Board of Directors

Executive Board

DanSchewePresident – Dan Schewe
Joined in 2015


Dan and his wife Kathy moved to DeKalb in 2014 to be closer to family.  Dan taught junior high English and then finished his career in the employee benefit consulting business.  His firm, Chapman Schewe Benefits Consulting in Houston, Texas was sold in 2012 and Dan retired. After being very active in the non-profit community in Houston for over thirty years, Dan continues this community service tradition in DeKalb by also serving on the boards of The Jane Adeny Memorial School and Non-Profit Software Corporation. “I believe that being of service to one’s community is vitally important and rewarding work.  I will do all that I can to help this wonderful cultural, social and architectural treasure live on.”

Vice President – Paul Kassel
Joined in 2016

(Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts – Northern Illinois University)

Paul Kassel is the new Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University, where he is responsible for the overall administration of the college including its programs and people with a special emphasis on resources (both internal and external), personnel, and planning. From July 2013 – 2015 Dean Kassel was Interim Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz.   In addition to NIU and New Paltz, Dean Kassel has worked at SUNY Stony Brook, and Bradley University. In New York City for eleven years as a professional actor, director, and writer, Dean Kassel worked off, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and as a guest artist. In addition, he has appeared in a number of films, several television shows, and industrials. His book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Allyn & Bacon in spring of 2006. He is currently working on a new book, The Actor’s Path: An Evolutionary Approach to the Art and Craft of Playing that explores the intersection of performance, neuroscience and evolutionary studies.  Paul received his M.F.A. in Performance from the Florida State/Asolo Conservatory of Professional Actor Training. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors’ Guild.

Treasurer – Steve Parker
Joined in 2018

(Controller at Foster Buick Law, Collins Dental Group and Pinkston-Tadd, Inc. Treasurer at Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District)

I was born in Pekin, Illinois, but grew up in Oswego. Recruited to play football at NIU, I graduated with a degree in Accounting in 1970 and other than for a few years in the early 70’s, have been a resident of DeKalb ever since. My accounting career began as a staff accountant for local CPA, Del Shafer, during my senior year at NIU. After a few years as a public accountant, I took a job with Apple Tree Stereo as CFO where I worked for 10 years. I married Lynn Norton in 1977 and we have been happily married for 41 years. Lynn and I started a business, Creative Calligraphy, in our home in 1982 which was both enjoyable and successful for the better part of 20 years. The most satisfying part of owning Creative Calligraphy was being able to employ over 100 people for the better part of 10 years. While I continue to work full time, most of our weekends are spent enjoying time with our grandchildren – Tavis (18), Drew (4), Lily (3), Jakey (2), Ethan (1) and Hannah, just two weeks old at the time of this writing. I am looking forward to serving on the board of the Egyptian Theatre and helping in any way I can to contribute to the positive growth that has taken place over the last few years. The Egyptian Theatre is truly one of DeKalb’s treasures.


Secretary – Denise Weinmann
Joined in 2015

(Commercial Real Estate Broker – RVG Commercial)

I am originally from Elgin and moved to Sycamore in the early 90’s. In 2011 I married Mark Sawyer and moved to DeKalb. I am a full time commercial real estate broker with RVG Commercial and hold the SIOR and CCIM designations. I have two adult children, two teenage stepchildren and two grandsons. I love the outdoors, have hiked the Grand Canyon, submitted Half Dome, jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, paddled a class five rapids and have a long bucket list of things yet to accomplish.  Since I like to be involved in my community, I am currently serving on three boards: SIOR (Society of Industrial Office Realtors) as Admissions & Recruitment Co-Chair for the Chicago chapter, ReNew DeKalb; Executive Board and Board of Directors, St. John’s Lutheran Church; Stewardship, Outreach and numerous committees, and have served on numerous other boards including: Sycamore History Museum; President and Board of Directors, DeKalb Area Association of Realtors: Board of Directors, Treasurer & numerous committees.  I love this community and look forward to serving on the Egyptian Theatre’s Board.


