CHAMPs Homeschool Co-op

2020 - 2021 Teacher Bios

BECCA BAGGETT: (Government / Civics) Becca has a degree in Social Studies Education and was homeschooled herself through 6th grade. She spent several years in Northern Ireland after college and worked in youth ministry for almost 5 years. She and her husband, Nate, have two young boys and love being outside and playing all sorts of board games. Contact info:

DEBBIE CHENAULT: (Fun with Math 8 – 12, Junior High Literature,Sign Language) Debbie took sign language classes in college and began working within her Church. Upon moving to Seattle, Debbie interpreted for both deaf / deaf blind members. Debbie used sign language with her children as infants and toddlers to improve their ability to communicate. In her spare time, Debbie also enjoys reading. She is looking forward to introducing and exploring classic literature to junior high students. Debbie and her husband, Bill, have home schooled their children for twelve years. The Chenaults have been members of Champs since 2009.

ISABELA CIUCA: (SQL Programming) Isabela has been teaching computer programming courses at community college in the last 5 years and has been working with SQL programming in her job for the past 10 years. She is looking forward in sharing her SQL programming interest and knowledge with her students at Champs this coming fall.

MICHAEL DREW: (Guitar) Michael started taking piano lessons when he turned nine years old. As any reluctant youth would be so accustomed to do, he didn't take his musical aspirations very seriously-----much to his parents chagrin. Days after the September 11 attacks, Michael was watching the "Concert for New York" and was so inspired by the gifted musicians that he vowed to learn how to play guitar. Thus began his dedication to music and Michael's decision to ensure that it would always be a main focus of his life.

Throughout high school, Michael practiced the guitar for five hours a day, proving to himself and his parents that even though he did not come from a musical family, nothing was going to stop him from making his dream become a reality. To hone his skills on a deeper level, Michael studied classical guitar and music theory at Judson University. This decision proved worthwhile. Michael realized that teaching others how to play guitar and piano was a great way to earn a living while continuing to play music.

Michael is a member of one the hottest up and coming Chicago-based alternative rock bands, Adora. The band has received a host of national press, including mentions in AP magazine, and band highlights on FUSE TV. Adora has played many of the top Chicago venues, including sold out show at the Metro and House of Blues. The band is currently finishing final production work on their second EP which is due to be available in early 2012.

Michael also is engaged in a number of personal musical projects. He is a musician at Westridge Community Church, is forming a cover band that will begin touring local venues in the near future, and recently finished his first solo EP.

NANCY GILLES: (Art) Nancy studied at Indiana University and received a BFA in Fine Arts, certified to teach K - 12. She received a MAR (Masters of Arts and Religion) from Trinity International University. She taught Art History and Applied Fine Arts at Trinity College for 2 years. Nancy has taught at CHAMPs since 2002.

GREG GORBATENKO (Personal Finance, Confidence Building Through Bully Prevention and Protection): Greg and his wife, Karen, have homeschooled their seven kids for the past eleven years. At their previous co-op, Greg taught Algebra 2, Geometry, Physics, Computers, Business, and Physical Education. Before teaching homeschool, Greg was an accountant, investment banker, and money manager for high-net-worth individuals. Greg is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Managerial Accountant and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Greg enjoys all sports with his family and personal investing.

ARLENE HARDMAN: (Spanish) Arlene received a BS in bilingual education/elementary education with a minor in Spanish. She received her MA in Christian Ed. from Trinity Seminary, and has been working with children since her first experiences as a teacher's aide in a migrant program for Spanish-speaking kids while she was in college. She has done mission work in Panama, Mexico, Honduras, and Venezuela. She taught in Waukegan in a bilingual program for 2 years, and was an ESL teacher in Mundelein while in seminary. Arlene has taught Spanish to kids in an after-school program for public school students, as well as to home-schooled students in another co-op. Learning Spanish has opened up a whole new world for Arlene, and she looks forward to making Spanish fun for your children. Arlene has taught at CHAMPs since 2007.

JIM HARDMAN: (Spanish, Latin) Jim has a Master’s Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL. He has lived in two countries outside of the US, is fluent in Spanish and has 6 years of formal Greek studies. Jim and his wife, Arlene, have four adult children and are members of Gracepointe Church in Mundelein. This will be Jim’s seventeenth year teaching at CHAMPs.

JACKELYN HERR: (Pre-school) Jackelyn is married to Jon Herr and is a mother of four children, ages seven to seven months. Two will be attending CHAMPS next year. Jackie has a Social Worker degree and has worked in the adoption field until moving to Illinois in 2017. She currently home schools her children and keeps busy at home with her family and church family.

CATHERINE JONES-ENDRES: (Lego League Robotics) Cathy attended the University of Illinois and received her BS in Mechanical Engineering. She has been a coach/mentor and judge of FIRST Lego League since 2003. Cathy is a mentor to the FIRST FRC High School Robotics team(s) for the last 10 years. She has been a member of CHAMPS since 2015.

MELISSA LOFRANO (3D Printing STEM and 3D Printing Engineering and Entrepreneur Classes): Melissa has been teaching 3D Printing classes since the spring of 2015 in home school co-ops as well as various afterschool programs. She has an MBA from North Park University and a B.S. Degree in Industrial Engineering from UIC, as well as 15+ years work experience in various manufacturing sectors. This includes experience training both adults and children. In her free time, Melissa enjoys knitting and spending time with her husband, two sons and two dogs. Contact Info:, Cell:(847) 749-3054.

