Meet our Board Members
Deb Martin, President, has been serving the residents of Homer 33C for more than a dozen years. She was first elected to the Board of Education in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015 -- making her the most veteran board member. She has helped steer the district through periods of growth (including the construction of Young School and renovation work at Schilling School) as well as the hiring of two superintendents -- J. Michel Morrow in 2010 and Kara Coglianese in 2014. When faced with tough decisions, she always relies on her experience as a parent, teacher and community member to guide her. “I am not a politician,” she once told a reporter. “I’m here, first of all, as a parent of (four) students who have gone through the district.” Mrs. Martin lives in Homer Glen and teaches second grade in Joliet Public Schools District 86.
Elizabeth Hitzeman, Vice President, was elected to the board in April 2015 and re-elected in 2019. She is a retired educator who dedicated 26 years to the development of young minds in Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C. She and her husband, Kurt, moved to Homer Glen in 1978 when his engineering position brought them to the area. They raised two daughters here and built both of their homes here because they fell in love with the community atmosphere.
Mrs. Hitzeman received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and subsequently earned an additional 63 hours in postgraduate study in the fields of technology and education. Before moving to Homer Glen in 1978, Mrs. Hitzeman worked in management, overseeing multiple departments for Bell and Howell Schools in their Home Study Division in Chicago. She joined the Homer 33C family in 1988, teaching sixth graders up until her retirement in June, 2014. She estimates she taught 1,700 students during the course of her career. In 2006, she was named recipient of the Teacher Recognition Award from the Give Something Back Foundation.
As school board members, we have the responsibility to oversee the successful implementation of the mission/vision of our district’s strategic plan, states Hitzeman. I believe that success is, in part, related to the positive relationships and support built between students, staff, administration and community.
Karen DeFilippis, Secretary, was elected to the board in April 2017. She is a retired educator, having taught 5th grade and junior high school students for 30 years. Many of those years were spent in Homer 33C, teaching at Schilling School and Homer Junior High School. She and her husband, Mike, moved to Homer Glen in the early ‘90s and raised two children. Their oldest, Kaleen DeFilippis-Holba, grew up to be a teacher -- just like Mom.
Mrs. DeFilippis received her bachelor’s degree in Business from St. Xavier University and master’s degree in Math Education from St. Xavier University. She joined the Homer 33C family in 1999 and taught math up until her retirement in June 2016. Not only did she shape young minds for 30 years but encouraged students to help others by sponsoring the Homer Junior High School Honor Club for a number of years. Under her leadership, the service club wrote letters to servicemen and women; created posters for Red Ribbon Week; visited residents at a local retirement/assisted living facility; and collected toys for children hospitalized at Comer Children’s Hospital during the holidays. She also collaborated with administrators, teachers and support staff to make Homer 33C a community of excellence.
Kevin DeSchaaf, Member, was elected to the board in April 2017. As the father of two young children, he is anxious to set (and meet) challenging goals for the students, teachers, parents and citizens of Homer 33C. He and his wife, Nicole, moved to Lockport in 2001 and have two daughters.
Mr. DeSchaaf received his bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Illinois University, with a minor in secondary education. Even though he considered being a teacher at one time, he chose to pursue a career in business instead. He works in digital advertising, giving him a unique perspective on the constantly changing world of technology and how it affects our lives.
Chris Trzeciak, Member, was elected to the board in April 2019. He and his wife, Nicole and their two children moved to Homer Glen in 2016. Mr. Trzeciak has previous school board experience at High School District #231 where he served two consecutive terms from 2007-2015. He has a background in IT and currently works in Risk Management within the Financial Services industry for a Fortune 100 company. Mr. Trzeciak received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Saint Xavier University and is a Certified Project Management Professional. He is presently enrolled in a master’s degree program at the University of Chicago. He believes that the best interest of the students should always be the school boards top priority and guide all decision making. He supports an open-door leadership approach where the board, students, parents, faculty, administration and community are encouraged to work together as collaboratively as possible to operate as a school-community team.
Melissa Chandarana, Member, was elected to the board in April 2021.
Jennifer Rudolph, Member, was elected to the board in April 2021.