BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our team brings a wealth of passion, youth and academia experience from some of the most distinguished schools, halls of ivy, organizations, and establishments. We each share a unified mission, to serve children and help develop their love for reading and literature.
JuDonne Hemingway is an experienced, innovative, and adaptive systems leader who helps emerging leaders persist unapologetically in pursuit of their visions. She explores how strategic analysis, responsive practices, and values-based leadership development work together to help leaders ignite their superpowers and re-imagine what’s possible.
JuDonne currently serves as the Managing Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Strategy and Leadership Development for Teach For America’s National Admissions team. Prior to this role JuDonne served as the Senior Managing Director of Leadership Development at Teach For America Indianapolis. In this seat she was responsible for building the capacity of over 300 beginning educators and alumni systems leaders in ways that disrupt inequitable practices for nearly 5,000 students across Indianapolis.
Before rejoining TFA's staff in 2018, JuDonne Hemingway served as the Assistant Principal of Academics at Butler College Prep, a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. As Assistant Principal, she led as the campus's chief academic leader responsible for developing, supervising, and leading all instructional policies, strategic planning, programming, curricular decisions, and teacher development.
JuDonne is also the President and Founder of the Foundation for Racial Equity in Education (F.R.E.E). F.R.E.E consults with educators, organizations, and school systems across the country to provide leadership development and support for anti- racist curriculum and systems more broadly. . FREE also runs a high impact fellowship for leaders of color in education seeking to increase their impact at every level of the education system.
Raised on the South Side of Chicago in Altgeld Gardens, Jillian attended Beasley Academic Center and Morgan Park High School before earning a bachelor’s degree from U of I and a master’s degree from UNLV. An advocate of living a life of freedom and liberation, Jillian’s passion began with ensuring every child had access to a high-quality education and will end with creating equity for all. During her tenure as an educator serving as a former teacher and school leader across the PreK-12 continuum, she secured more than a half million dollars in grant money to personalize learning for young people and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by creating a pathway to college for all.
After spending more than a decade teaching and leading in schools across the PreK-18 continuum, she became a certified life coach and launched an educational consulting firm – InnerG Unlmtd, LLC. As an InnerG Curator, she helps people and teams cultivate their InnerGreatness through one-on-one sessions, workshops, and motivational speaking. Her strategy focuses on confidence building, strategic planning, and effective coaching cycles, which empower others to transform their work and ultimately their life. She is a certified life coach whose personal mission is to motivate and inspire others to make positive life-changing decisions.
Jillian is woman of God who not only believes in God but believes God as she walks by faith. She’s a sneaker head with nearly 200 pair and loves to travel in her spare time. Connecting with young people is her most favorite thing to do personally and professionally.
Kelli Hobson is a former CPS educator, lifelong learner, and leading executive expert in nonprofit management and programmatic creation. With a BA in Elementary Education, by way of Chicago State University.
As a lifelong educator, Kelli has designed and facilitated intentional, culturally responsive programming for students and adults in a variety of leadership capacities. She wholeheartedly believes in the importance of reshaping and reimagining an education system to serve marginalized and disenfranchised communities. Kelli is a mother of 2 boys ages 15 and 9, and is currently using her facilitation and program building skills to consult schools and organizations towards more equitable stakeholder experiences.
Dana Williamson is a Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. In addition to her traditional legal, contractual responsibilities, Dana works within JPMorgan to support initiatives focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the engagement of outside counsel. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Dana participated in the Juvenile Defense Clinic and worked at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights representing minors in family courts in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Orleans Parish. Dana was a founding member of The Associates’ Committee – a member-funded grant foundation that supported legal aid and impact litigation non-profits, and currently is an advisory member of Working on Womanhood - a counseling and clinical mentoring program working to improve the social-emotional competencies for teen girls exposed to traumatic stressors in under-resourced communities.
Rhonda has a B.A. in Education from Roosevelt University Chicago, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Reading Endorsement from Loyola University Chicago, and a Mathematics Endorsement from the University of Chicago. She has 35 years of career experience with Chicago Public Schools. Rhonda taught elementary, middle school, and art. She also served as a curriculum developer, after-school program coordinator, reading specialist, and during her final 16 years of pre-retirement as a Network/Area Reading Coach.
Having an infallible joy for teaching and learning, Rhonda returned to the educational system after several months of retirement to rekindle her passion for education. She became a reading interventionist at an east-side parochial school. As an independent contractor for the following three years, 2019-2022, Rhonda collaborated with Roosevelt University for their Balanced Literacy Program, taking on the role of Middle School Consultant/Coach for the Illinois Empower grant at a south suburban school district. Rhonda co-authored her innovative work on creating unique digital libraries during the pandemic, highlighted in the Illinois Reading Council Journal in the Fall of 2021.
During her many years as a coach and consultant, Rhonda led countless professional development sessions, coached teachers on Best Instructional Practices in Reading,
facilitated data deep dives, and led numerous projects. Rhonda is now a school board
member/secretary for a south suburban school district and a board member for the
nonprofit organization Burst Into Books, focusing on cultural literacy through education.