Board Members

Sarah Balassa
Sarah Balassa 
Term: 2021-2025
balassas@avoca37.org
A graduate of New Trier High School, Sarah, and her husband returned to the North Shore in 2004 to raise their children. Having graduated with a BA from Duke University and a MA in Art History from the School of the Art Institute, Sarah pursued a career in the art business world, working at auction houses and art galleries prior to opening up her own small consulting firm. Sarah has served as a board member on a variety of philanthropic organizations in Chicago. She has also volunteered in her local community as a member of the Winnetka Zoning Board and Planned Development Commission in addition to serving on the Avoca Strategic Planning Committee in 2016 and the Avoca Caucus in 2018/19.


Louise Dechovitz
Dr. Ami Desai Das
Term: 2021-2025
dasa@avoca37.org
I have been a resident of Avoca since 2006. I grew up in Glenview and am a graduate of Glenbrook South High School. I then attended Northwestern University and have a BA in Biology and Psychology. Following graduation, I went to Medical School at the University of Illinois at Chicago and then did an Internal Medicine Residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I was selected to do a year of medical education at the end of residency then went into private practice at Michigan Avenue Internists where I still practice. I continue to teach medical residents at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and medical students at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine where I have a rank of Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine. I have been elected twice as Chicago's Top Doctor and am a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. I have 2 amazing daughters; one going through Avoca and another a graduate of Avoca. In partnership with Miya Hasegawa-Seals, we have started a Parent, Teacher, Administrator diversity, inclusion, and equity group called CommunIDEE. I have coached soccer, helped with Intercultural Dinner and Talent Show, and been Room Parent multiple times. I love Avoca and the community it serves.


Louise Dechovitz
Louise Dechovitz, Vice President
Term: 2019-2023
dechovitzl@avoca37.org

Bio coming soon

Dr. Sumitrajit Dhar

Dr. Sumitrajit Dhar, President
Term: 2019-2023
dhars@avoca37.org
Along with my wife, Julia, and two daughters (’06 and ’10), we have been residents in the school district since 2012. I am a scientist by training and an educator by profession. Currently, I am the Hugh Knowles Professor of Hearing Science and the Associate Provost for Faculty at Northwestern University. Over the years, I have had various fiscal and organizational responsibilities at the university as well. I hope to bring these experiences to serve the D37 School Board and the Avoca Community in general.


Gil Gibori
Gil Gibori
Term: 2021-2025
giborig@avoca37.org
Gil Gibori is an education entrepreneur, focusing his professional life and philanthropic work on education. He is serving his second term on the Avoca School Board, first being elected in 2017. Gil has been a vocal member in the varied strategic initiatives executed during his tenure. Gil is committed to reinvigorating Avoca's focus on innovation while assuring that all of our students share in our district's success. He has been a champion of balance in the work of the board - an emphasis on fiscal responsibility while also supporting our less economically advantaged families; cutting expenses while investing strategically; committed to tackling our issues today while also focusing on an innovative future. He looks forward to an exciting new phase for our district and community. Gil shares his life with his wife Carrie, an Avoca Alum (Class of 1985), and four Avoca students.


Dr. Gretchen Wittte Glader
Dr. Gretchen Witte Glader
Term: 2019-2023
gladerg@avoca37.org
I have lived in the Avoca School District for 9 years. I have one son who is 30 who attended New Trier. I am a psychotherapist and a retired school social worker. My Ph.D. is from Loyola University. I work with couples, adults, teens, families, and children and my clinical interests include children who have difficulty because of their "giftedness”. In my career I have also been interested and active in education, I’ve taught at the pre-school level and at the university level, tutored for elementary and middle school gifted kids, and have worked as a social worker in schools at levels from pre-primary through high school. I am thrilled to be on the school board because I feel it’s the responsibility of community members to be useful to that community in the best way they can, using the skill sets they have.

Dan Seals
Dan Seals
Term: 2021-2025
sealsd@avoca37.org
Dan Seals currently serves as a Director at the American Medical Association. He has a long history of public service, with a particular focus on education. He began his career as a high school teacher overseas. He was later selected as a Presidential Management Fellow—serving as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce before moving to the U.S. Senate to advise on economic, tax, and budget issues. Dan eventually became an adjunct professor at Northwestern, teaching public policy at one of the graduate schools. Dan was also a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, where he put together a nationally recognized campaign that energized the tenth district of Illinois. Dan was then nominated by the Governor to be the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce. There he served as COO of the Department with responsibilities that covered small business, economic development, tourism, film, international trade, and workforce development, among others. Dan has also served on the Board of Year Up, an organization dedicated to training young adults in IT and placing them in jobs. He has served as a mentor to non-profits looking to grow. Dan holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Public Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Boston University.