Board of Directors
Chairman: Lance Russell is currently the founder and principal of Russell Advisory, a firm that provides advisory services and angel investments to start-ups and growth companies in technology and professional services. Lance is also active with a number of Chicago-based non-profit organizations in the technology, education and social services arenas. He is on the board of directors and chairs the technology committee for The Cara Program, and a volunteer and adviser to I.C. Stars and Lumity.
Vice Chair: Pat Ford is a long-time advocate for quality education on behalf of children in urban school systems. Ms. Ford is currently the interim Director of the Steans Family Foundation (SFF), and is responsible for directing over half of the foundation’s resources to support the educational continuum. Prior to joining the SFF, Ms. Ford was Executive Director of the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative. Through her work in the non-profit sector, Ms. Ford has developed a deep understanding of issues facing Chicago’s schools and minority communities, and has an extensive network of relationships with a wide range of school reform and community organizations, funders, educators and policy makers.
Treasurer: Evelyn Diaz was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services. Prior to her appointment, Evelyn served as CEO of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council. Evelyn was a member of the Design Team for the ChiTech and, provided essential seed funding for start-up support.
Founding Chairman, Terry Howerton is an entrepreneur who started his first business when he was 15. He has created and led companies every day since. He is the founding Chairman of the Illinois Tech Association (ITA), and partner in Chicago’s TechNexus, a co-working clubhouse and incubator for tech ventures. Terry and the ITA were instrumental in recruiting nearly 100 new and established tech-firms in Chicago to partner with the Center for Polytechnical Education to launch ChiTech.
Ryan Pollock is the founder and a managing partner of Objective Paradigm, an IT recruiting firm and Talution Group, an IT staffing firm. He has 20 years of experience working with clients in consulting, emerging technology, startups, trading firms and hedge funds. Ryan is passionate about business development and is the central catalyst for both company’s growth, identifying and developing business opportunities for RPO, direct hire and staffing offerings. He is continually recognized by both his clients, peers, and candidates as a dedicated professional with a level of persistence unmatched even in the highly competitive IT search arena. Ryan is a founder of T4Youth, an annual charity table tennis tournament that raises money for the Chicago Tech Academy. He is a graduate of the Janice Levin School of Business at Rutgers University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Dr. Nicole Howard is an educator and administrator dedicated to providing access to high quality, educational programs for all students. She has over 20 years of experience in education and is a firm believer that success is met when students are both challenged and supported in the classroom. Knowing that classroom conditions are directly impacted by the structure of the school, Dr. Howard has focused most of her recent attention to organizing schools for improvement and promoting the conditions under which optimal learning takes place. An avid believer that educators should continually build their knowledge base and expertise, she pursued and achieved National Board Certification in 2001 while serving as a mentor teacher at Chicago Academy School. In 2007, she began her tenure at North Lawndale College Prep High School (NLCP) as a math teacher, and in 2008 was appointed Chair of the Math Department. The following year, she assumed principal leadership of the school and served in that role until her promotion to Chief Academic Officer in 2014. She holds a doctorate in Urban Education Leadership from University of Illinois at Chicago, MS Ed. from Chicago State University, and BS in Math from Truman State University.
Carrie Kamm is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Oak Park School District 97 in Oak Park, Illinois. Prior to her starting this position a year ago, she served as a Mentor-Resident Coach for the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s (AUSL) Chicago Teacher Residency program for 7 years. She began her career as a 4th and 5th grade mentor teacher at Dett Elementary School and Chicago Academy Elementary School, both Chicago Public Schools. She earned her Master of Science in Education and Social Policy with an elementary education concentration at Northwestern University and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago, as well as her National Board Certification. She is the co-author of the book “Teaching 2030.” Carrie resides with her family in Chicago. She is excited to continue serving Chicago Public School students as a member of Chi Tech’s board of directors.