Office of Catholic Schools
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Dr. Jim Rigg is the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Dr. Rigg began his role in Chicago in October of 2015, having previously served as Director of Educational Services and Superintendent in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. During his time in Cincinnati, Dr. Rigg initiated the first-ever vision and strategic plan for Catholic education. Entitled “Lighting the Way”, this plan has enhanced academic and religious quality, bolstered marketing and financial structures, and provided new levels of support, including a $130 million capital campaign with $65 million allocated for Catholic schools. Prior to joining the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, he worked as a Catholic school Assistant Superintendent, principal, assistant principal, and teacher in the dioceses of Colorado Springs and Memphis.
Dr. Rigg is a graduate of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Service Through Teaching Program. He holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Notre Dame and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. He has published numerous articles of Catholic education and evangelization. His four children attend Catholic schools.
Chief of Academics
As Chief of Academics, Phyllis Cavallone has provided leadership for the numerous academic initiatives of the Catholic schools, including instructional programs, curriculum formation, accreditation, assessments, and ongoing professional development for teachers and staff members. She also leads the OCS Academic Team in their essential work of supporting excellent teaching and learning in Catholic education.
Phyllis is a nationally acclaimed educational leader. She has served as principal of St. Therese School in Chicago, as a teacher at Christ the King School in Chicago, as the assistant principal at John Hancock High School, and as a math and science teacher at St. Mary School in Riverside and William Jones Magnet High School. Phyllis has received the 2017 Stanley C. Golder Golden Apple, National Distinguished Principal of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, a Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award from the National Catholic Educational Association, and the Technology Leader of the Year by Tech & Learning Magazine.
Chief Operating Officer for Catholic Schools
Matthew Walter brings a rich history of supporting educational programs through operations and finance. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of ReGeneration Schools and held various roles with the Chicago Public School district, most recently as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He has also worked as an Equity Research Associate at MAR Research and FBR Capital Markets.
Matthew obtained a bachelor of science in finance from Miami University (Ohio) and a master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He has a deep understanding of operational and financial dynamics, and a passion for education. Matthew and his family attend their local parish, where his children also attend Catholic school.
Director of Leadership Formation
Elise is the Director of Leadership Formation for the Office of Catholic Schools. She oversees the principal recruitment and hiring processes, oversees the New Leaders Program and Leadership Academy, and is the lead organizer for Leadership Days, which are professional development trainings for principals.
Elise was the principal for St. John Brebeuf School in Niles for three years before joining the Office of Catholic Schools. Through her leadership, Elise worked to enhance the school’s academic and religious programs, positioning St. John Brebeuf as one of the earliest schools to adopt Blended Learning. Previous to her work as principal, Elise worked as a teacher and later became the Director of Continuous School Enhancement at Trinity High School.
Elise has a Master’s degree in Education from Dominican University, a Master’s degree in English from DePaul University, and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Concordia University.
Director of Catholic Mission and Culture
Melissa is an accomplished educator, missionary disciple and a passionate believer in our religious mission. She previously served as the Theology Department Chair and coordinated the New Teacher Mentoring Program at Trinity High School in River Forest. Prior to her work at Trinity, she chaired the English Department at Ahliyyah School for Girls in Amman, Jordan. She also previously worked as the Director of Campus Ministry and Theology Department Chair at Mount Carmel High School and worked as a religion teacher and campus minister at Queen of Peace High School. Melissa possesses a B.A. in Social Work from Loras College (Dubuque, IA), with a minor in Theology. She holds a master’s degree from Catholic Theological Union.
Regional Director for Vicariate I Schools
Dr. Merry Quinn joined the Office of Catholic Schools in July 2014. Dr. Quinn has more than 20 years of education experience. Prior to joining OCS, she was the assistant superintendent in Community High School District 117. Her career has included roles in both the Archdiocese of Chicago and public education as a high school teacher, counselor, director of student services and assistant principal. Dr. Quinn currently serves on her district's library board and volunteers as a mentor at the College of Lake County.
Dr. Quinn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, a Master’s of Education degree in Administrative Leadership and a Doctorate in Administration/Educational Leadership. In addition she has a certification in the Danielson Group Framework for Teaching Proficiency.
Regional Director for Vicariate II Schools
Before joining the Office of Catholic Schools in July 2016, Lorelei Bobroff was the principal of St. Paul of the Cross in Park Ridge, she was also previously a teacher at Ascension School in Oak Park. Lorelei has taught second grade, as well as junior high language arts and religion.
Lorelei has attended Bearing Witness Holocaust Studies programs in Washington, D.C. and Israel. Prior to her role as Regional Director, she served on several committees for the Office of Catholic Schools, including a committee that developed a Standard Based Report Card System. Lorelei also implemented service and curriculum projects with St. Paul of the Cross School that involved working with other schools in the Archdiocese and the Field Museum in Chicago. Lorelei holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master’s of Education from Dominican University. She also has an Administrative License from the Illinois Department of Public Education.
Regional Director for Vicariate III Schools
Therese Craig has more than 21 years of experience in the educational field. Therese began her role as the Regional Director for Vicariate III Catholic schools in July 2015. Prior to joining the Archdiocese, Therese was the principal of St. Luke Parish School in River Forest. Throughout her career, she has been a classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, director of student services and assistant principal.
