BASE Camp Teachers 2019

Experienced and creative teachers make BASE Camp extra special for kids. We have a blend of beloved District 97 teachers and partnerships with expert community members who bring a passion for their subjects to every camp.


JumpstART, Build It: Carnival Games
Jocelyne Adkins is Program Director and Lead Educator for Beye Discovery, a K-5 after school enrichment program of the Beye PTO. Jocelyne founded Beye Discovery in 2011 to offer students creative, project-based learning in art and science. She loves working with children and is inspired by their enthusiasm, creativity and endless knowledge. Jocelyne holds a Master of Arts in Art Education degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. Prior to Beye Discovery, Jocelyne taught for 7 years at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Schaumburg and for 2 years at Bowen High School in Chicago. She loves spending time with family, exploring nature and making things. Jocelyne looks forward to facilitating spectacular creative projects with Base Camp students this summer!

Experimentation Station, Tinker Time

Caroline Baker has taught kindergarten and first grade at Whittier Elementary School since 2007. She also taught first grade at Irving Elementary School in Oak Park before joining Whittier. Ms. Baker has lived in Oak Park for over 20 years. She and her husband, Seth Baker, also a District 97 teacher, have three children, two cats, and one dog. Caroline, a National Board Certified Teacher, has a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University. Mrs. Baker is looking forward to experiencing hands-on science every day during BASE Camp!
sethbakerSETH BAKER
Critter Science, LEGO Testers

Seth Baker has been teaching in District 97 since 1994. During his career, he has taught students from 3rd–8th-grade, and is currently a 5th-grade teacher at Irving Elementary School. He has participated in OPEF’s Science Alliance as a teacher partner since 1994 and began coordinating the Science Alliance program in 2005. A Golden Apple recipient, he has earned degrees in biology and education, as well as a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. He lives in Oak Park with his three children and wife, who also teaches in District 97.
jessica moncatchJESSICA (Montcatch) BAYLIAN
Mindstorms, Playground Physics, Mini-Maker Week

Jessica Baylian is a 5th grade teacher at Mann Elementary School. Before joining the 5th grade team at Mann, Jessica spent six years at Julian teaching math, science and reading. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 and is a huge Illini fan. Aside from teaching in the classroom, Jessica also teaches baton. She loves twirling, traveling, hanging out with her dog, Khaki, and she also really loves being an aunt!
Digital Art, Creative Contraptions, Mini-Maker Week

Lindsey Bennett is a PE teacher at Longfellow and Holmes. She taught fourth grade at Longfellow for the past three years. Ms. Bennett moved to Chicago four years ago from Iowa, where she taught sixth grade. Ms. Bennett has a Bachelor in Elementary Education from The University of Iowa.
marcbishopMARC BISHOP
VEX Robotics, Brooks
Marc Bishop worked in large international corporations as a product manager and engineer before deciding to pursue an interest in education.  He has served as a paraprofessional in District 97 since 2010 as well as an instructor to others in the district. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, plus a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Northwestern University Technological Institute, and has completed graduate studies in education at Quincy University. Mr. Bishop is a coach for the VEX Robotics Competitive Club at Brooks Middle School.
Coding with Ozobots, 

Joel has been a teacher for 17 years, the first 10 of which he taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades in the New York City Public Schools. Currently he teaches 1st grade at GEMS World Academy – Chicago. He has a degree in elementary education (UW-Madison) and a master’s degree in special education (Fordham University). Joel and his partner’s two sons are students at Irving Elementary in Oak Park. He is passionate about diversity, nature, and working with kids. He’s always inspired by the way they innovate and construct understanding by using familiar things in brand new ways.
Storybook Engineering, LEGO Pre-Engineering, Space Rangers

Jennifer Buckley (formerly Las) is a first grade teacher at William Beye Elementary School with a degree in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University and a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. She has been a teacher for 8 years. She also graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School and is thrilled to be back in the neighborhood. She loves the Blackhawks, trying new foods and traveling as much as possible.
Kuumba Kids Dance

