Board of Trustees
Stacy Brehm Tate
Stacy Tate is an ordained Presbyterian Minister (PCUSA) who serves a United Church of Christ Congregation in Irvington, IL and is the President of Brehm Oil Company, a local oil production company. Stacy is the daughter of Carol Brehm, the founder of our school.
Stacy has served on the board in previous years and also is Vice-President of Opdyke Belle Rive District #5 Public School Board, serving as a member of that board for the past 20 years. Stacy comes to the board with extensive background in education and as activist for students with learning disabilities.
Daniel Maher is a Springfield, Illinois, attorney who has been practicing law since 1984 and has held a solo practice since 1993, concentrating in administrative law. He has served on the boards of several not-for-profit corporations, including the Springfield YMCA and the Pregnancy Care Center of Springfield. Mr. Maher graduated from Northwestern University in 1979 and from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1984. He and his wife, Sandy, have four children. Their youngest child, Jordan, attended Brehm for 4 1/2 years, graduating in 2008. Dan and Sandy substituted as dorm parents at Brehm while Dan was in law school and had the honor and privilege of knowing Carol Brehm.
Rita O’Leary Dodd obtained Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Southern Illinois University in education and supervisory administration. She went on to serve as an educator and administrator in public and private school systems for 34 years. The last 19 of those years have been devoted to Brehm. Rita also belongs to several civic organizations and currently serves on the non-profit board Preservation and Appreciation of Structural Treasures (P.A.S.T.)
Frank M. Poremski
Frank M. Poremski is a seasoned financial executive with significant experience in large, small, domestic, and international operations in a wide range of positions. He is skilled at dealing with a variety of business scenarios, including growth, acquisition, divestiture, and bankruptcy. Frank is currently the Sr. V.P. & Chief Financial Officer of Children’s Home + Aid Society of Illinois, a 130-year-old social service agency which provides help, hope, and opportunities to children and families in poverty and/or abusive or neglectful situations. For the seven years prior to this position, he was Chief Financial Officer of SSP/BPI Group, a privately held human services firm that provides career coaching and counseling to job seekers. Over a 28-year period, he held positions ranging from accountant to Vice President of Finance at USG Corporation, a multi-billion-dollar building products company. Frank received his BA in Accounting and MBA in Finance from De Paul University in Chicago. He also holds a CPA certificate and is or has been a member in FENG, FEI, and FLA.
Brian P. Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Brian Brown has more than 25 years of experience working with students who have complex learning difficulties and other co-morbid related issues. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Brehm’s OPTIONS program, which helps adults with Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder in their transition to college. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D in Educational Psychology in Counseling, is a Licensed Social Worker, and holds a School Social Work Certification. He serves on the Illinois North Central Association State Board and the NCA/AdvancED state board. Dr. Brown was previously an adjunct faculty member at Southern Illinois University School of Social Work and has received the SIU Alumnus of the Year Award from the School of Social Work. Dr. Brown is a recognized authority on LD, ADHD and the role of medication support in student success. Dr. Brown has devoted his life to helping those with learning differences reach their fullest potential, including his son, who has LD and ADHD related issues.
Paul Kosuth received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in botany and mathematics. He has been a faculty member at Brehm since 1984 and has taught physical science, chemistry and mathematics, including algebra, geometry, and calculus. Prior to that position, he served as a nighttime tutor, tutor supervisor, and part-time aide for mathematics classes. He was the first faculty member on the Brehm Board of Trustees. Paul and his wife, Dawn, have a daughter, Sara, who is pursuing a career in dance.
Char Reed is a former special education teacher with certification in Learning Disabilities Education. She is very proud that she was one of the original teaching staff members of Brehm Preparatory School when it opened in 1982. During her tenure at Brehm, Char has worked in many capacities. She has been an instructor of several courses and has also served as Admissions Director and Supervisor of Educational Services at Brehm. In 1995, she became the Coordinator of OPTIONS Transitions to Independence, formally known as the OPTIONS Program at Brehm. In 2012, she was named the Director of OPTIONS. In that capacity, she supervises staff and students; creates teaching materials and staff training materials; presents at conferences at the local, state and national levels; recruits new students; manages OPTIONS admissions and guides the growth of the OPTIONS.
Mary Jane Peterson
John LV Bobell is a retired Professor Emeritus of Idaho State University who also taught at Southern Illinois University and spent 49 years as a high school industrial arts teacher and wrestling coach. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Humboldt State University in California and his doctorate from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He then pursued advanced studies at nine different universities. Dr. Bobell’s specialties are teacher/instructor traits, task analysis and curriculum design, assessment and evaluation, career development, cooperative occupational education, and grant writing. He is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at Southern Illinois University, where he teaches physical fitness and conditioning.
