About Our Leadership Team

Thanks to the leadership and dedication of our staff and Boards, After School Matters has become a national model for out-of-school time programming.
Mary Ellen Caron

Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Mary Ellen Caron
Mary Ellen Caron

Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Mary Ellen Caron is the Chief Executive Officer of After School Matters, one of the nation’s largest and most successful providers of after-school and summer program opportunities for high school teens. Under her leadership, After School Matters has grown and enhanced its services – expanding by thousands of opportunities into more Chicago neighborhoods, growing the organization’s financial reserves and philanthropic support, implementing and enforcing system-wide program quality standards, taking ownership of and redeveloping property in both the Belmont Cragin and Pullman communities into teen-dedicated programming facilities, and advocating for the importance of youth development and the unlimited potential of teenagers throughout Chicago and beyond.

Previously, Dr. Caron served as Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Prior to that role, Dr. Caron served as the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Children and Youth Services (now part of DFSS), where she led community-based efforts to advance the well-being and development of Chicago’s youngest residents. Dr. Caron’s wealth of experience in education and youth development also includes being the founding principal of Frances Xavier Warde Elementary School in downtown Chicago, and working for nine years as an elementary school teacher in the Austin neighborhood.

Dr. Caron earned her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy from Loyola University, her Master’s degree in elementary education and Type 75 certificate from Concordia University, and her undergraduate degree from Rosary College. She currently serves on the boards of directors for the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, the Children at the Crossroads Foundation, and on multiple youth- and education-related advisory committees throughout Chicago.

Mischelle Causey-Drake

Mischelle Causey-Drake, JD

General Counsel

Mischelle Causey-Drake
Mischelle Causey-Drake

Mischelle Causey-Drake, JD

General Counsel

As General Counsel, Michelle Causey-Drake sets internal corporate governance policies, identifies areas of risk and compliance vulnerability, and manages external contractual negotiations, insurance coverage, litigation, complex real estate transactions, employment matters and city, state, and federal regulatory matters.

Prior to joining After School Matters, Mischelle was General Counsel for Jane Addams Hull House Association, where she provided strategic legal advice regarding risks that were inherent in its business processes and acted as the lead negotiator on the Collective Bargaining Agreement between National Organization of Legal Services Workers, International Union UAW Local 2320, AFL-CIO and Jane Addams Hull House Association. She was also a litigator for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission before her tenure began with Jane Addams Hull House Association.

A graduate of DePaul University College of Law, Mischelle was selected as DePaul’s first recipient as a Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Fellow, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, and the Board of Directors’ representative for her Leadership Greater Chicago class.

Tony Diaz

Tony Diaz

Chief Program Officer

Tony Diaz
Tony Diaz

Tony Diaz

Chief Program Officer

Tony joined After School Matters as a Program Specialist in 2008 and has been an important part of the Programs team over the past 14 years serving as Program Manager, Program Director, and Senior Program Director. He has extensive experience in scaling programs, establishing partnerships, and developing program initiatives that are responsive to teens’ needs and interests. Tony was instrumental in the establishment of ASM’s Michael and Karyn Lutz Center in Belmont Cragin, our first ASM neighborhood community location.

Growing up on the Southwest Side, Tony participated in programs like ASM and knows first-hand that safe and supportive environments are critical to youth development. He has dedicated his career to delivering high quality after-school and summer programming to underserved youth, and it is his personal mission to advocate for and develop equitable access to engaging opportunities that are led by caring mentors that inspire hope and resilience.

Tony has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership for Lewis University. Tony was selected as part of Negocios Now “Latinos 40 Under 40” Class of 2019 and is a Surge Institute 2022 Fellow.

brendan dubois

Brendan DuBois

Chief Financial Officer

brendan dubois
brendan dubois

Brendan DuBois

Chief Financial Officer

In this role, Brendan oversees all aspects of the organization’s finances, human resources, information technology, facilities, and capital projects. He works to identify fiscal and operational best practices and develops a vision for how we can effectively maximize our resources to serve teens in Chicago. Brendan also supports the board finance, investment, and audit committees, along with the real estate task force.

Prior to joining ASM, Brendan worked in a variety of private sector roles across financial services, corporate finance, supply chain and logistics. A native of Chicago, Brendan received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Colgate University and a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago.

Katrina Ferrerya

Katrina Ferreyra

Chief Development Officer

Katrina Ferrerya
Katrina Ferrerya

Katrina Ferreyra

Chief Development Officer

Katrina Ferreyra has extensive experience in development and education organizations in both the U.S. and in Chile. Most recently Katrina served as the Director of Development and Campaign Operations at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where she was responsible for the fundraising activities and worked closely with the school’s leadership to determine and guide advancement strategy and develop donor communications.

Prior to her time at Lab, Katrina was Dean of Advancement and Enrollment for Chile’s premier international PK-12 school in Santiago and did development consulting for non-profits and schools in that city. She also spent several years in San Rafael, California guiding development work for schools and non-profits. Katrina is enthusiastic about the work of After School Matters and is excited to join the organization and the Executive Team.

Katrina has a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Public Policy Studies and Russian Language and earned a Master’s in International Studies from The John Hopkins University. She also received a certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School.

melissa mister

Melissa Mister

Chief of Strategy & Staff

melissa mister
melissa mister

Melissa Mister

Chief of Strategy & Staff

Melissa Mister, Chief of Strategy & Staff at After School Matters. She has worked in service of Chicago youth throughout her career. She previously served as Chief Program Officer at ASM, and before joining After School Matters, Melissa was a Chicago Public Schools teacher and founding principal where she championed the critical benefits of after-school programs for all. Melissa holds a Masters of Education and principal certification in Illinois earned through her doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Urban Education Leadership.

brian pool

Brian Pool

Project Implementation Officer

brian pool
brian pool

Brian Pool

Project Implementation Officer

Brian joined ASM in 2019 as our Senior Director of Program Operations and has played a critical role in improving program operations, particularly around Cityspan, teen stipends, and enabling the shift to remote programming for thousands of teens. Outside of ASM, Brian has a wealth of experience as a Senior Consultant specializing in process mapping to improve infrastructure, resource management, and communication processes including in service to Chicago Public Schools.

As Project Implementation Officer, Brian helps identify and develop solutions to both internal and external challenges facing the organization. He engages with all departments to drive the execution of wide-ranging and critical projects.

tony raden

Tony Raden, Ph.D.

Chief Impact Officer

tony raden
tony raden

Tony Raden, Ph.D.

Chief Impact Officer

As CIO, Dr. Raden oversees After School Matters’ research and evaluations, policy and legislative advocacy, and many strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining After School Matters, Dr. Raden served as Senior Vice President for Research and Policy Initiatives for the Ounce of Prevention (now Start Early), an influential national early childhood education advocacy organization. Previously, Dr. Raden served six years as the Deputy Commissioner for Policy for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). Prior to that role, he was the Associate Director of the Columbia University Institute for Child and Family Policy, where he managed multiple cross-disciplinary research initiatives and authored several influential publications and evaluations.

Dr. Raden received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Yale University. He has served on the board or advisory committee for many prominent organizations, including Every Hour Counts, the Illinois Early Learning Council, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago’s Children, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Thrive Chicago and Advance Illinois.

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