/Board of Education / Member Profiles
Board Member Profiles
Tiffani Saunders - President
Dr. Tiffani Saunders was sworn into her first term on Ball-Chatham’s Board of Education on April 28, 2021. On April 27, 2022 she was elected President of the Board of Education.
Tiffani graduated from Wheaton High School in 1998 and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Bowie State University in 2002. She then studied Sociology at Indiana University, earning her Master’s degree in 2004. She has completed coursework for her Ph.D. in Sociology, also from IU.
She currently serves as the equity, diversity and inclusion consultant for Memorial Health after 10 years as a lecturer of Sociology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. About her interest in serving on the Ball-Chatham Board of Education, she says, “I’ve been considering a run for school board for years and now seemed like the right time to use my sociological expertise and leadership training to mend division and help position our schools for the future.
“I’m not new to serving the District, having done so on the Diversity Taskforce (now defunct), GHS Athletic Boosters, and a book club with teachers. The birth of my daughter resulted in a re-evaluation of ways I could enhance what I’ve already been doing and contribute to addressing long-standing challenges in the district. My service on the board is predicated on bringing new voices, new ideas, and new experiences into every conversation. I’m here so the board more accurately reflects the diversity of experience in our community.”
Tiffani also believes that the challenges facing school districts today require some new strategies and creative problem-solving. “We’re seeing growing demands on school districts without growing budgets,” she says. “This is happening during a nationwide teacher shortage and in the case of our district, a decade-long lack of teacher diversity. I see strategic partnerships as one method to meet district needs and address both of these challenges. More specifically, I believe developing connections with local and regional colleges/universities, as well as local businesses, could provide beneficial human and social capital.”
Tiffani is the proud parent to Jaden, a junior at Glenwood High School, and Brielle, a future Titan.
On her own time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and all things creative (dance, theatre, crafts). She’s also a classically-trained violinist and plays on occasion with UIS Orchestra.
Tiffani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Calderon - Vice President
Mrs. Laura Calderon was sworn into her first term on Ball-Chatham’s Board of Education on April 28, 2021. On April 27, 2022 she was elected Vice President of the Board of Education.
Mrs. Calderon graduated from Peoria Richwoods High School and went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Additionally, she has completed the relevant coursework needed for her Master’s degree in Political Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Laura currently serves as the Executive Director of the Illinois Public Transportation Association.
She says that she feels very fortunate to live in an amazing community with top-notch schools. “My passion for public schools and community service drew me to seek this new role within our community. I have a desire to work with our district’s administrators, teachers, and staff to help build on BCSD’s reputation of excellence. I believe that all children deserve to have access to a high-quality public education. My experience, leadership skills, and ability to cultivate community investments and partnerships to benefit our schools can help our district stay ahead of educational trends and best prepare our diverse population of students to be competitive in the higher education environment and beyond. I also felt it was vital that we elect board members such as myself that brings a commitment to fiscal responsibility, which is necessary to ensure our district is able to continue to provide the educational opportunities our community deserves, well into the future.”
Regarding the challenges facing our District, she says, “Like many, my husband and I moved to Chatham with our young children many years ago because of the outstanding reputation of our schools. But we must not be complacent, and we must always be looking for areas in which we can improve. There are three primary areas where I see room for improvement. Expanding counseling and mental health services, class sizes, and STEAM curriculum development.
“Coming out of this pandemic, now more than ever it is necessary to assess, and possibly expand and invest in our mental health services. I have heard from staff in our district that our counselors and our school nurses are overworked, and that there is a need for additional counselors, particularly at the middle and high school level. This is an area that needs to be addressed immediately. There are even free programs, such as Safe 2 Help Illinois, that I’d like to see our district utilize to better serve our student’s needs.
“Additionally, one thing that I believe was learned over the past eight months was that smaller class sizes increase student success. While we have made progress toward decreasing our student-to-teacher ratio in this district over the past five years, there is additional room for improvement in this area.