A native of Barbados, Donna Callender was a principal dancer and teacher with Sundance Production where she studied Arts In Education, African, Caribbean, Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Modern dance along with Vocals and Costume design. In 2006, Donna became the co-chair for Parents of African-American Children PTO at Longfellow Elementary, where she produced the Annual Black History Month program and founded Kuumba Kids. Currently, Donna performs with Najwa Dance Corps, Best of the Best Productions and Nunufatima Dance. Donna continues to produce the Annual Black History Month program (Harambee) and is the Artistic Director of Kuumba Kids.
Kitchen Chemistry, Science of Sweets, Mini-Maker Week
Angie Cataldo holds a M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning, and formerly taught English Literature in CPS and outside of Boston. Since moving to Oak Park in 2009, she has taught sewing through the Park District and privately. When she isn’t exploring with her three children, Angie enjoys reading, gardening and sewing fun things. She is looking forward to sharing her knowledge of textiles and kitchen science in BASE camp this summer!
Urban Biker, Comics Creator
Guillermo Delgado is a community artist with a history of art creation and teaching since 1994. He shares his passion for art, literacy, and writing with children, college students, adults, and educators wherever he goes, engaging them in the creation of their own interdisciplinary work as well as helping to construct a curriculum that infuses the arts into the academic and civic engagement experience. A long-time artist with OPEF’s Art Start program, Guillermo has inspired hundreds of Oak Park students with his multi-disciplinary, community-oriented, hands-on projects. He is also a lecturer with Michigan State University’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.
artist Jill GoldsteinJILL KRAMER-GOLDSTEIN
Explore Printmaking

Jill is the Art Start and Spoken Word program coordinator for OPEF. She holds a BFA in printmaking and a MAAE in Community Practice Art Education. She has been teaching in museums, community settings and schools for over 15 years. Her work has been published nationally and exhibited throughout the midwest, Canada and Mexico. Her favorite things are books, shoes, sushi and sharing her passion for art making. Stay inky!
Web Design

Jim Hayward has been teaching in District 97 since 1999. During his career, he has taught students in 4th and 5th grades and is currently a 5th-grade teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School. He has participated in OPEF’s Science Alliance as a teacher partner for many years. He has earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education, as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership. He has also taught education courses at the graduate level and courses in web design at a local community college. He has two children and a wife, and lives in the far northwestern suburbs.
Coding Lab, Tinker Lab
Erin Howe is the teacher librarian at Hatch Elementary School. Before starting at Hatch, she taught 7th grade math for nine years at Julian Middle School. While there she was one of the VEX Robotics Coaches and that is where she discovered her loved of coding and robots. She loves incorporating computer science into her library lessons at Hatch. She lives in Lombard with her husband and two kids.
Art Around the World
Kimberly Jones is the K-5 Visual Arts teacher at Holmes Elementary School. Before coming to Oak Park, Kimberly taught art in Iowa and Chicago as well as Athens, Greece, and Bangkok, Thailand. Her passport is as full as her passion for art and adventure has taken her on explorations in over 30 countries. Kimberly earned her BA in Art Education at the University of Northern Iowa where metalsmithing was her emphasis. Current media she explores include painting, drawing and photography.
Video Game Design
Mosaic Mural
Edd Magierski is an art teacher at Julian Middle School. He helped lead the popular Julian Mosaic camp in 2018.
Art In Motion
Mindi Maneck has been the teacher librarian at Holmes Elementary School since 2011. Before coming to Oak Park, she worked as a library assistant and technology teacher in Winnetka where she also taught clay animation classes for the Winnetka District 36 summer program. Mindi has a bachelor’s degree in art history and studio art from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh. The clay animation class she’s teaching this year for BASE Camp is a perfect blend of the things she loves: arts and crafts and storytelling!
John McDowell has been a math, science and technology teacher for 10 years. After spending two years as a National Technology Education Consultant for Pearson Education, John returned to the classroom. Currently, John is a 7th-grade science teacher at Brooks Middle School. This is John’s second year with Base Camp. John lives in Chicago with his wife Anne, 1-year-old twins and dog Dublin.
Jenn Morea has taught poetry since 1996. She holds an MA in English Education and an MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches K-12 and college students and leads professional development for teachers in poetry and arts integration. She enjoys collaborating with classroom teachers and arts specialists to design learning experiences that integrate poetry with science, social studies, creative movement, music, math, language arts and visual arts. Jenn is the creative curriculum consultant for the School Matinee Program and the Young Arts Critics Program at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago.

VEX Robotics, Julian
Jason Morrell has been teaching sixth grade science, reading and language arts and helping coach VEX Robotics at Percy Julian Middle School since 2006. Jason graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Sociology and worked for a few years in marketing/advertising before getting his Masters in Education from Roosevelt University. He received his second masters in teacher leadership in 2013. He has a life-long interest in anything science-related and has a passion for building and construction.

Good Food, Make It Homemade, Mini-Maker Week
Sugar Beet Food Co-op Founder Cheryl Muñoz loves good food! From digging in the garden to touring vertical farms in abandoned warehouses, Cheryl is eager to share the lessons that are all around us in our urban agricultural environment. Cheryl is very excited about the possibilities for youth in the Good Food Movement as they work together to grow, cook and share meals. She has led workshops and farm tours that connect kids to good food. Cheryl lives on her little farmstead in Oak Park where her two young farm hands enjoy growing their own food and making delicious meals together.

Mosaic Mural

Kristiana Murray graduated with honors with a MAT in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a BFA in Sculpture and a Minor Emphasis in Dance from the University of Kansas. Mrs. Murray has taught Fine Arts at Brooks Middle School since 2003. She also teaches After School Art Club with various themes and media. Along with a guest artist and about 30 students, she created the first permanent art installation at Brooks, the “Brooks Mosaic during Art Club. As a visual artist, Mrs. Murray works with a variety of materials often-times creating textural, mixed media paintings with fibers and found objects. She also loves to work in clay because of it’s sculptural and organic qualities. Mrs. Murray co-directed “The Brooks International Dance Troupe” in 2007-09, directed “Project Dance” at Julian Middle School in 2006, and coached Junior Varsity Drill Team at Oak Park and River Forest High School in 2003. Prior to her teaching career, Mrs. Murray worked as a fashion stylist on Michigan Avenue and an Interior Design Consultant in Kansas City. She enjoys creating Interdisciplinary lessons in her classes with various art forms including: dance, yoga, fashion, design, and of course – the visual arts.

LEGO Engineering, Coding with Ozobots, Community Reimagined
After graduating from St. Ambrose University with a B.A. degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology, Scott worked for a social service agency in Chicago for over 10 years. Scott went on to earn a Masters in Teaching and Learning from Concordia University and has been teaching 2nd grade at Longfellow Elementary School since 2004. He lives in Oak Park with his wife and two sons.
Extended Camp

Sandy Noel taught physical education/health for 40+ years (many at Hatch!), and as co-chair of the District 97 Wellness Council was instrumental in changing the district’s lunch program. She teaches about the importance of nutrition and exercise for learning, memory and performance, and does it in an action-oriented way – everyone participates and has fun while learning. Sandy has received numerous teaching awards including Golden Apple, NASPE Teacher of the Year, USA Today Teacher Team, and the Action for Healthy Kids Healthy Hero award. She has served as the co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness and now teaches at Concordia University.
Science Around Us, Break It Down

Maya Odim shares her knowledge of the arts and humanities through teaching and performance. As an artist she works both independently and collaboratively to host workshops, participate in exhibitions self publish writing, and smuggles movement work like dance into whatever she does. As a scientist, writer and dancer Maya has experience teaching in a range of spaces and in both English and Spanish. Her most recent work, Sinestesia, a group show, debuted in Guatemala City, Guatemala June 2016. Maya holds a BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University Middletown, CT.
Quilt Your Story

With a B.A. degree in Interior Design and A.A.S. in Architectural Technology Pam worked in the field of architecture for many years but gravitated back to her love of fiber in the early 1990s. Pam has a passion for combining traditional needle art and fiber techniques in unique and contemporary methods to create her own textile art. Pam has taught knitting, sewing, crocheting and felting for over 25 years to both adults and children with the goal of passing on not just the traditional techniques but the love of fiber and art.
Toy Factory, Music Makers
Anna Petrick earned her BFA in Early Childhood Education and Masters in Elementary Education from Dominican University. Anna grew up in Oak Park and currently lives in Forest Park with her husband, son, and dog. She’s been teaching since 2010. She currently teaches as a bilingual Spanish teacher in West Chicago. Anna loves the opportunity to ignite student’s interests in a variety of topics and provide them with the tools and support they need to succeed. She looks forward to making students’ inventive dreams a reality this summer at BASE Camp!

John Pletsch has been teaching in District 97 since 2014. He is currently at Percy Julian Middle School teaching 6th-grade science on Team 6-1. John is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in Geology. He has been an avid supporter of BASE Camp since arriving in D97 and has helped judge and coordinate judges for the Battle of the Bots Robotics competition. A resident of the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, John spends most of his free time on the lakefront at the beach and on the bike path.
Graffiti Art
Lavie teaches World Studies and History at OPRF. He was recognized as “Educator of the Month” by National Geographic in 2016. Lavie is a practitioner of graffiti writing and illuminated script, a rapper and is delighted to share the arts that saved his life as a child in urban Chicago.
Hocus Focus, Maker Challenge
Vernon Robinson, a native Oak Parker, is a graphic designer and well known substitute teacher in District 97. As a graphic designer, Vernon has always relied on creative ideas to get the job done. As an educator, he has always creatively found a way to reach his students. In 2008, he decided to combine his experiences to inspire children to be creative, share ideas, problem-solve and “make” by designing artistic, fun and challenge-based programming.
Girls Bike, Urban Biker
VEX Robotics, Brooks
Tasia has taught 7th grade science for three years at Brooks Middle School and she also serves as one of the coaches for the VEX Robotics In-House League and Vex Competitive. She had previously taught math and science at CPS for seven years. She received her Masters in Pure Mathematics from DePaul University and is a STEM certified instructor through MSU-Wipro. Tasia is passionate about teaching math and science and she loves integrating technology in her classroom. She works hard to ensure science is relevant, hands-on, and student-centered.
Photo on 2-9-16 at 4.44 PMMOLLY SAKAMOTO
Origami Movie Shorts
Molly Sakamoto is a third-grade teacher at Irving Elementary School. Ms. Sakamoto moved to Chicago four years ago from Columbus, Ohio, where she taught first grade. Ms. Sakamoto has a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education from Miami University. She loves spending time with friends and family and has really enjoyed her time teaching in Oak Park. She plays tennis to stay active and is an avid NHL hockey follower. She currently resides in Lincoln Park.
Urban Biker
Peter started at OPEF in 2014 with the first Urban Biker camp. He is a certified group fitness instructor and a Spinning® Master Instructor for Mad Dogg Athletics teaching in Oak Park. Peter helps D97 physical education teachers with the third grade bicycle safety program. An active club rider, Peter enjoys sharing the joys of cycling with everyone.
Song Engineers
Since 2007, Andrew Seymour has been a music teacher at Percy Julian Middle School, where he has taught choir, piano, guitar, general music, and music technology. The award-winning Julian Choral Program has been recognized as one of the very best in Illinois, and includes nine choral ensembles averaging 200 students each year. Mr. Seymour incorporates music technology and songwriting projects in his classes, and loves to allow students to explore their own musical voice and limitless creativity.
brian shinnersBRIAN SHINNERS
VEX Robotics, Brooks
Brian Shinners worked in industry with several manufacturing and distribution companies before becoming an Oak Park teacher in 1995. Since then he’s been teaching math and technology at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School and runs several after school clubs, including Chess Club. He joined VEX Robotics in 2013-14 and became Head Coach the next year. Shinners took a two year break from the club before returning as head coach in 2018-19.

Know It, Grow It
Lindsay Smith has been teaching in Oak Park for over 10 years at both Lincoln and Beye School. Lindsay has a masters in educational philosophy and policy and recently achieved her National Board certification but MOST importantly has a passion for learning about the real-world and taking action! As a Chicago Public Schools parent she has worked to develop/implement grassroots curriculum with students, teachers and communities all over Chicago. She is excited to join the BASE Camp team!

