Meet the Team
Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago (NPN), formerly the Northside Parents Network, started as a volunteer-run organization. In 2001, NPN hired its first part-time Executive Director and a staff team was developed to support the growing membership and programs. Today, NPN is managed by a full-time Executive Director and Director of Partnerships & Programming, a team of part-time directors and managers, and a group of amazing volunteers.
Elizabeth Knutson - Executive Director
Elizabeth joined NPN as its Executive Director in August 2016 and is responsible for the long-term strategic direction and day-to-day management of the organization. She has spent 13 years in member-based non-profits, most recently as the Director of Marketing at the American Planning Association and, before that, as the Director of Marketing at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Elizabeth lives in Ravenswood Manor with her husband and two daughters.
Amy Johnson - Director of Partnerships & Programming
Amy joined NPN in 2006 shortly before her first child was born. After her second son was born she began volunteering as a neighborhood co-chair and was thrilled to move in to a staff position in 2012. Prior to working for NPN, Amy was Sr. Program Manager at Women Employed. Aside from motherhood, Amy's most rewarding experience was volunteering for two years with Habitat for Humanity International as a full-time construction volunteer and later coordinating and leading international builds for other volunteers. Now, Amy is on the Local School Council of her children's public school and busy with home renovations. She recently moved from Ukrainian Village to Irving Park with her husband and sons.
Didi Lewis - School Choice & Programming Manager
Didi joined NPN in 2010 while researching school options for her son and seeking support from other working moms. When her daughter came along the following year, her fondness for NPN, its activity-packed event calendar, and its active discussion board grew. With a JD and certificate in Family Law from DePaul College of Law, her dedication to the local parent community in her downtown neighborhood, and her passion for advocating family life in the big city (she’s also a proud CPS grad), Didi happily joined the NPN staff in 2013. As School Choice & Programming Manager, Didi helps Chicago parents learn about educational options within the city and discover all of the amazing benefits NPN has to offer for new and growing urban families. Didi has two children, RJ and Rio.
Laura Baginski - Marketing Director
A proud mom of a train-obsessed toddler, Laura joined NPN in 2015 after 10 years at Time Out Chicago. She brings writing, editing, business strategy and social media experience to her position at NPN, which she first joined in 2013 as a new mom searching for a nanny. As Marketing & Outreach Manager, Laura ensures current and potential NPN members are aware of the many NPN member benefits via social media, blog posts, email and in-person event outreach. She lives in Old Irving Park with her son, husband and more toy trains than she can count.
Jacqueline von Edelberg - Director of Strategic Partnerships
Jacqueline von Edelberg is perhaps best known as the driving force behind the Nettelhorst School’s dramatic turn around, a story that has been featured on Oprah & Friends, The Wall Street Journal, Redbook, NPR, CNN, 60 Minutes, Education Weekly and in the local Chicago media. She is a featured Huffington Post blogger and the co-author of How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance. In addition to her role at NPN, Jacqueline is the Chief Executive Mom for ForGoods, an online engagement program that tracks, inspires and rewards civic engagement.
Meredith Marzano - Project Coordinator
This mom of three joined NPN in the spring of 2016. First becoming a member in 2008 using the site for nanny services and newborn advice, Meredith continued to follow NPN's growth over the years until being brought on board as a Project Coordinator. She brings with her a history of project management and operations experience and is an active volunteer in her children's school programs. She is delighted to bring these skills forward to continue building successful events for NPN parents and their kids!
Doloris Schombert - Tech Support
Doloris was recruited to join the NPN tech team in 2004. She desires to help families to grow with love. Doloris became a techno-geek when she took her first computer class at DePaul University. When she's not computing, you can find her and her family riding bikes along the lakefront.
Nelia Opperman - Accountant
Nelia’s involvement with NPN started in 2005 when she was approached by NPN management regarding tax issues facing the organization. Since then, she continued on being involved with NPN doing various tasks including data entry, event postings, bookkeeping, budgeting and planning, research, audit, tax and financial reporting. Nelia’s work experience includes international tax management positions at Motorola, Aon, and Baxter Labs. She has a BS degree in Education, an MBA, CPA, and attended Roosevelt University and DePaul University.