Therese holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Loras College and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.
Regional Director for Vicariate IV Schools
Dr. Kari King has more than 30 years of experience in the educational field. Dr. King began her role as Regional Director for Vicariate IV schools in July 2015. Prior to joining the Archdiocese, Dr. King was on the faculty at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the education and communication departments. Throughout her career, Dr. King was a teacher, dean of students, director of discipline, assistant principal for personnel and principal.
Dr. King holds a Master’s from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago and a Ph.D. from Loyola University, Chicago.
Regional Director for Vicariate V Schools
Prior to joining the Office of Catholic Schools, Jerry Spatara was the principal of Divine Providence School in Westchester for seven years. Jerry’s professional background includes three years as a missionary and Facilities Manager at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Arkansas, several years as a community economic development organizer in central Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh. He has taught at Catholic schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota and Illinois. He has worked as a Catholic school principal within the Diocese of Joliet and Archdiocese of Chicago for more than15 years.
Jerry earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science/History from Westminster College, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. His teaching credentials are from the University of St. Francis, his Type 75 is from North Central College. Additionally, Jerry completed doctoral work at Lewis University.
Regional Director for Vicariate VI Schools
Dr. Bridget de la Peña has worked in Archdiocese of Chicago elementary schools for 15 years as both a teacher and administrator. She previously taught at various schools in Chicago, including Children of Peace Holy Family Campus, St. James School, and St. Michael the Archangel School. She also taught summer school at St. Ignatius College Prep for eight years. She served as principal of St. Michael the Archangel for five years before joining the Office of Catholic Schools. Throughout her career, she has been recognized for her hard work and dedication which has earned her the South Chicago Education of the Year Award (2009), Croghan Teachers’ Award Finalist (2013), Polk Bros. Leadership Incentive Award (2014) and Stone Foundation Fellowship for Leadership in Early Childhood Education (2012, 2013, 2014).
Dr. de la Peña graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in the Catholic social tradition. She also has earned a Master of Science in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and Doctorate of Education in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Regional Director for Turnaround Schools
Colleen Brewer is one of the Regional Directors for Turnaround Schools. Colleen holds a master’s in education from Loyola and a bachelor’s in secondary education (math/religious studies) from the University of Dayton. Her experience, dynamic personality, and faith will benefit the schools in her care.
Colleen is a proven and effective Catholic school leader and supporter. She previously was the principal of St. Viator School, one of the first schools to participate in the Archdiocesan Turnaround Program. Under Colleen’s leadership, St. Viator expanded programs, stabilized enrollment and improved its overall quality of faith formation and academic instruction. Prior to serving at St. Viator, Colleen was the Dean of Student Life at Regina Dominican High School, and principal, assistant principal, and teacher at St. Scholastica Academy.
Director of Early Childhood Education
Julie Ramski has been the Director of Early Childhood Education for the Office of Catholic Schools for almost two decades. She previously was a teacher and assistant principal at Santa Lucia School in Chicago. Julie presents at various trainings throughout the year for Catholic schools’ early childhood teachers and at national conferences. She previously was a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) validator. She is trained to be an AdvancED Lead Evaluator. She works with city and state agencies, private foundations, universities, and organizations to bring information, resources and professional development to our early childhood programs. She is responsible for implementing initiatives such as Preschool for All. She currently serves on the Mayor’s Early Learning Executive Council.
Julie holds a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University of Illinois in Chicago and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Director of Federal Programs
As a parent of a present Catholic school student herself, Katrina knows the importance of Catholic education. Katrina McDermott began her teaching career in Ireland before moving to the United States. She taught in the Archdiocese of Chicago before becoming assistant principal at St. Sylvester School and then St. Bruno School. She then became the principal of St. Bruno School for three years. She was the principal at St. Juliana School for four years before joining the Office of Catholic Schools.
Katrina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from St. Mary’s College in Northern Ireland and a Master’s degree in School Improvement Leadership from Olivet Nazerene University.
Director of School Improvement and Accreditation
Hedi Belkaoui joined the Office of Catholic Schools in January 2017 as the Regional Director for Turnaround Schools in Vicariates I – IV. Prior to joining the Archdiocese, he was the first male principal of Queen of Peace High School. Hedi has a diverse teaching and administration experience. He previously taught at Morton West High School in Berwyn and Providence St. Mel in Chicago and was the Academic Dean for Providence Englewood Charter School in Chicago for three years. Following his time at Providence Englewood Charter School, he traveled to Cambodia to become the Director at Jay Pritzker Academy and then traveled to Philadelphia to serve as the Founding School Director for Young Scholars Kenderton Charter School.
Hedi has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Dominican University. During his time at Dominican, he was a member of the honors program, student trustee, Mulroy Award Winner 2004 and 2014 Mazzuchelli Model Award for Outstanding Alumni. He was named a Golden Apple Foundation Scholar Class of 2000. He went on to be a Golden Apple Staff Liaison where he mentored and conducted seminars for college students who participated in the Golden Apple Scholars Program for teaching training.
Hedi is currently working on his doctorate in Educational Leadership at Loyola University.