DoMonique Arnold ( joined University High School Library in August 2016! She is super excited to be a part of the high school staff, as she loves handing books to teenagers and scheduling awesome library programming.

Dr. Rachel Banke ( teaches World History to 1500, Questions in Political Theory, and Revolutions.  She earned her BA from Boston College and an MA and PhD in early American history from the University of Notre Dame. She has previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, University of Missouri-Columbia, Aurora University, and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).

Joel Beesley ( is the Executive Teacher of the Computer Science Department.  He teaches Computer Literacy 1 & 2. Digital Media Production and Yearbook. He earned his B.A. at Valparaiso University and his M.A. at Southern Illinois University. Mr. Beesley is also the junior class co-sponsor and the head girls basketball coach.

Rachael Brewer Kamps ( teaches sports, fitness, and strength training in the PE department. She holds the M.S. in sports management from Illinois State University. Rachael is the head XC coach for Uni and an assistant coach for the Track & Field team. She is a great community volunteer and has worked with area programs such as Girls on the Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rachael was the 2017 Illinois Marathon champion.

Luke Bronowski ( teaches PE and coaches varsity boys basketball and varsity boys tennis. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Health and Wellness from Purdue University and completed an MS in Sports Management with an emphasis on Coaching from the University of Illinois. He is a certified personal trainer through the NSCA and enjoys volunteer coaching for youth recreation and travel teams in various sports.

Emily Buhnerkempe ( holds a master's degree in mathematics from Miami University in Ohio and a bachelor's degree in mathematics and dance from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. At Miami she was a Graduate Assistant for two years and taught Pre-Calculus and Calculus. She has taught in all levels of math from General Education Math to Statistics and Calculus at Parkland College for three years as a tenure-track instructor. She also taught all levels of math at Lake Land College in Mattoon for four years as a tenured professor. 

Dr. Jim Carrubba ( teaches Intro Physics and Physics A, B, and C. He earned his A.B. at Harvard and M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

Emma Deedrick ( is the Student Services Office Manager and Registrar.

Kristi Deedrick ( is the school counselor for student’s with last names ending in A-K. She is a University of Illinois alum, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2009. Mrs. Deedrick received her Master of Social Work in 2011 from Loyola University Chicago. She has experience working with students K-12 as a school social worker and as a school crisis counselor.

Sheree Denham ( is an Office Manager working in the Uni High School main office. She earned her A.S. in Business Administration at Parkland College and her B.S. in Marketing at Illinois State University. She is the proud winner of the 2022 Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award.  She is passionate about people, and serves as a caregiver for the elderly.

Matthew De Venecia ( joined University Laboratory High School in 2021 and teaches Computer Literacy 1 & 2. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He later earned a Master of Engineering degree in Bioengineering from Rice University. He also manages the Uni High Makerspace where students have free access to educational technology like 3D printers, circuitry, and VR tech.

Dr. Phillip Ernstmeyer ( teaches Language and Literature III, Short Story, Hero's Journey, and Nonfiction. He received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He sponsors Tree Club and likes possum memes.

Lisa Evans ( teaches Studio Art 1, Two Dimensional ArtThree Dimensional Art, Design: Thinking and Process and Interrelated Arts. Ms. Evans serves as the Coordinator of Lab Mission and Professional Development.  She earned her B.S. at Miami University, her M.B.A. at the University of Chicago, and her B.F.A. and M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Peter Florido ( teaches Spring semester Programming in the Computer Science Department. Mr. Florido comes to Uni after teaching math and computer science at Normal Community High School.  Mr. Florido is currently enrolled in the Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-Specialists program at the University of Illinois.  He holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois and a MS in Mathematics and a CS Teaching Endorsement from Illinois State.

Chris Guyotte ( teaches Theatre Arts 1 & 2, Film Study, Public Speaking, Stage Craft and Interrelated Arts. He also directs Uni’s Fine Arts Department theatrical productions and sponsors the International Thespian Society. Outside of Uni he is active with the local theatre community and teaches directing and acting workshops at festivals around the nation. He holds BA in Theatre Arts an M.A. in Theatre History from the University of Illinois, and an MFA in Directing from Wayne State University.

Amy Han ( is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is an alumna of the University of Illinois who graduated with a bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies and receive her Masters in Social Work. Amy has spent the last 2 decades working with and learning from young people ranging from early childhood to post-secondary graduates. Her experiences include working with students with Autism, mood disorders, trauma, conduct disorders and other behavior issues. She loves working with Uni students who are highly academically motivated but also understands they need the tools to navigate life as a high schooler. Amy enjoys mindfulness, nature, running and food.

Kyle Hummel ( is the Athletic Director with Uni High and currently teaches sophomore physical education.  This is Hummel’s first year with Uni High. He grew up in the Northwest earning his bachelors at Eastern Washington University where he was a mid-distance and cross-country runner.  Hummel continued his competition living and training in San Diego where he was the 2014 Ironman 70.3 AG World Champion.

