About ISACS > Meet the Staff
Keith E. Shahan
When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to attend two wonderful independent institutions—John Burroughs School in St. Louis and Amherst College in Massachusetts. There I learned my great love for the liberal arts—teaching students to question and think for themselves.
In initially choosing a career in public education, I sought to bring what I saw as the advantages of my own education to the greater world. One of my first ventures, the School Within A School in Brookline High School in Massachusetts, was an attempt to bring more personal attention to public school students in a smaller setting, the kind I was used to in independent education. Another, the High School of the Arts in University City High School in Missouri, melded the same impulse with my love for the arts.
In the mid-1980’s I spent three years at the International School of Amsterdam as Upper School Head and Assistant Director. There I learned the value of a global perspective. I also determined that the independent headship was the ideal job for me – it would give me the opportunity to work directly with students and teachers, the crucial players in any school, as well as the Board and parents, who make everything possible. After 23 years as head of my alma mater (John Burroughs School in St. Louis), and 31 running schools, I am ready and eager to help others do the same in my role at ISACS.
Bookkeeper and Office Assistant
I joined ISACS in February 2008 in a temporary position which grew to resemble more of a part-time job as I assisted the staff with various different tasks. In July 2009, I assumed the role of bookkeeper and will continue to provide program support. I’m very happy to be at ISACS and enjoy working with the wonderful staff.
Having a child graduate from and a child currenlty enrolled at an ISACS school, I am very familiar with the philosophy and structure of independent schools. I have volunteered at my children’s school for more than 12 years in areas such as fundraising, event planning, merchandising, and in several positions as Executive Committee member of the Parent Association. I am also currently on my church's religious education board.
I received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I have worked as a public and private accountant, and was director of communications and manager of public affairs at non-profit organizations.
Business and Information Systems Manager
I grew up attending independent schools in my hometown of Buffalo, New York. I am a proud alumna of the Elmwood-Franklin School and the Buffalo Seminary, a small all-girls’ school which profoundly shaped my life and my character.
My background in education has for the past ten years been focused on my work as a theater artist. I graduated from Northwestern University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Theater and began working as an arts educator teaching theater, mime and creative drama in elementary and secondary schools. As an artist-in-residence, I have been able to connect with a variety of communities throughout the Chicago area and have seen the great impact that arts education can have in all types of learning environments. I have also had the pleasure of performing and conducting educational residencies at several ISACS schools over the past few years.
I joined the ISACS staff in September of 2003 as the bookkeeper and in July 2009 became a full-time staff member. I find that the ISACS team is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding groups with which to work, and it is my pleasure to continue to support the ISACS mission in my current role.
Coordinator of Accreditation Services
As an alum of Lake Forest Country Day School, Milton Academy and Smith College, I am delighted to be continuing my career in independent schools at ISACS. During the 1980’s, I served as admissions director, teacher and advisor at Hathaway Brown School and, while there, earned a master’s degree in human services from nearby John Carroll University. After spending a few years working for two non-profits, I returned to the independent school world as co-owner of Educator’s Ally, a search service for teachers/administrators and independent schools in the Northeast. I also continued to teach part time and volunteer in development at several independent schools in the New York area. When my husband accepted a job in Chicago, my home town, in 2003, I had the opportunity to serve as chair of an independent school board of trustees and gained valuable perspective on independent school leadership from the “other side of the desk.” As Coordinator of Accreditation Services, I work closely with the Director of Accreditation Services to insure that the evaluation of member schools is a comprehensive, smooth and rewarding process.
In my free time, I enjoy sports, reading, music, travel and escaping to our house in Rhode Island with my family.
Director of Accreditation Services
As Director of Accreditation Services I have the opportunity to use my educational journey in Independent Education in new and exciting ways. Whether I look back to my days as a teacher in an English classroom, coach of a cross country or swimming team, director of the all-school musical, coordinator of Community Service, Division Head, Senior Principal, or Head of School, I am able to use bits and pieces from my past every day. Working with faculty and administrators to guide and support schools through the accreditation process presents daily contact with schools, offers myriad opportunities in which I can lend a helping hand, and features many moments when I can, I hope, be a helpful, listening ear.
Personally, I attended Kents Hill School, Maine for my high school years, Bethany College, WV and Rutgers University, NJ, for my under grad and graduate degrees, and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Harvard University for leadership certificates. I find Chicagoland to be as close to being the perfect city in which to live as one can find – symphony, ball teams, parks, museums, architecture, friendly people, it’s all here! My time away from ISACS is filled with running (usually with my Irish setter, Amelia), biking, swimming, sailing or water skiing (on the lake by our family home in Maine), working with wood, or reading. I welcome calls or emails from anyone involved with the accreditation process or anyone just wanting "to talk independent schools!"
Director of Professional Development
After teaching in public school, I began my career as a teacher in Independent schools at Canton Country Day School. I then joined the faculty of the Wellington School where I taught and assumed a variety of administrative responsibilities including serving as the Director of Professional Development and Head of the Lower School. A frequent trainer and presenter in the area of faculty development and mentoring, I became the Director of Professional Development for ISACS in 2001 while also remaining at the Wellington School.
Karen D. Zeitlin
I come to ISACS from a fifteen-year career in philanthropy. Most recently, I was the Interim Program Officer in the Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) area at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Previous to working at MacArthur I served as Executive Director of the Girl’s Best Friend Foundation (GBF) in Chicago, which provided support to programs for girls and young women throughout the state of Illinois.
The majority of my career has been spent at the Moriah Fund, a private foundation in Washington, DC. I worked at the Moriah Fund in various capacities for more than 9 years in both administrative and programmatic capacities. I have a B.A. in international affairs from Tufts University and a Masters of Public Administration from George Washington University. In addition, I attended an independent school - Dwight-Englewood High School in New Jersey. I was proud to serve for more than four years as an advisory board member to the Teen-to-Teen Sexuality Education Project now known as Answer at Rutgers University. I spend my free time with my young daughter Maya, traveling to see family and friends, practicing yoga, and enjoying everything Chicago has to offer.