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Youth Program Instructor Bios

Helen Athanasopoulos

Helen has taught gifted children at Jefferson Middle School for over ten years. Helen has two B.A. degrees (Interdisciplinary Social Science and History) from Barat College, a Master of Arts in Teaching and Leadership from St. Xavier University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. She teaches Fast-Paced classes.

Breanna Atlee

Breanna holds a Bachelor's Degree from Carthage College and is certified to teach in Wisconsin and Illinois. She also holds a master's degree in Technology Education from National Louis University. A Grayslake teacher for 13 years, Breanna teaches and provides administrative support for Fast-Paced classes.

Tina Baldwin

A K-6 grade art teacher in Zion, Tina received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Art in Visual Studies from Cardinal Stritch University. Tina is working to co-found the Cre8tory, a non-profit makerspace serving Lake County. She teaches Explore camps and hopes to enable students to become active members of the Maker Movement.

Kim Christesen

Kim is a certified professional educator with almost 20 years of teaching experience. She has a master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from National Louis University. Kim is a substitute teacher with Big Hollow District 38 and Woodland District 50 where she makes learning fun, often incorporating games and other review assessment activities to engage her learners in their lessons. Kim teaches Fast-Paced verbal classes and Explore camps.

Debbie DiVerde

Debbie earned her Master’s degree in Written Communication from National Louis University and has been teaching writing and English composition at the college level for over five years. Her inspiration for developing a creative writing course for adults came when she was in grad school and rediscovered her love for writing. Her passion is encouraging others to break free from writer’s block to find their writing voice. Debbie teaches creative writing classes and camps for youth as well as noncredit writing classes for adults.

Natalie Dolph

Natalie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and a Master of Education in Science Education from National Lewis University. Natalie taught elementary and middle school and was the curriculum coordinator for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. A published author, she has published over sixty children's books and educational materials under her pen name, Natalie Rompella. Natalie teaches creative writing for the Fast-Paced program and Explore camps and loves working with students to help their writing experiences reach a deeper level.

Jan Edwards

Jan has a Master of Science in Materials Science Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University and more than 14 years' experience in actively teaching and organizing STEM-based K-12 student outreach activities. A credit instructor in CLC's Engineering, Math and Physical Sciences Department, Jan also teaches Engineering, STEM and Baxter Innovation Lab camps.

Emily Erickson

Emily holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Loras College and is certified to teach in both Iowa and Illinois. Emily teaches Reading and Lovin' It, Math Matters, LEGO Gear Bots and LEGO Gadgets. She also provides administrative support for Explore camps and Fast-Paced classes.

Aaron Houillon

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. Aaron has been a weekly podcast host, an executive producer with Illuminate Productions, a music producer and network operator for Moody Radio. In 2017 he started a sci-fi radio drama which is now in its third season. A sound engineer at heart, he taught sound engineering camps the past two summers. This year Aaron is teaching voice acting, voice-over and podcasting camps.

Bill Kellerhals

Bill holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Engineering Management degree from Northwestern University. A credit instructor for CLC's laser technology program and a teacher at the Lake County High School Technology Campus, Bill teaches Laser, Photonics and Optics camps.

Erin Lopez

Erin has taught digital media-related classes for the Explore program for over 15 years. Erin majored in Television Production at Columbia College Chicago and has a Master of Arts in Education in Educational Technology, Research and Assessment. She teaches Digital Photography, Filmmaking and Graphic Design camps as well as Creating Your Digital Footprint for Fast-Paced classes.

Jamie Macken

Jamie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from University of Illinois at Chicago with a 4.0 grade average. Jamie has experience guest teaching at the K-12 level in school districts around Lake County, assisting learners of diverse backgrounds and abilities to strengthen their skills in problem-solving and perseverance. In the classroom, Jamie aims to foster an environment of mutual support and respect, while inspiring a love of lifelong learning. The STEM Program Navigator for CLC's Engineering, Math and Physical Sciences Department, Jamie teaches Robotics 101: Robotics Challenge and Explore Robotics with LEGO EV3 camps.

Julia Matthews

Julia has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design from Lewis University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University. An avid artist since early childhood, Julia has taught art to K-12 students and adults in schools and park districts; she also enjoys coordinating painting parties. With over ten years of teaching experience, she now teaches for the Kenosha School District. Julia teaches Explore art camps.

Rosie Moses

Rosie is a lifelong learner who loves discovering new things about the world around her. Rosie holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Education from University of Wisconsin-Superior, a Bachelor of Arts in Geoscience from Eastern Illinois University and two associates degrees from CLC – one in horticulture/landscaping and one in earth science. She taught summer camps and extracurricular activities at the elementary school level and has tutored students of all ages in various math and sciences. Rosie seeks to foster in others a curiosity about the incredible planet on which we live. Rosie teaches Nature and Field Biology camps.

Teresa Novinska

Chef Teresa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from University of Wisconsin-Stout and a baking certificate from Elgin Community College. She has been teaching full time at CLC since 2010 and is currently working on a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Over 30 years in the hospitality industry have equipped her to share her skills and experiences with students to help them develop skills and learn techniques, concepts and teamwork for success in the field that is her passion. Teresa teaches pastry and bakery camps and adult culinary classes.

Svetlana Pantelic

Svetlana Pantelic holds a master's degree in Law and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her teaching experience includes gifted programs as well as thirteen years in special education, the last five at Grayslake Central High School. Svetlana enjoys helping students succeed. She teaches SAT prep classes, Plan, Study, Excel, Have Fun camps. She also teaches and provides administrative support for Fast-Paced classes and summer Explore camps.

Jo Ann Tong

Jo Ann holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northern Illinois University, and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education Degree from De Paul University, Chicago. A CLC credit math instructor, Jo Ann also teaches Demystify Numbers with Visual Math, MathArt: Fun with Geometry, Advance Your Math: Taste of Fast-Paced and Discover Natural Elements of Art camps.

Rob Twardock

Rob has a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an Illinois Registered Professional Engineer with specialties in geotechnical engineering and construction management. Rob’s main goal is to connect with students in a way that motivates them to learn the material deeply, not just to pass a test. He helps them see the impact they can have and the rewards a successful engineering career can bring. He really enjoys getting to know students on a personal basis and helping them along their educational path. An instructor in CLC's Engineering, Math and Physical Sciences Department since 2000, Rob teaches Explore camps.

William Vena

Chef William holds an Associate of Arts degree from the California Culinary Academy and Bachelor of Fine Arts from College of Santa Fe. He has been teaching full time at CLC since 2012 and is currently working on a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. More than 28 years in the culinary and hospitality field including hotels, restaurants and private country clubs, have made his main teaching goal, “…to strive to train our students to become successful chefs, and I hope they become as excited every day about cooking as I am!” Chef William teaches culinary camps and adult culinary classes.