Extended Camp
Ty Smith has worked as an educator in District 97 since 2004 where her enthusiasm and passion stand out. Over the years she has worked with a diverse population, many with special needs. In 2011, Ms. Smith won the Those Who Excel Excellence Award in a state-wide competition. She has been a member of the BASE camp staff for the past 3 years serving as an administrator and facilitating and coordinating Base Camp. Ty has lived in Oak Park for 10 years and is an active member in the community, volunteering with Housing Forward and other organizations.
Coding for Kids
Paula Spring is the Instructional Coach at Whittier Elementary School. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science in Education from Northwestern University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Technology in Education from National Louis University. She first learned how to program using Scratch in 2008. She is excited to be working at BASE Camp again this summer, because she is always amazed at what the students create when programming. Ms. Spring lives in Oak Park with her husband, two daughters, dog, and cat.
Film Shorts
Mason Strom is a 2000 graduate of District 97 and current filmmaking and radio/TV broadcasting teacher at Maine South High School in Park Ridge. He loves being behind the camera and received his bachelor’s degree in cinematography and filmmaking at Colombia College Chicago. Where most people just see light or color, Mason sees art. He is a wizard at pulling focus and can quote, word for word, pretty much any movie you can name. In his spare time he enjoys coaching, officiating and watching ice hockey. He is the current head coach of the Fenwick/OPRF Girls Varsity Hockey team.
Sew It: Felty Friends
Georgina Swanson is a 3rd grade teacher at Whittier where she loves to work with kids on all kinds of creative and hands-on projects. She’s taught an after school sewing and crafting class for five years and she’s been delighted by the detail kids put into their work. Georgina’s been a sewer since she was in elementary school and currently spends her time on quilting projects. She looks forward to working with students to see the projects “come to life” as they move from pieces of fabric to lovable creations! She has BA in Sociology from Grinnell College and a MA in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in Oak Park with her husband and she has three college-age daughters.
Mosaic Mural
Phil Swistowicz is an art teacher at Julian. He was part of last year’s popular Percy Julian Mosaic Mural project.
Theater of the Wild, Time Warp Tales, Mini-Maker Week
Second City-trained actress Rhona Taylor has been a teacher at Pilgrim Community Nursery School for over 20 years. She has led theater workshops for children as an Artist-in-Residence for the City of Chicago, with the Park District of Oak Park, Village Players, Intuit Dance Studio, Triton College, the Oak Park Art League, After School Arts Program for District 97. Rhona also facilitates improv workshops at Maze Library and is a teaching artist with OPEF’s Art Start program. Rhona has recently received an Interdisciplinary Degree in Theater and Early Childhood Education at Columbia College.
Summer STEAM, Messy Mixtures, Mini-Maker Week
Caitlin Tisch is currently a Special Education teacher at Beye School. This is her 7th year teaching special education and her second year in Oak Park. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Elementary Education and went on to receive a Masters in Special Education from Vanderbilt University and an additional certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Kansas. She currently lives in Elmwood Park with her husband Bert and their two dogs, Gibson and Paisley.

Origami Movie Shorts

Mosaic Mural
Tracy Van Duinen is a 20-year veteran teacher and international award-winning community-based artist. He has been teaching visual arts at Oak Park & River Forest High School since 2014. Through his work as a community artist, he’s helped urban teenagers develop a dialogue with their communities by creating large-scale multi-media murals around the country. His local work includes the underpasses of North Lake Shore Drive. Van Duinen has received several awards for his teaching including the distinguished Golden Apple Award.
Digital Design: SketchUp, Lift Off Aeronautics, Mini-Maker Week
VenHorst is an engineering teacher at OPRF High School. This is his third year teaching BASE Camp.
tim walshTIM WALSH
VEX Robotics
Tim Walsh began teaching science at Julian in 2000. In 2005, he was approached by a colleague about helping start a robotics club at Julian and for him school has never been the same. Since then Tim has been the Head Coach of the Julian VEX Robotics Team. Today Tim teaches both Design & Modeling and Robotics at Julian. Tim and his wife, Susan, live in Oak Park with their two young daughters.
Minecraft Create, Minecraft Advanced, LEGO Mindstorms
Griffin Waterman grew up in Oak Park and is currently a fourth grade teacher in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Before moving to Madison with his wife and two cats in the summer of 2017 he spent four years as a teacher assistant at schools throughout District 97 and completed his student teaching at Irving Elementary. He has master’s degrees in both American history (Loyola University Chicago, 2012) and elementary education (Dominican University, 2017). Since 2014, Griffin has worked for the OPEF at BASE Camp and as a VEX Robotics Coach. He is looking forward to spending a few weeks back in Oak Park this summer to work with BASE Camp again.
LEGO Architects, LEGO Designer
Ryan Winchell is a 1st-grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School. A teacher since 2002, he’s been at District 97 since 2007. Ryan’s originally from East Lansing, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University (which is why he’s an avid Spartans and Detroit sports fan!). He has sons in kindergarten and first grade who both go to Longfellow. He loves building with LEGOs and working with kids. You’ll often find Ryan enjoying the outdoors, hiking at Morton Arboretum with his wife and boys, and taking advantage of Chicago’s fabulous summers!
LEGO Animators, LEGO Stop Motion
Emile Williams teaches third grade at Irving Elementary School.
On-Site Administrator
Salome Yigzaw is a second grade teacher at Holmes Elementary School. She has been teaching in Oak Park since 2009. Salome is very excited to be working at BASE Camp for the sixth summer in a row and is looking forward to seeing the kids’ creations! In her free time, she likes to relax by watching movies and reading books.