The Board of Trustees
The Quest Academy Board of Trustees promotes and safeguards the school's mission, strategically plans for the future of Quest Academy, appoints and oversees the Head of School, establishes broad policies, and develops and shepherds the capital resources of the school. The individuals on the Board serve Quest Academy with a wide range of experience, interests, and expertise. All board members are volunteers and Quest Academy expresses its gratitude for their guidance and commitment to gifted education.
Board of Trustees Officers
Curtis Maas - Chair
Nitin Gupta - Vice Chair
Don Mitckess - Secretary
George Reichl - Treasurer
Curtis Maas, Chair, is the parent of four Quest Academy alumni who each spent their K-8 school years at Quest. He has served on Quest's Board of Trustees since 2006, which is his second "cycle" of trusteeship, having held the post of Vice-Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee previously and has been involved with Quest since 1992. He is the Chairman and CEO of The RDI Group in Itasca, IL and holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Cathy, live in Inverness and strongly support the mission and dedicated professionals who serve our students.
Board Member since 2006 (second term)
Board Committees: Admissions and Marketing, Development, Executive (Chair), Finance, and 403(b)
Valerie Campbell has been a Real Estate Broker with Baird & Warner in Barrington since 1992, specializing in residential real estate sales. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Quincy University in Business Management. She and her husband Roy, are the parents of one child attending Quest Academy and two alumni of the school. She has been actively involved with the school since 2007 and has volunteered at numerous levels within Quest including the "Knight of all Knights" Auction & Gala, Knights on the Run and various other activities at the classroom levels. Valerie also holds a seat on the Council of Messiah Lutheran Church and serves on the Advisory Committee at her office in Barrington. She enjoys spending time with her family, boating and attending her kids' sporting events.
Board member since 2015
Board Committees: Development (Chair), Executive, and Admissions and Marketing
Tim Daum is a Managing Director in the tax practice of Crowe LLP, where he focuses on executive compensation matters in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. He holds a BA in Business Management from Muskingum University and an MBA in Finance and Human Resources from the University of Pittsburgh (Katz Graduate School of Business). He and his wife Christine have one child at Quest Academy. Tim enjoys attending Quest events, visiting national parks and reading about early American history.
Board member since 2017
Board Committees: Committee on Trustees (Chair), Executive, Finance, and 403(b) (Chair)
Nitin Gupta joined the Board in 2015. He serves as Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Molecular Imaging business and is driven by passion to deliver impact. He holds an MBA from University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Nitin and his wife, Saloni, have two children, Sanat & Navya, at Quest Academy. When not traveling for business, Nitin enjoys fusion cooking and spending time with his family.
Board Member since 2015
Board Committees: Admissions and Marketing, Executive, and Strategic Planning (Chair)
Matt Hernacki lives in Cary with his wife, Andrea, and their two young Knights, Lucas and Adam. Matt loves camping with the kids, cycling, and dogs. He has over 20 years of local residential Real Estate experience and is the co-owner of MisterHomes Real Estate in Palatine. He has also served on the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors Board of Directors.
Board Member since 2017
Board Committees: Admissions and Marketing (Chair), Committee on Trustees, Development, and Real Estate
Dominique Kendrick is Vice President, Technical Operations for West Therapeutic Development, LLC. Ms. Kendrick holds both a B.S. in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and B.S. in Environmental Health from Purdue University; a Master’s in Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and is a Licensed Pharmacist. She and her husband Kevin have one child at Quest Academy.
Board member since 2019
Sedhu Krishnamurthy serves as the Great Lakes Region Digital Transformation Leader for Microsoft. Sedhu holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Guindy Eng. College, MS in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA in Strategy and Finance from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is passionate about the role of education in shaping the society. Sedhu & his wife, Radha, have one child, Vedant, at Quest Academy and they reside in Long Grove, IL.
Board Member since 2018
Board Committees: Admissions and Marketing, Curricular Innovation (Co-Chair with Head of School), Development, and Strategic Planning
Jae Lee is husband to Myonsook and the father of two daughters; Quest Academy alumna, Allison, who currently attends Deerfield High School and Abigail who will graduate in 2021. Jae has been a Quest Academy parent since 2012. He is a graduate of Lane Technical High School and is a member of their alumni association. He holds a B.S degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University. Jae is currently the chef/owner of two restaurants in Chicago.
Board Member since 2018
Don Mitckess lives in Bolingbrook with his wife Lora and their two children, Maya (Quest alumna) and Julian. Don has been a therapist in the behavioral health field for over 25 years, receiving his MSEd in Counseling from Northern Illinois University and BS/BA in Psychology/Theater from Loyola University of Chicago, and currently is the Director of Business Development for Banyan Treatment Center in Naperville. Don most recently served as Quest PSA Vice-President during the 2017-18 school year and was on the PSA Board for two years prior to that. He is the Cookie Dad for Quest Girl Scout Troop #41592 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Northern Illinois Employee Assistance Professional Association.
