agency leadershiP

Board of directors

Melba.jpg

Melba Graffius Swoyer, Board PresidentMelba has over thirty years of experience in the areas of communications, fundraising, and nonprofit management.   She currently operates her own communications firm and in the past has served as Director of Finance and Development for a nonprofit organization that provides supportive housing to adults recovering from chronic mental illness; Marketing Services Director for United Airlines; Corporate Communications Director for Montgomery Ward; and Director of the Allstate Foundation. Melba has an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and lives in Evanston, Ill.


John M. Lee, M.D., Board Treasurer. Dr. Lee currently is the Board of Directors/ Ivan C. Ciric MD Chair of Neurosciences at NorthShore University Health System, Evanston, IL.  He was the former Dean at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, IL. Dr. Lee holds Certifications in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology. He is the parent of two children on the autism spectrum. Dr. Lee earned a B.A. from Yale University, Psychology; a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Physiology and Biophysics: and a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. 


Ms. Lanie Adair, Board Member. Lanie Adair works as a strategic organizational consultant for both profit and non-profit businesses. She started her career working in market development and management in the digital communication industry, substantially expanding the US market for an international corporation. Locally she worked to re-structure the governance and management of Rogers Park Montessori School in advance of the $10M dollar construction project of the new Rogers Park Montessori School, which she project managed. The building was the recipient of the Chicago Builder’s Association Award. Her current focus is on developing business-based profit centers for non-profits in order to develop new and sustainable revenue streams.


Mr. Kenneth Avick, Board Member. Ken is a former Social Worker, Program Planner, Specialist in Adolescent Services and Administrative Case Reviewer at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He is a Former member of the Inclusion and Accessibility Committee of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston. Ken is a member of the Art Encounter Artist Critique group and is a painter himself, often with his children and autism as the subject of his art. He is a parent of two adult children with autism. Ken earned a BFA from Carnegie- Mellon University and also a MFA from the University of Chicago and resides in Evanston, Ill.


Mr. William Ryan, Board Member. Bill has worked in the financial services sector for over 25 years and has been an executive director at JP Morgan in Chicago since 1998. Bill was raised in Weymouth, MA in the Boston area. He is a 1980 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Lisa Detlefs Ryan have resided in River Forest for the last twenty-five years and have three adult children; Henry 22, Ann 22 and Billy 21. Bill volunteers at North Lawndale College Prep, and is affiliated with Old St. Patrick's in Chicago and the Depauw University Parents Council.


Mr. Jerome White, Board Member. Jerry has extensive experience in the financial markets . He has been a partner at CSS, LLC, a private investment firm in Chicago for the last 14 years. Prior to this, he was a Managing Director at both Lehman Brothers and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Georgetown University. Jerry resides with his family in Winnetka, Ill.

Kristen.jpg

Kristen Huffman-Gottschling, Ph.D., LCSW, Executive Director.  Kristen Huffman-Gottschling has been Executive Director at the PACTT Learning Center since 2013.  In addition to her Executive Director responsibilities, she works as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago, Jane Addams School of Social Work.  

She received her doctorate in 2016 from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. She attained a Master of Social Work and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.  She was formerly Director of Horizons Clinic-World Relief Chicago.

Dr. Huffman-Gottschling brings knowledge, clinical expertise and empathy to her position as Executive Director.  She has been instrumental in guiding the organization and establishing a vision for the immediate future and long term.  Working with numerous senior staff and employee groups, she has engendered a culture of mutual respect and commitment to PACTT's mission.

She is responsible for the daily management of PACTT operations. In addition, she works closely with the Board of Directors to facilitate organizational success, including financial, development and short and long-range planning.


Lisa Fegert, B.A., Director of Program ServicesLisa is the Director of Program Services. Ms. Fegert works with our participants and teams to assure the quality of all programs and works to establish strong links between the work done at PACTT and the communities we serves.  Focusing on the quality and growth of the day to day operations of PACTT, Ms. Fegert works to make sure that adults and children with autism can live, learn and work in their communities.  Ms. Fegert has over twenty years’ experience in social services and educational organizations serving people with developmental disabilities.  She has been with PACTT since 1999 and helped found the Vocational Services Program.  She has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


Terry Herbstritt, B.A., Director of Development & Communications. Mr. Herbstritt has primary responsibility for oversight of all fundraising initiatives and activities at PACTT.  As a member of the leadership team at PACTT, Terry participates in strategic planning and budgeting initiatives with the Board of Directors. His duties include securing financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations by developing and maintaining ongoing relationships with donors as well as overseeing organization and implementation of special events. Terry has over fifteen years of experience in development and has been with the agency since 2002.  Mr. Herbstritt is married with three children including his son Matt, who has been a participant at PACTT since 1994. He has a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI.