Our Founder and Board of Directors

About Us | Our History

Mara Tapp, Founder and Director

mara website bio pic

An award-winning journalist and broadcaster for more than 30 years, Cool Classics! Founder and Director Mara Tapp’s work has appeared in Chicago magazine, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Catalyst, Bookforum and Playbill, on many public radio and television broadcasts, as well as on public access television. During the seven years she spent doing The Mara Tapp Show on WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, she had the privilege of interviewing children’s authors including Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Madeleine L’Engle, E.L. Konigsburg and Maurice Sendak.

More than a decade ago, Tapp added teaching to her professional activities and is proud to be a substitute teacher in several Chicago Public Schools, including the one where her daughters began their formal education. Tapp also taught students how to think and write critically about a wide range of arts and culture in the graduate program for New Arts Journalism at the School of the Art Institute and at Columbia College Chicago.


Cool Classics, Inc. Board of Directors

Hon. Marilyn F. Johnson, President
Judge, Retired, Juvenile Division, Circuit Court of Cook County
Former General Counsel, Chicago Public Schools

Amal Amin, Treasurer
Of Counsel, Mallon & Johnson
Former General Counsel, Advanced Equities Financial Corp.
Former Senior Enforcement Analyst & Senior Surveillance Analyst, Chicago Stock Exchange

Mariana Calderón
Senior Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office*
Kindergarten Teacher, Teach for America Corps Member,
Clyde C. Cox Elementary School, Las Vegas, NV

Colleen A. McElligott
Development Director, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Principal, CAM Nonprofit Strategy and Management
Former Senior Director of Development & Gift Planning, Dominican University
Former Director of Advancement, Union League Boys & Girls Clubs
Former Vice President of Development, Chicago Architecture Foundation

Mara Tapp, Secretary
Cool Classics, Inc. Founder and Director

Alaka Wali
Curator of North American Anthropology
Applied Cultural Research Director
Environment, Culture and Conservation
The Field Museum

*Ms.Calderón’s participation and views are hers alone and are not intended to reflect the institutional views of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Leon M. Despres, 1908-2009
Former 5th Ward Alderman
Former Parliamentarian to the Chicago City Council

<< About Us