Meet our Board Members
Elizabeth Hitzeman, President, was elected to the board in April 2015 and re-elected in 2019 and 2023. 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.
Kevin DeSchaaf, Vice President, 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, Secretary, was elected for the first time in April 2019 and re-elected in April 2023. He has previous experience serving on the school board at High School District #231, where he completed two consecutive terms from 2007-2015. Currently, he works in Risk Management in the Financial Services industry for a Fortune 500 company. Mr. Trzeciak received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Saint Xavier University and is a Certified Project Management Professional. In 2021, he earned his Master's Degree in Risk Management from the University of Chicago. He serves as the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee for the Illinois Association of School Boards Three Rivers Division. Mr. Trzeciak believes that the top priority of the school board should always be serving the best interest of the students and that all decision-making should be guided by this principle. He advocates for an open-door leadership approach where the board, students, parents, faculty, administration, and community can work collaboratively as a school-community team.
Deb Martin, Member, has been serving the residents of Homer 33C for 20+ years. She was first elected to the Board of Education in 2003 and re-elected in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023 -- 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 three superintendents. When faced with tough decisions, she always relies on her experience as a parent, teacher (both 2nd and 4th grades) 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.
Karen DeFilippis, Member, 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.
Melissa Chandarana, Member, was elected to the board in April 2021. she and her husband, Andy, have resided in Lockport for 18 years with their five children. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to volunteer at Homer 33C as PTO President, volunteer office assistant at Young School, What I Need (WIN) volunteer, and numerous PTO volunteer opportunities. Her children have utilized a wide range of the district's offerings: Early Childhood (tuition-based and non-tuition-based), extended kindergarten (Bright Start, prior to full-day being offered), SI program for students with special needs, Discovery program, and accelerated classes at HJH. She looks forward to using her volunteer and parenting experiences to serve as an advocate for the students, teachers, families, and community members of the district.
Missy received her Associate Degree with High Honors from College of DuPage in June of 2002. She has worked as the Business Manager, handling all accounting and human resources responsibilities, for a not-for-profit located in the western suburbs since 2000. She enjoys her ongoing role as troop leader for multiple Girl Scout troops, an active member of the broader Girl Scout Service Unit team, and as either Camp Director &/or Program Director of a week-long volunteer-led Girl Scout Day Camp for the last 13 years. Volunteering is truly Missy's passion and she enjoys the opportunity to give back to her community whenever and however she can.