New Star is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit community organization dedicated to challenging the limits and changing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We serve more than 650 unduplicated children and adults each year throughout the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana.

We are a restless organization – driven by our passion to create new and innovative vocational, educational, therapeutic, and social opportunities for the amazing people we serve. From launching our new e-recycling facility, to creating a nationally-known advocacy program, to leading the way in innovative models of residential care, we continue to break down barriers and blaze new trails through our life-changing programs and services.


New Star is accredited by the Department for Human Services (DHS), Indiana Family and Social Services Association (IFSSA), the US Department of Labor, and the Commission of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For details about our accredited programs, click the Accreditation link above.

Our Mission

New Star’s mission is to provide choices and opportunities for persons with disabilities and their families through a culture of innovation and caring to enrich their lives and maximize their independence.

Our Vision

We envision a community where New Star will be the leading services solution provider to minimize discrimination and waiting lists while maximizing access to the services and supports that empower individuals to pursue community employment and living if they so choose, in order to assume their rightful roles in society as productive, valued citizens.

Our Board of Directors

New Star’s Board of Directors includes a diverse mix of New Star family members and professionals from throughout the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana. Their staunch commitment to keeping New Star true to its mission is balanced by their visionary leadership when pursuing new growth areas for the organization as well as the consumers whom we serve.


Karen Yates, Chairwoman
Ned Horney, Vice Chairman – Assessment
Mary Mayer, Vice Chairwoman – Planning & Resources
Phillip Paige, Treasurer
Judy Petrungaro, Secretary


Kelly Christie
William Condon
Michael Conway
Mark Gineris
Marlene Hemleben
Jay Hiland
Phyllis Kincs
Deborah Kopec
Joyce Michael
Denice Rhodes
Dr. Greg Thomas

Our Executive Team

SouthSTAR is led by a dynamic team of forward-thinking professionals who combine their years of experience within the for-profit and non-profit sectors to shape an organizational culture that is both results-driven and consumer-centered.

CEO/President, Dan Strick 

Executive Director, Tim Knapp

Vice President of Programs, Kelly Berardelli

Chief Financial Officer, Greg O’Brien

Director of Human Resources, Paulette Stark

Vice President of Community Living, Ernie Gonzalez

Director of Indiana Services, Kara Pierce

Director of Quality Improvement, Kim Brewerton

Chief Development and Communications Officer, Jennifer Wojcikowski

Executive Assistant, Kelly Gibson