Meet Our Team

Continuing Education Youth Academy is successful due to the hard work, expertise, and creativity of our adjunct faculty and staff. Take a moment to review a few of our team members' background information and Youth Academy class highlights.

Youth Academy Staff

Junior High Achievers and High School Coordinator

Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Ms. Miranda graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor's degree in Ethnic Studies and is currently enrolled in the iMBA program at her alma mater. After graduating from UIUC she worked in the non-profit world primarily in low-income communities of color across the city of Chicago. Her background is rooted in centering academic and career programs for youth and adults in diverse neighborhoods such as Rogers Park, Back of the Yards and her hometown Pilsen. She has been part of the Youth Academy team serving as the High School and Adult Enrichment Coordinator since June 2016.  

What was your first summer job?

My first summer job was a paid internship with Mikva Challenge for the 1st ward Aldermans office in Chicago.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

In the before times, I loved attending music festivals and exploring outdoor events across Chicago.  

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs, both Yorkshire Terriers, Maxine and Poquita. 

Elementary and Middle School Instructors

Ayesha Ahmed

Ms. A was born and raised in the Bay Area and while she has spent most of her adult life in Chicagoland, her team loyalty is still undecided – Cubs versus White Sox. Ms. A has teaching experience in international schooling, federal entitlement programming education and local instruction throughout DuPage County and began teaching with Youth Academy in 2019.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

I especially love teaching anything involving hands-on geometry because that is the most memorable and intuitive way to approach math.

What was your first summer job?

I did clerical work at a non-profit charity run by a family friend.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Spending time in the water and working on a solution to the perennial problem of squaring a circle.

Do you have any pets?

None at home, but I love animals – especially the large ones that remain behind a fence in a zoo. 

Kelly Bachewicz

Mrs. B has been teaching reading as a Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach since 2006. She has also been a first-grade e-learning teacher during the 2020-21 school year.  Mrs. B joined Youth Academy in 2012, teaching mainly Explorer Camp classes.  

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Reading Skills and Art

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Sitting outside and reading, or hiking.

Ms. Brennan has been teaching for 26 years. During the school year she teaches middle school technology, including programming, various software applications and 3D printing. She began teaching with Youth Academy in 2017.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Scratch Programming

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Reading as many books as I can while floating in my pool.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs, Lucky and Oliver.  

Ms. Finke has been teaching with Youth Academy since 2016, teaching both Academic Enrichment and Explorer Camp classes. During the school year, she is currently teaching third grade and has previously taught first grade and held an EL position. Ms. Finke received her Elementary Education degree with a Math minor from Northern Illinois University and has been working in her current school district for over 15 years.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Brain Busters and Critical Thinking – I really like to see the strategies that the students use to solve problems and see their excitement when they do solve them.  

What was your first summer job?

Camp Counselor - I returned to this job for multiple summers as I loved working with kids and planning activities for them to have exciting days.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

I like to go for long walks, bike rides, catch up on my reading and seeing family. 

Jason Kruski

Mr. Kruski is a current seventh grade Social Studies teacher with nine years of experience teaching classes ranging from fourth to eighth grade. He began teaching with Youth Academy in the summer of 2019.

What was your first summer job?

My first summer job was shelving books at my local public library.  I have also worked as a historical reenactor and taught computer classes in the summer.

Do you have any pets?

I have two cats; their names are Gus and Arugula. 

Mrs. K has been an elementary school teacher for 14 years. She has been teaching fifth grade for the past six years, and previously taught first and fourth grade. Mrs. K has been with Youth Academy for four years and has taught courses throughout the year during spring, summer and fall semesters.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

I love them all! I enjoy teaching coding, creative and elementary engineering and math – any class that allows students to explore, create and learn while having fun.

What was your first summer job?

My first summer job was babysitting the little boy next door.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Exploring the outdoors – hiking, gardening and traveling. 

Kelly McFadden

Ms. Kelly has been teaching yoga since 2005 at College of DuPage and a local park district. She received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and has completed a 200-hour Yoga Certification program. Ms. Kelly is looking forward to beginning teaching with Youth Academy during the 2021 summer semester.

What was your first summer job?

I was a summer camp counselor.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Swimming. 

Richard Morton

Mr. Morty served in the Navy for six years as a nuclear engineer on the ballistic missile submarine, USS Alaska SSBN 732. After his time in the Navy, he worked as a cryogenic technician, designing and installing liquid gas systems, before returning to school to study video game art and design. Mr. Morty has been teaching for ten years, including teaching adult computer courses with College of DuPage Continuing Education for six years and with Youth Academy for four years.  

