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Dr. Abdu Alawini ( is a teaching assistant professor with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Alawini’s research interests are broadly in the field of databases, with a focus on scientific data management. He is particularly interested in applying machine learning methods to various problems of modern data management systems, including data provenance, and data citation.

DoMonique Arnold ( joined University High School Library in August 2016! She is super excited to be a part of the high school staff, as she loves handing books to teenagers and scheduling awesome library programming.

Dr. Rachel Banke ( teaches World History and the World since 1945 elective.  She earned her BA from Boston College and an MA and PhD in early American history from the University of Notre Dame.  She has previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, University of Missouri-Columbia, Aurora University, and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). 

Joel Beesley ( teaches Computer Literacy 1 & 2. World-Wide Web Development and Yearbook. He earned his B.A. at Valparaiso University and his M.A. at Southern Illinois University. Mr. Beesley is also the junior class co-sponsor and the subbie boys basketball coach.

Tim Bicknell ( currently teaches sophomore physical education and is the athletic director at Uni High. 2020-2021 will be his 18th year in education and his 7th year at Uni High. Mr. Bicknell grew up in Bluffs, IL and graduated from Bluffs High School in 1998. He graduated Eastern Illinois University in 2003, where he studied studying Speech Communication, Physical Education, and Driver Education. Once Mr. Bicknell began teaching and coaching, he earned his Master's in Educational Leadership from Western Illinois University in 2010.

Dr. Ioana Boca ( earned a BS in Mathematics from the University of Bucharest, a Ph.D in Mathematics from the University of Southern California, and a MS in Statistics from the University of Illinois. She teaches Geometry, Calculus 1, and Accelerated Calculus 1. (Her website)

Rachael Brewer ( teaches sports, fitness, and strength training in the PE department. She holds the M.S. in sports management from Illinois State University. As an undergraduate, she was captain of the ISU cross-country team and last spring she coached Uni track and field. She is a great community volunteer and has worked with area programs such as Girls on the Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rachael was the 2017 Illinois Marathon champion.

Luke Bronowski ( teaches PE and coaches varsity boys basketball and varsity boys tennis. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Health and Wellness from Purdue University and is completing his MS in Sports Management with an emphasis on Coaching from the University of Illinois and will graduate in December of 2021. He is a certified personal trainer through the NSCA and enjoys volunteer coaching for youth recreation and travel teams in various sports.

Warren Buck ( is a Teaching Associate in the Math Department. He earned his B.A. in mathematics education and his M.A. in mathematics from Eastern Illinois University.

Emily Buhnerkempe ( holds a master's degree in mathematics from Miami University in Ohio and a bachelor's degree in mathematics and dance from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. At Miami she was a Graduate Assistant for two years and taught Pre-Calculus and Calculus. She has taught in all levels of math from General Education Math to Statistics and Calculus at Parkland College for three years as a tenure-track instructor. She also taught all levels of math at Lake Land College in Mattoon for four years as a tenured professor. In 2015-16, she served as a subject matter expert for textbooks and online course materials for McGraw-Hill.

Dr. Jim Carrubba ( teaches Intro Physics and Physics A, B, and C. He earned his A.B. at Harvard and M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

Kristi Deedrick ( is the school counselor for student’s with last names ending in A-K. She is a University of Illinois alum, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2009. Mrs. Deedrick received her Master of Social Work in 2011 from Loyola University Chicago. She has experience working with students K-12 as a school social worker and as a school crisis counselor.

Sheree Denham ( is an Office Support Specialist working in the Uni High School main office. She earned her A.S. in Business Administration at Parkland College and her B.S. in Marketing at Illinois State University

Matthew De Venecia ( joined University Laboratory High School this year and teaches Computer Literacy 1 & 2. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He later earned a Master of Engineering degree in Bioengineering from Rice University.

Dr. Phillip Ernstmeyer ( teaches Language and Literature III, Short Story, Hero's Journey, and Nonfiction. He received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He sponsors Tree Club and slays at Tetris.

Lisa Evans ( teaches Studio Art 1, Two Dimensional ArtThree Dimensional Art, Design: Thinking and Process and Interrelated Arts. She earned her B.S. at Miami University, her M.B.A. at the University of Chicago, and her B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Morgan Fong ( is teaching the Fall 2021 offering of Topics in Computer Science. Morgan is currently a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at the University of Illinois, and previously earned her BA in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Chris Guyotte ( teaches Theatre Arts 1 & 2, Film Study, Public Speaking, Stage Craft and Interrelated Arts. He also directs Uni’s Fine Arts Department theatrical productions and sponsors the International Thespian Society. Outside of Uni he is active with the local theatre community and teaches directing and acting workshops at festivals around the nation. He holds BA in Theatre Arts an M.A. in Theatre History from the University of Illinois, and an MFA in Directing from Wayne State University.

