Samantha Heinz 
Secretary / Communications & Webmaster

Samantha has been volunteering for many service projects in the past and fell in love with PIES in New Orleans summer 2017. She is an early childhood student at Oakton Community College and loves fostering a child's learning. Samantha this past summer on our first trip to Puerto Rico and came on our tenth anniversary trip to New Orleans. She came on our first trip to Puerto Rico and plans to go back this summer.  She also has a passion for children and the advancement of public education. Samantha is connected deeply with PIES and quickly joined in to help.

Tyler Steinemann

Vice President / Treasurer

Tyler is a veteran of 12 service trips with Partnerships in Education & Services. Since 2007, Tyler has participated in or lead teams of volunteers to New Orleans, Genola, UT, and Puerto Rico. He is a 2015 graduate of Knox College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in Latin American. Serving the public good is a passion for him and combined with the love of travel, serving with PIES is a perfect fit. 

Karen Roth, MA
President & Founder

In her 30 years of teaching in higher education, Karen Roth collaborated on research ranging from rethinking student teaching practices to be more service focused, to the inclusion of adults with complex learning disabilities in service ­learning projects. In the recently published book, Defending Pubic Education from Corporate Takeover, her chapter, Recovering Schools and Classrooms in the Recovery School District, highlights the learning outcomes of her student participants on service-learning trips to reopen schools in post ­Katrina ravaged New Orleans. She is the recipient of a faculty award in service and education from National Louis University, and was a member of the 2011 International Association for Research in Service–Learning and Civic Engagement conference planning committee based in Chicago. She is co­chair of Illinois Campus Compacts Advisory Council and presents regularly at service ­learning & civic engagement conferences throughout the United States.

Adrienne M. Waller, MAT
Resource Specialist

Adrienne M Waller has a Bachelor’s in Arts in Organizational Studies and Sociology from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s in the Art of Teaching, with middle school math and social studies endorsements, from National Louis University. After graduation from UM, Adrienne did a year of service with AmeriCorps*VISTA in Washington D.C., working with the DC Public School s through a non­profit. It was this experience that led her to a career In education, joining the Chicago Teaching Fellows in 2007, and ultimately a teaching position with CPS in second through fifth grade classrooms. After Adrienne’s first year teaching, she received grants to participate in service trips to rebuild schools in New Orleans and has led several service teams since 2008.

Board of Directors

Advisory Council

Nina D’Agostino, BA, BFA
Media & Promotions

Nina D’Agostino is a graphic designer and a participant of service trips to New Orleans since 2008. Nina’s contributions as a board member offers the non­-educators’ perspective to why schools are important to children’s growth and development. Nina has a Fine Arts Degrees from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and University of Illinois, Chicago. She is the graphic artist for the Evanston RoundTable Newspaper, designer and website administrator. Nina has been honored with more than 6 NINA’s (Northern Illinois Newspaper Awards). She is most proud of her service to the City of Evanston as the Community Garden Coordinator for the City of Evanston and responsible for the building of the ADA raised garden beds in McCormick and Twiggs Parks. Her service to the community extends far beyond the schools she partners with through her volunteer efforts with PIEs.

Angela D'Agostino Merceret, BA - Volunteer on the New Orleans Service Projects since 2008, after she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in International Business & Diplomacy with a Minor in Italian from The Ohio State University. Her passion lies with nonprofits and their marketing and outreach possibilities. 

Carol Burns - Educational Consultant; 30 years of experience teaching in higher education; specialist in post-secondary education for students with disabilities, including leading curriculum and service projects within the university and community.

Kate Zilla, Ph.D. - Associate Professor at National-Louis University in the Teacher Preparation/Special Education program; member of several PIEs service learning teams since 2011; has an abiding interest in the full inclusion of those with differing abilities.

Tiffany Velazquez- Early Childhood Educator for 14 years and has worked as a classroom teacher and administrator.  She has joined PIES on several learning teams.  She is passionate about ensuring that early childhood educators are held accountable in a manner that is meaningful to the learning taking place.  

Our Team