Loyola University Chicago

Student Activities

School of Law

Public Interest Law Reporter 2009 Symposium Speakers



ALLAN ALSON joined the Consortium for Educational Change as its associate director for leadership development in 2008. His responsibilities include working with urban school systems in Illinois to create high school charter schools, managing an extensive principal coaching program, and improving leadership appraisal systems and ad hoc consultative services for school districts on a variety of issues. Alson has consulted and made frequent presentations in Illinois and around the country on topics related to equity and the academic achievement of students of color, principal leadership training, and high-school reform. In addition, he has published articles on student achievement, school reform, and school community collaborations. (Back to Event Schedule)

VERONICA ANDERSON is editor-in-chief of Catalyst Chicago, a monthly news magazine that covers the politics, problems, and progress of reform efforts in Chicago's public schools. Anderson became the managing editor in 1996, and previously was the associate publisher of Catalyst Cleveland. She has also been an associate editor at Crain's Chicago Business. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. (Back to Event Schedule)

JONATHAN BAUM is director of pro bono services and a partner in the Litigation Department of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. He became director of pro bono services at Katten in 1993, becoming one of the first attorneys in the nation to have full-time responsibility for pro bono matters. Baum both administers the firm's pro bono program and personally litigates pro bono cases, principally in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. Baum has served as chair of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association, as chair of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and as vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. (Back to Event Schedule

RANDALL COLLINS, superintendent of schools in Waterford, Connecticut, and president of the American Association of School Administrators, has been a professional educator for 38 years. His leadership has been extraordinary in carrying the message of the value of service-learning and its benefits for young people, schools, and communities. Collins has received numerous awards and honors during his career, including the 2008 Effie Jones Humanitarian Award for his advocacy of women and minorities in school administration. Collins is a vocal advocate for the right and necessity for all children to learn and for adequate and equitable funding for public schools. (Back to Event Schedule)

G. ROBB COOPER is an attorney at Ottosen Britz Kelly Cooper & Gilbert Ltd. who concentrates his practice in the area of education law. He represents a number of school districts and other educational entities. As a former teacher and administrator, he brings an understanding of educational systems to his role as counsel to the clients he serves. Cooper also served as an associate professor at Northern Illinois University College of Education, where he taught courses in educational law, collective bargaining, the law of higher education, and law for the school business official. Cooper writes regularly in the area of law and education, and has served as a consultant to the Illinois State Board of Education, colleges and universities, and numerous school boards. (Back to Event Schedule)

HILLARY COUSTAN is associate director of the Loyola ChildLaw and Education Institute. She received her JD degree from Stanford Law School, where she was a Public Interest Fellow and worked in the Youth and Education Law Clinic. Prior to law school, she worked as a program coordinator for a national scholarship program and as a policy associate for a charter school organization. After law school, Coustan clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Gettleman, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She has published articles regarding access to educational resources, has advocated on behalf of the educational rights of children, and teaches disability law and Loyola's Education Law Practicum. (Back to Event Schedule)

ELIZABETH EVANS has more than 20 years of professional experience in advocacy and policy. She became executive director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools in October 2004. Evans is leading the charge to let the voices of parents, students, educators, and community members be heard as they demand more charter public schools for Illinois and higher expectations for all involved in Illinois's public education system. Previously, Evans was a policy analyst for the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago, and a political organizer working in Washington, D.C., and Michigan. She was a courtroom lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Division and served as a staff attorney in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Evans received a JD degree from Northwestern University and a BA degree from the University of Michigan. (Back to Event Schedule)

DENISE M. GAMBLE is the principal at Joseph Medill Elementary School, a Chicago Public School. Gamble has been designated as a turnaround specialist principal by CPS. Prior to becoming principal at Medill, Gamble was the principal at Victor Herbert School. She has 30 years of teaching and administrative experience, often working with emotionally and mentally handicapped children. Gamble strives to boost academic performance in her school by establishing trust between the community and the school, by building better relationships between teachers and parents, and by giving parents ownership of the school by allowing them a voice in decision-making. Gamble graduated from Chicago State University, has a Master's degree from Roosevelt University in educational administration and supervision, and has done other postgraduate work at the University of Wisconsin and Loyola University Chicago. (Back to Event Schedule)

MARY ELLEN GUEST is campaign director for A+ Illinois, a statewide campaign for real reform in the quality and funding of public education for all Illinois children. Prior to joining A+ Illinois, Guest was the executive director of Working in Schools, a literacy organization that provides reading tutors and mentors for at-risk Chicago Public Schools students. She has also worked as a director for a corporate foundation and managed political campaigns for national, statewide, and local office. (Back to Event Schedule)

