Roycemore Loves Our Volunteers

Volunteers Lead the Way to Provide Both the Vision and the Funding for Roycemore’s New Innovation Center

Behind every great advancement at Roycemore one can point to one or more volunteers who played a role in making it possible.  I typically sign all of my communications to the community, “In partnership in the education of your children,” which represents my belief that great schools become so when there is a powerful partnership between the school and volunteers- be they parents, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, or friends of the School.  Today, I would like to celebrate the volunteers who are leading the way to make possible the most exciting capital project in Roycemore history next to moving to our current campus ten years ago– the Innovation Center.

Four different groups, representing nearly fifty individual Roycemore volunteers, have been working diligently for many months to help Roycemore achieve its goal to build a new Innovation Center.  One group, Roycemore’s Board of Trustees, approved the fundraising campaign for the Innovation Center. They have also approved an initial budget to build a required stairwell this summer that will provide an emergency fire exit from the second floor space of the building.  A second group, the Facilities Committee of the Board, has provided the leadership to engage architects and other professionals who will help us design and build out the space.  Recently they engaged a local architectural firm that will submit designs for permit and construction of the stairwell.  They have also taken the lead to create a request for proposals for design and construction services for the interior of the Innovation Center. But none of this work could advance without funds to make it possible.   A third group, the Campaign Steering Committee, has taken the lead on the fundraising for the $3 million campaign, working with the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees.  So far, over $1.3M of the $3M goal has been raised which has given the Board confidence to approve moving forward with the stairwell portion of the project.  In order for the construction and furnishing of Innovation Center itself to move forward, the campaign will need to raise the majority of the full $3M goal.  Volunteers are reaching out to parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends of Roycemore to ask everyone to consider a multi-year pledge of support to make this project a reality.  The benefits to students are going to be transformative and it is another group of volunteers that are planning the details for the space.

The fourth group that has provided leadership with this project is our “Vision-Design Team.”  This team includes parents, faculty, students and outside experts who have been meeting weekly by zoom since October to develop a vision that will inform the design for the Innovation Center.  Their vision has been informed by surveys of students, faculty, and parents.  They also held a faculty focus group session and visited a number of Innovation Centers and Maker Spaces around the Chicago area.  The goal was to learn what our community most wanted to see developed in the space as well as learn best practices from leaders in innovation around Chicago.  

The aim is to create an inspiring, inviting, innovative, warm and flexible space to realize the imaginings of all Roycemore students incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The Innovation Center will be a place for experiential hands-on and virtual making, collaborating, learning, sharing and thinking. The Center will be designed to foster collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. It will be flexible to adapt to the current and future needs of students, faculty and the greater Roycemore community, aligned with Roycemore’s Mission, Vision and Portrait of a Graduate.  

The Innovation Center will support five key aspects of innovation and creativity.  One key programmatic area will be a Maker Space for individual and small group projects as well as classroom teaching space.  Both high-tech and low tech fabrication is envisioned with equipment such as 3D printers, vinyl cutters, a CNC router, laser cutter, large format printers, soldering irons, sewing machines, woodworking and hand tools, glue guns, and other supplies such as markers, paints, cutting tools, glue, paper, cardboard, and more.  The vision is to equip the Maker Space with equipment so that students can create nearly anything they can imagine.  A Media Production Space is also planned for the Innovation Center.  This space will include light, video, and sound control options to support the creation of all types of media.  The space could be large enough to accommodate a full class, as well as individual or small group work.  A sound booth will allow for studio quality recordings of podcasts or music.  Green screens and flexible lighting will support creative video production.  The Adobe Cloud suite of products can be leveraged for the creation of virtual or augmented reality projects by students. A third key programmatic area will be one to support Robotics related activities whether as part of a class, a club, or a Robotics Team.  The space will include support for lego robotics, an arena, and possible drone program collaboration with the Center for Talent Development.  Much of Innovation is about what becomes possible through collaborative work and group brainstorming activities.  A Community Planning/ Think Tank Space is envisioned to facilitate creative problem solving and design thinking, facilitating the advancement of so-called “soft skills” that are part of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate.  And a Portrait of a Graduate Center in the Innovation Center itself, demonstrates the importance that the School places on the balance of scholarship, citizenship and emotional intelligence. The Center will house the School’s Gifted Coordinator/ Portrait of a Graduate Coordinator who will work closely with the Innovation Coach/ STEAM teacher, social worker, and learning specialists to help ensure that Roycemore students leverage all of the opportunities presented to them through the Innovation Center.

If you wish to volunteer to help make this project a reality, please contact me directly to let me know of your interest.  We also ask each member of this community to be a part of this transformational campaign by pledging a meaningful multi-year gift that will provide an enduring impact on Roycemore students for generations to come.  You may contact me or Sara McGuire, our Director of Development, to learn more about making a gift or even joining one of the volunteer teams.

Thank you!


In partnership in the education of your children,

Adrianne Finley Odell, Head of School


With Great Appreciation to the following Volunteers who are members of the Vision-Design Team (VDT) for Innovation Center and Facilities Committee.  Members of the Board of Trustees and the Campaign Steering Committee are also making substantial contributions to Roycemore and are deeply appreciated for all that they are contributing to ensure Roycemore fulfills its mission and vision for students every day.


Volunteer Roycemore Connection/ Partnership Role
Jennifer Morgenstern VDT Co-Chair, Current parent & architect, Facilities Committee member
Barry Praeuner VDT Co-Chair, Current parent & architect, Facilities Committee member
Mark Lowry Roycemore Trustee, VDT member, Facilities Committee Chair, Director, Operations & Administration- Rotary International
Jason Keiper Current parent, VDT member, CTO and Sustainability Officer, Stephan Company
Charlie Jackson Current parent, GriffINNovation Steering Committee member (Co-Chair Parent Sub-Committee), VDT member, Software developer
Beth Shutters VDT member, Roycemore Director of Curriculum and Innovation, Current Parent
Ron Tain VDT member, Roycemore Middle & Upper School STEM Teacher
Erik Anderson VDT member, Current Parent, Founder- Premiere Digital Services
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius VDT member, Director, Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University
Eric Calvert VDT member, Associate Director, Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University
Devin Bell VDT member, Current Parent, Associate Professor DePaul University (animation/ tech/ film)
Ruth Bell VDT member, Current Parent, Librarian Wilmette Public Library
Aidan Scheidt VDT member, Upper School Student, Roycemore School
Alec Wilson VDT member, Upper School Student, Roycemore School
Felix Condurat Facilities Committee member, Current Parent, Structural & Civil Engineer
Keith Raheem Facilities Committee member, Current Parent, Infrastructure, Capital Program Manager at Northwestern University; Civil Engineer