Board Member since 2018
Board Committee: Audit
Luke Praxmarer is the father of two Quest Academy alumnae, one of whom is an officer in the US Navy and the other is an insurance broker, after having been a high school math teacher for six years. Luke has had three stints as a trustee; first from 1997 to 2003, then from 2006 to 2015, then rejoining the board in 2016. He has served on or chaired every committee at Quest, but has always served on the Development Committee, chairing it a few times over the years. He also served on the school board at Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic School in Arlington Heights, IL, chairing the board in 1996-1997. Luke is president and partner of Corkill Insurance, an independent insurance agency in Elk Grove Village. As an insurance agent, Luke served as the president of the Independent Insurance Agents of IL in 2009-2010. Luke is perhaps best known, however, for his award-winning, organically grown tomatoes in his suburban garden. He has a BS from DePaul University and resides with his wife, Carol, in Palatine.
Board member since 2016 (second term)
Board Committees: Development, Finance, and Real Estate (Chair)
George Reichl is the parent of a Quest Academy alumni who is now attending Fremd High School. He serves on the Finance Committee, 403(b) Committee and Executive Committee. George has been a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley for a little over 30 years and also serves as a director for his homeowners association. He has a B.S. from De Paul University and resides with his wife Cathy in Palatine, IL.
Board Member since 2014
Board Committees: Executive, Finance (Chair), and 403(b)
Brad Schulman is an attorney at Motherway and Napleton, LLP where he specializes in medical malpractice litigation. Mr. Schulman graduated from Lehigh University, where he played baseball for four years. He continued his education and obtained his J.D. at The John Marshall Law School where he graduated Cum Laude. He and his wife have one child at Quest Academy and they reside in Deerfield, Illinois.
Board Member since 2019
Jorge Seoane, PhD, is an Engineering Manager with IMC Financial, a proprietary, high frequency trading firm. He holds a PhD and MS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and a BS from Louisiana State. He and his wife Jennifer reside in Palatine, and have one Quest alumni, and a current 7th grader attending Quest.
Board Member since 2015
Board Committees: Audit and Finance
Carl Siemianowski is a Hybrid IT Solution Architect for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, supporting HPE’s distributors and channel partners throughout the US. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Carl has served at Quest Academy for many years as a PSA Board Member, Treasurer, President, Trustee and everyday volunteer. He has also served on other local community boards and works as a volunteer instructor at St. Theresa's Parish. He is the father of one Quest alumni, Jon, who now attends Fremd High School.
Board Member since 2015
Board Committees: Admissions and Marketing, and Development
Head of School, Trustee Ex Officio
Joan Franklin Smutny,
- Admissions & Marketing
- Committee on Trustees
- Curricular Innovation
- Real Estate
- Strategic Planning
The purpose of the Audit Committee is to serve as the point of contact for the Board throughout the annual independent audit of the school and to perform any special inquiries assigned to it by the Board. The committee also works closely with school management to review accounting policies and practices used in preparation of the school’s financial reports.
The purpose of the Development Committee is to work with the Head of School and Director of Development on all aspects of school advancement, including establishing fundraising goals, creating organizational structures to achieve these goals, and identifying and recruiting major donors to the school. The committee cultivates new strategies for fundraising, conducts an annual fund campaign, and coordinates activities relating to capital campaigns and endowment efforts.
The purpose of the Executive Committee is to provide overall management of Board activities and to meet regularly with the Head of School in a supportive/evaluative role. The committee is responsible for setting the Board agenda and may act on behalf of the full Board if necessary between Board meetings. The committee also serves as a sounding Board for the Head of School and is responsible for setting yearly goals for the Head of School.
The purpose of the Finance Committee is to assist the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to Quest Academy’s financial resources. The committee is responsible for monitoring the school’s financial resources and cash flow and for working with the administration to develop the annual budget.
The purpose of the Committee on Curricular Innovation is to work with the Head of School and Faculty Team Leaders to ensure the constant assessment, redefinition and implementation of new strategies regarding curriculum. The committee meets regularly to discuss current processes and continually encourage new thought in the development of curriculum that propels Quest students into the most innovative and cutting edge courses, modes of instruction and authentic experiences for twenty-first century learners.
The purpose of the Real Estate Committee is to manage/lead the real estate company in order to achieve maximum profitability of the retail center that is owned by Quest Academy. The committee is responsible for the recruitment and retention of tenants, as well as the general maintenance of the interior and exterior of the buildings.
The purpose of the Strategic Planning Committee is to ensure the successful implementation of Quest Academy’s strategic plan. The committee works closely with other Board committees that are critical to the plan’s successful implementation and integrates the activities of each committee into cohesive progress toward established goals.
The purpose of the 403(b) Committee is to assist the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities with respect to the Quest Academy 403(b) Retirement Plan. The committee is responsible for the monitoring/evaluation of plan investment alternatives and the management of vendor relationships, including the plan’s investment advisor, compliance consultant and recordkeeper.
The daily operations of Quest Academy are led by the Head of School, Jacquelyn Negus, and the Leadership Team that includes school administrators. In addition, both the lower school and middle school are led by Team Leaders who play an important role in coordinating the efforts of the faculty.