MR. STEPHEN PAREDES - PRESIDENT
Steve Paredes is a life-long learner who holds a BA in English Literature form Loyola University of Chicago, an MA in Education, and an MA in Reading from Saint Xavier University. Mr. Paredes is a high school English teacher and reading specialist. He has taught high school in a variety of learning environments in both New Jersey and Illinois. He started teaching in 1994 at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, working with at-risk students with a variety of social, learning and behavioral challenges. He has since worked extensively with students from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural-linguistic backgrounds.
Additionally, Mr Paredes is a long-time resident of Flossmoor. Both he and his wife graduated from Flossmoor Junior High School (now Parker Junior High School), and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He has two young children in the district that will also share in the success story of our Flossmoor elementary and secondary school systems.
MS. TIMIJANEL BOYD ODOM, J.D. - VICE-PRESIDENT
Mrs. Odom is the mother of four awesome sons. All four matriculated through School District 161. We've lived in Flossmoor for the past 13 years hailing from Chicago's Ashburn community. I am an active member of St. Mary Magdalene Church in South Chicago where I've attended for almost 25 years serving as parish council chair, lector, commentator and eucharistic minister. I also sing when not serving in other capacities.
I graduated from South Shore High School, received my Bachelors of Science from Western Illinois University and my doctorate of law from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law. There I became a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and served as the 1st African-American President of the Student Bar Association in 100 years of history. I am licensed in the State of Illinois to practice law and have done so for the past 22 years. In 2006 I opened my solo practice in Flossmoor after 16 years in the Cook County Public Defenders office. I've continued to run a successful practice from downtown Flossmoor and now Governors Hwy. while others go to downtown Chicago. Flossmoor is an excellent Village to raise a family and run a business!
I have served on the SD161 Board of Education since 2009 after winning as a 'write in' candidate. My goal was to help find a new Superintendent to lead our district into the 21st century while practicing transparency with our constituents. I am proud to say we've succeeded with Mr. Craig Doster. I look forward to continuing to work on furthering the direction of the district and fulfilling the Strategic Plan created during my tenure on the Board.
Feel free to email, call or text anytime.
MRS. LISA M. HARRELL - SECRETARY
I am proud to serve as a school board member for School District 161 and will do so with integrity, transparency and keeping our children as a first priority when making decisions.
As a resident of Flossmoor for 12 years, my husband and I have three children, two of which are currently in SD 161. I love volunteering and am very active in our community, serving as homeless shelter volunteer and as a youth leadership mentor. As a family, we also founded a nonprofit, named Why Not Party With A Purpose?!, to encourage volunteering and giving locally and that is dedicated to capacity building in the Chicago south suburban, low income communities, providing fundraising support and mentoring to other nonprofits.
Professionally, I am the president of AMD Business Solutions, Inc., a boutique Human Capital consulting firm providing practical human resource and business solutions to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits including executive and leadership development, organizational effectiveness, change management, executive recruiting, and organizational design.
I’m a proud alumni of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Interpersonal Communications and Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Go Illini!
My passion is around how organizations and individuals communicate most effectively to drive successful, productive change. This means communicating as transparently as we can about what we can and respectfully engaging differing voices in the process. It also means that when information cannot be shared, we acknowledge that as well. This can only happen through trust. This is the starting point from which I seek to serve my term.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve our amazing and diverse community!
MRS. CHRISTINE MARKS
I was born and raised in Olympia Fields. I graduated from Rich Central High School in 1981, and from Indiana University in 1985 with a BA in Economics and Political Science. Following my graduation, I moved to Washington, D.C to work for the United States Chamber of Commerce in the International Relations and Government Affairs divisions. Later, I returned to Chicago and worked in marketing for a publishing company and a manufacturing company, finally settling into law firm marketing and working for Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal (now SNR Denton) and Hinshaw and Culbertson as Business Development Director.
My husband, Steve, and I moved to Flossmoor in 1990. We have two daughters. Phoebe is a student at Miami University and Mady attends Homewood-Flossmoor High School. I am a member and Elder of Flossmoor Community Church, Flossmoor Infant Welfare Society Juniors (Auxiliary), and Olympia Fields Country Club.
MR. JOHN SIMMONS
John C. Simmons, CFA, is a senior investment strategist for a venerated global macro investment team and oversees client engagement globally on behalf of the team. Mr. Simmons earned a BA (cum laude) and an MBA from Saint Xavier University. Mr. Simmons is an active member of a number of professional, civic, and charitable organizations including the CFA Society of Chicago, the CFA Institute, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executives' Club of Chicago, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Association of Professional Ball Players of America among others. He also serves as a Trustee for Saint Xavier University, serving on the executive and finance committees as well as chairing the audit committee and investment sub-committee. Mr. Simmons is serving his third elected term as a member of the Board of Education of School District 161.
MRS. MERLE HUCKABEE
Mrs. Huckabee is a wife and a mother of two daughters. Her oldest daughter matriculated through School District 161 and 233 graduating from H-F High School in 2013. Her youngest daughter is a fifth grader in the district. She has resided in Hazel Crest for the past nine years with her family. She is also a member of New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson.
Mrs. Huckabee was a stay at home mom for nearly seventeen years. She recently rejoined corporate America a few years ago and works at the University of Chicago. She has been active in the school district. A former Room Parent Volunteer and Senior Building Chair at Flossmoor Hills. Currently, she serves as a Board Member on the Club Community Home Owners Association. She graduated from Prairie State College, earning an Associates in Health Administration.
Mrs. Huckabee is an advocate. In 2009, she worked with State Representative Al Riley (38thDistrict) to create new legislation to abolish Section 41. It was a 64 year old law that denied CTA claimants a right to sue and recover for their injuries if any errors were made on claims. She appeared in Springfield to testify before The House Judicial Committee. Section 41 was abolished and the new law allows future legitimate claimants their day in court and holds the CTA accountable for public safety. She has also advocated on behalf of children both at the high school and elementary level especially when it comes to safety. Mrs. Huckabee was awarded the 2015 Citizen Advocacy Award by State Representative Al Riley for implementing policies to improve the safety of Flossmoor School District 161 students.
Mrs. Huckabee will continue to advocate on behalf of all children‘s safety and interests. She is vested in this district and like every parent/stakeholder, believes it’s our responsibility to protect, educate, and preserve our children and communities.
MRS. MICHELLE HOERETH
Michelle is currently a PH.d Candidate in Educational Policy Studies at the university of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interest in an extension of her work as an Urban Planner for over 17 years as she focuses on the relationship between educational policy and community development. Her research interest includes issues of race and class inequality, political economy of urban education, and critical geography.
Aside from serving as an Instructor at UIC, Michelle is also the Director of Community Development at IFF, a regional community developmental financial institution. In this capacity, she focuses on the continued growth of IFF and works on broader comprehensive community development efforts within the organization. She is currently the lead on IFF's anchor institution initiative which is working to connect the relationship between community development and healthcare.
Michelle has a Masters in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a BA in Economics from Howard University. She plans to complete her Ph.D. in 2016.
Michelle resides in Flossmoor with her husband and four sons.