Our Story

Who We Are.

Meet the Team

John Martin M.Ed.
CAAEL Founder

John, who passed away in May of 2017, founded CAAEL in 1976. For over forty years he grew it into the well oiled machine that it is today. Licensed as a teacher, principal, and administrator, John dedicated his life to kids. In addition to this powerful organization, John left behind his two daughters, Sarah & Katie and five wonderful grandchildren. We are humbled and honored to be able to carry on his legacy.

Sarah (Martin) Lorenzi M.Ed.
President/CEO

Sarah taught third grade for 13 years in Oak Park before resigning in 2014 to help carry on her dad’s legacy. She is extremely passionate about CAAEL and loves working alongside so many incredible teachers, administrators, and students. She is very excited for the future of CAAEL as she focuses lots of her time on networking and fundraising so that the organization can find additional funding sources and serve even more students in the Chicagoland area and beyond. She is a proud mom of three.

Marty Knuth
Program Director

While a graduate student in the mid 70’s, Marty met John, instantly arranged for the school he was teaching at to join CAAEL, and has been a mainstay of the organization ever since. Marty brings his 40+ years of teaching Special Education experience to assist Sarah in maintaining CAAEL’s quality programming, devising and implementing additional program offerings, and in the expansion of CAAEL member schools. As John was fond of pointing out, Marty holds the distinction of officiating more CAAEL football, basketball, volleyball, and softball games than anyone in the league. Marty is thrilled to be working with CAAEL from the other side of the field now, and looks forward to many years of service to CAAEL and the wonderful people who dedicate their lives in service to these students.

"CAAEL is, without a doubt, one of the most successful therapeutic-founded strategies for intervening with high risk youth."

– Rev. John P. Smyth,
Exec. Director of Standing Tall Foundation
Past President of Notre Dame College Prep
Past President of Maryville Academy

The most integral piece of the CAAEL team is the compassionate, dedicated, hard-working teachers, students, coaches, administrators and families who use CAAEL every day.

It is also the thousands of volunteers who offer their spirit, energy, and time to make CAAEL the success story that it is.  

CAAEL truly is fueled by thousands of hearts rather than millions of dollars.

CAAEL Leadership

Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Tournament Committee

Fundraising Committee

Brandon Karpeles- Wintrust Financial
Marty Knuth- Maryville Academy/CAAEL
Jim LoGiurato- Joseph Academy
Sarah Lorenzi- CAAEL
Rob Zapinski- Navistar

Mark Connelly
William Leavy
Andrea Martin
Michael Schack

Juli Amidei
Sherman Austin
Marty Knuth
Jim LoGiurato
Gerry Lorenzi
Sarah Lorenzi
Brian Sonders
Katie Trendel

Jennifer Bushka
Katie Dobry
Victoria Gearen
Mark Knuth
Marty Knuth
Mary Ellen Knuth
Sarah Lorenzi
Judy Murawski
Anh Pham
Grace Scheri
Amy Smith
Katie Trendel