Amy Han ( is assigned to students with the last names L-Z. She is a licensed clinical social worker who has served youth and adolescents with emotional and behavioral concerns. She has a bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies and masters in Social Work from U of I. She has experience counseling youth and adolescents with specific concerns of mental health, Autism, trauma, anxiety, depression and other behaviors.

Paul Kotheimer ( is the Senior Library Specialist at Uni High Library. Paul joined the Uni High Library staff in 2010. He's worked in academic libraries since the late 1980s and has served the University Library system at the University of Illinois since 1994.

Janet Kroencke ( joined Uni in January 2020, after previously serving as the Associate Director for Advancement at the University of Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences. Prior to that time, Janet served as the Assistant Director of Wellness at University of Illinois Campus Recreation and Student Affairs. She has worked on the University of Illinois campus for over 22 years. Janet earned her Bachelor’s of Science (Applied Health Sciences) degree at Indiana University, and earned her Masters of Science (Education Policy and Organizational Leadership) degree at the University of Illinois in 2015.

Brian Lauthen ( teaches Latin 1-4. He was born and raised in Iowa. He has a BA and an MA in Classics from the University of Iowa. His favorite pastimes are playing French horn and reading.

Ben Leff ( teaches Junior US History, Thinking Like a Social Scientist and American History Through Popular Culture. He is an alum of class of 2001. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and master's degree in American history from Brown University.

Carol Lombardi ( teaches two sections of Journalism, is the Gargoyle advisor and works for the Advancement Office. She earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Oswego and an M.S. from the University of Illinois.

Lynda Lopez ( teaches French 1 - 4. She is the Executive Teacher for the Department of World and Classical Languages. She earned her B.A. (Russian) at Ferrum College in Virginia, her first M.A. (Russian Literature), and her second M.A. (Global Studies in Education)/Educational Policy Studies) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL. She sponsors French Club, and leads student language-based trips to France. She stepped in to do her student-teaching (Russian and French) at Uni over 25 years ago and never looked back. She is the proud mom of a Uni alum (2015).

Elizabeth Majerus ( is the Director of Uni High. Dr. Majerus taught at Uni for twenty years before taking on the role of Interim Director and two years later was officially named Director. Majerus served as Uni’s Executive Teacher in the department of English for seventeen of those twenty years and, as a Uni English teacher, taught Nonfiction Writing, Poetry, the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Utopias and Dystopias in Literature, and Creative Writing. Dr. Majerus earned her B.A. in English and Integrated Liberal Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Don Marrow ( received his Bachelors in business administration from the University of Illinois, Springfield and a masters in business administration from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Lisa Micele ( is the Director of College Counseling and serves as the Department Head for the Student Services Office. She is also the coordinator & supervisor of the Peer College Counseling program at Uni High. Lisa received her B.S. and M.Ed. from the University of Illinois, Urbana. She received a 2nd master's degree (M.A.) from Lewis University. Lisa has been a part of the Uni High faculty since March of 1993.

Christian Millán-Hernández ( or Mr. Millán teaches Subbie Science, Entomology and Microbiology. He earned a M.S. in Entomology and M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Growing up in Puerto he is a native Spanish speaker that enjoys photography, hiking, cooking, and family time during leisure time. Prior to Uni, he worked as a laboratory manager at Michigan State University and has experience performing field work for biological sciences.

Matt Mitchell ( teaches anguage and Literature 2 (Freshman English), The Twentieth-Century Novel (juniors and seniors), and The Coming-of-Age Novel (juniors and seniors). He earned his B.A. in English at Rutgers University in 1994 and his M.A. in English at the University of Illinois in 1997.

Dr. Letitia Moffitt ( received her B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley, her M.A. in English/Writing from San Francisco State University, and her Ph.D. in English/Writing from State University of New York at Binghamton. She enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and running crazy long distances.

Rick Murphy ( teaches Music Theory, Interrelated Arts, Art Exploration, Chorus, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Madrigals. He earned his B.F.A. at MacMurray College and his M.M.Ed. at Illinois State University. During his time here at the University of Illinois, he has completed all of the course-work in the music education doctoral program.

