Our Staff

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Jane Marcoux

ACES Founder

Director, PreK-8 Programs and Summer Camps 

Jane Marcoux is a mother of seven children through birth and adoption.  She has spent three decades working in private, public, and homeschool settings teaching students from pre-K through high school.  She has experience in a variety of learning environments, as a parent and educator.  She holds degrees in both Elementary Education and Psychology as well as a Master IEP Coach certificate. Outside her work at ACES, Jane serves on the Oswego School Community Resource Collaborative and is on the board of directors for the Children’s Research Triangle. In her spare time, she can be found reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

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Tricia Dunn

Sun Raise Academy Founder

Director, High School Programs and Tutoring

Tricia Dunn holds a dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. She has over 20 years of  educational experience  as a classroom teacher, remedial teacher, tutor, and home educator. She has the honor of being mom and teacher to her own 6 amazing children ages 13-23 years old as well as a support home educator to other students. She lives in Aurora, Illinois with her kids, 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, and 1 crested gecko. Tricia is also a Certified Parent Coach and Life Empowerment Coach. In her spare time, you can find Tricia enjoying family time, hanging out with friends, and living her best life! 

Dawn Kararo 

Client Care/Business Operations

 

Dawn Kararo is a homeschool mom to 9 children ranging in age from 7-23.  Prior to starting a family, Dawn held various positions in the field of HR and Benefits Administration. Now, in her 15th year of homeschooling, she is excited to be a part of ACES Education/Sun Raise and to work with our amazing families and teachers! In her rare moments of free time, Dawn enjoys camping, taking long walks, reading non-fiction, and baking.

 

Heather Spychala

ACES Tutor

 

Heather is a mom of two kids (6 and 9), has worked in public education as an Intervention Specialist for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for the past 12 years, and has been a homeschooling mom for three years and counting. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a focus in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as her Masters Degree in the same field from Missouri State University. She enjoys gardening, reading, running, animals, and loves being outside with her kids. She looks forward to getting to know your children and helping them to foster a love of learning while gaining tools to tackle hard things. 

Irene Wilkinson

ACES Special Events Support

 

Irene is a former senior banker and manager.  She spent 20+ years developing employees and raising two children.  She has experience working with children with the challenges of ADHD, anxiety, and executive functioning issues.

Jackie Rowe

ACES Teacher

 

Mrs. Rowe taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th for 14 years. In the past five years, she tutored and subbed in District 308, and did some reading coaching at National Louis University. In the summer of 2020, she found ACES along her journey and couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and teach alongside your children!

Krissie Brown

ACES Teacher

 

Krissie Brown has a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and a Master’s of Arts in Teacher Leadership with endorsements in math and science.  She brings to her classes 20 years of teaching experience in West and East Aurora.

Maggie Kinn

ACES Teacher

 

Maggie Kinn is a homeschooling mother of five, who is a former public school teacher and substitute teacher.  When Maggie stopped working full time, she started tutoring students and has helped several students succeed in school, as well as on the ACT and SAT tests.

Angela Flaherty

ACES  Teacher

 

Angela Flaherty has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education with a minor in dance education. She taught freshman and sophomore English at Oswego High School from 1993-1999.  When her children were young, she decided to quit grading papers full time and pull out her dance shoes. She taught dance at the park district for ten years and owned Dance With Flair studio for 15 years. Angela has also had experience as a substitute teacher for District 308 at all age levels.  In addition to over twenty-five years of teaching, Angela has four adult children, her third child is deaf and on the autism spectrum. He has given her experience with sensory processing strategies and Individual Educational Plans (IEPs). In addition to being an in-person and Zoom writing teacher at Aces, she provides Zoom dance classes which incorporate social studies themes. She also does in -person and Zoom tutoring throughout the year. In her free time, Angela likes to travel and spend time with her family.

 

Julie Elzerman

ACES  Teacher

 

Julie Elzerman is a homeschool mom of two girls. She has an associates degree and has always had a passion for art. She has seen that studying artists helps children to appreciate the beauty in art, see another point of view, work on focus, have fun experimenting with different materials, and embrace diversity and creativity. When Julie has free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing guitar, and running her home baking business.

Melissa Van Boekel, M.S.Ed., BCBA, LBS1

Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Learning Behavior Specialist

Melissa Van Boekel earned her undergraduate degree at Eastern Illinois University where she majored in Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education. She earned her graduate degree from Northern Illinois University in Advanced Special Education specializing in Behavior Analysis. Melissa has four years of experience working with individuals ages 5 through 22 in a school setting as well as experience working with children with behavior challenges in the home environment. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys practicing agility with her dog, spending time with family and friends, and playing board games.

Veronica Weir

ACES Teacher

 

Veronica Weir is a wife of 37 years, mother of 5 and grandmother to 2 grandchildren and a granddog Harry.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.  She homeschooled her children for 9 years and has taught music and technology in a private school for 11 years. She enjoys learning new things, gardening, traveling and all things music!  She looks forward to fostering the curiosity of your children as we explore and learn together.

