Our school faculty consists of approved instructors who are practicing Attorneys, Brokers, Appraisers, Mortgage Bankers and leaders in other related real estate fields. Many of our senior faculty have been with the school for well over 15 years and bring not only strong academic backgrounds to their classroom presentations, but also practical knowledge and skill applications.

Pre-Licensing Instructors


Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

Michelle is a seasoned REALTOR® and Certified instructor passionate about educating, empowering, and leaving a positive impact on people’s lives. She strives to equip her students with the necessary tools to help them start and excel in their careers and personal life. Her extensive professional portfolio includes over 26 years of experience as a licensed REALTOR® with a wealth of knowledge on the fundamentals of business management, leadership, and communication.

Michelle draws insight and inspiration from first-hand real-world experience and strives to engage her students in class through games, role-playing, and active participation. Her students benefit from her extensive knowledge catalog, fiery passion, exceptional skillset, and enthusiasm to motivate and educate.


Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

Eve L. Benton is licensed as a Pre-License Course Instructor, Continuing Education Instructor and REALTOR®. She is currently the Designated Managing Broker for EXIT Strategy Realty. Her professional background includes real estate sales, personal financial advising and commercial lending where she managed a portfolio of small business relationships that included, but was not limited to, financing equipment, investment property and owner-occupied property. She spent 11 years in the Army National Guard and finished with an honorable discharge as a Commissioned Officer. She holds a Bachelor of Business in Finance.


Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

Rosanna Diaz is a Chicago native who has had an eclectic career in sales, marketing and operations consulting, teaching, training, research and administration. She began her real estate career as a sales associate when she bought her first property in 1986.

In addition to managing her own property, over the years Rosanna has worked in real estate as an appraiser, mortgage broker, leasing agent and is currently licensed as a real estate broker and instructor in the State of Illinois.

Rosanna holds a doctorate in Adult Education and Administration from National Louis University and an MBA in Marketing and Research Methods from DePaul University.

In addition to teaching real estate at CAR, Dr. Diaz teaches both undergraduate and graduate level business classes to adult students, both on-ground and online.


Broker Pre-Licensing

Aaron M. Joiner a licensed Realtor, Pre-License Instructor and Continuing Education Instructor. He began his real estate career as a Sales Associate in 1997 and currently serves as Managing Broker and Owner of A & L Enterprise, LLC Real Estate Company. He is dedicated to providing professional, friendly and quality service. He specializes in first-time home buyers.

Aaron has a passion for teaching and loves sharing his experiences with an audience. He enjoys making them feel like the time spent with him was worth it as they embark or continue with their real estate endeavors.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He spent 23 ½ years as an Engineering Technician with the U.S. Department of Justice. During his tenure, he managed operational building structure projects, conducted in-depth and problem-solving methods, and taught classes to new and existing employees to keep them current on updated policies and procedures.


Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

Leo Schwartz is the editor of the 9th edition of Dearborn’s Modern Real Estate Practice in Illinois and has served as a subject matter expert on numerous publications. He has been an Illinois real estate licensee for 20+ years and is the managing broker of Schwartz & Brannin Real Estate. A licensed instructor for 12+ years. He loves his work as a trainer and mentor to practicing licensees. Leo is also an multi-award winning composer as well as the founder and executive director of Flying Elephant Productions, a theatre company devoted to the promotion of the work of unrepresented communities.

Student Testimonials

“Leo is a fantastic teacher. Very patient & thorough. His concern for his students’ welfare is appreciated.”

“I really liked the instructor. Becoming a real estate agent has been a dream of mine for a couple of years. The instructor made me feel like I could really do this.”

RIsa Weiss

Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

With over 16 years of success in real estate and 20 years as an educator, Risa Weiss gives back by teaching courses to help other brokers grow their businesses. She runs the training program for new brokers at @properties and teaches pre-licensing and continuing education at the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Real Estate School and at the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS®.

Risa has won numerous real estate industry awards, including Rookie of the Year, Chairman’s Award, President’s Award and Listing Leader. Additionally, she has appeared on several episodes of House Hunters, My House is Worth What? and Buy Me. In her spare time, Risa volunteers at the local high school in the Show Choir, Band and Theater departments. She has degrees in Education, Educational Technology, Educational Administration and Leadership and Curriculum and Development. Her students enjoy her extensive knowledge in the industry as well as her high energy and dynamic marketing methods.

Student Testimonials

“Risa has been an exceptional instructor. Her ability to deliver the full breadth of content knowledge and support it with real-world examples from her own experience has proven invaluable in preparing us not only for the state exam, but also for successful careers as real estate agents. If we are to educate and inform clients, we must first be educated and inform ourselves. I can’t imagine an organization and suite of instructors better prepared to do this than RRES at CAR.”

