Kim Ambrose, Student and Family Support Specialist
Kim was born and raised on the south side of Chicago; she attended Wendell Phillips High School and Wilberforce University. She received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work from Chicago State University. Kim has worked for the Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Action for Children. She’s also worked in several communities throughout Chicago. Her passion and desire to empower parents and students from socially economic deprived communities has been the focus of her career. Kim believes that education is key to unlocking doors that lead to a successful and promising future. My favorite part of working at Collegiate is seeing our scholars develop into responsible young men and woman who are equipped to pursue their educational goals.
Shreya Baxi, Dean of Students
After growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Shreya attended the University of Missouri where she double majored in magazine journalism and psychology. Upon graduating, she joined Teach for America's 2009 corps and taught preschool in a Head Start classroom. During this time, Shreya also obtained her Master's in Early Childhood Education, and was nominated for Teach for America's Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award for her work in the classroom. She then spent two years working for Teach for America's recruitment team but was thrilled to return to the classroom as a founding fourth grade reading teacher here at Chicago Collegiate. She absolutely loves the energy and humor of her students. Shreya's favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is having the opportunity to shape the school culture and the reading program as the school grows and evolves.
Tiffany Booker, 7th Grade Math
Tiffany Booker was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. As the second eldest of seven children in a single parent household, she always dreamed of becoming a teacher. Ms. Booker earned a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago. After college, she decided to start her teaching career in New Orleans, Louisiana where she lived for four years. In 2012, she decided to come back home to Chicago and became a founding 9th grade Algebra teacher at Hansberry College Prep. Ms. Booker’s favorite part about working at Chicago Collegiate is preparing her students for high school math.
Thomas Carr, Custodian
Thomas Carr goes by the initials TC. and is the maintenance person for Chicago Collegiate. He earned the City of Chicago Department of Buildings Stationary Engineer license in 2006. He loves what he does because he loves to serve others and his favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is helping students, families and staff. In his spare time, he enjoys reading the Bible and being around family and catering to his lovely wife.
Kate Chizek, Learning Specialist
Kate is a Learning Specialist for Reading and Writing at Chicago Collegiate Charter School. She attended the University of Missouri and majored in journalism and media planning. After college, she taught 4th grade in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Teach for America. Kate moved to Chicago in 2013 to obtain her Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She is excited to be back in the classroom helping students grow in their love of learning and reading! Her favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is the supportive staff, the ability to grow personally and professionally, and the wonderfully zestful students.
Gabriella Cornejo, Paraprofessional
Gabriela Cornejo graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Public Relations & Advertising. She resides in Northwest Indiana. Ms. Cornejo has a passion for education and helping underserved communities. In the past, she has worked with organizations such as College Mentors for Kids, Working In The Schools and Teach For America. She volunteers every Sunday as a Catechism teacher for First Communion students in East Chicago. Her favorite part about working at Chicago Collegiate is the progress she is seeing in the students she works with every day.
Kylie Davis, Operations Manager
Kylie Davis grew up in Baltimore, MD and then attended Georgetown University where she got a degree in Psychology and minored in Spanish. Throughout her time at Georgetown, Kylie spend time working in DC Public Schools and leading several programs that allowed her to work closely with at-risk students and communities. After college, Kylie joined Teach for America and taught middle school and elementary school at two different charter networks in DC. She also served as the Principal of her school's Saturday School program and worked closely with community partners to offer students enrichment opportunities and exposure to a variety of careers available with a college education. During her first two years of teaching, Kylie pursued a masters degree in Education from George Mason University. She is a new Chicagoan and is very excited to join the incredible Chicago Collegiate team! Her favorite part about working at Collegiate is getting a chance to fight for our students rights to a high quality education and access to a college of their choice.
Army Dickerson, 6th Grade Math
Army Dickerson joined Chicago Collegiate after completing the Match Teacher Residency program (MTR) in Boston, MA. Originally from New Jersey, Army received his B.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University in Maryland, where he also minored in Asian Studies. Before entering MTR, Army participated in City Year Greater Philadelphia, an AmeriCorps program that partners with public schools to help at-risk students receive the support they deserve. Army loves the Toronto Raptors and reading a good story. His favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is being able to support young people on their path to college.
