BASE Camp Teachers 2022

Experienced and creative teachers make BASE Ca
mp 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!
Tinker Lab, Sensory Science
Tyler Banks is a fifth grade teacher at Irving Elementary. This is fifth year of teaching and her second at Irving. She graduated from the University of Missouri and began my teaching career in Columbia Missouri. Her love for math and science was fostered at the University of Missouri but began years earlier while attending Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy. She is excited to join the BASE Camp teaching team again and to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful group of enthusiastic campers. She can’t wait to grow and learn together!
Know It Grow It                                                                              Maya Odim’s work as an artist and extracurricular educator has been designed to meet people where they are, to investigate relationships between movement and poetry in performance and to normalize dance experience. Working in both Spanish and English, Maya purposefully directs productions, teaches classes, and collaborates in workshops and to mount performances in ‘non traditional’ performance spaces to both remind people of what they’ve known and to challenge the occidental framing of performance as it is known. Maya works in K-12 schools, with community based organizations, nonprofits and individuals to share and create space for poetry and dance. Maya holds a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) and lives and works in Chicago, traveling often.
Jr. Detectives, CSI Oak Park, Speedometry, Speedometry Overdrive                                                                                      Adam Bautista is very excited to be working with the Oak Park Education Foundation’s BASE Camp Program for his second summer! This is his 12th year teaching grades ranging from second to fifth, but this is his second year in District 97. He teaches at Washington Irving, which is also the school he attended for most of his elementary school years as a child. His students would probably describe him as silly, but with high expectations! He spends a great deal of time trying to develop activities and lessons that are both educational and memorable–and will do his very  best to bring those same qualities to the BASE camps he’s teaching this summer.
Crazy Chemistry, Science of Sweets
Val Brown is a science teacher at Julian Middle School and lead coach of OPEF’s In House VEX Robotics Club. She started her teacher career in 1993 as a student teacher at Washington Irving in 1993, where she taught for 11 years before moving to Julian. She said she  teaches sixth grade because “I want to help 6th graders make a smooth transition to middle school. I love school and teaching very much.”
Social worker
Monica Collins has been a Mann School social worker for 14 years.  Her primary role is to support the social and emotional growth of all students. She works with students, parents, teachers, community providers and the administration to ensure that all students have a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment. She lives in Oak Park.
Chicago Through Adventures
A teacher for 13 years, John Colucci believes BASE Camp epitomizes what’s best about teaching – helping students find their voice and connect with passionate teachers. John grew up in the area, graduated from OPRF High School, and has been teaching Language Arts at Julian Middle School for 10 years, where he also serves as a sponsor for the OPEF Spoken Word Club. He spent three years teaching English at Kenwood High School on Chicago’s southside. When he is not teaching, John volunteers as a docent at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and also has his own art studio. He can’t wait to teach Chicago Through Adventures (CTA!) and help middle school campers gain confidence and independence as they safely explore Chicago mass transit options.
Biking Adventures 5-6 & 7-8
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 multidisciplinary, community-oriented, hands-on projects. He is also a lecturer with Michigan State University’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.
Video Game Design, MINDSTORMS, LittleBits Inventors
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 4th-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.
KEISHA HELM                                                                            Storybook Engineering, Space Rangers, Toy Inventor            Keisha Helm has served in Oak Park Elementary School District 97 for 5 years. She spent four years teaching first grade and now teaches kindergarten at William Beye Elementary School. Keisha is especially good at creating a culturally responsive learning environment that greatly supports each child’s academic, social and emotional, and physical needs. While focused on building strong relationships and being a positive role model to her students, Keisha also strives to create a community of lifelong, independent learners.
JOEL JAVIER                                                                                      Biking Adventures
Joel serves as the Arts Coordinator for OPEF and also works at Oak Park Public Library. He earned his MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BFA from Murray State University. 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.
Epic Contraptions, Treasure Hunt
Tye Johnson enters her 18th year of teaching, primarily in Oak Park and at Beye School. She currently teaches 4th grade at Mann School. She received a bachelors in studio art/graphic design from Michigan State University and worked as a graphic designer/marketing specialist. She holds a Master of Art in Elementary Education degree from DePaul University, as well as a Master of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology degree from Full Sail University. A world traveler, Tye recently spent a few years in Dubai where she served as the Innovative Learning Coordinator for a progressive school. Tye is also an artist with an entrepreneurial spirit, and is committed to teaching her students to explore their creativity and to use their gifts to be social change agents. Her passion lies in empowering people to be who they were created to be and, to this end, she has dedicated her life to finding creative ways to spread love in order to touch and change lives.
Creative Chef                                                                                       
Cheryl Munoz is the Founder and Owner of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse and one of the founders of the Sugar Beet Food Co-op. Cheryl received the Golden Beet Award from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for Community Food Development in 2015 and has twice been named to New City Chicago’s “Big Heat” list of Chicago’s “movers and shakers” in the Chicago food scene. Cheryl enjoys planning community events, learning about food culture and progressive education and LOVES sharing her passion with others.  Cheryl lives in Oak Park, IL with her little farmers, Cedar and Cora, and their critters.
Robot Wranglers, LEGO PreEngineering
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.
Textile Magic, Pattern and Print, Shoe Drip

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.
Graffiti Art                                                                                       
Lavie Raven 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.
NORMA RIXTER                                                                          Biking Adventures, Outdoor Escape Room                              Norma Rixter is a published author, certified nutritionist and master level Personal Trainer. She is the founder of SoarThru Health and Wellness Consulting. Her master’s degree is in Technology and she is a former high school teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She has provided Lifestyle training for corporations such as IBM, McDonalds, Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola in the form of Lunch-n-Learn seminars and workshops.