“Risa makes the class very interesting. She is knowledgeable and open about her experiences. I have solidified a lot of understanding because of our discussions in class.”

Frank j. williams

Managing Broker Pre-Licensing & Continuing Education

Frank J. Williams received his broker’s license in 1969 and went on to become a licensed instructor and appraiser. He has served on a myriad of committees for both the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and other associations, including as C.A.R.’s president from 1989 to 1990. Illinois REALTORS® chose Frank in 1991 to hold the first Distinguished Member Award for Community Service. The following year, he was named C.A.R.’s REALTOR® of the Year. In addition to receiving prestigious awards, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Williams to serve on the Affordable Housing Task Force and the Real Estate Services Advisory Council and Hall of Fame Inductee of 2017.

Williams’ ongoing love for education is apparent in his track-record with the REALTORS® Real Estate School. He has taught pre-licensing courses, multiple continuing education courses, diversity courses, risk management, ethics, finance and more. Williams continues to teach with enthusiasm and love for the real estate industry.

Designations & Certification Instructors (with CE)

justin letheby

Instructor and Speaker

Justin Letheby is a highly skilled trainer and speaker with a passion for helping others succeed. He has expertise in the following areas:

  • Certified DISC practitioner, able to tailor communication and leadership strategies to different personality types.
  • Technology instructor, teaching professionals how to use tools like MLS, CRMs, transaction management software, cybersecurity measures, AI, and cryptocurrency to improve their performance.
  • Epro instructor, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the digital age.
  • John Maxwell certified trainer, speaker, and coach, providing world-class resources and training to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals.

Justin’s ability to break down complex concepts into easily understandable terms has helped many individuals improve their communication skills and become more effective leaders. He is dedicated to helping others achieve their goals and is a valuable asset to any organization or individual looking to improve their performance.


REALTOR®, Educator & Speaker

John LeTourneau has been a full-time commercial broker since 2005 and specializes in investment real estate. He leads a 5-person commercial team in the Chicago suburbs that actively works with buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants. He is also the Commercial Managing Director over 8 Keller Williams offices in the Western Suburbs with 29 agents. Additionally, John is the Division Leader of Industry Engagement & Investment Opportunities for Keller Williams Realty International and co-leads 2,400 KW Commercial agents.

As his career developed, John has always believed in giving back to the real estate community. He is the President of The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, the 7th largest Realtor association in the United States, a member of the Board of Directors of both the National Association of Realtors and Illinois Realtors. John is also the Illinois Realtor’s Liaison to the Irish Consulate in Chicago, State Legislative Contact for State Senator John Curran, and serves on various committees for his Local, State, and National Realtor Associations. He speaks across the United States, Canada and Europe on a wide range of real estate topics and is a tireless advocate for raising the bar in the real estate industry.

David Piatek


With over 12 years of experience, David has a vast knowledge of the real estate market on both the sales and on the lending side.  He specializes in first-time home buyers and lending in the military space.

He is a Vice-President at The Federal Savings Bank, specializing on Conventional, FHA and VA home loans.  David is also an instructor for the National Association of REALTORS® teaching the Military Relocation Professional Program, the President of Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals Chicago Chapter, and recently appointed by the Mayor to be a Member of the Advisory Council on veterans for Chicago Commission on Human Relations.



Furhad is a Past-President of the Michigan Association of REALTORS®, a Past NAR Regional Vice President and has led NAR international leadership positions. He is actively involved in REALTOR® organizations across the country, including: NAR Federal Political Coordinator to
United States Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), NAR International Faculty, 2019-2020 NAR REALTOR Party Trustee-Campaign Services, 2013 Chairman National Association of REALTORS®, the Global Business Alliances Committee, the 2009 NAR President’s Liaison to International Operations & Second Home Real Estate Group and more. He has been recognized as Michigan’s REALTOR® of the Year and Michigan’s REALTOR® Active in Politics.


Essentials of Property Management

Taft West began his real estate career in the late 1970’s as an Assistant Manager trainee at a high-rise market-rate development. He went on to gain experience managing condominiums, affordable housing and public housing. After he received his broker’s license in 2001, he began working with Community Investment Corporation (CIC) where he eventually moved from a contract trainer in the Property Management Training Program to Director of Property management Training in 2007. Today, he is the Vice President of Technical Assistance and Sustainability for the Chicago Community Loan Fund.

