Judy Hertz Judy Hertz, Executive Director

Judy served as Director of Special Projects at the Midwest Academy from 1999- 2010 and became the Executive Director in 2011. She serves as a trainer at the five-day Organizing for Social Change workshop, and consults with a variety of organizations, from neighborhood organizations to state and national groups. Judy is co-developer and co-trainer for the Midwest Academy’s newest training session, Supervising Organizers.

Prior to joining the Academy, Judy worked as a community organizer in Chicago for 20 years. She began with an institution-based organization on the southwest side, and then served for ten years as executive director of Rogers Park Tenants Committee, Chicago’s largest and most powerful neighborhood-based tenants’ rights organization. During her time there, she helped lead campaign to pass the Chicago Tenants’ Bill of Rights, which dramatically transformed renters’ rights in Chicago, and helped launch the Lead Elimination Action Drive, which improved Chicago’s response to lead paint poisoning. She guided the organization through a transition into a multi-issue organization, changing its’ name to Rogers Park Community Action Network (RPCAN).

Following her work with RPCAN, Judy spent two years working on Organizing and Family Issues, conducting leadership training in a feminist organizing model with low-income Hispanic mothers. Judy was a member of the founding board of the National Organizers Alliance, a professional association for progressive community, issue, and labor organizers. She was also a founder and member of the Board of the NOA Retirement Pension Plan, a multiple employer pension plan for community organizers.

judy (at)







Kweli Kitwana, Associate Director

Kweli has been working with us for the past year as an adjunct trainer, but her association with the Academy goes way back. “I wouldn’t be organizing at all if it weren’t for Jackie Kendall. The Midwest Academy is the foundation for all the social justice work I’ve ever done, it has been my professional linchpin.”

Before coming to the Academy, Kweli worked with several local organizations and then Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Center for Progressive Leadership, Progressive Majority, and USAction. She brings a wealth of experience and contacts, and we are excited to have her on board.

kweli (at)


Kate Barthelme, Trainer/Consultant – kate (at)


Tony Fuller, Coordinator of Office and Training Administration – tony (at)


Steve Max, Associate Director Emeritus