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Meet The Team

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Deborah Bodony

Director of Operations

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Natasha Capell

Faculty, Science

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Eileen Chen

Faculty, Chinese

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Jordan Conerty

Head of School

Faculty, Social Studies

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Cristina Flores

Faculty, Spanish

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Tanya Josek

Faculty, Science

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Sidney Leskis

Athletic Director

Faculty, Physical Education

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Laura Miller

Faculty, English & Writing

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Yang Song

Faculty, Math

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Leslie Thomas

Faculty, Math

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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.

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,  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 as a social studies teacher, bringing a wealth of experience in secondary and higher  education. He was appointed Interim Head of School in 2022 and became Academy High’s permanent head in 2023. 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. Conerty has taught courses in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Education, 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 and 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. Josek has an illustrious background in science and education. They completed their bachelors, masters, and doctorate at the University of Illinois, where they currently serve as a microscopist in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. They previously served as a Postdoctoral Associate and Instructor at Illinois State University.

 

Many of our students have engaged with Dr. Josek in Mrs. Capell's classes before; Dr. Josek co-developed the lyme disease unit used in freshman Biology classes and facilitated Molecular and Cellular Biology's field trip to the University of Illinois last spring!

Ms. Leskis teaches Physical Education and Health & Wellness and serves as Academy High’s athletics director. 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 Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Leskis has taught dance for many years to students ranging in age from preschool to high school, and spent two years as the head coach of a high school dance team. She is excited to continue building the athletic program at Academy High.

Ms. Miller is a graduate of the University of Illinois 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.

Ms. Thomas has years of experience in the classroom teaching elementary students through high school schoolers. Recently she was a math teacher at Centennial High School as a long term substitute. Ms. Thomas is an enthusiastic educator who brings hands-on teaching and student support strategies to Academy High.  In addition to Ms. Thomas' teaching experience, she is a concert pianist. She holds a Master of Music and Professional Artist Certificate from the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston - Salem, North Carolina. 

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 module offerings:

Mike Ingram

Instructor, Modern Music History / Appreciation, Rock Band

Aidan Menees

Instructor, 3D Printing & Design

Kathleen Isenegger

Instructor, Computer Science (CS+X)

Board of Directors

Sarah Laufenberg

Board President

Tracy Sulkin

Board Vice President

Jeff Magee

Board Secretary

Jeff Jones

Board Member / Chair, Finance Committee

Beth Hogan

Board Member

Marc Miller

Board Member

Sowmya Anand

Board Member

Christina Edgington

Board Member

Katie Stafford

Board Member

Colleen Braun

Board Member

Jordan Conerty

Head of School (non-voting, ex-officio)

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