GoAEYC Executive Committee

Catherine Rader-President

The president’s charge is to guide GoAEYC in management and policy-making functions.

In October 2015 Catherine began working at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University as an Assessor and Training Specialist. Previously Catherine worked at Illinois Action for Children as an Infant Toddler Child Care Specialist (ITCCS). As an ITCCS, she worked directly with child care providers, center staff and home-based family child care providers, to promote and support high quality infant toddler care for children ages birth-3 years. Prior to working as an ITCCS, she worked in child care programs for five and half years as an infant toddler teacher and as assistant center director. Catherine graduated in May 2014 with a Master’s degree in Child Development from Erikson Institute with a specialization in Infancy. She recently obtained her Level 5 Early Childhood Education and Infant/Toddler Credentials from Illinois Gateways to Opportunity professional development program. She is an ITN trainer and has been training child care providers in PITC (The Program for Infant and Toddler Care) since 2010. In addition to being involved with GoAEYC, Catherine serves on the conference committee for the annual Oakton Community College Infant and Toddler Conference.

You may reach Catherine via email here-Contact

  Alisa Kapusinski-Treasurer

The Treasurer’s charge is to maintain the financial integrity of GoAEYC.Advocacy Chair’s chargeserves as a resource on currentlegislative, licensing, and public issues; trains advocates, serves as liaison with ILAEYC and state and national advocacy leaders.

Alisa is currently the Division Manager of Recreation Programs at the Arlington Heights Park District where she oversees the district's recreation programs which include preschool, before & after school, cultural arts and seniors.  Prior to working at Arlington Heights, Alisa spent 12 years at the Hoffman Estates Park District were she was responsible for the preschool, camps and early childhood programs.   In addition to Alisa’s involvement in GoAEYC, Alisa is involved in the Illinois Park & Recreation Association.  Alisa was director & treasurer of the Recreation Section within IPRA and also serves on the Early Childhood Committee. Alisa has a Bachelors degree in Recreation Management from the University of Illinois.  She also has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Administration from National-Louis University.

 You can reach Alisa via email here- 

Angelina DeMaat-Vice President of Professional Development

The Vice President of Professional Development's charge is to oversees all of GoAEYC's workshops, conferences and events.

Angelina DeMaat has been in Early Childhood since 2008. Angelina currently works at Small World Learning Center in Melrose Park as the Center Director. Angelina is passionate about children and has two children of her own. Angelina is working towards receiving her Directors Credential. While at Small World Learning Center Angelina has been involved in many programs including Early Reading First, Quality Counts, Preschool For All and Before and After Care. Angelina is thrilled to be a part of the GoAEYC board!

You may reach Angelina via email here- Contact

 Sharyl Robin- Vice President of Organizational Development

The Vice President of Organizational Development’s charge is to maintain the organizational integrity of GoAEYC.

Sharyl is currently the Program Director for Children's Home + Aid, where she oversees the Community Partner program for Child Care Resource and Referral. She was previously the Training Coordinator, and has also been a center Director and classroom teacher. She holds a Level 3 Director Credential and chairs the Quality Assurance Committee for the Statewide Professional Development Advisory Committee. Sharyl has a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, both from National Louis University.

You may reach Sharyl via email here- Contact

 Eva Hartwig-Secretary

The Secretary's charge is to maintain official documents of GoAEYC.

Eva Hartwig is the Director at Wee Care Children’s Center and has been at the center since March 1, 1999. She began her career in the Early Childhood field after graduating from Northeastern Illinois State College where she majored in Primary Education. Her first position was at Laurence Armour Day School in Chicago where she taught in the three’s classroom and kindergarten. After taking a while off from teaching to start her family she began working again part time and then full time at Prospect Heights Nursery School where she was both teacher and Director. It was here that she realized she had a passion for Early Education beyond her school and began more involved in the local Director groups and became a member of GoAEYC. She has taken opportunities to work at Bright Horizons and Wee Care Children’s Center to stretch her skills in directing, and advocating for young children. She has served on the GoAEYC Board for over eight years and been involved with Wheels on the Bus several times. In 2006 she returned to school to upgrade her credentials and work toward receiving the Illinois Director Credential. She believes in the philosophy of NAEYC and has taken Wee Care Children’s Center through the process of accreditation twice and on to receive the Illinois Circle of Gold. She considers it a great opportunity and responsibility to serve on the GoAEYC Board.

