Board of Directors

Dr. Seth Harkins
Executive Director
Dr. Seth Harkins is former chief executive officer of the Philip J. Rock Center and School in Glen Ellyn, IL. He is a career educational administrator, having served in a variety of leadership roles for over thirty-five years in public and private education and state government. Dr. Harkins received his Ed.D. from National Louis University Chicago, IL, where he has been adjunct professor for thirty-three years. He holds MA degrees in educational administration and special education from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL and earned his BA degree from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Dr Harkins is principal of Harkins Educational Consulting and Advocacy. He is has been active in group relations conference work since 1985 and is a member of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems. His community volunteer work includes: statewide leadership teams and task forces, past president of the Chicago Center for the Study of Groups and Organizations; legislative appointee and chair of the board of directors of the Illinois Community and Residential Services Authority; board member of the Chicago Virtual Charter School, board member of Serenity Academy Chicago, and vice president of the Midwest Group Relations Center. Dr. Harkins’ research interests include special education, educational leadership and group relations and recovery from addiction.
Tim Devitt, Psy.D, CADC
Board President
Tim Devitt, Psy.D., CADC, has a 30-year commitment to providing and leading recovery-oriented mental health and substance use services, in roles that include homeless outreach worker, team leader, program director, therapist and executive leader. In his director and vice president roles at Thresholds in Chicago, he has overseen programming that includes integrated mental health and substance use treatment, permanent supported housing, assertive community treatment, implementation of integrated treatment, and substance use treatment outpatient, intensive outpatient and outreach programming. Also, Tim provides integrated mental health, substance use, and trauma-informed counseling in private-practice work with adolescents and adults in the Chicago area. Tim has presented nationally and co-authored 19 peer-reviewed journal articles and a book chapter on the integration of evidence-based practices to best meet the needs and preferences of people with mental illness, tobacco and other substance use disorders. He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and has academic appointments at the University of Chicago, School of Social Services Administration (AM in Social Work) and Adler University (MA in Applied Psychology and MA in Military Psychology). Tim is honored to be part of the Serenity Academy of Chicago commitment to developing alternative peer groups and a recovery high school in the Chicago area.
Tim Devitt, PsyD, CADCLinkedIn
Debra Reed, MA
Board Member
Debra Reed has a Bachelor's Degree in High School English Education and a Master's Degree in Secondary School Guidance and Counseling. She worked for 37 years in Chicago Public Schools as a High School English Teacher and High School Counselor. Her personal recovery from multiple addictions and family dysfunction combined with her clinical work deeply affected and helped teens, teen addicts, and children of addicts affected by the Family Diseases of Alcoholism and Addiction that she worked with at CPS. Her passion and commitment to "keep coming back" in the face of multiple obstacles that would have deterred someone of lesser character, demonstrated to her students that she not only "talked the talk but walked the walk"!

After completing a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse internship at Lutheran Social Services, she passed the CADC exam in 2014. Currently she is completing the required hours as an Addictions Counselor at the Bobby Buonauro Clinic in Evanston, Illinois. Her growth and transformation have shown up in her personal and professional life. Debra's dedication, commitment to service, spirituality, and education have motivated her to come out of retirement as an educator to work in the area of Addictions Counseling and serve on the board for this Illinois Sober High School - Serenity Academy of Chicago.
Mary Egan
Board Member
Mary Egan, Director of Outreach for Rosecrance, manages the assessment and outreach efforts in the Rosecrance Chicago land offices. Mary joined Rosecrance in 2008 as Community Relations Coordinator responsible for relationship building and business development in the southern Chicago land region and Northwest Indiana. She speaks to professionals and parents on the topics of drug trends, parental influence and adolescent addiction. She previously worked as Student Assistance Program Coordinator at Oak Lawn Community HS for 17 years where she developed the school’s Student Assistance Program; counseled students, parents and staff on youth substance issues; conducted support groups for students; and provided training for the school community on substance abuse and related issues. With over 25 years’ experience working in the substance abuse field, Mary is committed to helping teens, adults and families access resources for a healthy life. Mary holds a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield, a BS degree in Alcohol Education and a BA degree in Psychology from Quincy University. Mary is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She has received several recognition awards including the Award for Community Excellence from the Oak Lawn Community Partnership, the Partnership Award for Excellence from the Partnership for a Safe and Drug Free Community and the Illinois P.T.A. Distinguished Service Scroll.
Kate Mahoney, LCSW
Board Member
Kate Mahoney is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health. Kate earned her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Kate is the Executive Director of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is active in the community, a frequent presenter at conferences and a strong advocate for reducing the stigma that for too long has prevented many individuals impacted by substance use disorders and other mental health struggles from accessing treatment and being fully integrated into their community. Kate has dedicated much of her career to increasing access to care. She currently serves on the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council. For eight years, Kate served on the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence Board of Directors. She is a past president of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health and is also a past president of the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment. Kate’s contributions to the field have been acknowledged by colleagues at the state and national level. She has received two awards from the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. In 2013, Kate was awarded the prestigious national Nyswander/Dole award for her leadership in addressing the opioid epidemic. In 2017 Kate received Mental Health America’s George Goodman and Ruth O. Brudney Social Work Award.
Deborah Lynch
Board Member

Deborah Lynch taught in urban elementary and high schools for twenty years. She also worked as an Assistant Director of the Educational Issues Department of the American Federation of Teachers. She was instrumental in the award of a $1.3 million MacArthur grant for an education reform and teacher leadership initiative to the Chicago Teachers Union and served as its president from 2001-2004. Lynch earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently a Professor of Graduate Studies in the College of Education at Chicago State University where she teaches online and hybrid courses in educational leadership, curriculum and instruction and special education.

