Our Board of Directors brings a wide array of perspectives and expertise to Open Wings.
Philip Kent, CPA
Board President & Treasurer
I am a partner in the CPA firm MichaelSilver in the north suburbs of Chicago. I am happy to bring my accounting and budgeting skills to the board but my attraction and desire to volunteer time to the Open Wings board goes so much further than that. My wife MaryBeth and I are the parents of two children, one of which demonstrates as a complex learner. My son is now a grown man who participates in several adult level programs that serves those with special needs. When he was very young we sought a variety of programs and approaches geared to bring out the very best in him. Ten years ago my wife and I were reading a local news article announcing the beginning of a new school opening in Kenosha designed specifically to those children identified as complex learners. It is exactly a program that simply did not exist when we were exploring the best opportunities for our son. We decided to volunteer some of our time to this new venture and we have been hooked ever since. Open Wings provides a learning environment that truly brings out the best from all students. While Open Wings specifically welcomes neurodiverse students, their siblings and friends are also welcome and very much add to the whole of the learning community. Open Wings principles focus on the whole of the child incorporating experiential learning with the overarching goal to bring out the very best from each student and to provide an educational environment that the students truly enjoy and thrive in. I have seen the growth of Open Wings from six students when they first opened its doors to 42 students currently enrolled. MaryBeth and I look forward to being a small part in the future growth in Open Wings in the things it can provide and in the number of students it serves.
Dennis Munk, PhD
Dennis Munk is Professor of Psychological Science and Education at Carthage College. He has spent most of his three-decade career supporting and learning from complex learners and their families through research and consultation. As a professor, he has prepared hundreds of pre-service teachers and aspiring professionals to teach and support neurodiverse learners. His research interests have included positive behavior support, grading adaptations, and inclusive practices, toward which he has published articles and a book focused on leadership in inclusive schools. Dr. Munk joined the board in fall of 2020, after several years of collaborative work involving fieldwork students.
Mimi Snyderman, MD
I am a pediatrician currently practicing in Racine through Ascension All Saints as well as at the Child Development Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Our children who are neurodevelopmentally unique have been a passion of mine since my own childhood, doubtless because of my cousin and her amazing family. For several years now, I have been hearing about Open Wings Learning Center through families whose children had struggled in other educational settings. The ability of Open Wings teachers and staff to support each student in an environment conducive to their best learning has truly changed lives of not only the students, but also their siblings and parents. When the opportunity arose for me to join the Board of Directors for Open Wings, I was absolutely delighted. The Board represents a collaboration between inspiring and talented individuals who are devoted to children. I hope that we will all continue to learn from Open Wings' remarkable founders, staff, and each other; I am certain that we will all continue to learn from our students.
Kim Hufferd-Ackles, PhD
Kimberly Hufferd-Ackles had the dream of opening a school where smiling students would enter the doors in the mornings for many years. This dream became a reality in 2012 when the first group of students came in the doors at Open Wings. She has devoted the past decade to the most rewarding and most challenging work of her professional career supporting students, teachers, and families at Open Wings. Kim received her PhD from Northwestern University in 1999. In addition to being the mother to four children, she thrives in her ongoing support of many aspects of Open Wings Learning Community and in knowing the amazing students that call this school home.
I am the Vice President of sales for SPXFLOW, a producer of processing equipment and systems for the Food and Beverage markets, my background includes roles in sales, marketing and engineering. My son Connor was also an Open Wings student 1st thru 4th grade. I am extremely excited to bring my skill set to the board but even more so to help this amazing institution that meant so much to my son and our family.
When my wife, Kerry (a public school teacher), and I decided that traditional school settings were not the best approach for Connor and his complex learning needs, she heard about Open Wings. After our initial investigation, we decided that this school would be the best thing for Connor. As he progressed through the school we were truly inspired by his growth as a student and a person. I am honored to participate as a board member and contribute my time and energy back to this school, where other children can experience the same opportunities to learn and develop their educational, emotional, and social skills at their own unique pace.
I am an executive for a healthcare company with over 30 years of corporate experience. I was very pleased to be invited to serve on the Open Wings Board of Directors. My experience with Open Wings began years ago as my youngest daughter was in the founding class and thrived for eight years before graduating to high school.
Our family was drawn to Open Wings based on the vision to compassionately work with students who have unique learning needs in a way that highlights each student’s strengths, promoting growth and learning in a productive and caring environment.
My hope as a new Board Member is to bring a perspective committed to service, problem solving and creativity in support of the Open Wing’s mission. I have been part of the community for over two decades and am looking very forward to contributing through the Board role.
My educational background includes a B.S. in Finance from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a Law Degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.