird in Bemidji, MN, which raises money to send underserved children to summer camps. Mr. Baskes is the fund director for the 1987 class of Grinnell College, where he received a BA in History. He earned his JD from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1990. He and his wife Allison have two children: Jacob, a 2012 Bernard Zell graduate, and Chloe, who graduated in 2015.
Rosanne Diamond - Board member since 2013
Rosanne Diamond, has served as Co-Chair of the Bernard Zell Grandparents and Special Friends Committee, and has driven the growth of grandparent/special friend programming and participation in the Annual Campaign. Outside the school, she has served as a board member for the Chicago Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2000, she served many years on the Board of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, including as Treasurer, and also on the endowment fund board, as Chairman of Major Gifts, and as Co-Chair of the Women's Division campaign. Other volunteer service in Atlanta included being on the board of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta and the board of the High Museum of Art, as well as being a founding member and board member of Temple Sinai. Ms. Diamond is also a long-serving board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), previously serving as Chairman for the Latin America Area Committee of the JDC. A native of Detroit, she earned a BA at the University of Michigan. Ms. Diamond, is the grandmother of eighth-grader Justin Schwartz and Bernard Zell alumnae Sydney and Emily Schwartz
Coby (Steve) Derringer - Board member since 2015
Coby (Steve) Derringer has served as the Co-Chair of the Guardian Donor Level and recently served on the Strategic Planning and Strategic Development Committees. He is a partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, LLP, where his litigation practice encompasses a diverse set of subjects including product liability, mass torts, intellectual property, class actions and general commercial disputes. Mr. Derringer is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Law School, where he teaches a course in high-tech trial techniques. He chairs the board of advisors for the Goldman Union Camp Institute and is a member of the board of the Midwest Chapter of the American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU). In 2015, he was honored by AFHU with its Leader of Distinction award. Coby and his wife Ariel have two sons: Micah, an eighth-grader at Bernard Zell, and Rafi, a Bernard Zell alumnus who is currently in eleventh grade at Francis W. Parker School.
Robbin Cohen Gross - Board member since 2009
Robbin Cohen Gross is the past Chair of the Finance Committee and currently serves on the Finance Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and the Real Estate Committee. Ms. Gross is the Executive Director of The Barack Obama Foundation since its inception in January 2014. She is responsible for leading all aspects of the organization including development of the Obama Presidential Center, fundraising, programming, communications, finance and administration. She has over 30 years of experience in real estate and finance, most recently as President of Pritzker Realty Group (PRG). Ms. Gross was instrumental in the creation and organization of PRG. In addition, she is the owner of Cohen Investment Group, LLC, a real estate investment vehicle targeting Chicago multifamily acquisitions and developments. Ms. Gross received her Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Public Accountant. She and her husband Harold have three children: Rachel, an alumna of Francis Parker, and Michael and Johnny, Bernard Zell alumni.
Dana Hirt - Board member since 2010
Dana Hirt chairs the Capital Campaign Committee and the Head of School Advisory Committee for Bernard Zell. Ms. Hirt is the principal at Dana Hirt Parenting, where she provides parent coaching and education. Previously, she taught at an alternative high school in Rhode Island and has worked as an educational therapist with in-patient and therapeutic day school populations and in private practice focusing on children with learning disabilities. As a Bernard Zell parent, her participation and volunteering has been broad and diverse. She has been involved with the PTC since 1997, chairing Special Friends’ Day, co-chairing the Auction, holding numerous PTC Executive Board positions, co-chairing the 60th Anniversary Celebration, participating in the Field of Dreams Campaign, co-chairing the Challah Committee, and contributing in myriad other ways from working at book fairs to Sukkot decorating to chairing eighth grade Tiyul fundraising. Ms. Hirt also serves on the Jewish Federation Board, where she is the Chair of the Israel and Overseas Commission, and is the immediate past Chair of the Jewish Women's Foundation. She received her undergraduate degree in Education and Psychology from Brown University and her M.Ed. in Human Development and Learning from a joint program offered by DePaul University and The Institute for Psychoanalysis. Her three children, Oliver, Kalie and Quincy, are all alumni of Bernard Zell.