“Lastly, science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (or STEAM) is the way of the future. Chatham Schools, with the help of the Ball-Chatham Educational Foundation, has made significant progress in investing in STEAM curriculum, but there is more to be done. I believe we can cultivate community investment and partnership to help integrate STEAM into all parts of our curriculum in kindergarten through 12th grade. I’d like to see us become one of the top schools in the state where this is concerned. I believe we have the capacity to do that.
“Our spectacular teachers and staff and our incredibly supportive community are our district’s biggest assets. Working with them, all of these areas for improvement become opportunities for our district to be the best that it can be.
Laura is married to Miguel, and together they have three children: Mateo, a GHS student; Miles, a GMS student; and Mia, a student at GES.
On her own time, she enjoys spending many evenings and weekends watching her children compete in the sports they love. She also likes traveling, reading, spending time with family and friends, and being active in community organizations.
Laura can be reached at email@example.com.
Andrea Rediger, Secretary
On April 28, 2021, Dr. Andrea Rediger was sworn into her first term on the Ball-Chatham Board of Education. On April 27, 2022 she was re-elected as Secretary of the Board of Education.
Andrea graduated from Huntington North High School, Huntington, Ind. in 1993. In 1998 she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Information Systems from Taylor University, Upland, Ind., where she graduated summa cum laude. She went on to earn her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. in 2003. Dr. Rediger has practiced at The Village Veterinarian in Chatham since 2004.
About her interest in serving on the Board of Education, she says, “I’ve wanted to serve on this Board for a number of years now because it's important to me that someone on the Board has a lens focused on belonging and inclusion for students with disabilities and other differences. This is imperative in order to close the achievement gap so that in the future, all students have equal access to life's opportunities. I have the time, energy, and interest so I’m very thankful for the opportunity to bring that lens to our Board.”
Andrea is married to Tom Klein, and together they have two children: Ruby, a student at GMS, and Evan, a student at GHS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Steven Bryant was elected to the Board of Education on April 25, 2019. He graduated from Lanphier High School in 1978 and received his Associate's degree from Lincoln Land Community College in 2004. “I went to college while working full-time and being a parent,” he says.
He retired from the Ill. Department of Corrections in 2011 as the Parole Commander for Sex Offender Supervision Unit, having served for over 27 years working in various security and non-security roles. Since his retirement, he began working at Liberty Healthcare Corporation for the Safety 1st Conditional Release Program as the statewide Executive Director responsible for managing and supervising sexually violent persons released by the court into the community.
Steve says that his son graduated from the Ball-Chatham School District and received an excellent education that afforded him to receive a scholarship. “Now I have a daughter at Glenwood Intermediate School and I wanted to make a difference for her and all the students in our school district. I believe my business, leadership, security/safety skills, and union experience will be useful for the district.”
About what he sees as opportunities within the District, Steve says that he’s excited about the building of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes in each of the schools and the possibility of expanding technology beyond STEM classes. “I believe there are even more opportunities for the District.” he says, “As I gain a deeper understanding of each of the schools and their input on each of their needs, I will bring these ideas forward and discuss with the entire board.”
Steve believes the challenges facing the District are attracting quality teachers, substitute teachers, retention of excellent teachers, paraprofessionals, and reducing class sizes. “Also, improving the safety and security of our schools, buses, and events for our children,” he says.
Steve is married to Kimberly. They have two children, Jared and Kitt, and one grandchild, Annika Rae. “My son, Jared attended Ball Elementary School, Glenwood Middle School, and Glenwood High School, graduating in 2006. Kitt attended Iles Elementary School in Springfield, Ball Elementary School, and Glenwood Elementary School. She is currently attending Glenwood Intermediate School and is in the 6th grade,” he says.
