Board of Directors
Cheryl is the Founding Executive Director of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse. To experience more meaningful connections to her local farmers and neighbors, she opened (along with hundreds of others) a cooperative grocery store in the Village of Oak Park, IL in July 2015 called Sugar Beet Food Co-op. The Co-op celebrates community and good food by providing a full service marketplace for local vendors and producers and greater access to local, organic food. Her passion for education and skill sharing motivated her to establish an educational organization called Sugar Beet Schoolhouse that is a hub for food literacy through program development, facilitation and skill sharing. Cheryl received the Golden Beet Award from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for Community Food Development and she serves on the board of Chicago Slow Food and is on the Food Access Committee for Proviso Partners for Health. She enjoys planning community events and farm tours, and loves sharing her passion with others. Cheryl lives in Oak Park, IL with her little farmers, Cedar and Cora, and her husband, Anthony.
Richard S. Kordesh, Ph.D.
As Principal and Founder of the Blue House Institute, Richard Kordesh writes and consults on family-generated approaches to small-scale community development. He is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places, as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles and book chapters on this topic. Dr. Kordesh has served on university faculties at Penn State University-University Park, Indiana University-Bloomington, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He has led statewide projects focused on children, families and communities from governors’ offices in Illinois and Pennsylvania. He recently a completed a Fellowship at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, where he continues to train as a psychotherapist. Richard is an avid gardener, and publishes articles regularly in the local media about family and gardening. He earned an M.S.W. degree at the Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Deno J. Andrews
Deno is an entrepreneur with twenty years of executive business experience in leadership, organizational management, and business development. He served two terms as a Commissioner on the Village of Oak Park Board of Health, during which time he was awarded the Fitzsimmons Award for excellence in public health. Deno holds a B.A. in Business from DePaul University. A resident of Oak Park for more than 40 years, Deno lives with his wife Allison and their two children Sophia and James. The entire Andrews family supports organic and sustainable food practices.
Paul Schattauer M.D., ABFM, AAFP
Dr. Schattauer grew up in Iowa and had his first exposure to medicine in Lima, Peru where, just out of college, he volunteered at an obstetrical medical clinic helping an underserved population. He then received his medical degree from the University of Iowa School of Medicine. He spent a year studying theology at Yale Divinity School before completing a residency in family practice at St. Luke’s Hospital, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1987, after being certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, he moved to Chicago area. For the past 27 years he has treated patients seeking natural medicine and minimizing the use of pharmaceuticals while providing cost effective health care. He now lives in Oak Park with his wife, Marcia, and two sons, Spencer and Lucas.
Brianne Kellogg, MS, RDN
Brianne Kellogg, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her areas of concern in the field of dietetics have primarily been family, childhood, and women's nutrition. Brianne's former consulting company, Nutrition Works for Women (which was based in Los Angeles) focused on assisting women and families meet their nutritional news through individual and group consultations. She has served on the Executive Board of the California Dietetics Association (now the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the California Dietetics Association Foundation. Now, the Oak Park-based mother of three enjoys working with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry and the Sugar Beet Food Co-op to educate people of all backgrounds the importance of healthy, wholesome, and environmentally sound food choices.
Laura Bruzas, Founder of Healthy Dining Chicago, is a "green kitchen economist” that spreads the message that good nutrition and an eco-friendly lifestyle are paramount to disease prevention and management. Bruzas' background includes a degree in Marketing, 15 years in HR/Recruiting and a five-year stint with Whole Foods Market.
Bruzas extends her community reach by teaching classes at the Moraine Valley Environmental Institute, hosting corporate Lunch & Learns on the topic of Healthy Dining on a Dime and offering home parties with flexitarian-friendly menu options that include 60 Second Desserts and a variety of Four-Course Dinners in Under an Hour.
Mary E O’Kiersey
Mary E O’Kiersey worked on the harvest from Cheney Mansion garden in the summer of 2015. Born in Oak Park; now retired, she looks forward to another, even better harvest from Cheney to be donated to OPFR Food Pantry. She has been a founding member and a major worker for the Community Garden for Mills Park Tower, a senior living community. She is a volunteer and board member of Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. She learned much of her gardening while living near Springfield, Illinois where she was an active member of King Harvest Co-op. She has been an active member of Sugar Beet since January of 2013 and is a member of the media team.
Matthew grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. Caring for animals and gardening as a child instigated his respect for farming and his enthusiasm for seasonal eating and local foods. For the past 15 years, Matthew has worked as a cook for restaurants in Albuquerque, New Mexico and here in Chicago. This past Summer, he taught kids cooking classes and camps at Flavour Cooking School. Currently he works preparing deli foods at The Sugar Beet Co-op in Oak Park. He also works as a server at Berwyn’s Autre Monde, a restaurant committed to using local, seasonal, organic ingredients to create innovative Mediterranean cuisine.
He lives with his wife and two sons in Forest Park. Matthew loves playing in the kitchen with his children.
After earning her Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Sustainability Studies from Roosevelt University, Kelsey joined the Sugar Beet family. As Cafe Manager, she applies her passion for a healthy, low-impact lifestyle to her daily duties. As a resident of Oak Park, she is dedicated to her customers and the community, and enjoys providing organically grown and locally sourced foods and beverages with a smile. Working as a child care provider and volunteering at her local library leading STEM based programs, allowed Kelsey the opportunity to share her love of nature and the environment. Kelsey's other passions include art, photography, fitness and of course, coffee!
