About Esperanza

At Esperanza Community Services, our mission is to empower people with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential and lead fulfilling, independent lives. We strive to achieve this through innovative education, effective advocacy, and compassionate support while fostering a supportive community where everyone can thrive.

Our History

Esperanza Community Services began as a school in 1969, created in response to the lack of services available to students whose learning needs were not being met in traditional classrooms. Our founder, Guadalupe Reyes, was driven to help her son Bobby, whose developmental disabilities were caused by spinal meningitis. Guadalupe Reyes made Esperanza School a place where students with developmental disabilities found a solid foundation of education, support, and encouragement upon which they could grow.

Finding a place like Esperanza was absolutely wonderful for me because it made me realize I wasn’t going through this alone.

Esperanza School parent

Executive Leadership

For more than 50 years, Esperanza has built a strong and positive reputation among our families as a trusted and caring service provider. The Esperanza team is uniquely positioned to support our rich and diverse community. Esperanza is an anchor for the people we serve and their families by providing the help and hope that many have been unable to find elsewhere.

Jayne Drew

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Jersey

Chief Program Officer,
Adult Programs & Services

Anne Hellmer

Principal, Esperanza School

Yamari Rodriguez

Interim Finance Director

Prestin Cooke

HR Manager

Jess Lynk

Director of Marketing

Dave Walters

Director of Facilities Management

Transparency and Accountability

Board of Directors

  • Aaron McKay
    Levy Restaurants
  • Kent Richard
    Finance Chair
    Northern Trust

  • Suzanne Ritzler
  • Lauren Novak
    Resource Development Chair
    Corrugated Supplies Company
  • Ben Frey
    Governance Chair


  • Kristen Casperson
  • Bret Deyo
  • Sean Gill
    Jenner & Block
  • Leanne Price
  • Stephen Scott
  • Gillian Nagler
    Briar Hall LLC
  • Kimberly Deeb
  • Staci Yesner
    Compass Chicago
  • Interested in joining our Board? Learn more.

Emeritus Board

  • Franco Pacini
    Zagone Studios
  • Michael Roberts, Director
    RM Partners Law

Associate Board