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Meet The Team


Deborah Bodony

Director of Operations


Natasha Capell

Faculty, Science


Eileen Chen

Faculty, Chinese


Jordan Conerty

Head of School

Faculty, Social Studies


Cristina Flores

Faculty, Spanish


Ikro Joe

Faculty, Math


Sidney Leskis

Athletic Director

Faculty, Physical Education

Countryside Road

Nicole McJunkin

Faculty, Science

Pampas Grass

Laura Miller

Faculty, English & Writing


Yang Song

Faculty, Math


Annie Tock

Faculty, Social Studies

Mrs. Bodony joined Academy High in the fall of 2021. A graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in Biology and a secondary education teaching certificate, she has taught science at the middle school and high school levels in Indiana and California as well as served as a Curriculum Developer at NASA Ames. Since moving to Urbana-Champaign in 2006, she has served in many volunteer roles in educational institutions including being a member and secretary for the Countryside Board of Directors as well as being a substitute teacher in local schools.

Before joining Academy High as a founding faculty member, Mrs. Capell taught high school, worked in curriculum development, and spent time as a researcher studying limb regeneration in amphibians. She holds an M.S. in Biology from the University of North Texas, an M.S. in the Teaching of Biological Sciences, and an Ed.M from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In her science classroom, students work together engaging in hands-on activities where they learn science through exploring real-world issues

Mrs. Chen is a Illinois State K-12 Certified Chinese Language Teacher. She received a B.A. from Tamkang University, Taiwan, and a M.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Nazareth College in Rochester, and an M.A. in Multilingual Education, University of Northern Colorado. Mrs. Chen achieved the TESOL certification from the University of California, Irvine. Mrs. Chen participates in many professional development conferences to bring new knowledge to the classroom. She encourages students to travel to broaden their horizons.

Mr. Conerty joined the faculty in 2018, bringing a wealth of experience in secondary and higher education to the school before becoming Interim Head of School. He earned a B.A. from Augustana College (IL), an M.Div. from Yale University, and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Berkeley Divinity School. He holds a Specialized Faculty appointment in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is also pursuing a doctoral degree in Education Administration & Leadership.

Mrs. Flores, a native Spanish speaker, has taught Spanish for nearly two decades. She teaches at both Academy High and University Primary School; she has also taught at various other local schools and homeschool co-ops. She holds a B.A. in Management Information Systems and certifications in Project Management and Business Process Reengineering, and an M.A. in Spanish Language and Culture. Mrs. Flores is passionate about sharing the language and culture of Spanish-speaking countries with her students.

Dr. Joe teaches Algebra Fundamentals, Geometry, and Algebra I at Academy High. Since 2017, Dr. Joe has taught middle school math at Countryside School and since 2012 he has served as a tutor at CU Academy in Champaign. Dr. Joe holds three degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: a B.S. and M.S. in Biological Science and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology.

Ms. Leskis teaches Physical Education, Health & Wellness, and oversees our athletic department. She earned her B.A. in Dance at Western Michigan University, where she was a member of the collegiate dance team. Ms. Leskis earned her M.S. in Recreation, Sport & Tourism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Leskis has taught dance for many years, ranging in age from preschool to high school, and spent two years as the head coach of a high school dance team. Ms. Leskis is excited to continue building the athletic program at Academy High.

Dr. McJunkin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Organic Chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has previously served as an analytical, research, and testing lab manager and as a substitute science teacher and golf coach at John Burroughs School in Saint Louis. She is the parent to four kids and enjoys being outside, casual rounds of golf, gardening, and running.

Ms. Miller is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied English literature and secondary education. She completed pre-service teaching placements at University Primary School, Monticello High School, Rantoul Township High School, and Armstrong Township High School. She possesses a Professional Educator License (PEL) in English - Secondary Education.

Before joining Academy High, Mr. Song taught a range of classes at the University of Illinois including the calculus series and finite mathematics. Mr. Song earned a B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Art History and an M.S. in Mathematics, both from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He teaches students to think creatively by applying their skills in real-world applications and problem-solving and by strengthening their skills in geometry and algebra.

Dr. Tock has extensive teaching experience at the college and secondary school levels, including courses in human geography, world history, American history, and the immigrant experience. In fact, while pursuing her doctoral work, Dr. Tock taught social sciences to Academy High’s pioneer class! Dr. Tock has been involved in many archeological field research projects and has worked in community service organizations. Dr. Tock earned a B.A. in History from Hanover College, a M.A. in European History from Eastern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Maritime Studies and Underwater Archaeology from East Carolina University. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Maine.

Academy High is thrilled to be partnering with the following community members for our 2022-23 module offerings:

Amy Chesser

Instructor, Political Engagement

Lori Davidson

Instructor, Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Aaron Esquivel

Instructor, Introduction to Coding

Elizabeth Hess

Instructor, Podcasting

Josh Houchin

Instructor, Jazz Band

Jackie Loewenstein

Instructor, Theatre Arts

Nicole McJunkin

Instructor, Scientific Instrumentation, Earth Science, and Yearbook

Steve Meadows

Instructor, Rock Band

Sasha Rubel

Instructor, Art

Katrina Widholm

Instructor, Graphic Arts and Design Thinking

Board of Directors

Sarah Laufenberg

Board President

Tracy Sulkin

Board Vice President

Karen Wiarda

Board Secretary

Carla Cáceres

Board Member / Chair, Advancement Committee

Laura Hendley

Board Member

Beth Hogan

Board Member

Jeff Jones

Board Member / Chair, Finance Committee

Marc Miller

Board Member

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