Civics Program Staff

Janice Belzowski, Program Officer
Janice Belzowski is the Program Officer for the McCormick Foundation Civics Program.  She currently works with the Democracy School Network of teachers to maintain sustainable high-quality civic learning practices in their schools including, but not limited to professional development, best practices, and resource-sharing.  Since coming to the Foundation in 2008 as the Special Events Coordinator for the Freedom Museum, Janice has also worked on public programs and teacher professional development.
Janice received her Bachelor of Science in Business/Marketing from Butler University in 2003. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked in the restaurant industry as a catering manager and event planner.  Her professional interests include the study of the Supreme Court, First Amendment, and teacher professional development.  

Courtney Brouwer, Assistant Director, Philanthropy Special Projects
Courtney Brouwer serves as the Assistant Director, Philanthropy and Special Projects for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. She also serves as the Annual Conference Committee chair for EdCom, the American Alliance of Museums' professional network focused on education, and is a member of the Alliance’s National Program Committee. Prior to joining the Foundation, Courtney served as an education programs manager for ArtrainUSA, a non-profit that traveled art exhibitions—via the nation’s railways—to predominantly rural communities across the country. She completed her B.A. in History at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought at New York University, where she also earned an advanced certificate in Museum Studies.


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Shawn Healy, Civic Learning and Engagement Scholar
Shawn Healy, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation Civics program’s Civic Learning and Engagement Scholar, serves as the Foundation’s internal resource for knowledge on civic education and engagement, and plays a key role in the Civics Program’s work in the areas of advocacy and public policy, serving as a chair of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, and leading the state’s Democracy Schools Initiative. 
Before joining the McCormick Foundation, he served as a social studies teacher at West Chicago Community High School andSheboygan North High School. A 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin, he holds an MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in political science and earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in Political Science, History and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Healy is currently a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago specializing in political socialization.


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John Sirek, Program Director
John Sirek joined the McCormick Foundation in 2000 and currently directs its Civics program. Prior to joining the McCormick Foundation, Mr. Sirek was the executive director of the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships, a visitor training program for journalists from developing countries. He also served as an overseas studies advisor in Georgetown university’s Office of International Programs.
Mr. Sirek is a board member of PACE: Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, City Year Chicago, TimeLine Theatre Company, CHANGE Illinois and the Voice Health Institute. He also serves on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Program Committee and selection committee for the Council’s Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship.  
Mr. Sirek has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University. He has also studied in Sweden and Poland.


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