Meet Our Board of Directors
Our board is dedicated to stewarding the mission, objectives, and values of City Elementary.
Jennifer Iverson is a parent to autistic children, a researcher in music and disability studies, and an associate professor at University of Chicago. Together with Michele Friedner, she teaches “Disability and Design,” an interdisciplinary undergraduate course focused on disability access, justice, and universal design principles. At City Elementary, she facilitates Music Sociality, a cooperative music-learning program that pairs UChicago students with City middle schoolers. Jennifer believes in holistic, child-centered education, nurtures collaborative ways of working, and enthusiastically supports the growth of City Elementary
Board Vice Chair
Susan Lawson is a native of Chicago having grown up in Hyde Park and currently resides in the South Loop. Throughout her sales professional career, she has worked in multiple industries including hotel management, staffing and real estate. She works at Newmark, a multi-faceted real estate firm, as a Senior Managing Director. She obtained her Master of Business Administration from Loyola University after receiving an undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Susan is married with two children ages 22 and 25.
Penny Visser (Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1998) is a social psychologist who began her career at Princeton University with faculty appointments in the Department of Psychology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 2001 she was recruited to the University of Chicago where she held positions as Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor in the Department of Psychology. Much of Penny‘s scholarship has explored the psychology of political attitudes and behavior. In 2014 Penny left academia to spend more time with her family.
Stacey is a partner at Wang Austin LLC, a boutique law firm whose attorneys practice exclusively in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation. She provides both legal and strategic guidance to employers on all aspects of employee benefits, including advising on compliance, administration, and operation aspects of all employee benefit plans and programs as well as establishing, transitioning, and terminating benefit plans.
Stacey also enjoys speaking and writing on employee benefit related topics, including health care reform, executive compensation, and retirement plan compliance.
Joshua R. Cohen, CFA, is a Managing Director, Head of Client Solutions for PGIM DC Solutions. Josh provides thought leadership to large Defined Contribution plans on investment issues ranging from plan design, Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIA), implications of regulatory change and implementation. Josh works on developing innovative solutions and thought leadership to help plan participants accumulate the wealth needed for their retirement.
Jordyn Harris is the Chicago Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). With a passion for building bridges between the United States and Israel, Jordyn has dedicated her career to fostering strong relationships between the two nations and promoting mutual understanding and cooperation.
Jordyn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Jewish Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an active member of the Chicago community and serves on the board of various organizations dedicated to promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Currently the CRO at InMarket, Trina Rizzo brings over 15 years of digital advertising experience to InMarket, She’s responsible for overseeing a sales organization representing InMarket’s 360-degree consumer intelligence and real-time activation platform to brands and agencies. Prior to InMarket, Trina served as Executive Director of Sales at MaxPoint for over 6 years and spent her previous 10 years at digital and traditional publishers, specializing in content marketing, contextual targeting and programmatic digital. Trina resides in Chicago proper with her husband and son.
George Wu is the John P. and Lillian A. Gould Professor of Behavioral Science at University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He studies the psychology of decision making and teaches MBA courses in negotiation and decision making. He earned a B.A. and S.M in applied mathematics and a PhD in decision sciences, all from Harvard, and was previously on the faculty of the Wharton School of Business and Harvard Business School. Wu was the inaugural faculty director of Chicago Booth’s Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership and a faculty advisor for the school’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. Dr. Wu was named the 2020 recipient of the Chicago Urban League Humanitarian Award.
Founding Board Member
Steven Rings is a father and a passionate advocate for neurodiverse children. He co-founded City Elementary to provide a school on the city’s South Side that would nurture and support remarkable kids like his son. Professionally, he is an Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as a Resident Dean. Before his academic career began, Rings was a classical guitarist in both his native Minnesota and in Portugal, where he taught at a regional conservatory in the Azores. He lives in Hyde Park with his partner Jennifer Iverson and their four children.
Founding Board Member
Leah Harp, LCSW, PhD has a background in child welfare and inpatient and outpatient mental health. She currently focuses on neurodiversity awareness and mental health training. Due to her child’s interests, she has become interested herself in transportation and is an operator for the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line and a student Brakeman for the Minnesota Transportation Museum.
Founding Board Member
Jason G. Harp is a lawyer with a practice focused on complex patent litigation in a wide range of scientific disciplines. Jason co-founded City Elementary to help create a learning environment that did not exist for their autistic child.
Founding Board Member
Marvin Zonis was Professor Emeritus, Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago where he taught courses on International Political Economy and on Business Leadership. He was an expert on the Middle East and consulted and gave speeches to corporations and professional asset management firms throughout the world.
Marvin’s spirit lives on at City through kindness and resources he provided our school. His leadership was instrumental in the building a foundation we now carry forward.
Advisory Board Members