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Video Game Design – so much fun and coolness come from this class.

What was your first summer job?

I was a pool attendant for an apartment complex. That summer I learned to always use sunscreen!

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Hiking and motocross. I love exploring the outdoors, especially on a dirt bike. After that, teaching for Youth Academy. All of us in Continuing Education get very excited about Youth Academy.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! A black Labrador Retriever named Joplin who is also my service dog.  

Mrs. P earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University and a master's degree in Educational Technology Leadership through Concordia University Chicago. She has been teaching for nine years and has spent most of this time as a middle school computer technology teacher, but also has experience teaching reading and special education. Mrs. P first began working with Youth Academy in 2011 as Youth Aide, then returned as an instructor beginning in the summer of 2018.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

I enjoy teaching anything hands-on. I learn by doing, so I find it fun to teach my students through the experience of doing things themselves.

What was your first summer job?

I was a lifeguard at the public swimming pool.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

I enjoy anything that involves being outside. Hiking, camping, swimming, yard work, walks – you name it!

Do you have any pets?

I have two beagles – Louie and Finn.  

Jacqueline Reid

Mrs. Reid began teaching in 2007 and has a master's degree in Teaching with ESL, Language Arts, Middle School and Social Science endorsements. She is currently teaching all aspects of Language Arts to grades fifth through eighth, and has experience teaching middle school Social Studies. Mrs. Reid began teaching with Youth Academy in 2010.  

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Literary Analysis and Writing Skills.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Gardening.

Do you have any pets?

I have one dog, a Norwegian Elkhound named Max, and a large tuxedo cat named Drezy. 

Kara Tegmeyer

Mrs. Tegmeyer earned her Family and Consumer Science Education degree from Illinois State University and has experience teaching both culinary arts and child development. She has been teaching for eight years, including teaching high school culinary arts and currently teaches culinary classes to adults in Continuing Education at College of DuPage. She began teaching with Youth Academy in 2019.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

I love teaching and demonstrating anything baking-related. Lately I have been enjoying making layer cakes.

What was your first summer job?

I worked at Jewel Osco when I was 16.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

I love to be outside, and I love to be able to take my kids to the park! 

High School and Junior High Achievers Instructors

Urzula Urzua

Indiana born and raised Miss U obtained her BS and MS from Indiana University. Miss U began her teaching career with GED test prep in 1997 at a homeless shelter in Bloomington, Indiana as a volunteer graduate student. She started her career in teaching with Chicago Public School district and ACT/SAT prep respectively in 2000. She specializes in Chemistry and mastered her test prep teaching skills from a former College Board test question writer. Miss U has worked for our COD Youth Academy team for 5 years. She and her husband are both self-proclaimed science geeks who enjoy traveling to interesting museums and places of historical and scientific significance.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

Favorite class to teach is SAT/ACT prep. But she also enjoy working the STEMCON CE table and also creating science videos for this upcoming STEMCON virtual event.

What was your first summer job?

As a senior in HS Miss U was a dental assistant for her dentist.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Hike in the National Parks, especially Zion in Utah  

Mr. Ross is a semi-retired teacher. I retired from full time teaching in 2013 and have been teaching part time since then. Mr. Ross joined our Youth Academy team in 2013 and this summer will be his 40th year teaching summer school. He has taught high math (almost every course) and health.  I have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren. I love spending time with all of them and always look forward to my time spent with my grandchildren. My hobbies include sports and gardening.

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

I have only taught Geometry for the youth academy.

What was your first summer job?

My first summer job was as a stock boy in the backroom of an old-style appliance store. I remember that it was very dusty.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

My favorite thing to do in the summer is a family BBQ in the backyard.

Do you have any pets?

We have had dogs for almost 40 years. We currently have a 15 1/2-year-old yellow lab.

Shelly Gupta

Mrs. Gupta has been part of the Youth Academy team since 2018. Her educational background includes a M.S in Mathematics, and Masters in Education Teaching Experience with over 11 years of teaching experience various K-12 levels of instruction. These days she works for Plainfield School Dist. 202.  

What is your favorite Youth Academy course to teach?

My favorite course to teach is Pre - Calculus.

What was your first summer job?

Teaching with Youth academy at COD.

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?

Teaching with Youth academy at COD.

Contact Information

Continuing Education
Student Resource Center (SRC), Room 1110, (630) 942-2208
Email: CE@cod.edu
Fax: (630) 942-3785