Keeley Hynes ( is an intern-school psychologist. She provides psychological services such as counseling, assessment, consultation, and 504/IEP support. She has worked with families in school, clinic, and research settings. She received her M.S. in psychology at Illinois State University and is completing her final year of study towards a Ph.D. in school psychology.

Kathleen Isenegger ( is excited to join University High School to teach a computer science elective in 2023! She graduated from Amherst College in 2020 and is in the progress of earning a PhD in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Paul Kotheimer [he/him] ( is the Senior Library Specialist at Uni High Library. Paul joined the Uni High Library staff in 2010. He's worked in academic libraries since the late 1980s and has served the University Library system at the University of Illinois since 1994. He holds a B.A. in English from UIC.

Janet Kroencke ( joined Uni in January 2020, after previously serving as the Associate Director for Advancement at the University of Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences. Prior to that time, Janet served as the Assistant Director of Wellness at University of Illinois Campus Recreation and Student Affairs. She has worked on the University of Illinois campus for over 23 years. Janet earned her Bachelor’s of Science (Applied Health Sciences) degree at Indiana University, and earned her Masters of Science (Education Policy and Organizational Leadership) degree at the University of Illinois in 2015.

Brian Lauthen ( teaches Latin 1-4. He was born and raised in Iowa. He has a BA and an MA in Classics from the University of Iowa. His favorite pastimes are playing French horn and reading.

Ben Leff ( teaches Junior US History, Thinking Like a Social Scientist and American History Through Popular Culture. He also graduated from Uni High in 2001. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and master's degree in American history from Brown University.

Carol Lombardi ( teaches two sections of Journalism, is the Gargoyle advisor and is the Communications Coordinator. She earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Oswego and an M.S. from the University of Illinois.

Lynda Lopez ( teaches French 1 - 4. She is the Executive Teacher for the Department of World and Classical Languages. She earned her B.A. (Russian) at Ferrum College in Virginia, her first M.A. (Russian Literature), and her second M.A. (Global Studies in Education)/Educational Policy Studies) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL. She sponsors French Club, and leads student language-based trips to France. She stepped in to do her student-teaching (Russian and French) at Uni over 25 years ago and never looked back. She is the proud mom of a Uni alum (2015).

Elizabeth Majerus ( is the Director of Uni High. She taught at Uni for twenty years before taking on the role of Interim Director for two years and was officially named Director in May of 2021.  Majerus previously served as Uni’s Executive Teacher in the department of English for seventeen years. As a Uni English teacher, she has taught Nonfiction Writing, Poetry, the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Utopias and Dystopias in Literature, Native American and Latino/a Literature, and Creative Writing. Dr. Majerus earned her B.A. in English and Integrated Liberal Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lisa Micele ( is the Director of College Counseling and serves as the Department Head for the Student Services Office. She is also the coordinator & supervisor of the Peer College Counseling program at Uni High. Lisa received her B.S. and M.Ed. from the University of Illinois, Urbana. She received a 2nd master's degree (M.A.) from Lewis University. Lisa has been a part of the Uni High faculty since March of 1993.

Christian Millán-Hernández ( or Mr. Millán teaches Subbie Science, Entomology and Environmental Science. He earned a M.S. in Entomology and M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Growing up in Puerto Rico he is a native Spanish speaker that enjoys photography, hiking, cooking, and family time during leisure time. Prior to Uni, he worked as a laboratory manager at Michigan State University and has experience performing field work for biological sciences.

Martha Mills ( is an Office Support Specialist at Uni High School. They have a B.A. in Communication Studies from Eastern Illinois University and are currently studying World Labor Relations and Social Work at U of I. In addition to their job at Uni, Martha is the President of the Board of Uniting Pride of Champaign County, the local LGBTQIA advocacy organization.

Matt Mitchell ( teaches Language and Literature 2 (Freshman English), The Twentieth-Century Novel (juniors and seniors), and The Coming-of-Age Novel (juniors and seniors). He earned his B.A. in English at Rutgers University in 1994 and his M.A. in English at the University of Illinois in 1997.

Dr. Letitia Moffitt ( received her B.A. in English from the University of California at Berkeley, her M.A. in English/Writing from San Francisco State University, and her Ph.D. in English/Writing from State University of New York at Binghamton. She enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and running crazy long distances.

Rick Murphy ( teaches Music Theory, Music History, Interrelated Arts, Chorus, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Madrigals. He earned his B.F.A. at MacMurray College and his M.M.Ed. at Illinois State University. During his time here at the University of Illinois, he has completed all of the course-work in the music education doctoral program.

Dr. Valerie O'Brien ( joined Uni in 2019. She teaches Language and Literature 1 (Freshman English), Gender Studies, Social Justice, Nonfiction Writing, and The Short Story. She also serves as Uni’s Coordinator of Equity and Public Engagement, sponsor for the Muslim Students’ Association, and co-sponsor for ENLIST and INSPIREus. She holds a BA in English and Rhetoric as well as an MA and PhD in English Literature from the University of Illinois.