Shannon Donnelly, Chief Operating Officer
Shannon Donnelly grew up primarily in Long Beach, IN, and attended college at Princeton University, where she graduated with a degree in Politics and a certificate in Political Economy. She began her career in education reform and nonprofit employment as a Project 55 summer intern, working at KIPP Foundation in San Francisco after her sophomore year. In her senior year, Shannon began working for Teach For America as a campus recruiter, and after graduation she moved to Washington DC and joined full-time staff at Teach For America. She worked there for over twelve years on operations for teacher training. Shannon moved back to northwest Indiana in October 2013, settling in Chesterton near her family, and in March 2016, she joined the Chicago Collegiate team. She is the proud mother of two young girls and now gets to experience the public school system from the parent perspective. Shannon is beyond excited to be at Chicago Collegiate where she can work towards educational equity and expanding opportunities for all students on a local level.
Sean Duling, 7th/8th Grade History
Sean grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota, where he majored in Political Science, with minors in English and Religious Studies. He was a student-athlete at the U of M, competing in the hurdle events on the track and field team and serving as captain his senior year. After college, Sean joined Teach For America and taught US History, Government and Economics to 11th and 12th graders in Jackson, Mississippi. He then got his master's degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and went to work at DC Public Schools Central Office for two years. At DCPS, Sean developed and implemented transition programs for students with disabilities. Sean's favorite part about working at Chicago Collegiate is being part of a team-driven environment, and working with all of his wonderful students and their families every day.
Dan Effland, 7th and 8th Grade Learning Specialist
Dan graduated from West Virginia University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. He then relocated to Chicago and worked as a professional jazz guitarist for the next 11 years! As a life-long learner, his ever present desire to dive deeply into something new was piqued by the opportunity to teach music classes at CPS schools throughout the city as a part of the educational outreach wing of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Dan had found his new passion and joined Teach for America in 2014 to become trained and certified as a K-12 Learning Specialist. After two years teaching at EPIC Academy High School while earning his M.S. in Special Education at Dominican University, he is thrilled to join the founding CollegeBound team of 7th/8th grade teachers focused on personalized learning at Chicago Collegiate. Dan’s favorite core values are PRIDE in one’s work while always seeking to become more effective and COURAGE to embrace and advocate for change. His favorite part about teaching at Collegiate is the warm and growing community that exists within and around the school.
Elle Fabian, Student Support Services Coordinator and Social Worker
Elle grew up in Milwaukee, WI before she moved a few hours west to complete her Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison (Go Badgers!) in English. After spending a year teaching in Chicago, she moved to Philadelphia to earn her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. As much as she loved Philly, the Midwest, and Chicago Collegiate, were calling her back! Ms. Fabian is zesty about football, trying new foods, and reading a good book. Her favorite core value is Pride - she likes to show Pride by having a positive attitude and performing random acts of kindness. Her favorite thing about working at Chicago Collegiate is the close relationships she's built with coworkers.
Amy Follett, 8th Grade English Language Arts
Amy is an 8th Grade ELA teacher at Chicago Collegiate. She grew up in Madison, WI and graduated from UW Madison (Go Badgers!) with a dual major in Political Science and Legal Studies. After graduation, she taught middle school reading in Indianapolis Public Schools with Teach For America and 9th grade reading in Chicago. She has also worked with Chicago Public School parents as a community organizer with Stand for Children. Amy is so excited to be back in the classroom! Her favorite thing about Collegiate is being able to instill her love of reading in her students!
Carly Goldberg, 4th Grade Nonfiction Studies (Science and Social Studies)
Carly is a graduate of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor (Go Blue!). At the University, she studied Environmental Science and Economics. She also taught 4th Grade Spanish at the nearby elementary school. After graduating, she joined Teach for America. She taught 6th-8th Grade Science in Chicago Public Schools before joining onto the Chicago Collegiate Team in 2013. At Collegiate, she LOVES teaching Science. Her favorite science topics are geology and ecology. The best part about working at Collegiate is the zest found in all facets of the school: lessons, school-wide incentives, staff meetings, and classrooms. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball, cheering on Michigan sports, hanging out with her family and friends, and riding her bike.
Kate Henley, 5th Grade Math
Kate graduated in the class of 2014 from Loyola Marymount University located in Los Angeles, California. She received her degree in political science and is particularly passionate about education policy. Kate began teaching in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she taught fourth grade general education for two years with the program Teach For America. Kate loves teaching at Chicago Collegiate because of the team centered atmosphere the school provides and the large support system. In her spare time, Kate loves getting outdoors and staying active.
Alyssa Horing, 4th Grade Reading
Alyssa attended the University of Michigan, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. After attending Michigan, Alyssa received her Master of Arts in Teaching at National Louis University. Alyssa spent two years as a High School Special Education Teacher. In this role she taught both Geometry and Chemistry. Alyssa also worked at America Need You, a non-profit organization that provides college students with professional development and mentors. Alyssa is originally from New York, and enjoys traveling, cooking, and cheering on the Wolverines. Her favorite thing about working at Collegiate is seeing how much the students love learning!
