Office of Catholic Schools
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Greg Richmond, an internationally recognized leader in public and charter schools, became the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago in August 2021.
Richmond has dedicated his career to creating innovative school options for families locally and at the state, national, and international levels. He was most recently founder of the Richmond Strategy Group and is a senior fellow at the Future Ed think tank at Georgetown University and a Pahara Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
From 2005 through 2019, Richmond was the chief executive officer of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Under his leadership, the association established the nation’s professional standards for authorizing charter schools. He testified repeatedly before the United States Congress at the invitation of both Democrats and Republicans and worked with dozens of cities and states to implement the authorizing policies and practices that lead to quality schools. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame.
From 1994 until 2005, Richmond worked within the Chicago Public Schools, where he led the district’s efforts to partner with educators and community organizations to create new schools. He founded the district’s Charter Schools Office in 1997 and later led all new school development activities in the district.
From 2011 to 2015, Richmond served as the founding chairman of the Illinois State Charter School Commission, working with educators and communities throughout the state to evaluate proposals for new charter schools and monitor charter schools in Chicago, the suburbs, and downstate.
Richmond has advised education officials in England, Abu Dhabi, and Chile in the development of charter-like school systems in their countries.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
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.
Deputy Superintendent for Academics
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.
Deputy Superintendent for School Support
Before joining the Office of Catholic Schools in July 2019, Karen Rebhan-Csuk had been the principal of St. Bartholomew School and St. Edmund School. Her devotion to education has been shown in her 30 years of making a difference in Catholic schools and public schools.
Karen worked as a special education teacher and public school principal before joining the Archdiocese of Chicago. While working in alternative schools, she worked with faculty to improve curriculum and increase learning in the classroom which helped improve test scores. She helped foster a collaborative environment with families. She continued these practices as principal of St. Bartholomew and St. Edmund School.
Karen holds a Bachelor’s in Special Education from Bradley University and a Master’s in School Administration from Governors State University.
Senior Director of Communications & Marketing
Katie O’Dea has more than 20 years of strategic communications expertise in the non-profit sector. For 16 years she served as the Director of Communications + Strategic Initiatives at Latin School of Chicago where she managed the strategic development, integration and implementation of all aspects of the school’s communications program including content creation, design, production, media relations and social media. She also led the implementation of the school’s strategic plan, including the creation of short- and long-term metrics for growth.
Before moving to education, Katie served as a speechwriter, managed events and community and media relations, and developed websites at Lurie Children’s Hospital, the City of Chicago and the Computing Technology Industry Association.
She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Katie is a proud graduate of a Chicago Catholic grammar school and a Chicago Catholic high school and is currently a parent of a Catholic school student.
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 I and Vicariate VI-12 Schools
Natalie is an experienced and accomplished Catholic school leader. Before joining the Office of Catholic Schools, she was the principal of Infant Jesus of Prague in Flossmoor. During her time as principal, Natalie worked to significantly improve the school’s academic quality, culture, enrollment and financial vitality. Natalie also previously worked as an English teacher, Dean and Assistant Principal at Queen of Peace High School in Burbank.
Natalie possesses a bachelor’s in secondary education from St. Xavier University and a master’s in educational administration from Dominican University. Natalie is a person of great energy, enormous vision and a sincere faith. She cares deeply about our Catholic educational mission.
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 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 III, Vicariate VI-11, and Big Shoulders Fund Plus 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 Vicariate IV and High School Liaison
Ray Coleman taught at St. Ladislaus School in Chicago and St. Francis de Sales School in Lake Zurich. He led St. Monica Academy from 2003-2022. Ray researched the idea of connecting student learning to environmental practices and sustainability. Ray and St. Monica teachers authored and developed the comprehensive curriculum called SEEDS (Student Environmental Education & Development Studies). This educational initiative led to an eventual partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden and with St. Monica being awarded academy status in 2007.
Ray holds two master’s degrees from Dominican University in Educational Administration and Roosevelt University in Secondary Education. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Director of Leadership Formation
With over 25 years of experience in education, Jodi McLawhorn brings invaluable knowledge as the Director of Leadership Formation. She is an alumna of St. Gall School and Maria High School. She previously worked at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School as a teacher, St. Rita of Cascia High School as the Humanities Division Head and Director of Student Activities, Regina Dominica High School as the Director of the Leadership Institute and St. Albert the Great School as the principal.
Jodi has a bachelor of music education degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and plays several instruments including the flute. She also holds a master’s in education leadership 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.
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 Funds
Dr. Walthers was the principal of St. Christopher School in Midlothian before joining the Office of Catholic Schools in the summer of 2022. Dr. Walthers initiated improvements during her time at St. Christopher including securing funding for Chromebooks and learning tablets, helped the school become a “Preschool for All” provider and participating in the i-Ready pilot program.
Dr. Walthers holds a bachelor of arts in elementary education from Trinity Christian College, a master of arts in education from Governor State University, and a doctor of education in Educational Leadership from Trident International University. She also has an education specialist degree with a concentration on educational leadership from Liberty University. She is currently an adjunct professor at Olivet Nazarene University and a clinical supervisor at Western Governors University for teacher candidates.