BETH HEATON is director of recruitment in the Chicago Public Schools' Office of New Schools. She is responsible for the recruitment and selection of new and innovative schools that will provide high-quality educational options to serve the diverse needs of Chicago's public school students under the Renaissance 2010 initiative. Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, Heaton spent seven years with the KIPP Foundation, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to opening a network of high-performing public schools in historically under-served areas. Heaton served KIPP in several capacities as the organization grew from two to 66 schools serving more than 16,000 students. (Back to Event Schedule)

LAURENE M. HEYBACH is director of the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Heybach is a 1978 graduate of Marquette University Law School. For more than 30 years, she has worked with low-income families to address issues of poverty and civil rights. Since 1990, her work has focused primarily on homeless families and children. In 1998, Heybach was the first recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Thomas Morsch Public Service Award. She also received a lifetime achievement award for shaping and enforcing the educational rights of children experiencing homelessness. Heybach is coauthor of an American Bar Association publication, Educating Children Without Housing. (Back to Event Schedule)

DANIEL W. HYNES is in his third term as Illinois Comptroller. Hynes has made government more accountable to the citizens of Illinois and has been outspoken in pursuit of wasteful spending. As a public servant, he has forcefully advocated for the public good. And, on matters of ethical leadership and governance, he has led both by legislative action and personal example. In 2008, Hynes issued the "Fiscal State of the State" report and in it challenged legislators to increase investment in education and shore up the state's retirement systems. Specifically, he noted that Illinois colleges and universities are receiving less funding from the state this fiscal year than they did five years ago. Hynes has also demanded additional funding for elementary and secondary education to ensure that we are providing an adequate foundation for our children. Before taking office, Hynes was a health care attorney. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame, and earned a JD with Honors from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. (Back to Event Schedule)

SHARON E. JONES is chief operating officer and executive vice president at the Chicago Urban League. Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League, Jones worked as a diversity consultant who specialized in providing diversity/inclusion consulting and training to law firms, corporations, government, and not-for-profit organizations. Jones has practiced law and been a community leader over a 20-year career, including positions as a federal prosecutor, with major law firms and with Fortune 500 corporations. She has been highly successful as a litigator, a counselor, an educator, and a problem-solver with regard to extremely complex and sensitive matters. Jones is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College. (Back to Event Schedule)

MICHAEL KLONSKY is a professor of education and national director of the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Innovative Schools. Klonsky has spoken and written extensively on school reform issues with a focus on urban school restructuring. He has also written extensively on the history and progress of Chicago's dynamic school decentralization effort, and has assisted teachers and community groups in starting dozens of new small and charter schools and in the restructuring of many large, traditional high schools. His latest book (with Susan Klonsky), Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society, is a critique of top-down school reform and the push toward privatization of public schools. (Back to Event Schedule)

CARY MARTIN is an associate attorney with Sidley Austin LLP, specializing in securities, derivatives, and futures-related regulatory and corporate matters, including hedge funds, commodity pools and security, futures, and derivatives trading. Martin graduated from Northwestern Law School and the University of Illinois. In addition to her law practice, she is also a board member for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, where she routinely speaks about her experience as a homeless youth and advocates for a better system. She also speaks about the role education can play in breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence. (Back to Event Schedule)

RALPH MARTIRE is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. He also serves as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, the State Journal-Register, and The Herald News on issues involving government accountability, tax, fiscal, and budget policies. In 2008, Martire received the Friend of Education Award for meritorious efforts on behalf of the students, staff, and public institutions across Illinois by demonstrating support for great public schools. Martire also received the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award, presented to individuals who carry out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s commitment to equal educational opportunities through their professional and personal activism, and the 2004 Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award, presented annually to an individual whose leadership has significantly benefited education in Illinois. (Back to Event Schedule)

LISA T. SCRUGGS is a partner in Jenner & Block's Chicago office. In addition to her litigation practice, Scruggs's public policy practice focuses on advising public sector clients, including school districts, on how to achieve their policy goals. Scruggs also has experience counseling non-profit organizations and schools on a variety of governance, municipal, and school law issues. From 2004-06, Scruggs served as senior policy advisor for the Chicago Public Schools. In that position, she developed a number of major policies, including the Policy to Establish Renaissance Schools, and worked on a variety of legal and policy issues related to the district's implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, its remedial program for minority and women business enterprises, its commercial activity policy, and system-wide safety and security initiatives. (Back to Event Schedule)

ERIC TARS is a human rights staff attorney and children and youth staff attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. In his human rights capacity, he works with homeless and housing advocacy organizations to train and strategically utilize human rights as a component of their work. In his youth rights capacity, Tars works to protect homeless students' rights to education and advocates for homeless youth and families through trainings, litigation, and policy advocacy at the national and local levels. Before joining the Law Center, Tars was a Fellow with Global Rights' U.S. Racial Discrimination Program, and consulted with Columbia University Law School's Human Rights Institute and the US Human Rights Network. (Back to Event Schedule)