GROWCommunity is led by an executive director and a committed group of community volunteers with years of experience building excellent neighborhood public schools. GROWCommunity volunteers include parents, community leaders and educators.

Board of Directors

GROWCommunity’s directors are parents, community members, policy leaders and educational experts. They guide our vision, strategy and operational decisions.

Gina Abbatemarco
Attorney, Blaine Elementary Parent and LSC Chair

Juliet Birnbaum
Hawthorne Scholastic Academy Parent, Past-President of Hawthorne PTA

Sarah Makela
GROWCommunity Executive Director, Hamilton Elementary Parent

Bonnie Perry
Pastor, All Saints Church

Elliot Ransom
Director of School Improvement, UChicago Impact

Krys Shaw
Deputy District Director, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05)

Executive Director

Sarah Makela is executive director of GROWCommunity. Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago with research focused on parent involvement in education. She also contributed to various education-related research studies at NORC, the Consortium on School Research and the Center for School Improvement while at the University of Chicago. Sarah also has a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan. She has two sons in a CPS elementary school and is a past president of that school’s parent fundraising/volunteer organization.