Lauren Schrero is Nora’s mother. She was in private practice as a litigator for seven years before clerking for the Honorable Judge Thomas M. Durkin at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Her work as an inclusion advocate for children with disabilities was recently recognized by the Jewish United Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, which named her one Chicago’s “36 Under 36” in 2016. Lauren received her B.A. from Macalester College and J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Senior Program Director
Katy has been an elementary school teacher, technology coach, and instructional coach for grades pre-k-8 during her time working in public education. She is also a curriculum writer, contributing to the Next Generation Storylines Project, and an educational consultant, specializing in identifying and growing the potential of teachers at all stages in their careers. Katy is well-versed in educational technology tools and the authentic integration of technology across the curriculum. As a former colleague of founder Amanda Martinsen, Katy has been connected to The Nora Project since its inception. Katy graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University and has a Masters in Technology in Education from National Louis University.
Director of Lifecycle and Community Programs
Courtney was an elementary educator and high school coach in Wisconsin for six years prior to joining The Nora Project. She taught 8th grade math and science for two years, and served as a 5th grade teacher for a self-contained classroom for four years. Through her experience working with students and athletes, Courtney realized a passion for social emotional learning. One of her greatest missions was prioritizing the development of the whole child, and fostering the growth of kind and empathetic individuals. Courtney is a graduate of Tufts University, and also holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy from Marquette University.
Director of Flagship Programs
Before joining The Nora Project, Emily was an elementary school teacher for 11 years in Skokie, Illinois, where she taught predominantly English Language Learners. Through teaching and motherhood, she developed a passion for creating safe spaces for children to connect. Her teaching goals and the mission of The Nora Project aligned perfectly, which is why she brought it to her school in 2018. As a Project Leader, she saw the impact the program had on her school community and knew she wanted to help the organization grow. Emily completed her undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University and has a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESL Endorsement from Concordia University.
Sarah Dolezal, Inclusion Specialist
Sarah is a School Social Worker who has been working in the western suburbs for 11 years. Sarah began working in her District's self contained social communication classrooms 6 years ago which led to her love of inclusion and making sure social and academic experiences are accessible to children of all ability levels. Sarah also works within the school's general education classrooms to increase social emotional competency, empathy, and acceptance of all students. Sarah received her Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Iowa in 2008 and her Masters in Social Work in 2009.
Erin is a special education teacher. She has been a classroom teacher for 18 years and recently moved into the position of special education instructional coach. She knew as a teenager that she wanted to be a teacher after working as a camp counselor with a child that had special needs. As a former colleague of founder Amanda Martinsen, Erin has enjoyed working with The Nora Project both personally and professionally. Erin completed her undergrad degree in Special Education at Illinois State University. She has a masters degree in Elementary Reading & Literacy from Walden University and a masters degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.
Rebecca Kuntz, Administrative Coordinator
Rebecca is mom to her daughter Ellie who is medically complex. She spent six years living in Ghana, West Africa running a non profit that aides children with disabilities.
Rebecca received her BA from DePaul University in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies.
Amanda Martinsen, Creator and Program Advisor
Amanda Martinsen is an elementary school teacher and the award-winning creator of The Nora Project, which she designed and implemented from the ground up at Glen Grove School in the 2015-2016 school year. When Amanda was presented with the Illinois Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Award for her work on The Nora Project, the President of the IEA commended her for being “a first rate educator and an inspiration to us all,” noting that “her creation of The Nora Project has been life-changing for students.” Amanda graduated from the University of Iowa and has a Masters in Elementary Education from DePaul University.