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Faculty and Staff

Tami Adams
Tami Adams became the Executive Director of CMS in August 2013. She also teaches Algebra I, Part I. Mrs. Adams holds a B.A. in Education with a focus on Secondary Mathematics from Bowling Green State University, and has taught junior high and high school mathematics in Ohio and Colorado.
Ray Arseneau
Ray Arseneau is a retired teacher from Mahomet, where he taught for over 25 years. He started knitting in his youth and has never stopped. Ray has been teaching Knitting at CMS since 2006.
Jonathan Beckett
Dr. Jonathan Beckett teaches music. He is on the faculty at Parkland College where he also directs the Parkland Wind Ensemble. A professional saxophone player for over 30 years, he earned his DMA in Jazz Performance from the U of I, MM from the University of North Texas and BM at Loyola University. His CD, “Jonny Beckett, Son of a Mother,” was released by Armored Records in 2014. He enjoys performing with his own band Jive Bag and many other local musicians.
Lara Breeze-Troyer
Lara Breeze-Troyer teaches Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 Part 2 and Physics. She received a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Physics with a certification in Secondary Education from Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana. She has previously taught high school and elementary school, tutored students of a variety of ages, and homeschooled her own children. Lara lives in Savoy with her husband and three children, including one CMS alumna.
L. Cunningham
Leanne Cunningham is the Communications and Outreach Director and 8th Grade Seminar teacher at CMS. She earned a M.A. in Organizational Communication from Suffolk University, Boston and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mrs. Cunningham is also a part-time faculty member at Parkland College in Champaign. She is the parent of 2 CMS alumnae, and was involved with the school for several years as a parent volunteer and member of the Board of Directors.
D. Derr-Weaver
Debbie Derr Weaver has been teaching 7th grade quilting and 8th grade sewing classes at CMS since 2008. Debbie received her BFA in Commercial Arts from Texas State University. She worked as a graphic artist for many years and has been a professional seamstress since 1993. She has taught numerous sewing seminars at University Primary and Yankee Ridge schools. Her quilting work has been recognized and awarded for its creativity and local ties to the community.
Elaine Giermak
Elaine Giermak teaches 6th grade English. Ms. Giermak has a M.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and a C.A.S. in Curriculum and Supervision with a specialization in reading from Northern Illinois University. She has taught English and reading at all levels from primary through college, with most of her experience in Chicago suburban high schools. Throughout her career she has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching.
Beth Hogan
Beth Hogan teaches 7th grade English at CMS. Previously she taught at Centennial High School and Urbana High School. Ms. Hogan is certified in both English Language Arts and TESOL. She earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Illinois in Rhetoric and Women’s Studies, her TESOL certification from The University of Illinois, and her teacher certification and M.S. Ed from Illinois State University. She is a Great Books-trained teacher and a National Board Certified Teacher.
Katie Leininger
Katie Leininger teaches 6th and 7th grade Biology and 8th grade Science. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and worked in a laboratory setting for six years in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries. Katie lives in Champaign with her husband and two children.
Debra Miller
Debra Miller teaches 6th and 7th grade History. She has a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, a B.S. in Social Sciences Education from Illinois State University, and a B.A. in English from Indiana University. Mrs. Miller taught English and Social Studies for 11 years at Lowell High School in Lowell, Indiana where, for 8 consecutive years, she was named “Most Influential Teacher” by students in the top 10% of the graduating class. She lives in Champaign with her husband and daughter.
Sara Miller
Sara Miller is the CMS Office Manager. She holds a degree in Child Development, and was the Director of Kids First Childcare in Champaign for 12 years. She lives in Champaign with her two children.
Anna Nesbitt
Anna Nesbitt teaches 8th Grade Computer Science. She earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Biochemistry and Structural Biology, with her dissertation on the development of computer models to describe how proteins move within cells. Dr. Nesbitt is a lecturer at the University of Illinois where she teaches a variety of environmental sciences and studies courses. She started at CMS in 2012, and enjoys teaching girls computer literacy and programming.
Judy Nolen
Judy Nolen teaches 8th grade History and English. She is a retired teacher from Champaign Unit 4 schools, and she taught English at Centennial High School for 30 years. Mrs. Nolen earned a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Baylor University and obtained her teacher certification from the University of Illinois.
Traci Pines
Traci Pines is the Fine Arts Educator at CMS. She holds a B.F.A. and a M.A. in Art Education with Special Visual Arts (K-12) teaching certification from the University of Illinois. Traci has been a professional artist and a community arts organizer for over 20 years. Her custom visual arts curricula focus on formal studio processes, as well as Upcycling, Found Object, and Assemblage art. Painting, sculpture, printmaking, wooden cutouts, power tools, and humor are central to her artwork.
L. Sanjurjo-Espino
Lola Sanjurjo-Espino has taught Spanish at CMS since 2005. Before coming to Champaign-Urbana, she taught for several years in public schools in Connecticut. She is originally from Spain where she earned a degree in Education from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Later she moved to the USA, where she earned a B.A. in Arts and Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She recently completed her M.A. degree in Spanish Literature and Linguistics at Illinois State University.
C. Sevec-Johnson
Christine Sevec-Johnson has taught drama at CMS since 2008, and also teaches needle felting. Christine is a professional actress, with degrees from Temple University and the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. She enjoyed a full acting career, and taught voice and speech for the actor at USIU, San Diego University and the University of Illinois. She has also directed many plays for the U of I Theatre department and coaches dialects and accents for productions throughout the area.
Sarah Szymborski
Sarah Szymborski teaches 6th and 7th Grade Computer Science. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences in 2018. Ms. Szymborski is continuing her education in the field and pursuing her Masters Degree. She enjoys connecting with her students as well as teaching the girls typing skills, Python programming language, and JavaScript/HTML utilizing fun interactive platforms.
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