Mandatory Board Member Training Faculty

IASB is grateful to the following professionals for sharing their expertise in the online presentation of Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) and Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) Training for School Board Members, as well as Open Meetings Act (OMA) training.
Nicki Bazer focuses her legal practice on policy and governance issues, student privacy rights, teacher evaluation, teacher misconduct issues, educator licensure compliance, general public school compliance, as well as charter schools. As former general counsel at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), she provides valuable insight and counsel to school districts on the regulations and reform initiatives endorsed by ISBE. Bazer regularly represents clients in both state and federal court, in administrative hearings on teacher matters, and before the Illinois Department of Human Rights. She represented Chicago Public Schools during its most recent labor negotiations with the nation’s largest teachers union resulting in a five-year agreement. Bazer also works with higher education institutions on labor issues, intellectual property matters and student matters. Nicki Bazer is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and attorney at Franczek P.C.

Yashekia Goldsmith has served as Deputy General Counsel for Rockford Public Schools District #205 since 2018. Her work at RPS includes assisting with matters related to governance and policy, business operations, and labor and employment. Charter schools, special education, and student discipline matters are regularly addressed within Yashekia’s workday. Prior to joining Rockford Public Schools, Goldsmith was an attorney with Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP where her primary focus was serving public schools. Outside of work, she enjoys supporting charitable organizations that work to ensure equal access to justice for all individuals and organizations that provide social, recreational, and leadership skill development for youth. Yashekia Goldsmith is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and Deputy General Counsel for Rockford SD 205.

Lynn Himes’ school law experience includes collective bargaining, labor and employment disputes, board governance, contract formation and enforcement, construction and student matters. He currently serves on the Board Directors of the National Counsel of School Attorneys and is past chair and member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys. Himes is a frequent lecturer on collective bargaining, labor relations, employment discrimination, general employment issues and construction matters for various national and state associations of school boards and school administrators. Lynn Himes is an attorney at Himes, Petrarca & Fester, Chtd.

Darcee C. Williams counsels school districts and litigates matters relating to teacher discipline, discrimination, and civil rights claims.  As a trusted counselor for employers, Williams is frequently called upon by clients to handle difficult and sensitive personnel situations. She counsels clients on the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.  She also counsels school district clients on student issues including student discipline, residency, student records, student rights and general matters of education law as well as providing guidance to school districts on special education matters.  Beyond school districts, she represents municipal clients in insurance coverage disputes.  Williams frequently speaks and provides training on a wide range of education law topics including tenured teacher dismissal, workplace investigations, teacher and student boundary issues, bullying, hazing, mandated reporting, copyright, and technology issues. Darcee C. Williams is an attorney at Himes, Petrarca & Fester, Chtd. and a member of the National Council of School Attorneys, Illinois Council of School Attorneys, and the Illinois State Bar Association..

Jeremy Duffy, who joined IASB in 2023 as General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director, has advised school boards and provided support as an attorney to Illinois K-12 school districts for the past decade. He joined IASB from the Illinois State Board of Education, where he was Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel in support of 852 Illinois school districts. Duffy was a member of the Oak Park ESD 97 Board of Education before leaving that post to join ISBE.  

Duffy has also worked at private law firms representing the interests of schools and school districts. In his legal practice, he counseled boards of education, district administrators, and staff on a wide range of school-related issues.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Duffy was an elementary and middle school teacher in Los Angeles and Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University, and a Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law.
Kathryn Vander Broek is the Co-General Counsel at Waukegan Public Schools. Prior to moving in-house in August of 2018, she worked in private practice representing school districts and special education cooperatives for over 20 years, with a particular emphasis in the areas of special education, student matters, civil rights, and policy development. She maintains an Of Counsel position with Franczek PC. Before entering private practice, Kathy worked in judicial administration, serving as the staff attorney to the Presiding Judge of the Cook County Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department and later as the Programs Administrator for that Department's Resource Section. In addition to being an attorney, Vander Broek maintains her qualifications as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). When directly practicing as an LCSW, she provided child and family therapy services to inner city families accessing Cook County Hospital and worked with homeless populations experiencing mental health crises. Kathy Vander Broek also serves as a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.
Stephanie E. Jones has education in her blood.Her mother was a teacher, an elementary school principal, and her role model. Growing up in an environment where education and equity are both core values led Jones to the practice of school law, where she quickly became a leader in the field. Jones has over 18 years of experience spanning all areas of school law, including labor and employment, litigation, student matters, business workings, special education and board governance matters, along with experience advising school administrators. Jones is a sought-after speaker on many school law topics, at the local, state, and national levels. As former General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Education, she has unparalleled knowledge of the inner workings of the ISBE and understands what it takes to run a large governmental organization. Stephanie Jones is an attorney for Kriha Boucek, LLC and a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.