CANDY MURRAY: (Piano/Music Teacher): Candy received her BA in Theology/Music from Kent Christian College in 1992. She has predominately used her gift to further the kingdom of God as a minister of music. Candy has played and taught piano since 1985 although occasionally she plays flute, accordion and organ. Her styles of teaching include; classical, chord charts and ear training. She currently teaches privately in several suburbs of Chicago. She is married and the mother to three, Jeremy, Abigail, and Alex. Candy is passionate about her relationship with Christ and is very involved in her local church. In her down time, Candy enjoys reading and traveling with her family. Contact info

JULIE NICHOLS: (Biology, Chemistry) Julie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI and an emphasis in Chemistry. She was a substitute teacher at Fenton HS and K-5 from 2008-2014. (has taught 3 High School maternity leaves in the areas of Biology and Chemistry). She teaches the Apologia high school biology and chemistry curriculums at the home-school groups CHANGE and CHAMPS. This is her 9th year teaching Biology and 5th year teaching this Chemistry course. She had worked with a veterinarian and was a laboratory technician in a chemical testing lab prior to staying home and home-schooling her three children (now out of college and married). This will be her sixth year teaching at CHAMPS. Julie enjoys sharing her love of these sciences with her students and challenging them with skills that will equip them as they continue their education into college.

LEA PAPRITZ: (Children's Choir / Teen Choir / Private Voice and Piano Lessons) Lea has been a homeschool mom for almost 15 years. She and her husband Dave began this journey somewhat tentatively, in Northbrook, when their third born daughter began first grade. Their fourth child, and only son (with 5 sisters!) will be graduating from high school this spring.

Lea leads the children’s and teen choirs at Champs, and offers private voice lessons. She is also willing to teach beginning through intermediate level piano students. (Lea does have experience with reading chords and some piano improv for interested students.) Her degree in vocal music performance was obtained from Luther College. She takes great delight in leading worship, and writing contemporary Christian music centered on Christ, and the gospel.

EMILEE PETERSON: (Ballet / Social Dance / Private Dance Lessons / Sewing):  Emilee began studying Ballet and Jazz at the age of six. For twelve years she trained at the Lisa Boehm School of Ballet, performing in solo roles and the corps de ballet for the EAPA’s and Lisa Boehm’s production of the Nutcracker. She then went on to train at The Faubourg School of Ballet, with the world known and acclaimed Watmora Casey, where she performed a duet in the ballet Paquita, which helped land her a scholarship to study at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. Emilee also studied Drama for several years, performing in 42nd Street, On the Town, Guys-n- Dolls, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

After finishing High School, Emilee attended the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Chicago. She graduated with an Associates Degree in Fashion Design in 1999.

In 2000 Emilee was introduced to the world of competitive Ballroom Dancing. She began teaching ballroom dancing and training here in Chicago at Chicago Dance. In 2001 Emilee started competing as a Professional Ballroom dancer and a Pro-Am competitor, taking first place in many competitions all over the country in both categories. In 2003 she started her costume design business, Mimi G Designs, making custom ballroom dance costumes and apparel. All of this eventually took her back to NYC for more intensive dance training with the country’s top coaches and directors. While in NYC, Emilee continued to teach and compete in Pro-Am competitions, and perform with her professional dance partner. In 2007 they performed the lead dramatic roles in The Rhythm of Love, at the Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT. Emilee also continued to build Mimi G Designs and has had her costumes televised on America’s Ballroom Challenge, Dance Fever, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and most recently was featured in a Ford commercial during the season premiere of Smash. After returning to Chicago, Emilee happily joined with the Lookingglass Theatre as the choreographer for their 2012 and 2014 productions of Cascabel.

Nearly twenty years after taking her first dance steps at Chicago Dance, Emilee is happy to now own and operate Chicago Dance Ballroom and Latin Studio, located in Chicago.

She is thrilled to be sharing her love for Ballet, Ballroom Dance, and design/clothing construction with you.

LAURA VANDERCAR: (Violin) Laura has over 25 years of teaching experience. She taught at Palatine Music Center for 19 years and is currently teaching at the Music Room in Palatine as well as Rolling Meadows High School. Her teaching style includes a blend of Suzuki and traditional methods.

Laura has always had a love for music. But, she has an utter joy for playing and teaching others the violin and viola. She first learned how to play the violin through the Suzuki Method and fondly recalls her learning experiences as a child. Laura draws upon some of these early learning memories to better connect with young students. It also helps that Laura is the mother of five with ages ranging from 29 to 12 years old who taught her unlimited patience.

Laura always enjoys the enthusiasm of all beginners, especially adults first learning to play. She also loves the middle and senior high school violinist who is frequently in need of technical instruction and lyrical coaching. She is highly skilled in observation and analysis and thereby is able to trouble shoot and correct technique using creative methods.

Laura graduated cum laude from Illinois State University and holds a Master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University. She applies her knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and body mechanics to make playing the violin easier for all ages and skill levels.  Laura’s playing experience includes performances for local churches, pit orchestras, weddings, music therapy in nursing facilities as well as other private events.

She teaches a wide variety of musical styles, including classical, gypsy, Celtic, and country.

TAIT WASSER: (Physical Eduction / Private Pilot Ground School): Tait and his wife Marijana, have homeschooled their 3 daughters for the past 14 years. At their previous co-op in Pennsylvania Tait taught both physical education and running club for 5 years. Tait enjoys passing on his passion for running and sports to today's youth. Tait enjoys spending time with his family and any outdoor activity. Contact info