Donnita Travis

Chairman of the Board

Donnita Travis launched By The Hand Club For Kids in 2001. Under her leadership, By The Hand has undergone tremendous growth, becoming a $6 million nonprofit with four locations and a staff of 91 employees and 400-plus volunteers.  By The Hand’s success is due to Donnita’s mission-focused and results-driven approach, By The Hand has been tracking its outcomes since 2002.  Donnita is a seasoned entrepreneur, organizational leader and fundraiser who will provide Moving Everest Charter School with the oversight and support that it needs to achieve success.

Donnita has been recognized for her work with children as Chicagoan of the Year in 2012, the recipient of Mayor Daley’s SAGE Award in 2011 and Northwestern Kellogg’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010. Travis has an MBA from Northwestern University and a BA in English and communications from Spalding University. Most recently, she attended Harvard Business School for Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management after receiving the HBS Club of Chicago’s Roman Nomitch Fellowship.

Vivette Payne

Vice Chairman of the Board

Vivette Payne is President of the Avery Payne Group, which specializes in organization, team and leadership development. Her expertise includes leadership coaching, team building, the custom design and delivery of leadership and other skill development programs, and facilitating planning and strategy development.  Vivette also works with growing businesses to provide tips and techniques that help them start, grow and manage their business, from inception to peak performance.

Vivette has served as the Chair of The Professional Women’s Network, and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Christian Working Woman and By The Hand Club For Kids.  Vivette has received the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce’s  “Business Woman of the Year” award, and the Avery Payne Group has been awarded the U.S. Commerce Association’s  “Outstanding Business Award”.  Vivette holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in organization development.

Michael Ross

Treasurer of the Board

Michael Ross is a seasoned executive in corporate cash management and information technology consulting.  He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Corporate Investment Bank at JPMorgan Chase.  In addition to his corporate career, Michael is a reverend who has served as the Pastor of New Galilee Baptist Church in the Austin neighborhood for the last twelve years.  Michael is also a community activist who volunteers at Big Brothers-Big Sisters where he serves on the executive board.

Constance Giere

Secretary of the Board

Connie Giere is the Chief Health Informatics Officer at Loyola University Health System.  Connie is responsible for developing and implementing the electronic health record (EHR) training and optimization programs for 4,000 users.  In this role, Connie participates in senior leadership decisions concerning the development and implementation of clinical workflows in the EHR and other clinical IT systems.  She works with the regulatory and credentialing survey groups to ensure compliance in the utilization of the EHR.  Connie co-chairs the multi-disciplinary informatics and the physician advisory committees for the two-hospital LUHS system to engage physician and ancillary clinicians in clinical information technology processes and decisions.

Prior to joining Loyola, Connie was a director of clinical consultants for a healthcare technology firm. She also worked for Motorola, developing disease management and healthcare benefits programs.  Connie has an extensive critical care clinical nursing background in the Chicago area. Connie is a registered nurse and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Trinity International University and a MBA in Health Care Management from Loyola University Chicago.

Susanne Francis

Dr. Francis has served as the Executive Director of Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago for nine years. She is a bilingual (Spanish) psychologist with over 15 years of experience working with students, families, and individual adults in a variety of settings. Her passion is creating access to quality mental health resources for people of all socio-economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. She has been featured on Moody Radio, ABC’s Windy City Live, First Business News Network, and other media outlets to provide relevant insights for listeners/viewers on a variety of topics.

Dr. Francis oversees a program that serves over 300 students each week in over 20 Chicago neighborhoods through education that helps under-performing students remove the social and emotional barriers to learning. In addition, Dr. Francis is a frequent presenter at educational, business, and religious institutions and trains over 1000 people every year on topics like workplace performance enhancement, parenting, and healthy relationships. She also serves as an executive consultant to organizations in a variety of fields.

Dr. Francis did her undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (IL) and earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She earned her MBA from North Park University. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and is a Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

Timothy Wiens

Tim Wiens has spent more than two decades in education as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, head of school and college professor.  Currently, he serves as Head of School at Delaware County Christian School in suburban Philadelphia.  He previously served as Headmaster at Boston Trinity Academy, an urban college preparatory school in the heart of Boston.  In addition to his responsibilities as Head of School, Tim serves as the Executive Director for the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) and as a Visiting Scholar at Wheaton College (IL).  He holds an undergraduate degree in secondary education and psychology, a master’s degree in educational leadership, a doctorate in educational leadership, and is a licensed principal and superintendent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters as well as the co-editor of the book, Building a Better School.

John Fellowes

John Fellowes is CEO of Fellowes, Inc., and represents the fourth generation of family leadership in this private Chicago-based company founded in 1917. He has worked alongside his grandfather, father, and uncle since starting part time on the manufacturing line as a student 19 years ago.

Starting in 2012, John has been leading a revitalization effort inspired by macro trends which are impacting work environments, behaviors, and product solutions. The approach has embraced Fellowes “deep roots”, competencies, and values, while intentionally infusing new, expansive strategies to ensure future relevance in a changing world. John attended Torchbearer Bible Schools in Schladming, Austria and then Holsbybrunn, Sweden before attending and graduating from

Taylor University. He then worked at an asset management firm before joining Fellowes full-time in 2001. In 2012, John became President and then CEO in 2014. In 2011, John received the “Distinguished Young Alumnus for Professional Achievement” award from Taylor University. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors at Taylor University, and the Board of Directors at Fellowes. John has been married to his wife, Brittany, for 15 years and they have three children. John and Brittany are engaged in their church and local community through various activities.

Chicago Education Partnership 2017-2018 board meeting dates:

September 13 at 8:00 a.m.
December 13 at 8:00 a.m.
March 14 at 8:00 a.m.
June 13 at 8:00 a.m.

All meetings take place at Moving Everest Charter School:                                   416 N. Laramie, Chicago, IL. 60644

For all meeting agendas and minutes of the board, please go to the Chicago Education Partnership website at: