CMS Faculty and Staff
Tami Adams became the Executive Director of CMS in August 2013. She 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.
Leanne Cunningham is the Communications and Outreach Director 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. Leanne 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.
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.
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.
Elaine Giermak teaches 6th and 7th grade English. Ms. Giermak has a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Curriculum and Supervision with a specialization in reading from Northern Illinois University. She has taught English and reading for the last thirty-five years at all levels from primary through college, with most of her experience in Chicago suburban high schools. In two of those high school districts, she was presented with awards for excellence in teaching. She is certified as a K-12 English teacher and reading specialist. As a trainer for the Great Books Foundation, she has taught the Great Books discussion method, and she has served as an Illinois Writing Project consultant. Elaine has presented at state and national educational conferences and has published several articles about teaching.
Beth Hogan teaches 7th grade English at Campus Middle School. Ms. Hogan taught at Centennial High School and Urbana High School from 1995-2015 with one break for a return to graduate school. Ms. Hogan is certified in both English Language Arts and TESOL. Ms. Hogan 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. Ms. Hogan is a Great Books-trained teacher and in 2003, she became a National Board Certified Teacher. Ms. Hogan lives in Champaign with her husband and twin boys.
Rachael McMillan has taught 6th and 7th grade History at CMS since 2011. Previously she taught at Rantoul Township High School and served as a caseworker for Family Service of Champaign County. In addition to teaching, Rachel works as a fair trade educator for Ten Thousand Villages and tutors at The Reading Group. She lives in Champaign with her husband and three children.
Alfred Hubler is a physics professor at the University of Illinois. He is the father to six daughters, all of whom have attended CMS. He teaches 8th grade Algebra 1 part 2 at CMS.
Janice Lilly teaches teaches pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 Part 1. She received her BS and MS degrees in General Engineering from the University of Illinois and then worked as a Systems Engineer for six years before homeschooling her children for 12 years. Janice has been part of the CMS community since 2007, first as a parent and board member and now as a teacher. She really enjoys working with the CMS students and their families and learning new things every day. She and her husband live in rural Urbana and have four children.
Katie Leininger teaches 6th and 7th grade Biology. 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.
Janice Lilly teaches teaches 8th grade science. She received her BS and MS degrees in General Engineering from the University of Illinois and then worked as a Systems Engineer for six years before homeschooling her children for 12 years. Janice has been part of the CMS community since 2007, first as a parent and board member and now as a teacher. She really enjoys working with the CMS students and their families and learning new things every day. She and her husband live in rural Urbana and have four children.
Laura Shoener, teaches 6th and 7th grade Physical Science. She received her BS degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois, focusing in science and mathematics, and minoring in Anthropology. Prior to working at CMS, Laura taught in the Champaign Unit 4 school district. In addition to teaching physical science, she also enjoys teaching at a local nature center and directing the children's programming at her church. Laura has worked with CMS in varying degrees for the past 8 years, and is excited to be able to join the team as a science teacher.
Lola Sanjurjo-Espino teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade Spanish. She has taught at CMS since 2005. Before coming to Champaign-Urbana, she taught for several years in public schools in Connecticut, mostly at the high school level at the Williams School in New London. 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. In her free time, Senora Espino enjoys riding her bike, playing with her five cats, and watercolor painting.
Anna Nesbitt teaches 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. After a 3 year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, Dr. Nesbitt took a lecturing position at the University of Illinois where she teaches a variety of environmental sciences and studies courses in addition to ESE 421: Earth Systems Modeling. She started at CMS in 2012, and very much looks forward to teaching girls computer literacy and programming. Anna lives in Champaign with her husband and two sons.
Tom Faux is an ethnomusicologist on the faculty of Illinois State University and is co-founder, instructor, and board member at the Community Center for the Arts in Urbana. He is a performing guitarist and banjo player, and director of the Marvelous Cretaceous Band. He has conducted fieldwork among immigrant and refugee communities in the US and among traditional musicians in Quebec. Tom has a BA (music) from the University of Southern Maine; MA (ethnomusicology) from Tufts University; and a PhD (ABD, musicology) from the University of Illinois.
Traci Pines is the Visual Arts Educator. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters of Art Education with Special Visual Arts (K-12) teaching certification from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Traci has been a professional artist, and a community arts organizer in the C-U area for over twenty years. Her custom visual arts curricula focus on formal studio processes, as well as Upcycling, Found Object, and Assemblage art. Painting, sculpture, printmaking, papermaking, wooden cutouts, power tools, and humor are central to her artwork. As an artist, teacher, and mother of three great daughters, Traci has always enjoyed the energy and inspiration that comes from artistic collaboration with children of all ages and deeply believes in the expressive role that the arts can and should play throughout our entire lives.
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 lived in Colorado and worked as a graphic artist for seven years. After moving to Urbana, she worked at Chanute Air Force Base as a computer graphic artist 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. She enjoys having the opportunity to share her knowledge with the next generation.
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 at CMS since 2006.
Christine Sevec-Johnsonhas been teaching drama at CMS since 2008. She also teaches stitching. Christine is a trained professional actress, with degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia, and the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Along with enjoying a full acting career, Christine taught voice and speech for the actor at USIU and San Diego University and the University of Illinois. While teaching at the U of I, Christine directed many plays for the theatre department including A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Shayna Maidel and Blithe Spirit. She continues to coach dialects and accents for productions at the university and in the area. Christine lives happily with her husband, two sons, dog Fibi and cat Sam.