EMSA Board of Directors


To contact the board, email: board@emsacharter.org


Kerry Kelly,
Founding Board President

Lawyer, Steffen & Kelly
Ms. Kelly is a local attorney and provides contract analysis and legal advice to the EMSA design team. In addition, she has a personal passion for education, in particular science education. As a founding member of the EMSA design team, she led the initial development of the organization, driving the initiative forward and galvanizing a diverse and dynamic team of volunteers toward a shared vision for EMSA. Her efforts resulted in the selection of the school model, community outreach, board development and charter proposal development. She has served as Board Chairperson for The Larkin Center and NorthEast Neighborhood Association. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Genetics & Development at University of Illinois, and her Juris Doctorate Degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.


Dennis Verges,
Founding Board Vice President

Director of Finance, SCREEN North America Holdings
Mr. Verges is the Director of Finance at SCREEN North America Holdings and brings over 15 years of financial planning to the EMSA design team. He has extensive ties in the Elgin community serving as Commissioner, Elgin Strategic Plan Advisory Commission; Commissioner, Elgin Human Services Advisory Commission; Chairperson, Advisory Council NHS Fox Valley; and, Board Member, Open Door Community Health Clinic.

Adam Gray, Founding Board Treasurer
Tax & Financial Manager
Mr. Gray manages H&R Block sites in Illinois and provides extensive budgeting, investment and financial management experience to the EMSA team. He has led major investment decisions through customer negotiation, internal appraisal and approval, legal agreement and practical implementation for companies such as Castle Leisure. He helped accelerate growth through prudent investment management of Scotland’s largest independent operators including Saltire Taverns. He earned his degree at Napier University, Edinburgh.

Doree Haight, Founding Board Secretary
Senior Manager, Sears Holdings;
Owner/manager of The Haight events space
Ms Haight is the owner of The Haight event space in downtown Elgin, and has held senior account positions at various advertising agencies and companies in the metropolitan Chicago region. She has played an integral role in the development of EMSA’s marketing plan that will drive and sustain long-term growth for EMSA, while expanding and strengthening partnerships externally and internally. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Communications from Carthage College.

Gary Swick, Founding Board
Instructor, Northern Illinois University;
retired high school science teacher D300
Mr. Swick is an instructor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University and is a retired High School Environmental Science teacher for District 300. During his educational career, he earned many state and national level awards, including a Milken Family Foundation Fellowship, National Environmental Education Foundation’s Bartlett Award, and the President’s Environmental Science Teacher Award. He is President of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Friends of the Fox River. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point and holds a Masters of Science Degree in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.

Melanie Gibb, Founding Board
Senior Instructor, Judson University
Ms. Gibb is a Senior Instructor within the Department of Art and Design at Judson University and creates the visual voice to EMSA design team. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Visual Communications and Fine Arts from Judson University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from Northern Illinois University — where she focused her studies on the intersection of secondary education and design thinking and methodologies.

Baldemar_small (1)
Baldemar Lopez, Founding Board
Mr. Lopez is a local attorney who brings over a decade of legal and governmental affairs experience to the EMSA design team. He previously worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and served as Assistant Chief of Staff and Legislative Council for Governor Pat Quinn. He serves on the Hoffman Estates Economic Development and Capital Improvements Commissions, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation Board, and is Chairman of the Board for the Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Denver.

Not Pictured
Brian Piñon, Board of Directors
Kimberly Shaw, Board of Directors