Luster Learning Logo 3-14-2013

Luster Learning Institute (LLI)  is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, founded in 2007.

MISSION: Our mission is to inspire children, their families, and teachers to be peaceful, focused, respectful, kind and responsible. We accomplish this through our Calm Classroom program which cultivates: self awareness, mental focus,
emotional control and inner calm.

From preschool through high school, Calm Classroom empowers students and teachers with skills that reduce stress and anxiety, and increase emotional self-regulation, attention span, and absorption of academic content. Calm Classroom fosters a school wide climate based on respect and non-violence toward oneself and others, and develops an individual’s tenacity and optimism that is required to face and successfully master the challenging situations that occur in and beyond school.

Jai Luster is the founder and executive director of the Luster Learning Institute. Jai, his wife, Joy and National Louis University faculty members developed the Calm Classroom curriculum. The program was launched in January of 2008 at three public schools in Chicago. As of 2014, the Calm Classroom program has reached 85,000 students and their families, 4,000 teachers/school staff, and 1,000 administrators from over 140 schools.

Our School Partners

Administrative Staff »

Jai Luster Founder & Executive Director »

Jai Luster is the founder and executive director of the not-for-profit Luster Learning Institute NFP. During the last 35 years, Jai has been publicly teaching workshops and seminars that specialize in training both children and adults to control and concentrate the mind, enhance alertness, improve physical stamina, decrease stress, and find greater personal satisfaction. He has designed, conducted, and contributed to numerous teacher training programs. Jai was a senior executive director at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, where he served as an institutional money manager for over 20 years. Today, the investment limited-partnership that he founded, is one of the largest hedge-funds in the world. His clients included international companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and some of the largest insurance companies in the world. Jai retired from his corporate career at Mesirow Financial in 2001 to begin the process of establishing the Luster Learning Institute NFP and to grow the Calm Classroom program. He attended primary and secondary school in the Chicago Public School system and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1969.


Joy Luster Founding Partner »

Joy Luster co-authored and edited the instructional manuals for the Calm Classroom programs. She trains teachers and supports schools in the implementation of the Calm Classroom program. Joy owns a Jazzercise franchise and has been teaching both children and adults for 30 years. She also holds a 200 hour yoga certification  and has been teaching hatha yoga to seniors and adults for 15 years. She completed the Cortiva Institute’s 650 hour certification program in anatomy, physiology, and massage in 2000. Joy graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 with a  B.S. degree in business and finance.

Jori Griffith Director of Operations »

Jori Griffith began working with the Luster Learning Institute in May of 2009.  Jori oversees many of the day-to-day operations, as well as maintains and supports the Calm Classroom programs in our partner schools. Jori teaches in the schools as a Calm Classroom professional development trainer and classroom mentor, and speaks about Calm Classroom at state and national conferences and local universities. In 2009, Jori graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and communication studies. She received a master of science in Communication from Northwestern University in 2014.  Jori cares deeply for the well-being of all children, and is thrilled to be a part of such an uplifting, inspiring organization, dedicated to serving humanity in the highest way.

Chiralaine Natschke Program Coordinator & Teacher Trainer »

Chiralaine Natschke enjoys training teachers and working with school administrators to create successful Calm Classroom program implementation. Chiralaine is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified School Counselor. She was introduced to Calm Classroom during the 2012-2013 school year, while she worked as a Guidance Counselor/Calm Classroom Coordinator for Carter G. Woodson Elementary School. Chiralaine also works part time as a Mental Health Therapist with adults and teaches them coping skills and stress management techniques. In 2003, Chiralaine graduated from Governor’s State University in University Park, Illinois with a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology, and again in 2011, with Master of Arts degree in School Counseling. Chiralaine is grateful for being part of such a wonderful program and being able to continue to educate and help people.


Board Members »

Howard Rossman, Ph.D. »

Doctor Howard Rossman is a founding executive board member of the Luster Learning Institute  NFP. He is the founder and president of the Civic Leadership Foundation. With a background in psychology and deep experience in organizational leadership and entrepreneurship, he has provided guidance to aspiring elected leaders and developed and founded the Civic Leadership Foundation to promote the principles and practices of ethical leadership. In addition, Dr. Rossman has chaired the boards of several not-for-profit organizations and currently serves as a Board Member of the Third Way, Truman National Security Project, America Speaks, and the Democratic Leadership Council.

Dr. Rossman is the Chairman and Founder of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc., one of the largest hedge funds in the world, and a Vice Chairman of its parent, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc.  In those roles, he has been a member of the investment, executive and management committees, and responsible for all aspects of organizational management, including due diligence, strategic analysis, and planning and market development. As the author of many articles on alternative strategies, Dr. Rossman has spoken at numerous conferences on non-traditional investing and asset allocation, and has been a recognized leader in the hedge fund of funds business for over 25 years. Dr. Rossman received an B.A in sociology from Princeton University, an M.A. in educational psychology from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies.

Gail Sturm »

Gail Sturm is a founding Executive Board Member of the Luster Learning Institute NFP. She is also Vice Chairman of Lake Forest Symphony, Advisory Board Member of Arzu, Board Member of Brushwood at Ryerson Woods, Resource Board Member of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, and is actively involved with the Chicago Theological Seminary Visiting Committee. Gail served as the first Woman President of the Chicago Office leasing Brokers Association, Past Vice President of Chicago Real Estate Executive Women, Chairman of the Transportation Association of Lake Cook, and Past Membership Chair of the Economic Club of Chicago.

