Gateway’s New Executive Director Has Been Appointed

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It’s official!  Kathryn Lavin is Gateway’s new executive director, and she is ready to lead and serve.  Board President, Bob Smolen stated that after a long and thorough candidate search and interview process, everyone is thrilled to have found Kathryn “Kathy” Lavin.  “The Board was extremely impressed with her credentials, her commitment to Gateway’s participants, and her enthusiasm to make an impact.” 

In response, Kathryn has offered her personal words about her leadership appointment. “I am SO excited to join the Gateway to Learning family.  From the moment I first walked through the doors, I could see the joy and respect among the participants and staff.  As a parent of a 21-year old daughter with a disability, I know how valuable this is.   I am also very humbled and honored to share in the great service that Dorothy, Cheri, and the entire staff have provided for so many years. I look forward to meeting and working beside everyone who touches Gateway in some way to make this community and the world a better place for people with DoAbilities.”

As we’ll all get to know Kathy over the next few months, here’s some important information Gateway wants everyone to know about her credentials.  She was the Executive Director of AblePlay-Lekotek, a national leader of inclusive and accessible play.  For 30 years she provided a myriad of services to children and adults with intellectual challenges/developmental disabilities.  She is an active advocate for persons of ALL abilities and for inclusive education; and she has extensive experience in strategic planning and in program, professional, and policy development.  Her Board memberships include the Chicago Community Trust Disabilities Fund, the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic, and the national organization, Camp Pals.  Kathryn holds two BA degrees, one in Education and the other in Human Development.  She obtained her master’s degree from the Jane Addams School of Social Work.

In addition to Kathy's appointment, the Board has promoted Malgorzata "Maggie" Zukowska to a new position as Gateway’s Director of Operations. Maggie's 20 years of service at Gateway complements Kathy's 30 years in social service.  Both women are looking forward to working together to provide the leadership that will keep Gateway strong and growing. 


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John Ratzenberger