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.
Jeff Donoghue | President, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Donoghue has dedicated his career to creating and improving systems and resources for educators to succeed in public schools. Jeff has leveraged his financial and operations expertise with leadership roles in government, philanthropy, non-profit and private sectors, including a decade of combined service across Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Mayor’s Office and most recently as Chief of Staff at City Colleges of Chicago. Jeff believes that quality, sustainable, educational institutions act as hubs within their community for opportunities, resources and connections. Jeff seeks to lead open, systems-thinking organizations in service of those communities. Jeff comes from a family of educators in public institutions, married into a similar family, and is proud to call Chicago home with his wife and three young boys.
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.
Cassie Williams | Deputy Chief of Education – Michigan
Cassie Williams is a passionate leader, learner, and educational advocate from Detroit, MI. Cassie earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Wayne State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from National Louis University. She began her career as a high school English teacher in her hometown, and has worked in both traditional district and charter schools in a variety of school models; she had the distinct pleasure of serving as the founding Principal of Distinctive College Prep– Harper Woods, and is a proud alumnus of the Surge Institute and The New Leaders Aspiring Principals Program. As Deputy Chief of Education – Michigan, Cassie is responsible for teaching and learning, school performance, Principal leadership and coordination of regional oversight in partnership with regional and network teams.
Mike McCarthy | Deputy Chief of Education – Illinois & Network Student Services
Mike 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.