Paige Cederna, LCSW, MPH, CHES
Board Member

Paige Cederna is an experienced licensed clinical social worker and public health professional who has dedicated over 10 years of her life to advocacy and service to underserved populations locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Paige is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology, graduating cum laude. She then pursued graduate level training at the University of Michigan where she achieved a Master’s of Social Work and a Master’s of Public Health, graduating summa cum laude. Paige has obtained her Certified Health Education Specialist Certificate (CHES). She has also completed University of Michigan’s Addiction Certificate Program. In 2018 while working for Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4), Paige was awarded the Joyce W. Dugan Service Award for outstanding service to C4 and the community.

Paige has dedicated her life to helping those in need starting from a young age. She has devoted her time to assisting with medical and social services in free clinics, medical brigades to Honduras, and educating communities about their healthcare rights. Throughout her career, Paige has had a focus on substance use by working with college students doing drug and alcohol brief interventions, wellness coaching, and group educational workshops. She was an active member and program assistant of the University's Students for Recovery Program and their Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP). In this role, she was able to engage in community coalitions, program plan and evaluation, actualize CRP curriculum, and much more. Paige has counseled numerous people at both the group and individual level to help them achieve their goals and learn skills and behaviors that can assist them in doing this. She spent three years at C4 transitioning individuals diagnosed with a severe mental illness into the community space and provided them with the support needed. Paige now works as part of an interdisciplinary team in a hospital setting providing wrap around services to the most high risk patient population.

Melissa Moore
Board Member

Melissa Moore is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in marketing, sales and business development. Melissa’s expertise is developing relationships and developing marketing strategies in a variety of industries, including the Eating Disorder, Substance Use, and Behavioral Healthcare field. She excels in project management, growing brand awareness, and client advocacy.

Melissa received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas and is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of Illinois. Currently, she serves on the board of the Women’s Association of Addiction Treatment (WAAT) and Serenity Academy. Melissa is also a speaker and presents on eating disorders to high schools and universities. 

Melissa’s personal journey overcoming substances and an eating disorder fuels her passion to help others find recovery. She is collaborative, supportive and uses her experience to connect authentically in her relationships. Melissa is committed to serving the addictions population and mentoring women in the community. 

In her free time, Melissa’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her nieces and nephew, family and friends, followed by keeping up with the latest Netflix/Amazon Prime trends, staying active, listening to audiobooks, baking and crafting.

Kelly O'Connor
Board Member
Kelly O’Connor has worked for over ten years in community organizing to reduce underage drinking and substance use in Oak Park and River Forest. She is the Prevention Services Manager at Oak Park Township and the Drug-Free Communities Grant Coordinator for the Workgroup for Positive Youth Development. Prior to that, Kelly coordinated a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services from Dominican University and is completing her Masters in Conflict Resolution. She is a certified Mediator and Circle Keeper as well as Parent Coach and Administrator for FACE IT, an evidence informed alcohol and drug education program for teens and their families. Kelly is passionate in reducing stigma and providing opportunities for youth and their families faced with substance use challenges. She has four children, a dog, and loves to spend her free time in Northern Michigan and out West.
Joseph Check, LCSW
Emeritus Board Member

I am a licensed clinical social worker, Board Certified Diplomate in clinical social work
with an office in the Hyde Park Bank Building offering psychotherapy by appointment. I am a retired school social worker and high school teacher. My dream is Serenity Academy of Chicago.
MEd., Northeastern Illinois U. Center for Inner City Studies
MSW, U. of Illinois Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work

Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC
Board Member

Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC, is project manager Illinois for Great Lakes ATTC. He is an international speaker, trainer, and consultant in the behavioral health field whose work has reached thousands throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Caribbean and British Islands.

Mark is the author of five books, which focus on behavioral health. Recent writings include Slipping through the Cracks: Intervention Strategies for Clients Multiple Addictions and Disorders, Recovery Management: and Relationship Detox: Helping Clients Develop Healthy Relationships in Recovery. He has had two stories published in the New York Times best-selling books series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Mark has been a certified addictions counselor for 38 years. He has received numerous awards including a Life Time Achievement Award from the Illinois Addiction Counselor Certification Board and the Barbara Bacon Award for outstanding contributions to the Social Work profession as a Loyola University of Chicago Alumni.

He is past president of the board of the Illinois Chapter of NAADAC. He has had a 30 year career as a university educator having taught at the University of Chicago, Illinois State University, Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and Loyola University of Chicago, School of Social Work.

Hank Tajkowski, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CPA
Board Member
Hank grew up in St. Louis, earned an Accounting Degree from Quincy University and started his career with Ernst & Young. 
He decided to transition his accounting experience into his own tax, financial and estate planning practice and moved to Chicago in 1996, which continues today.
Hank has played/coached rugby for 3 decades and currently is the Head Rugby Coach for Mount Carmel High School.
Hank is involved in various volunteer activities, including currently serving as a Board Member of St. Mary's High School (his alma mater) and MLJ Adoptions.
Hank is intimately connected to the recovery community; he continue his recovery still one day at a time.
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