James Hirshorn - Board member since 2013
Since 2013, James Hirshorn has been a Partner in the Private Equity Group at Ares, where he previously served as an Operating Advisor. Prior to joining Ares, Mr. Hirshorn was the President of Potbelly Sandwich Works and served as Senior Executive Vice President of Finance, Operations and R&D for Sealy Mattress Corporation. He was also a Vice President at Bain Capital in their portfolio group, providing operating leadership to a number of Bain Capital's retail and consumer products businesses. Mr. Hirshorn has also served on the board of Temple Emanuel synagogue in Greensboro, NC and is currently on the Mishkan board. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. Mr. Hirshorn is the parent of two Bernard Zell alumni and his daughter Olivia is currently in eighth grade.
Lori Komisar - Board member since 2015
Lori Komisar is very active in the international Jewish community. As National President of the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in RamatGan, Ms. Komisar, along with her life partner Morrie Silverman, helps secure the future for young athletes whose lives were challenged by disabilities both in Israel and at chapters throughout the United States. She has devoted her time and resources to nation building through active involvement in nearly every Jewish organization in America and Israel. Ms. Komisar has three children: Miriam, Randi and Davey.
Lori Leib - Board member since 2015
Lori Leib serves as 2016-2017 Parent Teacher Council President after serving on various committees and as a Co-Chair of the school’s Annual Fundraiser. She is also the Treasurer of the Board for Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, a leading breast cancer research and education charity partnered with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and a Co-Chair of their annual Pink Path Run 5K. Additionally, she is an attorney handling criminal cases with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. She is married to Jay Leib and has two children at Bernard Zell.
Michael R. Lufrano ‘79 - Board member since 1995
A 1979 graduate of Bernard Zell, Michael R. Lufrano has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1995, serving as Chair from 2005-2008. Mr. Lufrano is Executive Vice President, Community Affairs and Chief Legal Officer for the Chicago Cubs, which he joined in 2004. Since that time, he has been responsible for Cubs’ community affairs, government relations efforts, neighborhood relations, and charitable activities, including efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with the community around Wrigley Field. He also leads Cubs Charities, which have consistently donated more than $1 million a year to organizations serving Chicago and its communities. From 1993-95, Mr. Lufrano served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and as Deputy Director of Advance under President Bill Clinton. Mr. Lufrano has served on the Board of Directors of the Lakeview Citizens Council and the East Lakeview Neighbors Association. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and a 1992 graduate of Harvard Law School. He is also the proud parent of two current Bernard Zell students.
Andy Lucas - Board member since 2012
Andy Lucas is the Chair of the Board for Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. Mr. Lucas is Partner and Vice President in the Knowles Armitage Lucas (KAL) Wealth Management Group at Merrill Lynch. He also serves as a Trustee on the Chicago Metro Hillel Board and is an Executive Committee member and sits on the Chicago Birthright Israel Committee and its National Development Committee. Mr. Lucas has an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and a MBA in Finance from Loyola University Chicago. He and his wife Jennifer have two Bernard Zell students, Nicole and Elizabeth.
Barry Malkin - Board member since 2008
Barry Malkin chairs the Capital Campaign Committee. He is also on the school’s finance committee and was actively involved in both the Field of Dreams campaign and the post 9/11 security program. Mr. Malkin is the co-founder and Senior Managing Partner of GEM Realty Capital, a real estate investment company. He also holds a board position at the Holocaust Educational Foundation. He and his wife, Jodi Block, have two children, Clara and Eli, both of whom attended Bernard Zell from Nursery through graduation.
Michael Masters - Board member since 2015
Over the past few years, Michael Masters has regularly assisted with security matters related to Bernard Zell. He is Senior Vice President for The Soufan Group, an international strategic security firm providing advisory and technical services to public and private sector entities. Previously, he was Executive Director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, responsible for the second-largest county in the country, and is a previous Chief of Staff for the Chicago Police Department. Mr. Masters is a Bernard Zell alumnus and stepfather to second-grader Olivia Reis.