Austen Huigens, 6th Grade English Language Arts
Austen Huigens studied Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Second Language at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She obtained her Masters degree in Education while teaching in Harlem and the Central Bronx. After graduate school, she moved back to her hometown of Chicago to teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade in Gary, IN. After another 3 years as a Family Engagement Supervisor, Ms. Huigens is thrilled to be teaching English Language Arts at CCCS. Ms. Huigens loves great literature, foreign films, and art museums. Her favorite part about teaching at Collegiate is how reflective her students are about their own learning abilities and personal growth.
Ivy Kviz, Administrative Assistant
Ivy graduated from Illinois State University in 2002, with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology. She has also recently completed an Executive Certificate in Business Administration through the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business. Having recently relocated back to Illinois from California, after living life as a Military Spouse for 3 years, Ivy joined Chicago Collegiate, ready to dive in and embark on a new school year with the Pride. In her spare time, Ivy enjoys shopping, writing, developing new cooking ideas/techniques and spending quality time with friends and family. Her favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is the fulfillment she gets from seeing smiles on students and parents faces each day. As much as they learn from her, she learns from them!
Kathleen Leahy, 7th Grade English Language Arts
Kathleen Leahy grew up in and around Chicagoland. After obtaining a BA in Creative Writing from Loyola University Chicago, her social justice journey took her to Walterboro, SC where she taught 7th grade ELA for three years through Teach for America. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education, she moved back to Chicago and began working with Collegiate and Team CollegeBound in Summer 2016. Ms. Leahy is overjoyed to be back home in Chicago, where she can cheer on the Bears and enjoy her favorite food- deep dish! Her favorite part about teaching at Collegiate is observing scholars interact with their world and one another through their thoughtful annotations of text.
Tom Llaurado, Learning Specialist
Hailing from the Milwaukee area, Mr. Llaurado earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2011. He double-majored in History and Film Production, and admittedly, teaching wasn't a profession that was on his radar as he walked across the stage at commencement. After spending a year working different jobs both in and out of the film industry in Los Angeles, Mr. Llaurado decided to divert his career path into the education realm. In July 2012, he moved back to Milwaukee to join City Year, a year-long Americorps program that focused on tutoring and mentoring high school students enrolled in various Milwaukee Public Schools. After his City Year, Mr. Llaurado was accepted into Teach For America's Chicago cohort, and was placed at Gary Comer College Prep (part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools). He spent the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years teaching special education with an ELA focus. He was excited to then join the Collegiate team and teach middle school.
Lauren Murdock, 5th Grade Writing
Lauren Murdock comes to Chicago Collegiate as a Chicago native with a strong passion for education equality. During her undergraduate career, she studied Political Science with a minor in Community Action and Social Change at the University of Michigan. Upon graduating, Ms. Murdock pursued her passion in education by joining Teach for America’s Chicago corps. Ms. Murdock has taught 5th, 6th, and 2nd graders while in the Chicago Public School system on the South and West side. One of her most rewarding aspects of working at Chicago Collegiate is being able to see the amazing growth in the school as well as each student individually. Her favorite part about working at Chicago Collegiate is the tremendous amount of pride that staff and students show for all members of our family.
Beverly Nicholson, Paraprofessional
Beverly Nicholson was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She attended Chicago State University and earned her Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice from Kaplan University. While working on her Master’s Degree, Beverly worked at the Cook County Department of Corrections. Beverly returned to the education field, where she has over 30 years’ experience working as a behavior specialist, paraprofessional, substitute teacher and scholar success advocate (assistant dean). She joined Chicago Collegiate in August. Her favorite part of Chicago Collegiate is being part of a great team that provides students with a foundation for a college education and educates students to be creative, critical thinkers, and responsible citizens at school, home and in the community.
Kelsea Noone, 4th Grade Math
Kelsea is the 4th grade math teacher at Chicago Collegiate. She attended the University of Arizona and majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology. After college, she joined Teach for America's 2014 corps and taught 4th, 5th and 6th grade math and science. During her time with the corps, Kelsea worked in the Roseland community for two years and earned her Master's Degree from Dominican University in teaching. Kelsea is passionate about making math fun even when it's challenging and positioning students to feel empowered when they are solving problems! She is also very excited to coach Chicago Collegiate's first Lego Robotics team! She loves to listen to music, hang out with friends and family, explore the city, occasionally call in to radio stations and sleep on her free time. Her favorite thing about Chicago Collegiate is working with a strong and supportive team and passing on her love for math to her wonderful scholars!
