At ParenTeach, our primary goal is to de-stigmatize, normalize, and build awareness of parenting education in order to create a healthier, safer and more productive society. We do this by providing access to a variety of positive parenting education courses for people of all ages and backgrounds, both in-person and online. In addition to providing learning opportunities, ParenTeach actively advocates for legislation to advance the parenting education movement.
Twenty-two percent of children in the United States of America, or 15.6 million kids, have had two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Examples of ACEs include divorce, child abuse, an incarcerated parent, domestic violence, and drug or alcohol abuse in the home.
The Center for Disease Control’s ACE Study (1998) uncovered links between childhood trauma and adult outcomes, indicating the higher an ACE score, the greater likelihood of poor outcomes (e.g., heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, teen pregnancies, suicide, low school achievement and criminal justice involvement/incarceration).
According to the CDC, one of the five strategies in preventing ACE’s such as child abuse and neglect is to, “enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development.” CDC.gov (2019). If the parent-child relationship is successfully developed, it can break the intergenerational transmission of trauma and negative health outcomes (Putnam, 2003) while improving child behavior, self-confidence, empathy, motivation, academic achievement, interpersonal communication skills and parenting success.
ParenTeach delivers the support and education families need to develop healthy relationships in their homes and communities.
Our Amazing Team
Katharine Bensinger, LCPC
Founder & CEO
Katharine Bensinger is a passionate advocate for parenting education. She holds a Master's of Science Degree in Human Services from National Louis University and a BA in Spanish from the University of San Francisco.
Katharine has spent the last 25 years dedicated to providing parents with parenting skills to help them raise healthy, confident children who are better prepared to live up to their full potential. The Parenting Fundamentals Parenting Education Program was conceived from Katharine’s desire to support families. Parenting Fundamentals was registered in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs & Practices in 2012, in Archivo Interamericano de Programas Y Pracitcas Basada en Evidencia in 2013, and in Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center in 2019.
Katharine also spearheaded constituent legislation to introduce parenting education into high school wellness curriculum across Illinois which passed in August of 2019. Katharine currently serves as founder and CEO of ParenTeach whose mission is to educate and support emerging adults, parents, and caregivers in their most important job, the job of raising and mentoring the next generation.
Katharine also values the time she spends with her two grown children, her family and friends, canvassing for local political campaigns, hiking, swimming, knitting, traveling, and practicing yoga.
Stephanie Starr, M.Ed.
Director of Education
Stephanie Starr is a passionate consultant, educator, editor, and advocate for young people. In addition to her work as Director of Education for ParenTeach, Stephanie works as an educational consultant where she helps young people discover their path and voice.
Stephanie earned a Bachelors of Arts in English from Davidson College and a Masters of Education from the University of Richmond. She spent 31 years as an English educator while supporting countless parents as their doula. She is trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, has edited a number of publications, and writes in her free time.
Stephanie also is an active member of Social Venture Partners and serves on the Selection Committee Board for Seed20, an annual program that connects the community to innovative initiatives for tackling social challenges. She is inspired by her role as a “mija” for Circle de Luz, a non-profit that mentors Latina students, and by her role in helping to select films for the Charlotte JCC film festival. She is most proud of the time she spent raising her four children who continue to inspire her to be her best.
Marizaida Sánchez Cesáreo, PhD
Director of Evaluation
Sánchez Cesáreo holds a doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology with a minor in Women Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, Sánchez-Cesáreo is the Executive Director of Instituto Tercera Misión (IM3) at Carlos Albizu University and the Director of the Division of Community Services (DCS) at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico.
Sánchez-Cesáreo has worked in the prevention field since 1989. She has extensive expertise in program development, program evaluation, capacity building, technical assistance, community based-research and evidence-based interventions.
For the last 16 years her work has focused on policies, practices and programs that promote the optimal development of children and youth and addressing health disparities that affect their lives. In collaboration with community partners, currently her team is implementing 10 evidence-based interventions including ParenTeach’s Parenting Fundamentals.
Lola Knight, BA
Lola Knight is currently an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Social Policy and Philosophy. Lola’s interest in positive parenting education began with her involvement with CARE Club (Child Abuse Recognition Evanston) during her time at Evanston Township High School (ETHS). With the oversight of positive parenting educators, CARE Club successfully advocated for parenting education to be added to their own wellness class. During the 2018-2019 academic year, ETHS began its inaugural pilot of parenting education, which helped launch state-wide legislation to institute parenting education into high school curriculums across the state. After graduating from ETHS, Lola continued her work advocating for the implementation of parenting education into high school wellness curriculums across Illinois. With ParenTeach, Lola hopes to represent and amplify student voices to high school teachers and administrators by stressing the importance of positive parenting education.