Dr. Valerie O'Brien ( teaches Freshman English, Nonfiction Writing, The Short Story, Gender Studies, and Social Justice. She also serves as Uni’s Coordinator of Equity and Public Engagement. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of Illinois, where she is currently completing her Ph.D.

Christine Pierson ( is an Office Support Specialist. She has worked for the University of Illinois for over 32 years. Christine has greatly enjoyed the variety of people she has met and worked with during that time and has also enjoyed the variety of departments she has served. Although she retired from full-time University work in June of 2014, she is now employed as a permanent part-time employee with Uni High Advancement and is looking forward to engaging with students and staff this school year.

Mari Innami Porter ( teaches Japanese 1,2,3 and 4. She received her bachelor’s degree from Aoyama-Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and her master degree from Aurora University in IL.

Nathan Prescott ( teaches Math 1 and Advanced Topics. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toledo and his Masters in Mathematics Education from Columbia University. He was a member of the 2010 cohort of the Math for America Fellowship program. Prior to working at Uni he taught algebra, geometry, precalculus, and AP calculus in New York City. He also has experience working as a chemical engineer in the power industry.

Dr. Karl Radnitzer ( is the Associate Director of Uni High. He has been in education for over 25 years and oversees all student affairs, clubs and faculty rep for MPAG. He developed and teaches the Senior Project class each spring for seniors. He designed and administered with Mr. Guyotte the summer enrichment camp for 5th- 7th graders as an outreach to the community and the subbie summer camp . He received his B.A. in psychology/education from North Park College, C.A.S in Educational Policy from the University of Chicago, and M.B.A and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois

Jenny Robins ( teaches German 1, 2, 3, and 4. She earned a B.A. in German, Anthropology, and International Studies with a minor in Japanese from the University of Iowa and obtained her M.A. in German Linguistics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). Frau Robins currently has ABD status at the LMU in the fields of applied linguistics and language theory and is writing her dissertation on the creation of a 15th-century German medical corpus and its application when studying select lexical and morphological features.

Kathy Rodems ( is serving as the interim Executive English teacher. She teaches Subfreshman English, Native American and Othered Literature, Gender Studies, Social Justice, and Nonfiction Writing. Mrs. Rodems is also the sponsor for Students for a Better World and a co-sponsor for the Junior class. She earned her B.A. in English from University of Illinois at Springfield and her M.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University.

Melissa Schoeplein ( is the Executive Teacher for the Department of Social Studies. She teaches Introduction to Social Studies and coordinates the Uni High Oral History Project. Ms. Schoeplein holds B.A in History from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to teaching at Uni, she taught high school in the Washington, DC area and worked for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. She is currently co-sponsors the subfreshman class and sponsors the WILL interns. When not at Uni, she is chasing her son and daughter around various area parks.

Donna Shelby ( is an office support associate. She earned her A.S. in Business Administration at Parkland College and her B.S. in Finance at University of Illinois

Kaila Simpson ( currently teaches Math 2 and Math 3 as a visiting teacher. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Prior to teaching at Uni High she was a Project Engineer in Martinez, California.

Courtney Smith ( Office Administrator in the SSO. She assists with scheduling, grades, transcripts, and the college application process! As part of the confidential SSO team, she can help get you in touch with a counselor or resources for anything you might be facing. Courtney also manages the concurrent enrollment process for both Parkland and the U of I.

Cynthia Smyser ( teaches Introductory Biology, Pre-Medical Professions, Organismal Biology and Environmental Sciences.

Juan Socarras ( teaches Spanish 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Meghan Stursa ( joined Uni in July 2021, after previously working as the Engagement Center Assistant Manager for the University of Illinois Foundation. Prior to that she worked as an Onsite Program Manager for the donor engagement software company Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc. on Ohio University’s main campus. Meghan earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Music at Otterbein University and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Education in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois. In her free time Meghan enjoys teaching piano, playing with her dog and cat, and knitting/crocheting.

Linda Sun ( is an intern-school psychologist. She provides psychological services such as counseling, assessment, consultation, and 504/IEP support. She has worked with families in school, community health, private, and research settings. She received her B.S. in special education and child studies at Vanderbilt University and she is working towards a Ph.D. in school psychology.

Mindy Tidrick ( teaches Subbie Science and Geology and National Parks course.

Dr. Andy Wilson ( teaches Freshman World History, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, and Introduction to Psychology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Chadron State College as well as a master’s degree and doctorate In U.S. history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.