The Parent Involvement Specialists will be responsible for coordinating, monitoring and supporting the Office of Diverse Learner Supports & Services (ODLSS) goal of improving the collaborative relationships between parents, advocacy agencies, educators and administrative personnel.
Please reach out to anyone listed below if you or your diverse learner needs assistance.
Janice Gutierrez is a proud mom to two young adults with disabilities. She is a public interest attorney and civil rights advocate who until recently was involved in special education advocacy in her home district of Puerto Rico. Previously, she worked as a Child Support Prosecutor at the Puerto Rico Child Support Administration, as Directing Attorney at Puerto Rico Legal Services, Inc., the ACLU of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission, and as a staff attorney at the Community Law Office and the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Institute. Besides a Juris Doctor, she holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education.
Kimberly Johnson-Evans is the proud mother of a young adult who was diagnosed with ASD at age six. Through advocacy for William, she has gained knowledge and skill sets as an advocate, due process and IEP liaison for families and is well versed in the Department of Human Services Waiver programs as it relates to options and several consent decrees. Professionally, she was a Ligas Family Advocate with The Arc of Illinois, a nonprofit organization supporting all persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities for the past four years. She has been involved in the Chicagoland Autism Connection Parent Support Group for over 18 years and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors. Chicagoland Autism Connection Family & Professional Support Group" is one of the largest family support groups in the state of Illinois. Kimberly received her formal education at Indiana Wesleyan University. Prior to her advocacy outreach, Kimberly worked for two large nonprofits as the Membership Marketing Manager for a combined 20 years of service.
Michelle Burgess is the proud mother of three children, two of
which are diverse learners. All three children are currently being
educated within CPS. Michelle understands advocacy for children.
Her knowledge and research skills gained while seeking supports and
services for her children have allowed her to successfully walk within
the role as parent and community liaison for over ten years.
Michelle has also taught as a substitute teacher enabling her to
attain hands-on classroom experience.
Michelle holds a bachelor degree in Journalism/Broadcasting, and a Master’s degree in Theology.
Lynn Olavarria is the proud mother of two young adult diverse learners now attending college.
While her children were young, she was very active in their education; advocating for learning supports, collaborating with teachers, and serving on the Local School Council (LSC). That experience inspired her to help fellow parents of diverse learners looking for guidance about available supports and services. Lynn volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, CASA of Cook County. As a CASA volunteer, she successfully advocated on behalf of her assigned foster child to receive specialized supports and services through the child’s IEP. Recently, she also volunteered for the Education Pro Bono Clinic at the Legal Assistance Foundation.