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Tiffany Kramer

ACES Teacher 

Mrs. Tiffany Kramer has a degree in international relations with an emphasis on Latin America, with a minor in Spanish. She taught Spanish for the K-5 program at Chesterbrook Academy. She has also worked with local migrant families, providing home tutoring. Since becoming a mom twelve years ago, though, she has made all of her jobs work around motherhood to be with her children. She also currently works from home as the social media coordinator for her father’s marketing business.

Amber Ruland

ACES Teacher

 

Amber Ruland is a mother to 4 kids ranging from college to elementary school and is married to her best friend.   She has been working as an educator for over 20 years in public education, homeschool education, as well as teaching pre service teachers at NIU and Lewis University.  She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education with a special education endorsement , elementary education, as well as a Master’s in Educational Administration. Outside of teaching college courses and teaching at ACES, Amber can be seen at the many various sporting events her children play, volunteering to help with musicals at the local schools, or shuttling children. In her spare time, she can be found reading, traveling and camping in their 1975 Airstream, visiting one of our National Parks, hiking, enjoying her hot tub, and spending time with her family. 

Samantha Patterson

ACES Teaching Assistant 


Samantha Patterson is in her 6th year of being a teaching assistant but is in her first year at ACES Education. She has her paraprofessional license for K-12/special education, along with her Associates in Applied Science. She previously worked at Churchill Elementary, Fox Chase Elementary, and Murphy Junior high in the Oswego 308 school district. She has one daughter who is a freshman in high school at OEHS, also has 5 cats, 4 dogs, and 21 chickens! She enjoys working with kids, baking, gardening, and spending time with her family.

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Bex Rizo

Student Assistant

 

Bex is a senior at Sun Raise Academy homeschool. She is passionate about working with kids from volunteering in club meetings to helping in community events and peer tutoring. In her spare time, you can find her reading a good book (especially if it is about Nikola Tesla) and playing her instruments. She is also on an editorial team for a girl-led magazine called This Girl’s Story.

 

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Francesca Cabrera

ACES Teaching Assistant

 

Francesca Cabrera is a homeschool mom of her six year old daughter, Gabriella. She has a background in Human Resources Management and has always had a passion for teaching. She has devoted her time and energy into volunteering within the community as a Bible educator and mentor to old and young alike. When Francesca has free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling in their recreational vehicle, and enjoying hobbies such as painting, gardening and reading.

Sarah Barraza

ACES Teacher

 

Sarah Barraza studied intensive Spanish at the college level and served as the group translator for multiple mission trips to Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Honduras, and Peru. She and her husband Moises are the blessed parents of Moises jr. (“Moisito”), Alethia, Yeshua, and baby-on-the-way, whom they are raising in a bilingual (Spanish and English) home environment. Sarah and Moises also own and operate an award-winning law firm in Aurora, IL, The Immigration Law Office of Moises L. Barraza, LLC, where they speak Spanish with the majority of the clients they serve.

Nichole Urbaniak 

Tutor

 

Nichole Urbaniak has a Bachelors Degree in both Speech Pathology and Audiology. She carries a Masters Certification in Montessori Education and has taught students for over twenty years. Nichole focuses on using concrete materials to serve each child’s individual needs while encouraging growth and development socially, emotionally, academically, and physically.

 

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Kaisa Norwood

ACES Substitute Teacher

 

Kaisa Norwood has a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Education, K-9. She has spent the past 28 years teaching, teaching summer school, substitute teaching and tutoring. She also has extensive knowledge about 504 plans. Kaisa and her husband have 3 boys and a dog named Mack. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, traveling and reading.

Tori Anderson 

Sun Raise Teacher & Tutor

 

Tori has a BS in Mathematics and MET in Educational Technology. She is a national board-certified math teacher and an exceptional tutor. She has over 15 years of professional experience teaching and tutoring math students from Kindergarten through Calculus. She is great at explaining the concepts in ways that make sense and are easy for struggling students to understand. She has even coached students to earn a perfect 800 on the math section of the SAT. She would LOVE to help your student excel in their math course or standardized exam.

Farheen Rizvi

ACES Teacher

Coming Soon!

Katurah Mindock

ACES Student Information Systems

Coming Soon!

Kathy Petrak 

ACES Teacher/IEP Coaching

Kathy Petrak has been a teacher in the Special Education field since 2002, working with various students in the recreational, private, and educational setting.  She most recently has worked in the school district as a teacher for students with Autism and as an Elementary Interventionist.  She has three students in the school district and loves working with families and children!

Noah Kararo

Marketing

Noah Kararo, a homeschool graduate, who is leveraging his BBA and MSM from the University of St. Francis to assist ACES as we seek to expand our presence in the local community and online. His wide range of skills include marketing strategy, social media campaign building, process consulting, among others. In his short tenure with ACES, he’s assisted with optimizing the website and related SEO, as well as community based events. Outside of ACES, he’s a Business Analyst for one of Chicago’s top law firms, coaches youth baseball, and enjoys learning about emerging technologies.