Board of Specified Jurisdiction

The Northside Catholic Academy Board of Specified Jurisdiction (BSJ) advises the school administration on a number of topics including school policies, budget and tuition rates. Board members also serve on committees that deal with subjects such as Finance, Long Range Planning, Facilities, Marketing and Development. The BSJ meets five times a year. See the NCA events calendar for meeting dates.

Board Members May Be:  

  • Parishioners
  • Alumni and parents of alumni
  • Leaders within the neighborhood, civic, business, and professional communities
  • School parents and guardians
  • A maximum of 20% of the Board members may be non-Catholic.


BSJ members commit to prepare for and attend board meetings, and to participate actively in at least one of the standing committees of the BSJ. The Northside Catholic Academy school community shall have an active and supportive role by having the NCA Parent Organization (NCAPO) President or designated representative of the organization attend and report at BSJ meetings. The president and the school principal sit on the BSJ Ex Officio.

The BSJ adopts a consensus model of decision-making; work is prepared in committee before presentation to the board membership. The Executive Committee includes the board chair, assistant chair, board secretary, the president, and the principal. The school administrator and the board chair set the board agenda and monitor the board calendar. An agenda, including the minutes from each current committee’s work, is provided to board members. 

2019-2020 Board of Specified Jurisdiction

Fr. Paul Wachdorf, PRESIDENT: Fr. Paul Wachdorf hails from the South side of Chicago. He was born and raised in St. Justin Martyr Parish. He attended Quigley High School Seminary South, Niles College of Loyola University, graduating in 1971 with a B.S. in Psychology. He received a Master’s Degree in Christian Spirituality in 1984 from Creighton University. He was ordained a priest in 1975. He was named pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church in July of 2007.

Jackie Blake,CHAIR: Jackie Blake is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has four children, an infant and three children currently at NCA (K, 2nd and 6th).  She has a counseling background and has been very involved at St. Gertrude's parish.  She chaired the Gralley (St. Gertrude fundraiser) for many years.  

Sarah Millar, VICE-CHAIR: Sarah is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has two children at NCA (7th and 5th). She is an attorney and specializes in Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation.

Mark Lewis, TREASURER: Mark is a parishioner at St. Jerome and has had three children graduate from NCA and currently has a fifth grader at NCA. He is an in house attorney at AT&T. Mark has served on the School Board/BSJ for over 10 years. He serves as Chair of the Finance committee.

Karen Ewing, SECRETARY: Karen is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has a seventh grader at NCA and one alum. She is a legal assistant at JMB Financial Advisors, LLC. She is also the President of the NCAPO.

Chris Atkinson: Chris is a resident and active community member of the West Ridge neighborhood where she has lived for nearly two decades.  She is the Director of Real Estate, Construction, and Facilities at PharmaCann LLC where she oversees dozens of facilities and construction projects in excess of $175 million nationwide.  She previously served as President of the Associate Board for Girls on the Run Chicago and was a Community Educator and Support Group Facilitator at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center in Chapel Hill, NC. The 2019 school year will be her first on the BSJ. Chris is an independent (non-parent) board member. 

Colleen Clennon: Colleen is an alumna of the first graduating class of NCA and parishioner of St. Gertrude. An Intensive Care Unit nurse by background, she currently works as an Operations Manager within the healthcare industry. The 2019 school year will be her first on the BSJ. Colleen is an independent (non-parent) board member. 

Jason Craft: Jason is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has two children at NCA (3rd and 5th). He is an attorney specializing in risk management and insurance.

Colleen Fulkerson: Colleen is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has three children at NCA (2nd, 6th, and 7th) and one alum. She works for Felician Services, Inc., the sole corporate member of the Felician Sisters of North America, overseeing governance and sponsorship for thirty ministries sponsored in the Sisters' name. She has been an active member of St. Gertrude's Parish Pastoral Council and has served on the NCA Advancement Committee.

Todd Gross: Todd has had three children graduate from NCA. He is a teacher at Senn High School and sits on the Fiscal Management Committee.

Mike Herman: Mike is a parishioner at St. Margaret Mary and has a seventh grader at NCA. He is the Director of Advancement and Development at Kohl’s Children’s Museum.

Kelly Hixenbaugh: Kelly is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has two children at NCA (4th and 7th). She is a Global Communications, Marketing and Media Executive and is Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee.

Nancy Kelly: Nancy started her career as an educator in both Chicago Public Schools and the Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago before becoming a Catholic Schools' principal. She has also taught in Teacher Education Departments at Loyola University and Northeastern Illinois University. She earned her PhD at Loyola University specific to the field of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in addition to obtaining several other education-related advanced degrees. Her grandchildren attend NCA (PS, 1st, and 6th).

Megan Thibert-Ind: Megan is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has four children (2nd, 4th, and 6th). She is an attorney at McDermott Will & Emery. She is chair of the Arts Committee.

Brian Pavona: Brian is an independent Board Member and Chair of the Membership and Governance Committee of the BSJ. He has a BBA and MAcc from the University of Michigan.  He is the Managing Director at BKD CPAs & Advisors and our representative from the Big Shoulders Fund Chairmens' Advisory Council.

Rich Stoltz: Rich is a parishoner at St. Gertrude and has two children at NCA (6th and 8th Grade). He is a Senior Attorney for the US Securities and Exchange Commission. He also sits on the Fiscal Management Committee.

Maggie Wrenn: Maggie is a parishioner at St. Ignatius and has had three children graduate from NCA and currently has a seventh grader at NCA. She is the Executive Director at Lakefront Hospitality Group. She has served as a board member for over 10 years.

John Wyman: John is a parishioner at St. Gertrude and has two children at NCA (2nd and 4th). He is the Managing Principal Broker-Wyman Real Estate Group under the @properties Brokerage firm. John is also the Chair of the Development and Advancement Committee.

Board of Specified Jurisdiction Grade Representatives:
Preschool: Megan Ind
Kindergarten: Jackie Blake
1st Grade: Maggie Wrenn 
2nd Grade: John Wyman
3rd Grade: Jason Craft
4th Grade: Kelly Hixenbaugh
5th Grade
Mark Lewis:
Sarah Millar:
6th Grade: Colleen Fulkerson
7th Grade:
8th Grade:
Independent Board Representative:
Brian Pavona: