Our professionals have advanced degrees in clinical social work or clinical psychology,
with specializations in child and adolescent development, child, adolescent and adult
treatment, and parenting and family life. We have experience providing counseling ser-
vices to children, adults and families as well as parent education classes and coaching,
as well as services to agencies, schools and organizations.

Imagery courtesy of Steve Ewert, Corporate Portraits Chicago


Carolyn Stolper Friedman, M.A.
Executive Director
Ms. Carolyn Friedman received her MA in Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions with non-profit organizations in the human services, the arts and international relations with expertise in capital expansion projects. She founded Smart Love Family Services in 2002. She is also co-author of Successful Fundraising for Arts and Cultural Organizations (Oryx Press), a management book for the non-profit field.



Carla M. Beatrici, Psy.D.
Director of Clinical Services
Dr. Carla Beatrici received her Psy.D. at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years clinical experience working with children, adolescents, parents and adults and also has experience directing an outpatient, non-profit counseling agency. Dr. Beatrici is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry, where she treats patients, supervises interns and teaches child development to psychiatry residents.


Kelly Perez
Preschool Director
Kelly Perez holds a BA in applied behavioral science from National-Louis University and holds two American Montessori Society teaching credentials, Infant-Toddler (birth through age three) and Early Childhood (ages two-and-a-half through six). Kelly was nominated for the 2017 Golden Apple Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award. Her professional affiliations include the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health. Since 1987, Kelly has supported all aspects in building and delivering high quality early childhood programs. She has brought her experience as a teacher, teacher educator and consultant, classroom and curriculum developer, parent coach, program administrator and director to Smart Love since 2010.


Matthew W. Bell, MA, MFT
Mr. Bell received his Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at Adler University in Chicago, IL. He is a psychotherapist who has clinical experience and training working with children, adults, couples, and families. He has engaged in clinical therapy with diverse populations throughout Chicago. He has experience providing group therapy, school consultation, and working with clients experiencing trauma and loss. Matthew is committed to providing quality services and empowering individuals and families.


Stephen Budde, Ph.D., LCSW
Project Leader, Quality Care and Evaluation
Dr. Stephen Budde received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. He is a psychotherapist who has over 20 years experience in child welfare as a clinical social worker, researcher, teacher, and administrator. He has had extensive experience as a Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor at Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago and a Lecturer at the University’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA). Dr. Budde is Associate Executive Director at the Juvenile Protective Association.


Felicia Carmel, Psy.D.
Dr. Felicia Carmel is a psychologist who specializes in psychological and neuropsychological testing. She trained at the University of Chicago working in a diagnostic clinic with children with ADHD and other learning problems. She has also conducted neuropsychological evaluations with adults suffering with a multitude of neurological disorders, including dementia, and worked as a nursing home as a consultant.


Angela D. Hunsicker, LCSW
Ms. Angela Hunsicker, LCSW received her BSW from Indiana University and MSW from Loyola University Chicago with a Type #73 certificate in School Social Work. She has been working in schools, therapeutic day schools and outpatient clinics throughout her career. She has also served as a Mental Health Consultant at Easter Seals Early Head Start, and helped develop Smart Love’s seminars, toddler program and preschool.


Tamara T. Garrity, Psy. D.
Director of Training
Dr. Tamara Garrity received her Psy.D. at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is a bilingual Spanish-speaking clinical psychologist with over 15 years experience as a clinician. She has worked with children, adolescents, adults and families in a variety of settings including hospital inpatient units, outpatient counseling centers, and therapeutic day schools. Dr. Garrity is an allied staff at Linden Oaks at Edwards Hospital.


Jessica Hudnall, M.A.
Ms. Jessica Hudnall is a recent graduate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. Jessica is currently working as psychotherapist and Group Therapy Coordinator at Smart Love Family Services, where she serves a wide range of clients. Ms. Hudnall also has experience working with children and adolescents of diverse backgrounds, in a variety of settings, including youth mentor and advocate at her local church and various community based settings. She has a passion for working with groups, helping children and families, and working with clients who suffer from chronic illness. Ms. Hudnall has plans to continue her education and pursue her doctoral degree in clinical psychology in the near future.