On his own time, he enjoys spending time watching his daughter’s sporting events (competitive softball, volleyball), going to movies with her, and making her laugh. Also, he likes spending time relaxing with his family, seeing his grandbaby, riding roller coasters, and going on trips. In the summer he plays softball and enjoys golfing.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Mr. Ryan Murphy was elected to the Board of Education in 2023 and seated at the regular Board meeting on April 26. Born and raised in Springfield, Murphy attended Pleasant Plains schools and first earned an Associate's degree at Lincoln Land Community College. He later continued his education at St. Louis University and West Virginia University, where he studied business administration and sports administration. Currently, Murphy is a Vice President and Commercial Lender for Bank of Springfield. Before joining the bank in 2008, he held numerous development roles with Duke University’s athletics department. Murphy says he knew his background in finance and athletics would be an asset for the district. "I thought I could help and offer some good insight," he explains. "I really just want to help in any way I can." While he's excited to help and contribute, he's also looking forward to the chance to learn in this new role. In his free time, Murphy enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his two sons' sports teams. Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Ann Strahle was sworn into her first term on the Ball-Chatham Board of Education on April 28, 2021.
She graduated high school in Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1991. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 1995 with a double major in Journalism and History, and a minor in Political Science. She then earned her Master’s degree from IU in 2010 in Journalism and has graduated with her Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2022.
She currently serves as an Associate Professor and chair in the School of Communication and Media at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Specific to Ball-Chatham, she says, “I have always had an interest in serving and volunteering within the schools. When we moved to Chatham in 2010, I made it a point to volunteer in the classroom, serve on the PTO, and help whenever needed. Running for school board was the next logical step after taking into account my professional workload. I truly believe that a strong public school system is the backbone of a community by not only preparing our children for their futures but also by contributing to the financial and overall health of the community and broader society. I also hope to bring my own talents within the communication and education fields to the board.”
Ann is married to Shawn, and together they have two boys: Phillip and Benjamin, one recently graduated and in college, the other still at GHS. On her own time, she enjoys going to their sons’ football games or music performances, but when she has the chance, she loves going to concerts and movies. “Considering that I teach media, I have to continuously be up-to-date on the latest technology and uses, so a lot of my time is also spent consuming and analyzing media.”
Ann can be reached at email@example.com.
Mr. Patrick Phipps was sworn into his first term on the Board on April 25, 2019 and his second term on June 5, 2023. He graduated Salutatorian from Roxana High School in Roxana, Ill. in 1993; and Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Illinois College in 1997. In 1999, he earned his Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois - Springfield.
He currently serves as Director of Regulatory Compliance for a telecommunications company. He has also served as a consultant in the telecommunications industry for the past 15 years. Prior to his consulting career, he served as a rate analyst and policy advisor on utility issues at the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Pat says that working to positively impact young people and help them succeed has long been a priority of his. “There is no better way to accomplish this than by promoting educational excellence as a member of the Board of Education,” he says. “My family and I love living in the Chatham community, and I am committed to ensuring that the Ball-Chatham School District remains a cornerstone of the community’s success,” he adds.
About the challenges that face Ball-Chatham, he says: “Many of the challenges facing the school district also present opportunities for improvement. Growth in the district presents challenges such as class size and bus routes, but also presents opportunities for facility/infrastructure upgrades and to make the school district and community even stronger.” He also believes that school safety is a challenge in all schools, but can provide opportunities to teach the importance of interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, responsibility, and kindness. Pat says that the pace of technology presents challenges such as cybersecurity, online bullying, and obsolescence, but also provides exciting new ways to learn and access information. Finally, he believes that staff retention presents challenges but also provides opportunities to express appreciation for, and reward high- quality staff.
On his own time, Pat enjoys spending time with his wife, Rochelle, and two children, Zachary and Robyn. He especially likes supporting his kids at their events (baseball, basketball, soccer, band, and karate). He also mentioned that he is a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Board
All members of the Board may be reached by e-mail and U.S. mail. E-mail addresses are listed on the member's profile page with his or her corresponding photo.
To send a message via U.S. mail. write to:
Ball-Chatham Board of Education
201 W. Mulberry
Chatham, Illinois 62626
Send fax messages to the District Office, c/o the Superintendent: 217-483-2940.
Ashley Pennell, Board Clerk