CEO Scott Frauenheim speaking at podium

Scott Frauenheim | Chief Executive Officer
Scott Frauenheim has dedicated his career to building positive learning environments for students and educators. As a member of the founding team of Distinctive Schools, he has  fostered the development and growth of the network from its inception in 2011. His tenure with Distinctive Schools began in the classroom, and through thoughtful leadership, incredible initiative and endless creativity, Scott advanced from Teacher to Dean, Dean to Director, Director to President, and President to Chief Executive Officer. Scott is recognized as a leader and pioneer of transformational work throughout the education community, operating intentionally to harvest a diverse, healthy and positive working environment. Scott leverages the strength of Distinctive Schools’ vigorous culture and harnesses the strengths of his team to move the work. Scott’s commitment to thriving culture, strategic vision, meticulous operations, inspirational leadership, and nimble adaptability have earned him a national reputation for leadership, innovation and personalized learning.  

Monique Langston | Chief Strategy Officer
Monique Langston is an accomplished operational leader with a wealth of experience in project management, partnerships, communications, strategy, and business operations.  Monique earned a Bachelors in Public Relations and a Masters in Journalism from Roosevelt University. Her passion for education is evident throughout her career; she has an impressive track record in both operational and administrative management. As Distinctive Schools’ Chief Strategy Officer, Monique works with various teams to ensure operational excellence, strong collaboration amongst various stakeholders, and the development and implementation of strategic priorities.  

Erin Lanoue | Chief Operating Officer
Erin Lanoue serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Distinctive Schools. With over fifteen years of education and operations experience, Erin’s extensive knowledge in financial and programmatic activities contributes to the overall success of the organization, and Erin provides day-to-day oversight of operations, including finance, facilities, talent, and marketing. Prior to Distinctive Schools, Erin served as Vice President, Operations at Charter School USA managing procurement, transportation, food service, contracts, categorical grants and school business managers for 85 schools in seven states from Illinois to Florida, as well as served as Chief of Staff, and other roles, at Chicago International Charter School for over a decade. Her sharp focus on teams and operations aligns with Distinctive Schools’ innovative approach to make effective use of our resources while fostering a lifelong love for learning for all our students.

Katie O'Connor | Chief Education Officer
Katie O’Connor is a dedicated educational leader, steadfast in her commitment to urban education and the continuing development of educators. Throughout her tenure with Distinctive Schools, Katie has served as an elementary educator, instructional coach, director of literacy, and executive director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  She ensures instructional strategy is aligned to the mission and vision of Distinctive Schools and promotes investment in educators through design, collaboration, and professional growth plans. As Chief Education Officer, Katie brings a wealth of knowledge to empowering educators and the acceleration of productive, creative, happy learners.  

David Sundstrom | Chief Administrative Officer & Co-Founder 
David Sundstrom is an attorney specializing in contract and education law. David has been counsel to school district leaders and school district boards on matters ranging from superintendent-board contract negotiations to labor/employment and human resources management, special education compliance, risk management and civil rights policies and compliance.  David Sundstrom is co-author of two textbooks: Power of Teaching—The Science of the Art (1st Edition 2002; 2nd Edition, 2007) and Power of Coaching—Teachers and Teaching (2009).

Sami Baugh | Chief Talent Officer
Sami Baugh is an experienced talent acquisition, management, and operations leader with success in the charter education management and higher education industries for over 13 years. Sami earned a double Bachelor’s in Communications and Health & Sports Studies at the University of Iowa and a Masters in Sports Administration at Central Michigan University. As Chief Talent Officer, Sami plays an instrumental role as the driving force behind the talent strategy. Sami ensures the mission and vision of Distinctive Schools thrives through incredible, high-performing Talent. She brings Talent and Recruitment expertise, and a strong passion and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion to Distinctive Schools.

Jessica Paulsen | Chief of Staff 
Jessica Paulsen has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and management, with an emphasis on youth-serving and education organizations. Jessica joined us following her five year tenure as Executive Director of Pass With Flying Colors, a holistic 8-year college access and success program serving first-generation students. Prior, Jessica led the expansion of New Sector Alliance's college and post-graduate fellowship programs to Chicago and later served as the National Program and Curriculum Director responsible for leadership development outcomes among aspiring nonprofit and education sector leaders across the country. She has previously served in a variety of fundraising, communications, and community engagement roles in organizations focused on youth development, hunger, women's health, and economic security. Jessica began her nonprofit career as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. She holds a BA in Theater and Communication Arts from Gannon University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mike McCarthy | Chief of Schools
ike McCarthy builds, improves, and scales support systems for students, families, and staff through innovative models of public education. Initially trained as a mental health professional and school counselor, Mike brings therapeutic expertise and a strength-based approach to his relationship-centered work. He has served in roles that touch all aspects of program management in organizations from Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and most recently, Detroit. His work transcends student services to strategy development to local resourcing to day-to-day performance, with a special focus on SEL and school culture. As the former Executive Director of Student Support Services and Director of School Culture for Distinctive Schools, Mike continually championed the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work to support diverse talent across leadership, staff, and partners. Mike is passionate about cultivating and reflecting optimal representation and - as importantly - bringing diverse perspectives together to support school missions, programs, and communities.

Elizabeth Winke | Chief Financial Officer
Elizabeth Winke is a motivated, personable professional with over 20 years of experience in accounting and nonprofit finance. She brings analytical thinking and problem solving to all tasks, with strong knowledge and focus in audits, management, concepts, and strategy. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has concentrated on service and nonprofit financial management, serving Howard Brown Health Center, the LUNGevity Foundation, Feeding America, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Elizabeth joined Distinctive Schools as Controller in 2021, served as interim Chief Financial Officer in 2022, and was formally awarded the Chief Financial Officer role in 2023. She is a licensed CPA and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Purdue University

Sarah O'Connell | Deputy Chief of Schools – IL
Sarah O’Connell is a lifelong educator, and dedicated educational leader. Throughout her career with Distinctive Schools and CICS Bucktown, she has served as an elementary educator and coach, and began her journey in school leadership in 2015, after earning her Masters in Teacher Leadership.  She earned her Principal Degree from National Louis University and was named Principal of CICS Bucktown in 2016.  Sarah is committed to strong staff & student culture, meaningful professional development for teachers and staff, and meeting the diverse needs of each learner. As Deputy Chief of Schools – IL, Sarah mentors principals to ensure effective leadership practices support teachers, students, and families throughout their experience with Distinctive Schools.   

Matt Pitucco | Deputy Chief of Schools – MI
Matt Pitucco is a dedicated leader and constant advocate for all learners. He joined Distinctive Schools in 2016, after having served as a teacher and school administrator in New Jersey, as the Dean of Students. Matt’s focus throughout his tenure at Distinctive Schools has included the support of school teams in ensuring a strong transition to high school for 8th grade students and their families, organizing initiatives around student recruitment, enrollment, attendance, and community partnerships. More recently, Matt has led as a part of the Strategy Team, serving as the Network Director of Student Enrollment and Engagement. In his role as Deputy Chief of Schools, Matt works with Michigan principals and regional leaders to ensure maximum teacher and student growth and achievement across the MI region.