Carol Johnson, LCSW
Director of Older Adult Services and Parent Consultant
Ms. Carol Johnson received her MSW from Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work. She is a psychotherapist with 20 years of clinical experience with children, teens, families, and adults in diverse settings, and an experienced parent educator. She was a teacher and school social worker in elementary schools, and a consultant for Easter Seals Head Start Program. Ms Johnson was also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.


Jamie Klein, M.A., LCPC
Clinical Coordinator
Ms. Jamie Klein received her Master’s in Clinical Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with clinical experience working with children and adolescents in a community based mental health setting. Her clinical training in her Master’s program was at the YWCA-Evanston working primarily with children and adolescents dealing with loss and trauma. She has also worked with parents in both individual and group settings.


Rebecca Mach, Psy.D., LCPC
Dr. Rebecca Mach received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She has clinical experience working with children and adolescents in many settings including a residential treatment facility, a community mental health center, a group practice, as well as a primary school setting. She has previously worked in private practice with adults, children, adolescents, and families.


Stacey Marentes, M.A.
Ms. Stacey Marentes, M.A. is a psychotherapist at Smart Love. She is a graduate of the Master’s Counseling Program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of New Mexico. She has worked as a crisis line operator where she gained extensive experience in crisis intervention and risk assessment. Stacey has a passion for helping children and families from diverse backgrounds.


Ilinka Novakovic, LCSW
Ms. Ilinka Novakovic received her MSW at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work. She is a psychotherapist, parent educator and coach who has extensive experience both writing and presenting child development seminars and courses to parents and professionals. She has worked in several outpatient mental health agencies providing psychotherapy to children, adolescents and adults.


Felicia M. Owens, Psy.D., LPC
William J. Pieper, M.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Felicia M. Owens received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and her Master’s in Community Counseling from Concordia University Chicago. She is currently doing her post-doctoral fellowship at Smart Love Family Services. Dr. Owens has more than 10 years of experience working in mental health settings, education, and student growth and development (academically, spiritually, and emotionally). She also has experience working with parents, children, and adolescents in various settings including community churches, inpatient psychiatric hospitals and college counseling centers. She is dedicated and actively involved in her church ministry where she serves as a Licensed Minister, Administrator and Teacher. Felicia is committed, dedicated, trained and experienced in helping to guide individuals and families to increase the quality of their lives.


Lindsey Pence, LPC
Ms. Lindsey Pence is a Licensed Professional Counselor who graduated from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a M.A. in Counseling Psychology.  She has a variety of clinical experience working with diverse populations of children, teens, young adults, and families in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Ms. Pence has been trained in the Smart Love theory and philosophy, and has worked in many capacities at the organization; including the research department, intake office, as group therapy coordinator, and as a staff psychotherapist.  She is comfortable assisting our clients with a variety of mental health concerns.


Sara Stone, Psy. D.
Dr. Sara Stone received her Psy.D. at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. She is a clinical psychologist with over 13 years of clinical experience working with adults, couples and families in outpatient hospital and community clinic settings, as well as children and adolescents in school settings.


Kari Terrill, Psy. D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Kari Terrill received her Psy.D. from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She is experienced providing therapeutic services to children, adolescents, parents, and families in a variety of settings including community mental health agencies, school settings, and outpatient clinics. Dr. Terrill also has experience conducting psychological evaluations for children, adolescents, and adults and accommodations testing to help children, adolescents, and young adults receive the necessary support in academic settings.


Jane Weinberg, MS, LCSW
Jane Weinberg received her Master in Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago and her Master of Science in Child Development from the Erikson Institute. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker experienced in working with children and families to provide individual and group therapy. She spent many years working in a private, multi-disciplinary setting and is passionate about understanding individualized developmental profiles.


Julia Wright, LCSW
Ms. Julia Wright is a licensed clinical social worker. She received her MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Julia has 10 years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families in residential and school settings. She is adept in assessment, support planning, program development and therapeutic services. Julia enjoys joining children and families in their process of developing positive relationships and inner wellness.


