CICS Board of Directors

Brian Novelline


Brian Novelline most recently served as Vice President for Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc. where he was responsible for manager selection across the capital structure and leading the firm’s co-investment efforts. Prior to joining Mesirow, Mr. Novelline co-managed a multi-strategy portfolio for DRW Holdings and was an equity analyst at Compass Asset Management. Mr. Novelline is a member of the Organizing Committee for Cycle for Survival, a national fundraising event for cancer research. He also serves as an advisory board member of Tree Global, an international sustainable agriculture and environmental restoration program. Mr. Novelline received his B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

David Chizewer


David Chizewer is a principal in the Litigation Group of Goldberg Kohn. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and has been featured in the National Law Journal’s list of 10 of the nation’s top litigators. He has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Public Justice Foundation and was separately a runner-up for that same award. He has also been named Lawyer of the Year by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, and has received the Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service by the Federal Court in Chicago on two separate occasions.

Mr. Chizewer served as co-lead trial counsel in two widely acclaimed cases. He was co-lead trial counsel for Plaintiffs, and obtained the largest verdict and judgment in the history of the federal False Claim Act ($334 million), in the case captioned, United States of America ex rel. Cleveland A. Tyson, et al. v. Amerigroup Corporation, et al. Mr. Chizewer was also co-lead trial counsel for a class of 600,000 children on Medicaid against the State of Illinois in the federal case captioned, Memisovski, et al. v. Patla, obtaining some of the most sweeping reforms ever to a state Medicaid program. Mr. Chizewer's  false claims act cases have returned more than a half billion dollars to government treasuries.  

Mr. Chizewer received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1991 and his B.A. in economics, magna cum laude, from Pomona College in 1988.  He was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Laura Thonn


Laura Thonn is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in their business assurance practice. She is a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Illinois. Ms. Thonn has previously served on the board of directors for Onward Neighborhood House, as a social worker for high school students, and as a program assistant for Voices for Illinois Children, the leading advocacy organization serving children and families in Illinois. She earned her B.S. from Boston College and has a Master's degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

Aylon Samouha

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David Blinderman

David Blinderman is the CEO of Blinderman Construction, a general contracting firm based in Chicago. Mr. Blinderman previously worked as a portfolio manager for Aetna Real Estate Investors, and as a senior consultant for Ernst & Young specializing in real estate securitization and valuation. As a firm believer in access to quality public education, he is a strong promoter and supporter of STEM-centric career development and mentoring for underserved student populations. Mr. Blinderman earned a B.S in civil engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Elizabeth Shaw

As CEO, Elizabeth Shaw is responsible for crafting and executing the CICS network strategy and managing the performance of the network and its portfolio of School Management Organizations. Elizabeth brings a wealth of experience to CICS including five years as the CEO of Education First, a national education policy, and strategy firm. She served as the Asst. Superintendent for the Recovery School District in New Orleans and was the Executive Director of Human Capital for the Louisiana Department of Education. She also worked as TFA’s regional Director of District Strategy and Professional Development. Elizabeth started as a public high school teacher and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Barnard College. Elizabeth is a proud CPS alumna, a CPS parent, and lives in Logan Square with her husband and two children.

Evan Sharp

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Prior to joining Russell Reynolds Associates, Evan worked in management consulting and financial services. Most recently at Accenture, Evan advised technology and communications clients on their strategic and operational challenges, including sales process and sales enablement, operating model design, merger integration planning and mobile app product strategy. Prior to Accenture, Evan was in the Wealth Management Group at Goldman Sachs, where he was responsible for analyzing high-net worth client portfolios, supporting business development initiatives and advising clients on their investment needs.

Evan earned a BSBA in finance and accounting from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA with concentrations in management and organizations, entrepreneurship and marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Violet M. Clark

Violet Clark is a Partner at Laner, Munchin, Dombrow, Becker, Levin and Tominberg where she specializes in labor and employment law. Prior to joining Laner, Ms. Clark served as a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and as a Trial Attorney with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Clark is a member of the Black Women Lawyers Association and the Cook County Bar Association. She serves as the Vice President of the United States Tennis Association/Midwest Section. Additionally, Ms. Clark is a founding member of Friends of CICS Tennis. Ms. Clark received her law degree from Cornell University Law School and her B.A. from Brown University.

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