The Chicago chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) awarded Taft its annual Premier Education Award in 2009 for outstanding commitment to enhancing the education of the Property Management Industry. In 2013, The Metropolitan Tenants Association of Chicago awarded Taft its “TENANT CHAMPION AWARD” in recognition of his support and commitment to Chicago’s tenants. The Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators (AIREE) recognized Taft as the 2013 Educator of the Year “in recognition for his outstanding dedication to real estate education.” Only one real estate educator per year in Illinois is honored with this designation. Taft attended University of Illinois and Roosevelt Universities.

Student Testimonials

“Taft West is an excellent instructor with a vast knowledge of property management and real world experience.”

“Mr. West is very knowledgeable. I would attend any class with him as a teacher.”

Continuing Education Instructors

Diana peterson

Continuing Education

Diana M. Peterson is President and CEO of AW Properties Global (AW), has 25+ years of experience in law, real estate brokerage and auctions. Prior to founding AW, Diana co-founded AuctionWorks, the robust online real estate auction marketplace that is now a division of AW.

Diana earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she served as an editor of the Minnesota Law Review, and a Bachelor of Arts (with honors) from the University of Chicago. She holds an Illinois law license, Illinois real estate managing broker’s license and an Illinois auction license.

Frequently quoted in the news, Diana has been featured in DS News,, Crain’s, Illinois Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Executive magazine, NS Magazine, Sheridan Road Magazine, The Daily Herald and many other publications. She is often engaged as a speaker and moderator at real estate, workout and turn around management conferences as well.

Diana is a member of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC), Illinois CCIM Chapter, Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

pamela brookstein

Pamela Brookstein works for Elevate Energy a mission-based organization that designs and implements energy efficiency programs. Pamela has a background in sustainability and educating the real estate community. She brings these interests together in the classroom to create an encouraging, dynamic, and content-rich learning experience. Pamela believes strongly that agents that can become trusted advisors on the topics of energy efficiency and solar and use this knowledge to increase their business and stay at the center of the transaction. As more homebuyers think about things like indoor air quality, total cost of ownership, and living more lightly on the planet, this becomes a crucial skill for agents.

don martin

Don Martin began his real estate career in 1979. Shortly after that he began teaching in Arizona. He has extensive background in real estate law, contracts, and ethics. He managed real estate firms with over 1,000 affiliated licensees, developed dozens of courses and has taught over 100 real estate courses each year for the past ten years. His expertise and dedication to the field have earned him several awards in three associations. Over the last 25 years, Don has served as past president and on numerous committees of local and state associations. He also sat on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors from 1986 – 1990 and was the President of the Arizona Association of REALTORS® in 1987.

His career as a real estate educator has covered ethics and professional standards, fair housing, agency, contracts, and several risk management topics for hundreds of REALTORS® across the country. He is a certified mediator, professional standards consultant and an expert witness on broker standard of care and procuring cause issues.

chris pezza

Chris Pezza is currently the VP of Operations for Miller Chicago, LLC. His experience includes over 12 years of Investment Sales and Property Management on over 3,500 units. Chris is a past board member for the Chicago Association of Realtors and stays active with the Illinois Realtors and the National Association of Realtors as a committee member. He obtained his Masters of Real Estate from Roosevelt University in 2018.


A proud Chicagoan, Nykea Pippion McGriff has deep-seated roots throughout the city. These connections have made her an expert in the city’s unique landscape and given her a comprehensive knowledge of all things Chicago. Pippion McGriff is an accomplished negotiator, and credits her extensive training and sales management background with providing her the skills she needs to advocate for her clients’ needs.

Pippion McGriff is passionate about real estate, and is actively involved in many organizations. As the National Association of Realtors (NAR) appointed Federal Political Coordinator for the 1st Congressional District of Illinois, she works tirelessly to promote initiatives that support property owners. Pippion McGriff also served as the 2019 President of the Women’s Council of Realtors Illinois (WCR). As a licensed Managing Broker, Pippion McGriff believes in continued education and supporting other brokers, working as an instructor for Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED). She is also the President-Elect of the Chicago Association of Realtors—the first African American woman to hold the position in the Association’s 136-year history.

While she’s very busy within the real estate community, Pippion McGriff always carves out time for rest, relaxation, and family. Whether exploring Chicago’s hidden treasures or training for her next 5k, Pippion McGriff is always on the go.