Rosa Balli
Joined in 2017

(Owner – Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant & Eduardo’s Restaurant)

I have lived in DeKalb since 1969 where I have raised my three children in this great community we call home.  I enjoy gardening, cooking, sporting events, and time with my kids.  The Egyptian Theatre, which I call a “GEM”, is a vital part of our community and an economic engine for the future.  I look forward to serving on this board.  I have served on the Children’s Learning Center board, St. Mary’s Finance Committee, Economic Development Commission for the City of DeKalb, and the ReNew DeKalb board.

Amy Doll
Joined in 2017

(Director – Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves)

Amy moved to DeKalb in 2014. She currently is the Director of the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves.  Before coming to DeKalb, she worked for the Family YMCA of Northwest Illinois in Freeport, IL as the Aquatics Director for 3 years and prior to that worked in the Recreation Department of the Champaign Park District for 10 years.   As a member of the DeKalb Rotary Club, Amy appreciates the value of service to the community as a way to invest in the community and to create connection to the community.   Amy is the mother of two sons, Caleb and Foster, who attend DeKalb Schools and she is excited for the cultural experiences that DeKalb has to offer for them, the Egyptian Theatre being a large part of that experience.

Vernese E. Edghill-Walden, Ph.D.
Joined in 2019

(Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer  – Northern Illinois University)

Dr. Vernese Edghill-Walden joined Northern Illinois University in 2015 as the chief diversity officer and senior associate vice president for academic diversity.  She is responsible for leading university initiatives that improve access, academic equity, inclusion and professional development & training for faculty, staff and students.

Prior to joining NIU, Dr. Edghill-Walden was the provost and chief academic officer of the City Colleges of Chicago where she was responsible for leading district-wide academic departments to enhance the quality of education for more than 120,000 City College of Chicago students. She spent 12 years as director of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware followed by 3 years as director of diversity at Georgetown Day School before pursing her Ph.D. at Howard University. Dr. Edghill-Walden came to Chicago in 2007 as associate director of research and evaluation at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

Dr. Edghill-Walden holds a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University in sociology, a master’s degree from the University of Delaware in higher education administration, and a Ph.D. in sociology with a specialization in race, class and gender, social inequalities and urban sociology from Howard University. Dr. Edghill-Walden’s area of research is race and gender equity, Black women’s career mobility, specifically in higher education and Black women’s contributions to Black liberation movements and academic achievement gaps.

JustynaPalasiewiczJustyna Palasiewicz
Joined in 2016

(Assistant State’s Attorney – Lee County State’s Attorney)

I grew up in the Somonauk and Sandwich areas, graduating from Sandwich High School before attending university at the University of Illinois at Chicago and later Northern Illinois University College of Law. Now that I am getting settled in Sycamore with my husband, our two dogs, and soon our first child, I am eager to establish ties to the community and surrounding areas. The Egyptian Theatre has been something of a fascination with me from the first time I laid eyes on the glorious marquee years ago–perhaps because acting has always held my interest, even leading me to be involved with DeKalb’s Stage Coach Players–and so being on this board and having an opportunity to offer my services is a dream come true for me. The Egyptian is a gem and the amount of work, dedication, care, and respect that has gone into the theatre so far is beyond commendable.

Jay Riippi
Joined in 2018

(Branch Manager – Heartland Bank)

Jay began his career with First National Bank in 2008 and served as Branch Manager for nine years prior to his role of Senior Marketing Manager. His past work experience includes Associate Producer, Public Relations Manager, and Production Manager with Ebel Productions; Corporate Communications/Public Information with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and various positions with National City Bank. Jay received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film/Video Production from Columbia College and an Associate in Arts degree in Communications from Kishwaukee College. He has volunteered for a variety of community organizations and events, including the Sycamore Film Festival, Midwest Museum of Natural History, DeKalb Area Arts Council and Sycamore Chamber of Commerce. Jay enjoys travelling with his wife Jennifer and their two children, Parker and Cooper.


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