Who’s Outside 
Gina Lee Robbins has been creating objects and installations out of clay and found materials for 30 years. She’s led arts integration and enrichment programs in preschool, elementary and middle school classrooms, as well as adult cancer and wellness support centers in Chicago and throughout the Western Suburbs since 2010. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and is included in private and corporate collections worldwide. Learn more about Gina at her website.
MONIQUE SANTIAGO                                                                        Chicago Through Adventures
Mo Santiago is the current teacher artist for OPEF’s Spoken Word program, which serves all middle schoolers in D97. “Miss Mo” works to provide young writers with the tools they need to start their own dialogues and express themselves in ways that shed light on who they are. If provided the chance, she’ll give you the rundown on how to ditch plastic and save the environment. She’s attended OPRF and now lives in Chicago, where she studies writing at Columbia College Chicago. In her free time she drinks coffee and travels to Ireland as often as possible.
Coding with Ozobots, Jump Start Robotics                                     
Paula Spring was 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.
LAURA STAMP                                                                              Earth Ambassadors                                                                            Laura Stamp considers herself very lucky to be teaching science– the best subject!–at Brooks Middle School. She loves everything about science, especially anything related to biology and plants and animals. If she wasn’t a teacher, she said she would be a field biologist or park ranger.  She has three kids–in college now!–two dogs, a husband and six chickens. She loves to garden, read books, go camping, watch movies and listen to and play music. She is passionate about the environment and the sponsor of Brooks’ Eco Eagles.
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.
PHIL SWISTOWICZ                                                                      Mosaic Mural                                                                                    Phil is a fine arts teacher at Julian Middle, where he has taught since 2011. This is his third year co-teaching Mosaic Mural. He has a BA in Arts Education for North Central College.
EMILY TAGUE                                                                              Printmaking Discovery                                                                      Emily Tague started teaching at Irving during the 2008-2009 school year and she loves it! She graduated from Northern Illinois University in December 2007 with a degree in Art Education and in May of 2012 earned her Masters of Art Education from Boston University. One of her favorite things about teaching art is getting to work with a wide variety of art media in the classroom. When she has the chance, she loves working with clay and doing printmaking and bookmaking. She lives with her husband, two daughters and a dog.
Theater of the Wild, Improv Engineers
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.
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 6th-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                                                                                 
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. In his work with OPEF, Tracy designed the six murals currently on display at both D97 middle schools and four elementary schools. 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. He currently lives in Oak Park with his wife and two sons.
Frisbee Physics
Antonia teaches French for Chicago Public Schools and is an avid Ultimate Frisbee player and coach.
3D Modeling with SketchUp, Lift Off Aeronautics                            Ryan VenHorst has been a Technology and Engineering Teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School since 2003. Along with teaching, Ryan has also coached wrestling at OPRF and has been participating with the OPEF BASE Camp since 2012. He has been working with youth from 5th grade on through seniors in high school for his entire career and enjoys bringing the high tech world to students in a way that makes connections with the exciting things in life they’re already familiar with. Ryan has a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s degree in Career and Technical Education from Concordia University-Portland. He is looking forward to making connections with the campers this summer and sparking some excitement in their world of curiosity and technology!
Rainforest Yoga       
                                                                          Kim Vulinovic has studied a variety of yoga styles for over 25 years. She is Certified YogaKids Teacher (CYKT) and holds the designation of Experienced 200-hour adult yoga teacher (ERYT) through Yoga Alliance. She began her business, YogaKids of Oak Park, in 2001 and teaches over 12 children’s classes, pre-school to teens, each week in the Oak Park area. YogaKids is based on Howard Gardener’s Multiple Intelligence Theory. In every class, music, stories and cooperative activities insure that each child is engaged and confident. Age-appropriate breathing techniques both calm and energize. Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body. Verbal directions and movement that crosses the body?s mid-line create new brain pathways to learning and concentration. Since yoga is a non-competitive activity, self-esteem is naturally fostered. Both boys and girls enjoy the fun, friendship and focus that comes through yoga.
STEPHANIE WALQUIST                                                                Earth Avengers
Stephanie Walquist is an English teacher at OPRF High School and a co-founder of West Cook Wild Ones. She has been gardening for butterflies for 17 years and is a parent of children who have been very involved in the garden.
Minecraft Create, Minecraft Explore
Griffin Waterman grew up in Oak Park and is currently a teacher at Mann Elementary. He also spent four years as a teacher assistant at schools throughout District 97 and completed his student teaching at Irving Elementary. Before moving back to Oak Park, he spent three years as a teacher in Waterloo, Wisconsin. 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 working with BASE Camp again this summer.
Biking Adventures
David is a longtime educator and artist who also happens to love biking. He earned his master’s in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and a teaching credential from University of Illinois Chicago.
Bead Builders, Breakthrough Beading, Totally Twisted
Tania Wilson is the Program Director and Lead instructor for Crafternoons, a Pre K-5 art and crafts program in River Forest.  In addition, Tania has been a Program Manager and Instructor for Giving Artfully Kids in Oak Park and Riverside school districts and the River Forest Community Center. Tania believes kids can make a difference through spreading kindness and helping others. Today Tania still offers specialized workshops through The Little Bits Workshop where she started in 2013.  Tania loves crafting but not nearly as much as she loves her husband of 27 years, two amazing daughters and lively German Shorthaired Pointer.
Crash Test LEGOs, LEGO Architects, LEGO Stop Motion
Ryan Winchell is a 2nd-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 two sons in first and second grades 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!
On-Site Administrator
Salome Yigzaw is a kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary School. She has been teaching in Oak Park since 2009. Salome is very excited to be working at BASE Camp for her sixth summer and is looking forward to seeing the kids’ creations! In her free time, she likes to relax by watching movies and reading books.