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.


New & Returning Teachers:

Otis Powell
Joel Blecha
Cheaney Bell
Rebecca Rennick
Keisha Helm
Melinda Quinones
Jen Buckley
Maggie Sotelo
John Milan
Pam Penney
Xelina Cortez
Maggie Logerquist
Jen Zarosl
Emile Williams
Tamara Koransky
Christina Gonzalez
Mark Bulger
Emily Tague
Angie Cataldo
Haj Herbert
Marvin Childress
Cheryl Knecht
Mo Santiago
John O’Brien


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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
Courtney is a fifth-grade teacher at Lincoln. She has always had a passion for math and science, and one of her favorite parts about science class is conducting experiments. When she is not in the classroom, she loves spending time with her three-year-old daughter, Emmie. They enjoy going for walks in the Forest Preserve trails, watching movies, and cooking and baking together. Courtney is excited to have the opportunity to work at BASE Camps this summer, where she can share her love for STEM with students in an engaging and fun way. She can’t wait to collaborate with other passionate educators and inspire students to pursue their interests in these subjects.
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.
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!