BASE Camp Teachers 2020

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, Carnival Game Maker, Mythical Magical Art
Jocelyne Adkins is the Program Director and one of two Lead Educators for By Discovery, a K-5 after school enrichment program of the Beye and Lincoln PTO’s. 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 By 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 creative endeavors. Jocelyne was thrilled to teach with OPEF’s BASE Camp last summer and looks forward to facilitating spectacular creative projects with BASE Camp students again this summer!
Experimentation Station, Tinker Time, Build It Test It

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, Crash Test LEGOs

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.
Camps coming soon!

Angela Banks has worked as an educator in District 97 since 1996. She is also a coach for the special Olympics Basketball and Bowling team in District 97. Mrs Banks has been a member of the BASE camp staff since 2016. She is very excited to be a part of BASE camp again this summer and looks forward to seeing all the kids and their amazing creations.
Breaking It Down, Know It Grow It
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.
Junior Detectives, Playground Physics
Sarah Becker has been working with children and families for over five years. Having spent time at the Museum of Science and Industry teaching children of all ages science and history at the U505 Submarine, she then went on to work at Northwestern University teaching for their Saturday Enrichment Program. Currently, Sarah is a 2nd grade teacher at Oriole Park School in Chicago, IL. She enjoys playing music and riding her bike.
marcbishopMARC BISHOP
VEX Robotics
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 Lab 

Joel Blecha is a kindergarten teacher at Irving Elementary here in Oak Park. He has 19 years teaching experience with grades K-3 and is the father of two Irving students. Coding is just one thing he’s into; Joel loves nature, camping, gardening, sports, and hanging out at Rehm Pool.
Everyday Chemistry, Rocket Builders
Bio coming soon!
Storybook 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.
Cardboard City, Science of Sweets, Out of the Box: Cardboard Engineering
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 5/6 & 7/8, Comic Artist
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.
Artbotics, Mindstorms Robotics
Nancy Ross Dribin has over two decades of experience developing interactive media and teaching interactive media development to students and teachers. Her career has spanned research projects with the EDC Center for Children and Technology to practical implementation at Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, and the Alder Planetarium. While working at the Adler, she was responsible for founding the “Imagine, Design, Create!” robotics camp program. Ms. Dribin holds a B.A. in Architecture from Wellesley College and an M.P.S. in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University. She lives in Oak Park with her husband and two children.
Music Video, Song Engineers
Carmen Hauser has been teaching music from preschool through eighth grade for the past 17 years in Tennessee, Texas, and Illinois. She is trained in both Orff and Kodaly methods of music education, and enjoys teaching lessons that connect the visual and performing arts. Along with her husband, Dr. Christian Hauser, she has presented workshops for music educators at both the state and national level and is the recipient of several grants and awards. She is blessed to be the mother of two boys and two very large lazy cats. She is further honored to be part of Oak Park School District 97 at Mann Elementary where she currently teaches music and chorus.

Web Design, Outdoor Engineering, Board Game 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.

Haj Herbert has taught art for over 15 years. She is the founder of Magical Minds Studio in Oak Park, an art studio serving toddlers, elementary students and middle schoolers. Her love of language, science and art make her lessons unique and engaging to her students. If asked to describe her, many students would say Haj is funny, good at drawing, great with clay, loves music, adores her dog and two cats, and is an excellent storyteller. Haj migrated from Chicago to Oak Park with her husband 20 years ago and has two children who have enjoyed many BASE Camp programs. Haj obtained her bachelor’s degree in Art Education with an emphasis in sculpture. After teaching in public schools she worked as a marketing manager for Leo Burnett, then went on to freelance as a project manager building websites. After her first son was born, she returned to school and received her Masters in Early Childhood from the Erikson Institute. She loves Oak Park and is so glad to be raising her family here.
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. 
Urban Biker
Joel Javier earned his MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Murray State University. Joel took on leadership of the Spoken Word program in 2019. Joel has experience teaching in museum & community art settings and has been instrumental in expanding public programming and advancing award-winning fellowship programs. An Oak Parker and D97 parent, Joel can be spotted riding his bike through town or making abstract, mixed media paintings that occasionally make their way into exhibitions and collections.
Art Around the World, Mask Maker
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.
Minecraft Explore, Minecraft Advanced, Video Game Design
Bio coming soon!
Animation Circus
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!
Building Fantastic Worlds
Bio coming soon!
LEGO Engineering, Coding with Ozobots, Map Your World
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.
Textile Magic, Pattern and Print

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 Inventors, Sensory Science
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!
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.
Girls Bike
VEX Robotics
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.
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
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.
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.
Urban Biker 5/6
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.
Sew Monsters and More
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 Project
Phil Swistowicz is an art teacher at Julian. He has co-taught the Mosaic Mural Project camps the past two years, and was actively involved with 2018’s popular Percy Julian memorial mosaic.
Theater of the Wild, Time Warp Tales
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
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.
REACH Sailing
Miranda Tucker teaches at Julian Middle School. She also spends her time as the co-yearbook sponsor and co-head coach of the Julian 6-7th grade volleyball team. She joins us from southern Illinois where she worked with educators in Title I schools who needed support in teaching and obtaining resources to better implement the current Illinois Science curriculum. She graduated from Southern Illinois University and holds a Master of Curriculum and Instruction as well as Science Education. She currently lives here in Oak Park with her pups and secretly cheers on the Green Bay Packers. 
Mosaic Mural Project
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.
3D Modeling with SketchUp, Creative Contraptions
VenHorst is an engineering teacher at OPRF High School. This is his third year teaching BASE Camp.
Minecraft Create, Minecraft Explore
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 Pre-Engineering, LEGO Stop Motion
Emile Williams teaches third grade at Irving Elementary School.


Coding for Kids, LEGO Architects, LEGO Designers
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!
Totally Twisted
Bio coming soon!
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.