Michael Zakalik, Psy. D.
Director of Marketing and Clinical Supervisor
Dr. Michael Zakalik received his Psy.D. at The Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Zakalik is a clinical psychologist experienced in working with at-risk children and adolescents within a residential facility, a therapeutic day school, and an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Additionally, he has developed therapy skills working with adults from diverse backgrounds in an outpatient setting.


Eve Alexander
Ms. Eve Alexander received her BA from Eugene Lang College in Education Studies. She has worked with young children for over ten years, and has taught in preschool classrooms, provided child care and facilitated supplemental programming for elementary school students in Chicago and New York City. She adores working with children and is thrilled to be part of the Smart Love community.


Sarah Fink
Toddler Teacher
Ms. Sarah Fink is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at National Louis University. She has worked for over four years with infants and toddlers as a daycare teacher and as a caregiver. After a successful career in merchandizing and design, Sarah realized that her passion was with working with parents and young children to foster healthy and happy family connections. At Smart Love, she combines her artistic and early childhood education backgrounds to create fun and engaging experiences.


Nikki Krzebiot
Assistant Teacher and Teacher in Training
A graduate of Otterbein University in Westerville, OH, Nikki is in her fourth year of teaching. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked with students aged 3 through 18 as a choir teacher, general music instructor, guest director, and day camp counselor. Most recently, she taught music at a variety of instructional levels during last school year in Addison. Over the summer, she worked at Galileo Innovation camps, where she also taught Pre K & Kindergarten Science/STEM and 1st & 2nd grade Art. She loves getting to know young children for the unique people they are. In addition to teaching, Nikki is also a seasoned stage performer and can be seen throughout the Chicago area in professional and community shows.


Margo Elena Mejia, M.Sc.
Ms. Margo Elena Mejia received a BS from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and an M.Sc. in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems from the University of Hohenheim with a concentration in school gardens and their role in child development. She has over fifteen years experience working in preschool, kindergarten and summer camp settings.


Megan Norowski
Assistant Teacher and Teacher-in-Training
Ms. Megan Norowski has over 7 years of experience working with children of all ages, including as a paraprofessional and personal care assistant for special needs children. She enjoys being with children and helping them grow and learn. Megan has a BA from Columbia College and plans to earn her Masters in Early Childhood Education.


Linzy Wagner
Substitute Teacher
Ms. Linzy Wagner completed her Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy in Social Policy and Psychology with Honors at Northwestern University. She has experience working with children in various age groups, and recently worked in our Toddler Program as a Teaching Assistant Intern where she was introduced to the Smart Love approach. Linzy enjoys helping children reach their full potential to live happy and healthy lives.


Danielle Zar
Substitute Teacher
Ms. Danielle Zar received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. She worked with young children as a research and clinician’s assistant at the Project on Child Development and at the Speech, Language, and Learning Clinic. She also has experience working with children in educational and care giving settings.



Amber Guenther
Marketing Manager
Mrs. Amber Guenther has a BA in Marketing and German from Western Michigan University. She worked in market research for nearly 10 years before deciding to leave work and stay at home to raise her daughter. She was introduced to the Smart Love philosophy and approach when her daughter attended the Smart Love Preschool. She is passionate about spreading the word about Smart Love and the positive affects it makes in families’ lives.


Nancy Luepke
Office Manager & Parent Services and Community Outreach Coordinator
Ms. Nancy Luepke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Dominican University in River Forest, IL and has twelve years experience with marketing and communications in the insurance industry. A native Oak Parker, Nancy has volunteered in the community for close to two decades. Most recently she has volunteered as a trained domestic violence advocate for Sarah’s Inn in Oak Park.


Alba Santillan
Finance and Grants Manager
Ms. Alba Santillan received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from DePaul University and a Master’s degree in Accounting from Keller Graduate School. Alba has over 12 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising, grant management and event planning in the Chicago metro area. Most recently, Alba was the Assistant Program Officer at LISC Chicago, where she handled grant management and provided technical assistance.


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