Kara Kalnitz has been working for Cluster since September 2009. Prior to serving as the Thursday Program Manager and now Executive Director, Kara was a volunteer tutor with Cluster for four years. She has a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Reading Specialist (Tuesday)
Joan is a former Cluster volunteer. She has taught in the Chicago Diocese for 15 years as a Montessori, preschool, and 1st-grade teacher. She also worked as a K-8 reading and math interventionist through Catapult Learning. Joan has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Purdue University, a master's degree as a reading specialist from Concordia University, Montessori certification from North American Montessori Center, and an LBS1 Special Education certification from Lewis University.
Reading Specialist (Thursday)
Bernadette is a veteran teacher now specializing in helping students with reading issues in the Chicago Public Schools through the nonprofit organization Reading in Motion. Bernadette has a bachelor's degree in history from Boston College and a master of education degree in teaching and curriculum from Harvard University.
Program Coordinator, Student Services
Erin was a volunteer at Cluster for more than two years before she joined the staff as the program coordinator for Cluster's Project Next Step program. Project Next Step is aimed at those in high school as they look to the future. Students will get help as they think about both colleges and careers. Erin has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. In 2021, Erin was promoted to the Program Coordinator for Student Services. She will be responsible for student recruitment through Austin community engagement, new student orientation sessions, and developing academic enrichment opportunities for Cluster participants.
Sher Watts Spooner
Sher Watts Spooner has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years on one national weekly and three daily newspapers. Now a freelance writer and editor, Sher handles social media and marketing for Cluster. She also has written two mysteries and posts regular political essays on her own website, PoliticalMurder.com. Sher has a degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Patricia Feeley (Secretary)