You may reach Eva via email here- Contact

 Heather Burns- Membership

The charge of Membership is to recruit and maintain active, inclusive GoAEYC membership and support membership development.

Heather is the Director of Northfield Community Nursery School. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from National-Louis University and a B.S. in Speech and Language Pathology from Northwestern University. Heather has worked with young children in a variety of settings since 1988, including teaching preschool, enrichment and parents and tots classes, supervising at Kohl Children’s Museum, and overseeing parent services at the YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral. Before joining NFCNS she served as an Early Childhood Program Manager for the Glencoe Park District. Family, bird watching, gardening and crafts fill her free time; she loves to bring in bugs and other creepy crawlies for the children to observe in their classrooms. Heather and her husband share their Gurnee home with a dog, two cats, a gecko, and a school of tropical fish, as well as the youngest two of their four children.

You may reach Heather via email here- Contact

 Board Members-at-Large

Members at large assist the President and the board with all aspects of planning, organizing, and carrying out the business of GoAEYC.

 Linda Hermes

 Linda has been doing child care since 1987; leaving a career in Social Work to care for children in her home. She lives in Evanston, IL with her husband, Hal and two children, Kate, who is in graduate school and Nick, who is a sophomore at Columbia College, Chicago. Linda is a Foundations in Family Child Care Trainer, Mentor for Action for Children and is a part of the Illinois Trainers Network through INCCRRA. Linda’s professional objective is to strive to create a safe, secure, nurturing place for children and families and to advocate for quality child care programs for all families. Linda feels very privileged to be a member of the GOAEYC Board and hopes to bring more family child care professionals into this strong and vital organization. When there is time to spare, Linda enjoys reading, theater and cross stitching.

You may reach Linda via email here- Contact

 Martha Westerberg

Martha has worked at the Buffalo Grove Park District for 20 years; teaching for 15 years and is currently directing the Preschool and Early Childhood Enrichment classes. Throughout her career, she has developed many new successful preschool and early childhood classes. She serves on the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association's Early Childhood Committee as well as GOAEYC. Martha has served on the GOAEYC Board for 10 years and looks forward to continuing her work with the Board. Martha continues to touch the lives of children and their parents throughout Buffalo Grove and the surrounding communities. She believes our children are our future and that we can change the world one child at a time.

You may reach Martha via email here- Contact

Susanna Rakstang

This is Susanna’s 13th year as the Assistant Director of Wee Care Children’s Center in Wilmette. She holds a Masters in Teaching Elementary Education from National-Louis University and a Masters in Early Childhood/Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She is currently pursuing an Early Childhood Director Credential from Oakton Community College. Susanna enjoys her job very much with all the challenges that each day holds. She is delighted to be a part of each child’s life as they grow and develop day by day. When not at work Susanna loves to spend time with her husband and 2 year old son.

You may reach Susanna via email here- Contact

Kathy Nikolai

Kathy Nikolai is currently an adjunct instructor of Early Childhood Education Department of Harper College.  Previously, she taught kindergarten and at-risk prekindergarten in Des Plaines.  Kathy holds a Masters of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education.  She enjoys the opportunity to share her love for teaching with the challenge of higher education.  Kathy and her husband make Arlington Heights their home, along with their three children.  She is proud to be serving the early childhood community in the GoAEYC area!

 You may reach Kathy via email here- Contact

Erin Bonner

Erin has been working as an early childhood educator since 2003. She is currently enjoying being a stay at home mom for her son. She most recently worked for Bright Horizons Family Solutions as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Erin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in American Sign Language from Kent State University. In the past she has been director of a preschool program, a teacher in toddlers and preschool, and a substitute teacher in the public schools for preschool through eighth grade. She feels privileged to serve as a GoAEYC board member. Additional, Erin is a member of PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) and enjoys teaching snow skiing to children and adults in her free time.

You may reach Erin via email here- Contact

 Alexandra Theodore