As Executive Vice President of ProTen Realty Group, Gail Sturm specializes in professional portfolio advisory services, build-to-suit, brokerage, and consulting and representation for the real estate needs of corporate clients. In her professional career as a commercial and industrial real estate leader with more than $3.5 billion in sales and leases completed during her 34 year career, Gail continues to explore new ways to increase productivity driving profitability for her clients. Previously, Ms. Sturm was President of a National Real Estate firm. While there, she was instrumental in shaping the company’s structure and developing its philosophies.

Ms. Sturm is a member of the Rocky Mountain Institute and its “Green Development Services.” She co-authored 
“Seeing the Light,” an article illustrating the impact of new lighting opportunities on lowering energy cost to tenants. She was a featured speaker at the Annual Crew Network Convention in San Francisco, “Energy & Real Estate – Adding Value in a Changing Market Place.” In addition, she served as the moderator of a panel discussion on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design regarding neighborhood development (LEED-ND).

She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with distinction and concentration in Marketing and Management at St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame. Gail has been appointed as a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International.

Randy Joseph »

Mr. Joseph joined Geneva Advisors in February 2014 as an Investment Advisor. Mr. Joseph is responsible for business development and managing existing relationships for high net worth individuals and families. Prior to joining Geneva, Mr. Joseph spent four years with J.P. Morgan Private Bank as a Vice President, providing wealth management services, and two years with Vandeveer Investments, a fund of hedge funds, overseeing all aspects of investments and marketing. Mr. Joseph previously spent nine years with a Chicagobased multi-family office overseeing a significant investment portfolio and providing wealth management services to four generations of family members and their foundations. Prior to joining the family office in 1999, Mr. Joseph worked in various accounting and corporate finance positions from 1980 through 1998, including being Chief Financial Officer for a public company. Mr. Joseph received a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Chicago in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Michigan in 1979. He is on the board the Luster Learning Institute, an organization focused on increasing the graduation rate for students in the Chicago Public Schools. He also serves as Trustee for B’Nai Tikvah. Mr. Joseph lives in Deerfield, IL with his wife Sue. They have three children, two have graduated from the University of Michigan, and the third is a junior there.

Dan Weitzman »

Dan Weitzman received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with highest honors from the University of Illinois. He obtained his C.P.A. designation after graduation, then went on to get a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has practiced in public accounting, and specifically in Tax, for the last 30 years – at three medium/large-sized firms in the Chicago area and, since 2009, in his own practice. Dan’s practice specializes in a wide variety of tax planning & compliance and accounting for closely-held businesses and individuals. He shares resources with Weiss & Co., a 40-person accounting firm in Glenview, Illinois, having access to that firm’s professional staff, administrative support, and software. In addition to his public accounting experience, Dan has taught accounting courses at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois. He has made presentations on a diverse range of tax issues for many groups, including Citibank, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Tribune, Illinois CPA Foundation, Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois CPA Foundation, International Sanitary Supply Association, Medical-Dental-Hospital Business Associates, Pennsylvania CPA Society, and the Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Associations (ACTHA). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Claudia Lubin »

Claudia Lubin teaches hatha yoga with a focus on posture, alignment and inner awareness. She shares her knowledge of movement, breath and meditative visualization as a means of helping her students move physical and emotional energy blocks that are present in each of us.  Claudia has volunteered teaching yoga and guided visualization for high school students at Josephinum Academy in Wicker Park. Claudia was co-creator of The Healthy Alternative Group program which went into Chicago area schools teaching healthy eating with an emphasis on the energetic value foods offer our bodies to fuel and heal naturally. Previously, Claudia taught preschool for the Glencoe Park District’s Pre-School Enrichment Program, and kindergarten in Schaumburg, District 54. She received her B.S. degree in Education from The University of Illinois, Champaign.

Kathryn Butzlaff »

Kathryn Butzlaff has been affiliated with Luster Learning Institute for several years as a classroom instructor and mentor.  She has also assisted with grant writing and research.  She enjoys giving teacher trainings and is especially interested in the follow up visits to the classrooms.  Kathryn also has extensive experience as a literacy volunteer to at risk youth and their families.  Recently, she has started a Bridge Club for teens and tweens at her local library. Kathryn has experience teaching in two area elementary schools. She received her bacherlor’s degree in English from Northwestern University.

Martha Hinchman »

Martha R. Hinchman is a Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Company and serves as the Managing Director for the Banking team in Lake Forest, Illinois. Martha joined Northern Trust in January, 1987 as a relationship manager in Private Banking in Chicago. She left Northern in 1989 to join Blunt Ellis and Loewi as a registered representative from 1989-1991, and was associated with Shearson Lehman Brothers from 1991–1992. She rejoined Northern in June, 1992 as the manager of Private Banking at the Lake Forest office and assumed responsibility for the commercial banking function in July, 1997. In addition she served as the Director of Banking and Senior Lender for the North Region before assuming responsibility for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Financial Centers in 2003. She became Managing Director of the Wealth Advisory team as well as Market Leader for Lake Forest in 2009 and assumed her current position as Managing Director of Banking in 2013. Prior to joining Northern, Martha worked in credit and marketing positions for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City for 10 years.

Martha has a B.A. degree in economics from Wellesley College. She also has completed a three-year program at the School of Banking of the South and the DePaul University Certificate in Financial Planning Program.

Martha joined the Luster Learning Institute Board of Directors in the spring of 2014. She also serves as a board member of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, serving on the Executive Committee, Member Advisory Committee and as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. She also serves on the board of Rainbows For All Children, as a mentor in the Menttium 100 program, on the Business Advisory Council of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and is active in Wellesley College alumnae activities currently serving as her class president.