Originally from Columbus Ohio, Wendy has now been living in Chicago for just shy of a decade. For the last few years she has worked for the Chicago Botanic Gardens managing a rooftop farm downtown and instructing inner-city teens in a class on urban agriculture. In that position she was able to not only teach the students how to grow and tend to a variety of veggies and herbs but also how to prepare healthy seasonal dishes using their abundant harvests. She has cooked and baked in multiple cafes in Chicago, focusing mostly on vegan cuisine. She lives in Humboldt Park with her husband Chad, her tiny sous chef Solomon, her cat Paris Hilton, and a 145 lb mastiff named Tank.
A lifetime Oak Parker, Talia is a junior at Oak Park River Forest High School. She is on the boards of two school-based clubs – Tau Gamma (a service club) and New ERA (a club that focuses on gender issues, equality, and empowerment). She is a competitive runner and avid cyclist, which also happen to be her main modes of transportation around town. Talia has developed a love of cooking and can often be found in the kitchen experimenting with her own recipes. But one of her favorite things to do is work with kids, which she has been doing for years at the Actor’s Garden (a local performing arts center). Talia is thrilled at the opportunity to combine so many of her interests at Sugar Beet.
Originally from Indiana, Lauren developed her passion for baking growing up spending time in the kitchen with her mom. In high school she worked for a wedding cake bakery where her love for pastry and creativity in the kitchen grew even more. Earning her degree in Hospitality Management from Purdue University, afterwards she spent time as a restaurant manager for a café focused on local and sustainable food. It was during this time that her awareness and love of healthy and conscious eating really blossomed. Lauren recently relocated to Chicago and is excited for the opportunities Sugar Beet gives her to share her passions in the kitchen. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, spending time with her puppy, and of course, baking. Her favorite item to bake (and eat) is cinnamon rolls!
Katie Lyn Spoden
Katie is a Minnesota native with a passion for good food and sustainable agriculture. She earned her degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies and after graduating she spent time growing food for local restaurants, on the board of the Sustainable Farming Association, and leading a regional effort to bring EBT acceptance to farmers markets in central Minnesota. She now works at the Sugar Beet Food Coop where you can find her fondly looking after fruits and veggies in the produce section!
Elizabeth is a long time Oak Park resident with a green thumb and a love for children and cooking. She spent many years working in insurance and now spends her days with her two adorable children. She is excited to work with others in the Sugar Beet community where she can put her skills to good use and continue to pursue her many passions. You can find Elizabeth working as an assistant at many of the events at the Sugar Beet School House.
Karen is an Indiana native, who landed in Chicago, then put her roots down in Oak Park. She has spent the last decade raising two awesome kids, who share her love of travel, art, and food. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago and now volunteers and serves on the board of the Economy Shop in Oak Park. She's looking forward to sharing her passion for learning and food with folks at the Schoolhouse!
Native to Oak Park, Audrey Roen is a graduate of Dominican University with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is currently studying to be a Registered Dietitian and is thrilled to be working with the Sugar Beet School House. Audrey is a behavioral therapist at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders and enjoys working with children. Audrey's passions include healthy living, writing, yoga, education, and the performing arts. She lives in Forest Park and is looking forward to summer time in Chicago!
Brekke is an experienced experiential and outdoor educator who has worked at several nature centers, non profits, and food cooperatives in the Chicagoland area. Over the past 6 years she has focused her education efforts largely on good food and gardening with the dream that everyone can be comfortable growing a small amount of their own food. Brekke holds a master degree in Sustainable Food Systems and is certified in permaculture design. Her hobbies include reading, playing outside, karaoke, and urban homesteading on her small Chicago lot.
Katie has lived in Oak Park for the last 10 years or so, and recently graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in Secondary Education and English Language Arts. She gets jazzed up about all things related to teaching and learning, and is excited that the Sugar Beet School House marries her two favorite hobbies -- cooking and gardening -- with education. She cares deeply about the neighborhood, and enjoys connecting with local kids and families through fun and enriching learning experiences.
A River Forest native, Graham is finishing his junior year at Oak Park River Forest High School. He played football and is currently on the lacrosse team and a member of OPRF’s student council. Graham worked as a busboy for Maya Del Sol last summer. Graham likes hiking as well as cooking and gardening. Graham loves working with kids and is very excited to help as a Summer camp assistant.
A native of Gary, Indiana, Aniki traversed and planted throughout Chicago after receiving her Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Purdue University – West Lafayette. After several years as an e-Commerce Marketing Analyst, she left corporate to focus on developing her true passion – community activism to combat the effects of poverty in low-income, marginalized populations by way of sustainable community development in agribusiness, food and spatial justice, and environmental literacy. With one class away from an Associate’s in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, she is eager to move forward in her Master Gardener Certification and chomp away at nutrition coursework necessary to become a licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. Her work at Sugar Beet truly expresses her heart’s desire to see children receive the “seeds” of good health and nutrition rooted in their understanding and the timely value of each new generation learning to go back to basics. A newbie to Oak Park, Aniki is relishing volunteering as an AmeriCorps VISTA in child nutrition and cooking and gardening with her two daughters and their Min-Pin “fur-gurls,” Jazz & Lyric.
As she raised three wonderful children, she was able to find many ways to busy herself without ever having to go back to work. She has a passion for gardening, so she participated in the Master Gardening certification program at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which lead to her involvement in the Oak Park Conservatory and Co Chairing the spring sale for many years. Darla became passionate about where her food comes from and having good options in our community. She was excited about being part of membership drives and organizing gatherings to promote The Sugar Beet Co-op. Through the Sugar Beet School House she gained the opportunity to help with the Cheney Garden for all abilities and she really enjoyed her experience and time working with the various groups. This sparked her interest in Horticultural Therapy. Darla is currently participating in a Certification program through the Botanic Gardens. Darla hopes to continue sharing her experience with gardening, food and compassion whenever she can.