• Held Erik Held 


    Elected: 2019 – 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2023 

    Committee Participation: Chair of the Finance Committee and Insurance Committee; member of the Closed Session Review Committee

    Erik M. Held has worked at UBS Financial Services, Inc. for 14 years, and currently serves as a first vice president of wealth management and corporate stock benefit consultant for the company. His career is centered on goals-based wealth planning, advising on investments and risk for individuals, endowments, foundations and executive compensation. Throughout his career, Held has advised corporations and executives on long-term strategies for equity awards and navigating complex governmental compliance and regulations. In 2017 and 2018, Forbes recognized him as one of America’s next-gen wealth advisors.

    For the past four years, Held has been the lead educator for a seminar series centered on understanding corporate benefits, taxes and financial literacy. He is currently serving his first term on the District 86 Board of Education, and is a member of the Maercker Educational Foundation.

    After graduating from Hinsdale Central in 1999, Held earned his bachelor's degree in English - creative writing from Miami University.

    Held has lived in District 86 for more than two decades, and his family has lived in the district for over 60 years. He currently lives in Westmont with his wife, three children, two dogs and a cat.

    Hirsman Kathleen Hirsman
    Vice President


    Elected: 2019 – 4 years (second term)

    Term Expires: April 2023

    Committee Participation: Chair of the Policy Committee and Closed Session Review Committee; member of the Human Resources Committee, Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee, Facilities Committee, and Special Committee for Community Engagement with Construction 

    Kathleen Hirsman is a senior lecturer in residence at the Education Law and Policy Institute at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. At Loyola, Hirsman teaches courses in fundamentals of school law, special education law and advocacy, legal issues in school discipline, and labor and employment law in the education workplace. Hirsman also served as adjunct faculty at Concordia University Chicago, where she taught in the masters and doctoral programs in graduate and innovative programs. She has served on the District 86 Board of Education since 2015.

    Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola, Hirsman practiced school law for 25 years. She represented and counseled school districts in board governance issues, student issues, special education, labor and personnel matters, collective bargaining, general litigation and in a general corporate advisory capacity.

    Hirsman holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Kalamazoo College, a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a juris doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

    Hirsman is a member of the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys and the Illinois Association of School Boards Council of School Attorneys. She and her husband have lived in Clarendon Hills since 1985.

    WalkerTerri Walker


    Elected: 2021 - 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2025

    Committee Participation: Chair of the Special Committee for Community Engagement with Construction; member of the Facilities Committee and Human Resources Committee

    Terri Walker is an accomplished executive with more than 20 years of experience in human resources. She currently serves as the vice president of human resources for McGraw-Hill’s higher education and professional business units. Her responsibilities/areas of focus include, but are not limited to, talent management, organizational design, executive recruitment, culture, business transformation and compensation. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill, Walker was the senior vice president of human resources for Citizen Financial Group, Inc.

    Walker is a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council for Syneos Health, which is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization. She served as a board member for The Cara Collective, which works with job seekers, employers, and other organizations across the country to break the cycle of poverty through the power and purpose of employment. She was also a room parent volunteer at her children’s school.

    Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She currently lives in Hinsdale with her husband and two sons, one who attends Hinsdale Central and another who attends Hinsdale Middle School.

    JamesPeggy James

    Elected: 2021 - 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2025

    Committee Participation: Member of the Policy Committee, Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee, and Insurance Committee

    Peggy James has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of strategic execution and business process initiatives. She is currently a senior business analyst for IAT Insurance, which provides specialty property casualty insurance solutions for both businesses and individuals. Prior to that, she held various positions at Zurich North America, TransUnion and Arthur Andersen.

    James has served as a volunteer for a number of community and school programs, including the PTO executive board and directory committee for The Lane School in Community Consolidated School District 181.

    James, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University, has been a resident of Hinsdale since 2004. She currently lives there with her husband and four children, all of whom are either alumni, current students or future students in District 86. 

    Hanson Cynthia Hanson

    Elected: 2019 – 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2023

    Committee Participation: Chair of the Human Resources Committee and Parent-Teacher Advisory Committee; member of the Policy Committee

    Cynthia Hanson is a longtime District 86 resident and an alumna of Hinsdale South High School. Committed to education and the student experience, Hanson held positions at a number of local institutions including the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, Aurora University and Moraine Valley Community College.

    Throughout her career, Hanson counseled and advised students on academic issues related to college success, managed a team of student tutors to support under-represented populations as they made their transition into higher education and taught as adjunct faculty. Hanson is a member of the Illinois Counselor Association and previously served on the Gower School District 62 Board of Education.

    An Illinois licensed professional counselor, Hanson holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in higher education and school counseling from Loyola University.

    Hanson grew up in Willowbrook and currently lives in Burr Ridge with her husband and four children, who attended Community Consolidated School District 181, Gower School District 62 and Hinsdale South High School.

    LevinthalDebbie Levinthal

    Elected: 2021 - 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2025

    Committee Participation: Member of the Finance Committee, Closed Session Review Committee, and Insurance Committee

    Debbie Levinthal is a former high school math teacher with more than 13 years of experience in the classroom. During her time in education, she taught at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire and New Trier High School in Winnetka.
    Levinthal has served on the committee for the Community Speaker Series, which is co-presented by districts 86 and 181 and provides families with important information and advice about a variety of topics (e.g., education, wellness, parenting etc.). She was a president, vice president and committee chair for the Parent Teacher Association in her former elementary district. She was also a member of the citizen committee that worked to pass the District 86 referendum during the 2018-19 school year.
    Levinthal holds a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Teaching degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently lives in Hinsdale with her husband and four children. 

    WatersJeff Waters

    Elected: 2021 – 4 years (first term)

    Term Expires: April 2025 

    Committee Participation: Chair of the Facilities Committee; member of the Finance Committee, and Special Committee for Community Engagement with Construction

    Jeff Waters is a professional derivatives trader who has been a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) since 1996. Waters was one of the first members to be included in the CME’s electronic trading liquidity market making program. He also served on the CME Group’s Electronic Trading Oversight committee, which was responsible for orderly electronic trading and the transition from trading pits to the electronic trading platform called Globex. After spending eight years as an independent trader, Waters co-founded the Eldorado Trading Group in 2004, which is a proprietary trading firm.

    Waters has been actively involved in the community since moving here in 2004. He has helped advance the work of several local charitable organizations, including Horizons for Youth, the Wellness House and Feed My Starving Children. He has also coached various youth sports programs and served on the Hinsdale Little League Board for five years.

    Waters earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the proud father of two current students (Dean and Natalie) and an alum (Hayden) of Hinsdale Central. His hobbies and interests include skiing, scuba diving and biking.

    Board Email

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