tracey royal

Anyone who has met Tracey Royal is awed by her positive energy and ability to motivate. She is a seasoned real estate professional with 27 years of service and a stellar reputation. She has perfected the art of providing impeccable service to her clients by strategizing for successful outcomes and fully preparing them for the buying and selling process. Her “clients” now include the agents at Coldwell Banker Realty – Oak Park where she is the assistant branch vice president. Her goal as a leader is to create a team of highly professional and ethical agents who can help their clients with the same level of service she created for her own clientele. Tracey is deeply committed to setting high standards for the real estate industry and keeps a watchful eye on legislative initiatives and issues that impact both agents and the public. She sits on the boards for the National Association of Realtors®, Illinois Realtors® and the Chicago Association of Realtors®. In 2020, she chaired the Affordable Housing Committee for Illinois Realtors® and is on the 2021 Housing Opportunity Committee for the National Association of Realtors®. Tracey is a Golden R Major Investor to RPAC and serves as the Federal Political Coordinator to Congressman Danny Davis, Illinois 7th Congressional District. She has also earned numerous awards including the 2020 CAR President’s Award, the Illinois Realtors Presidential Medallion and most recently the 2021 Women’s Council of Realtors Chicago Member of the Year.

tom schurer

Tom started in the appraisal business in 1994 and has owned and operated a residential appraisal firm in the Chicago market since 1997. Tom has appraised over 10,000 pieces of real estate and supervises as many as 40 appraisers. Tom’s focus has always been on quality and this is evident by his loyal customers. Tom has mentored 15 licensed or associate appraisers; all of which are now certified and still active. He has always believed in teaching appraisers the right way to approach the business and the manner in which to complete a quality report. Tom is certified in both Illinois and Wisconsin. Member affiliations include Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals (since 1999), Past President of Illinois Association of Certified Real Estate Appraisers (IACREA), The Chicago Association of Realtors (since 1996) and Collateral Risk Network (CRN).


Scott is an award-winning broker whose career in real estate has spanned more than 25 years and has covered virtually every facet of real estate from banker, investor and principal to property manager, developer and contractor.

He is a licensed Illinois Managing Broker, a licensed Real Estate Continuing Education Instructor and the author of: “How to Analyze & Underwrite Apartment & Mixed-Use Buildings Like a Pro; Using The Tools you Already Have in Your Pocket.

Presently, Scott is the owner of EGP Realty, a full-service, boutique-style brokerage and advisory firm. In addition, he is the COO of GMP Development, an MBE certified design-build general contracting firm and, in 2017, he co-founded GMP Labs A Workforce Development & Vocational Training Academy where he serves as both Chief Administrative Officer and Board Chairman.


As Regional Renovation Manager for loanDepot, Jose Valdovinos has had the distinct privilege to share his passion for renovation lending for over two decades! Training hundreds of Real Estate professionals on the many benefits of financing almost any home, in almost any condition with one loan is where Jose’s passion lies. A father of 5 (who never sleeps), born and raised on the North side of Chicago – Jose gives back by speaking at underprivileged schools on the importance of good money habits, credit and positive attitude. Jose also devotes his time as a Board Member at NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate) who’s mission is to advance homeownership for all.

Specialty Instructors (No CE)


The Roadmap of a Transaction

With over 25 years in the industry, both as a broker and an executive for prominent Chicagoland brokerages, Jeanine brings a level of professionalism and a network of connections to each partnership that she establishes with her clients, giving them a solid edge when buying or selling a home in the city. With a career in the real estate industry spanning from broker, managing broker, to vice president, Jeanine’s wealth of real estate knowledge and experience allows her to provide expert professional and business development support, as well as sound guidance throughout the transaction process.

Partnering with @properties has allowed Jeanine to once again assist clients interested in either purchasing or selling their first time home to transitioning to a downtown residence. Together, with her daughter Erin McShea, Jeanine oversees the McShea Group, which was founded on the premise of providing clients with the utmost expert counsel throughout the home buying or selling experience. Her passions outside of real estate including painting, the Blackhawks and serving on the Board of Directors for the Danny Did Foundation, a Chicago nonprofit focused on increased awareness of epilepsy.

Student Testimonials

“Josh [Weinberg] and Jeanine are great at explaining and answering questions. I love their enthusiasm!”

“Jeanine and Josh were excellent and very knowledgeable.”


The Roadmap of a Transaction

Josh Weinberg co-founded Weinberg Choi Realty in 2007 after working for Pulte Group, a Fortune 200 homebuilder. During his time with Pulte, Josh learned the importance of quality construction and the financial aspects of the home buying process.

Josh grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and he has called Chicago home for 12 years. Outside of work, Josh teaches a real estate course at the Chicago Association of Realtors Real Estate School. He has appeared on HGTV’s House Hunters and House Hunters Renovation. Josh won the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago Award and was on the 36 Under 36 List by the Jewish United Fund’s Young Leadership Division.

Josh resides in Lincoln Park with his wife, Arin, their son and daughter, and their dog. Josh has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from Bradley University.

Student Testimonials

“Jeanine [McShea] and Josh offered a wealth of information in a half day class. It was great hearing two different perspectives.”

“Both Josh and Jeanine are extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of a transaction, both on the selling and the buying side.”

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