D. Shane Jones is a management-side employment, labor, and education attorney. He specializes in managing difficult situations. Whether it be a bargaining table, a difficult board-superintendent relationship, or a student discipline matter, his kindness, humor, and pragmatic approach to conflict naturally eases tensions and helps resolve problems. Clients – and opponents – know and respect him because he is empathetic even when he is adverse. Jones is a veteran attorney with over two decades of education, labor and employment law experience. He assists employers across Illinois and Missouri with employment, labor relations, and collective bargaining issues. While the depth of his experience in labor and employment law is exceptional, Jones expertly handles general education law issues for K-12 and Higher Education clients as well. Shane Jones has been named an “Illinois Leading Lawyer” in School Law; Labor Law (Management); Employment Law (Management); and Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law. Jones is an attorney at Kriha Boucek, LLC and also a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.

Heather Brickman has over thirty years of experience in representing boards of education, concentrating her school law practice in governance, transactions, finance, and pension and benefits. She is a frequent lecturer on behalf of the IASB and other school associations on a broad range of topics. Brickman serves as past Chair and current member of the Executive Committee of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and also as a member of the Policy Advisory Committee for the IASB PRESS Policy Service. In the community, she serves on the board of a high school PTO and works with a local nonprofit group focusing on student peer mentoring and youth social and emotional health. Heather Brickman is an attorney at Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D., has served as a public school superintendent in Illinois since 2010. In addition, he has worked as an adjunct professor, advisor, and supervisor at National Louis University and Loyola University Chicago in the Department of Educational Leadership. A public school educator and educational leader for nearly 30 years, Lubelfeld has served as an assistant superintendent, a middle school associate principal, a principal, and a middle school teacher. Earning his doctorate in education in curriculum and instruction allowed Lubelfeld to test theories of learning in action. He was named a 2015-2016 NSPRA Superintendent to Watch, in 2017 he was named the Lake County Superintendent of the Year. Lubelfeld presents on leadership around the state, nation, and world and is active in leadership development with state and national associations. He is the co-moderator of the monthly Twitter chat, #suptchat, with Nick Polyak, and he and Polyak co-authored the books The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today and Student Voice: From Invisible to Invaluable (Rowman-Littlefield Publishers).

Maryam Brotine is Assistant General Counsel for the Illinois Association of School Boards. As in-house counsel for IASB, Brotine provides legal support to all IASB departments, edits IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS), develops curriculum for IASB’s Online Learning Center, provides legal information to board members, and is on the IASB Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She serves on various state task forces and advisory groups, and frequently contributes to school law publications. Brotine is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA) and co-chair of the ICSA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.

Debra Jacobson has served as Assistant General Counsel for the Illinois Association of School Boards since 2017. She is an editor of IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) and serves as in-house counsel for the Association. Before joining IASB, Jacobson was an attorney with the school law firm of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick and Kohn LLP for over 10 years, where she counseled and represented school districts throughout the state on a variety of student, employment, and corporate matters. Jacobson is a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.
Kimberly Small, J.D., serves as the Executive Director for the Illinois Association of School Boards. She previously served as the Association’s General Counsel, advising the Board of Directors and Executive Director to protect IASB from legal and regulatory risks and providing legal support to all departments within the Association. As the Executive Director for the statewide not-for-profit that represents nearly 6,000 school board members and more than 840-member school districts, Small leads the organization that provides information, guidance, and resources to assist school boards, individual board members, superintendents, administrators, and other associations. She enjoys “Lighting the Way” through developing the competencies of school leaders to build excellence in local school board governance for the lives and well-being of their students. Kimberly Small previously led the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and served as the standing secretary of its Executive Committee.
Brandon K. Wright is currently a partner in the law firm of Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., which represents school districts throughout Illinois. Wright currently serves on the Executive Committee and as the Chair of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys. He focuses his practice on school law, having developed a particular interest in the field of special education, due process, and cooperative school districts. Wright regularly speaks at state, local, and national conferences on topics of school law and special education.
Doug Bolton is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of School Consultation for Formative Psychological Services. He spent over 20 years as a psychologist and principal at North Shore Academy, a K-12 therapeutic school in Highland Park. Bolton provides consultation, supervision, and professional development to parents, educators, and clinicians throughout Illinois to create communities that help foster student and staff resilience. Bolton presented the featured panel “Rethinking Our Response to School Violence by Building Student Connection and Belonging” at the 2022 Joint Annual Conference. 

Kristine Argue-Mason is Executive Director for Partnership for Resilience, an Illinois non-profit working to improve academic, health, and social outcomes for children by fostering trauma-responsive schools and effective family, school, health, and community partnerships. Argue-Mason was a teacher for 15 years and then a resources director with IEA/NEA, where she developed training and coaching to help increase awareness of trauma-responsive practices. Partnership for Resilience supports school/community partnerships in 27 school districts in south-suburban Cook County near Chicago, rural southern Illinois, and Springfield.  

For questions about these courses and trainings, please contact the IASB Office of General Counsel. For legal advice please contact your board attorney.