Alexa Patsalis ( is the Graduate Assistant in the Uni High library. She earned her BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI in 2015. Then, they spent two years serving in AmeriCorps through City Year, an education non-profit. Alexa spent the 2015-2016 school year in Little Rock, AR working on strengthening foundational math skills with 9th graders, and she spent the 2016-2017 school year in Sacramento, CA supervising tutors providing direct classroom support. They spent the next few years substitute teaching at the high school level until she finally had her epiphany that love of teaching + love of books = a career in school librarianship! Alexa started her Master’s program in Library and Information Sciences in January 2022 and is excited to be part of the Uni community this year! Make sure to stop by the library and say hi! Alexa is always willing to talk about her favorite graphic novels and the music she is currently listening to!

Christine Pierson ( is an Office Support Specialist. She has worked for the University of Illinois for over 32 years. Christine has greatly enjoyed the variety of people she has met and worked with during that time and has also enjoyed the variety of departments she has served. Although she retired from full-time University work in June of 2014, she is now employed as a permanent part-time employee with Uni High Advancement and is looking forward to engaging with students and staff this school year.

Mari Innami Porter ( teaches Japanese 1,2,3 and 4. She received her bachelors degree from Aoyama-Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and her masters degree from Aurora University in IL.

Nathan Prescott ( teaches Math 1 and Advanced Topics. He earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toledo and his Masters in Mathematics Education from Columbia University. He was a member of the 2010 cohort of the Math for America Fellowship program. Prior to working at Uni he taught algebra, geometry, precalculus, and AP calculus in New York City. He also has experience working as a chemical engineer in the power industry.

Dr. Karl Radnitzer ( is the Associate Director of Uni High. He has been in education for over 25 years and oversees all student affairs and clubs and serves as faculty rep for MPAG. He developed and teaches the Senior Project class each spring. In collaboration with Chris Guyotte, he designed and administered the summer enrichment camp for 5th- 7th graders as an outreach to the community.  He received his B.A. in psychology/education from North Park College, C.A.S in Educational Policy from the University of Chicago, and M.B.A and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois

Jenny Robins ( teaches German 1, 2, 3, and 4. She earned a B.A. in German, Anthropology, and International Studies with a minor in Japanese from the University of Iowa and obtained her M.A. in German Linguistics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). Frau Robins currently has ABD status at the LMU in the fields of applied linguistics and language theory and is writing her dissertation on the creation of a 15th-century German medical corpus and its application when studying select lexical and morphological features.

Kathy Rodems ( is serving as the Executive English teacher. She teaches Subfreshman English, Native American and Othered Literature, Gender Studies, Social Justice, and Nonfiction Writing. Mrs. Rodems is also the sponsor for Students for a Better World and a co-sponsor for the Junior class. She earned her B.A. in English from University of Illinois at Springfield and her M.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University.

Beth Runkel ( has an undergraduate degree in Marketing of Textiles and Apparel from the University of Illinois and a masters in Mathematics Education from DePaul University.  She also recently completed a Teacher Leader certification program at Northeastern Illinois University.  She has been a National Board certified teacher of adolescent and young adult mathematics since 2004 and has been teaching high school math since 1997.  Before teaching at Uni she spent twenty-five years teaching in Chicago and has taught Algebra through Multivariable Calculus, including Discrete Math and Statistics.  She is currently teaching Calculus 1, Accelerated Calculus 1 and Accelerated Calculus 2/3.

Melissa Schoeplein ( teaches Introduction to Social Studies, Contemporary Issues in Government, Politics, and Society, and World Since 1989. She also coordinates the Uni High Oral History Project – a 20+ year partnership with WILL/Illinois Public Media. Ms. Schoeplein is a 1994 graduate of Uni High and she holds a B.A in History from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to teaching at Uni, she taught high school in the Washington, DC area and worked for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois. She is currently co-sponsors the subbie class and the WILL interns. When not at Uni, she is chasing her kids around various area parks.

Jason Scott teaches the Fall 2022 section of "Topics in Computer Science" and is a Principal Narrative Designer at Deep Silver Volition. He is also founder and president of the Mindful Teacher Foundation, a nonprofit providing mindfulness training for teachers from pre-K through high school.

Kaila Simpson ( currently teaches Math 2 and Math 3 as a visiting teacher. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Prior to teaching at Uni High she was a Project Engineer in Martinez, California.

Cynthia Smyser ( teaches Introductory Biology, Pre-Medical Professions, Organismal Biology and Environmental Sciences.

Juan Socarras ( teaches Spanish 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Melinda Tidrick ( teaches the Introductory, General, Accelerated, and Organic Chemistry courses, as well as the Geology of National Parks. She holds a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and M.S. from the University of Illinois

Dr. Andy Wilson ( teaches World History since 1500. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Chadron State College as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.