Lonnie Nasatir - Board member since 2015
Since 2005, Lonnie Nasatir has been Director of the Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest area for the Anti-Defamation League, overseeing a six-state region. Previously, he was Deputy Administrator over collections for the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Division of Child Support Enforcement, and earlier was a prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Nasatir has two children enrolled at Bernard Zell.
Ashley Netzky - Board member since 2015
Ashley Netzky is very active in Bernard Zell fundraising. She co-chaired the 2011 live auction, co-chaired the chai-level of the 2016 Annual Campaign, and is now on our Strategic Development Committee. Ms. Netzky has spent 16 years at William Blair, most recently as the global research manager for the Investment Management Department. She is Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Erikson Institute, on the board of the Chicago Children’s Museum, and completed a two-year term as Chair of the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. She and her wife Pam, the founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn, have three children at Bernard Zell.
Michael Pierce - Board member since 1999
Michael Pierce served a three-year term as Chair of the Bernard Zell Board of Trustees and is a past Chair of its Audit Committee. He currently serves on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Audit Committee. Mr. Pierce retired as a Partner in the Certified Public Accounting firm McGladrey, LLP (now RSM US LLP), having provided audit, accounting, tax, business and financial consulting to primarily family- but also publicly-owned mid-size businesses and entities as well as high-net-worth individuals. Now a contractor to RSM US LLP he continues providing tax services to high-net-worth individuals. Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society for Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology, and was a co-founder and President of Accounting Group International, an association of CPA firms worldwide. A 1959 graduate of Bernard Zell, he is married to Gayle. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Michael A. Pucker - Board member since 1993
Michael Pucker is President and CEO of DNS Capital, the investment office for his immediate family, and is also a partner in the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins (L&W), where he specializes in company representation, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, corporate finance and corporate governance. In addition to serving on the Bernard Zell Board of Trustees, Mr. Pucker is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Board of Directors of After School Matters, the Board of Trustees of Facing History and Ourselves, and the Advisory Board of American Jewish World Service. He and his wife, Gigi Pritzker Pucker, have three daughters, all of whom attended Bernard Zell: Abigail, Maggie and Jessica.
David Rosenbaum - Board member since 2012
David E. Rosenbaum is Treasurer of the Bernard Zell Board of Trustees and chairs the school’s Finance Committee. Mr. Rosenbaum is the founder and Managing Principal of WHI Real Estate Partners L.P., a private fund manager that invests in U.S. real estate assets on behalf of a group of university endowments, foundations, pension plans and family offices. Previously, he was a Managing Director at Security Capital Research & Management Incorporated, a real estate investment subsidiary of J.P.Morgan with approximately $6 billion of assets under management. He also serves on the Advisory Boards of Dorsar Partners, L.P. and Dorsar Investment Company. Mr. Rosenbaum is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and a member of the organization’s Investment Committee, which oversees approximately $800 million of endowment and pension fund assets for Jewish communal organizations in Chicago and other U.S. communities. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Urban Land Institute and the Pension Real Estate Association, and is a past member of the Jewish Federations of North America National Young Leadership Cabinet. Mr. Rosenbaum holds a B.A. in Art History from Yale University. He was raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, and now resides in Chicago with his wife Margot and daughters Amelia, a Bernard Zell alumna, and Natalie, currently in seventh grade.
Andrea Lavin Solow - Board member since 2013
Andrea Lavin Solow is a member of the Bernard Zell Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee. Additionally, she is involved in work to establish a board for the Yitzhak Rabin Center. In 2012, Ms. Lavin Solow was appointed by President Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. She is a past Chair of Partnership Together (formerly Partnership 2000) and member of the boards of JCC Global and the Interfaith Youth Core. She is a former member of the Women’s Board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and previously served as Vice President of the Hyde Park Jewish Community Center. Ms. Lavin Solow is grandmother of Nursery student Chloe, Senior Kindergartner Samuel and second-grader Scarlett.