Richard G. Collins, Ph.D.
Richard G. Collins, PhD received his doctorate from St. Louis University and has completed doctoral work at Boston College and Southern Illinois University. He is currently the Executive Director of the Brehm Institute for Cognitive and Curricular Research creating research protocols to measure outcomes and determine best practices. Collaborating with SIU Medical School, Voc. Rehab, Education Department, and Clinical Psychology Department to measure student progress, create user friendly STEAM curricular to provide access for students with LD/ADD and other differences to training and equal access to higher education and/or employment. Utilizing Greplytix database, which is a ML database developed at Brehm and at MIT to measure outcomes 24/7 and across ontologies. He has taught at the college level as a faculty member at Leslie University where he was the Lab School Director and has held adjunct faculty status at Harvard, Boston College, Font Bonne University and other colleges. He has been an administrator and teacher in both the public and private schools and is a consultant to start-up schools. He has facilitated strategic planning for organizations towards future development. He also focuses on adaptation of research strategically in schools. He lectures and presents at numerous conferences on Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorders. He sits both on local and national Boards of Directors for organizations dealing with special need students. He has also served on the boards of several non-profit schools for special needs individuals. Dr. Collins is also an adult dyslexic and has ADD.
Shirilyn Holt serves the Mt. Vernon Township High School as Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools and Assistant to the Board of Education. She has facilitated electronic training classes for Administrative Assistants and Board Members at the Triple I Board Conference in Chicago for three years. God led Shirilyn and her husband Cleo to begin a married couple’s ministry. The Three Fold Ministry is dedicated to nurturing the spiritual lives and relationship of committed couples and fosters fellowship and Christian service through a variety of activities, including Bible Study and “Date Nights”. In the Corinthian Baptist Church she serves as Bible teacher, Music Director, Couples Ministry Co-Director, Trustee and Financial Secretary. Having three brothers and a sister with learning disabilities, Shirilyn certainly appreciates the need for Brehm Preparatory School.
Barbara Lawrence has been an instructor at Brehm Preparatory School since 1998 in the field of English, including reading and writing skills. She has also been involved in the development of improvements to Brehm’s academic curriculum and is excited to watch the school continue to grow.
Barbara received her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Southern Illinois University in 1998.
Following a long tenure in medical administration at Southern Illinois Investitute, he switched careers and took on the newly created position of Executive Physician Recruiter for Southern Illinois Healthcare, a five-hospital regional system. Marcec holds two degrees from Southern Illinois University.
Jack Parker served as a faculty member at Southern Illinois University for almost 30 years and was Dean of the College of Science for his last decade there. His teaching and research were primarily in the field of genetics. Jack has a Bachelor of Arts from North Central College and a Ph.D. from Purdue University, both in biology. He has also done work at the University of Michigan, York University (Canada) and the University of Copenhagen.
Jennifer Purdon is an executive coach who works with a wide variety of individuals to help them achieve their vision and better understand their strengths. While working within major corporations such as The Coca Cola Company and AXA Financial Services, she remained committed to women’s career development and professional advancement. Previously, Jennifer was Vice President for Leadership Development at Merrill Lynch and Director of Leadership and Organization Development at Pitney Bowes. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Emory University, a Master of Science in Career Development from Georgia State University, and a coaching certification from the Coaches Training Institute. She serves on the board of Girls Inc. of Westchester, New York, an organization that helps adolescent girls become “strong, smart, and bold,” and she is also a certified bereavement counselor.
Sid Smith has been an entrepreneur for the last 25 years with business interests in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and around the world. In 1984, Smith founded a very successful telecom infrastructure company that was named the 8th Fastest Growing Privately-Held Company in America by Inc. Magazine. He served as president of the company for 15 years. Prior to founding this company, Smith worked for six years as a telecom engineer and engineering manager at various locations throughout the United States. He graduated from Nova Scotia Institute of Technology in 1978, and he brings his experience as a solutions-oriented business leader to Brehm’s Board. Smith is also the father of a 2007 Brehm graduate.
Darla Wexstten is a psychotherapist in private practice in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, where she has served children and families for more than two decades. She is an avid supporter of the “Brehm Way” and promotes the school to all who might benefit from its cutting-edge methods.
Darla received her Master of Social Work Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1988, specializing in family therapy. She was a personal friend of Carol Brehm, founder of Brehm School, and remembers Carol’s passion and energy in the early days of Brehm’s conception.