Lauren Paul, Instructional Coach
Lauren Paul, affectionately called LP by the staff, graduated from Marquette University with a B.S. in Finance and Human Resources. Upon graduating, LP moved to rural North Carolina to teach 7th grade Science and 6th grade Math at Gaston Middle School as part of her commitment with Teach for America. After two years, it was time to move back home to Chicago where LP found her place as the 5th grade Math teacher here at Collegiate! Some of LP's favorite memories from the first year were seeing the students perform at Parent Pride Night, and getting to spend time in Milwaukee with the Pride of 2021! When LP is not spending her time at school with her favorite students, she enjoys time with her family, eating at delicious restaurants, and napping : ). LP truly loves working at Collegiate because of the amazing students and parents who work so hard every day to get to college!
Ellie Phillips, 5th Grade Reading
Ellie Phillips graduated from Indiana University in 2005 and was a founding 4th grade teacher at West Gary Lighthouse Charter School. She taught 3rd and 4th grade for 6 years at West Gary before transitioning into the Director of Student Services role for 2 years. Ellie also completed the Reading Specialist Program at DePaul University earning a MEd in 2012. She has a love of teaching reading and is extremely excited to be teaching 5th grade reading at Chicago Collegiate Charter School. Her favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is working with students and staff that are all excited about learning and becoming better at what they do!
Andrew Schaefer, 7th and 8th Grade Science
Andrew is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he double majored in History and Geography. After college, he successfully completed the Denver Teacher Residency program while earning his Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. After teaching for three years in Denver Public Schools, he could not be happier to be a part of the Chicago Collegiate Charter School team teaching content he is passionate about. His absolute favorite thing about Chicago Collegiate is the people, students and staff alike. He is grateful to work alongside such an incredibly talented and dedicated team serving an energetic group of zesty students.
Julia Schrier, 8th Grade Math
Julia graduated from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota with B.A in Mathematics and Secondary Education. Teach for America brought her to Chicago and she has been teaching in the south side of Chicago for the past two years. She has her Masters in Teaching with an emphasis in Secondary Mathematics through Relay GSE. Julia has a passion and love for mathematics that is evident in her teaching. Her favorite part of working at Chicago Collegiate is being a part of the amazing team here! She loves the people she works with and is constantly feeling appreciated and supported by her team.
Trey Taylor, Paraprofessional
Native to the South Side of Chicago, Trey comes to us from Dartmouth with a love of working with children and a passion for helping the youth. He has done work at his neighborhood church, Dixon Elementary, and Gary Comer College Prep, His favorite part about working at Chicago Collegiate is helping students who were once in his shoes know that life is bigger than the South Side and that they have the potential to do whatever they set their minds to.
Gretchen Thomas, Paraprofessional
Gretchen was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. She attended Mississippi Valley State University and Argosy University with a major in Psychology and minor in Child Development. She has a passion and love for children. She has held positions in case management and human resources but somehow always ended up doing what she enjoyed the most and that is working with children. Gretchen has worked for CPS, YMCA of Metro Chicago and Catalyst Charter School system. What she enjoys most about Chicago Collegiate Charter School is that every one shares the same vision for our children and that is instilling the value of education and that success is not easy but definitely obtainable.
Cassie VanAcker, Learning Specialist
Cassie graduated from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) with a degree in Kinesiology. After graduating, she joined an Americorps program called City Year in which she worked to support middle school students with tutoring and behavior coaching. Following City Year, she continued with Americorps and joined Teach for America. Chicago Collegiate is her TFA placement school and she could not be happier with it! When not at school, Cassie enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading. Her favorite thing about Chicago Collegiate is how friendly and welcoming the staff is.
Sarah Walker, Assistant Principal
After graduating from Indiana University with a B.A. in journalism and political science, Sarah taught high school writing and English in Harlem as a Teach For America corps member. After her first class of students graduated, she moved on to train, coach, and support new teachers as a program director for Teach For America—New York. Missing the classroom, she went back to teach 6th and 8th grade writing at KIPP:Infinity Middle School in New York City. Outside her classroom, Sarah led KIPP:NYC’s middle school writing teachers in creating and implementing a common writing assessment system and building a continuum of excellent student writing. She has also taught at the graduate level with Relay Graduate School of Education as an Adjunct Professor in Secondary Literacy in New York and most recently as an Assistant Professor of Practice in Chicago. Sarah loves being a part of the Chicago College team, working alongside the incredibly talented and dedicated teachers who work to ensure ALL of our hard-working, zesty, and thoughtful students are on the path to and through college!