Meet Our Faculty
Arin Cox graduated from Central High School in Champaign and received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University. She worked for five years as our 1st grade co-teacher with Mrs. Kirby and is now in her twelfth year as our Kindergarten teacher. She and her husband are the proud parents of two sons including a Countryside alumnus.
Stacy Kirby has taught at Countryside for over 25 years. She graduated from Centennial High School in Champaign and received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University. Mrs. Kirby minored in Reading and is a Reading Specialist. She has completed Gifted Levels I and II training and is a Certified Junior Great Books Leader. She and her husband are proud parents of two Countryside alumni.
Amena Saleem has both a B.S. in Elementary Education from Millikin University and a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Illinois. In addition to her teaching certificate, she holds an endorsement in English as a Second Language. Before teaching at Countryside, she student-taught at Stratton Elementary in Champaign. Ms. Saleem has also been a volunteer tutor at East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center and a volunteer Sunday School teacher at Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center. She has a son attending Countryside and a daughter who is an alumna.
Lizzy White originally hails from Michigan. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Elementary Education as well as a degree in Social Studies. Before coming to Countryside, Lizzy taught in Rantoul and Bement and spent some time at Carrie Busey in Champaign. When she isn’t teaching, Ms. White works on the fixer-upper home that she recently purchased with her fiancé, Marc, and playing with her two cats, Larry and Marcy.
Marci Kyung grew up in Champaign and attended the University of Illinois, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She is now in her tenth year of teaching at Countryside School. Mrs. Kyung spent five years teaching 3rd grade at Countryside before moving to 4th grade. When Mrs. Kyung is not at Countryside, you can probably find her at Pandamonium Doughnuts, the specialty doughnut shop she co-owns with her husband, James.
Grace Woodcock taught for five years in Charleston, Illinois before starting at Countryside. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Illinois State University in Elementary Education with middle school endorsements in both math and language arts, and she received her Master's degree from Eastern Illinois University in Elementary Education. She has been working with elementary students since she was in junior high when she used to volunteer in her former 1st grade teacher's classroom.
Chris Antonsen has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Rhetoric from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Folklore Studies from Western Kentucky University, and a PhD in English from Ohio State University with joint emphases in Folklore Studies and American Literature. Prior to coming to Countryside eleven years ago, he spent time as a college professor, the founding managing editor of a small academic publishing house, projects manager and grants writer for the National Foreign Languages Resource Center, a web-delivered database developer, and a scout leader. He studied folklore at England’s University of Sheffield where he later held an Honorary Research Fellowship while conducting dissertation fieldwork. Mr. A is the proud parent of two Countryside alumni.
Ikro Joe received his B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences and a PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Illinois. As a research scientist at Kim Laboratories, a biotech company, he worked on pathogen detection sensor development, and he founded biotech firm EnvirGen Inc. For the past five years, Dr. Joe has tutored students in all levels of high school math. In addition he teaches test prep for the SSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT Subject tests, and the calculus, biology, and chemistry AP courses.
Sarah Predmore grew up all over the world. She lived in Japan, attended high school in Germany, and served as an ambassador at Model United Nations conferences in Prague, Czech Republic. Ms. Predmore graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Middle Grades Education with endorsements in Middle Grades Social Studies and Literacy. She has worked as a teacher’s assistant for both middle and high school math in Germany and has local experience at both Urbana and Edison Middle Schools. She completed her student-teaching at Jefferson Middle School. Ms. Predmore brings a unique global perspective to our students.
Tara Santiago is in her fifth year at Countryside. She has a B.S. in Computational Mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the past, she has been a teaching assistant for undergraduate math courses, an SAT instructor, and a math tutor. When she isn’t teaching, she is probably at home playing with her cat, Luna Victoria.
Marty Stambaugh is in her twenty-second year at Countryside and thirty-third year in teaching. Prior to coming to Countryside, she taught middle school Science at Urbana Middle School for nine years and served as the on-site coordinator for University of Illinois secondary education students who were student teaching at UMS. Having completed 22 graduate credits beyond her M.Ed., Ms. Stambaugh has taken advantage of numerous workshops, seminars, and courses to develop her interests in science education and related areas, as well as conducting various workshops herself. In addition to the teaching degree, she holds a B.A. in Agricultural Communications with a news-editorial emphasis.
Gloria Arizaga is originally from Mexico City, Mexico, and moved to the United States in 2001. She received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the Escuela de Periodismo "Carlos Septién García" and Associates Degree in Public Policies from the Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública de Queretaro. She is currently a freelance writer specializing in Economy and Finance for CNN's Expansión magazine and worked previously as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers. For nine years she was the coordinator of Nuevos Horizontes, a Spanish-language radio program produced by the University of Illinois Extension, where she also developed an oral comprehension course for Spanish AP students in high school. In addition to being a Spanish tutor for several years, she taught Spanish as a Second Language for K-8th grade for three years prior to joining Countryside. She has a daughter who is a Countryside alumna.
Dee Chapman is an iOS developer with years of experience in education. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and established a career at the University developing a virtual reality system with Caterpillar. In addition she has developed virtual reality applications for education and research through the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. In 2008 she co-founded a K-12 educational cooperative where she has taught and designed curriculum for a variety of classes including computer science. Mrs. Chapman has been a Girls Who Code facilitator at the University of Illinois, and worked to develop and program online educational content for MacMillan Publishers. She has developed numerous websites, is a freelance programmer, and is also the parent of Countryside alumni.
Eileen Chen is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and also speaks English and Japanese. She completed her B.A. at Tamkang University, Taiwan, and holds an M.S. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Nazareth College, Rochester, NY. She earned a Certification of Advanced Study and an M. Ed. in Human Resource Education from the University of Illinois. In addition, Mrs. Chen holds a certification of TESOL from the University of California, Irvine. Mrs. Chen taught Chinese in Chinese schools in California, New York, and Illinois, and she taught English as a foreign language at schools in Taiwan. Mrs. Chen has twice been awarded an excellent teacher award by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. She is the proud parent of a Countryside alumnus, and she hopes to go back to teach languages in underprivileged areas of China after she retires.
Jacki Loewenstein is the artistic director and owner of Class Act, a Champaign-based performing arts studio. Since 1992, she has worked professionally as a theater director, instructor, and private acting coach in Chicago, NYC, and Austin. Over the past decade, Ms. Jacki has directed local productions for Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company (CUTC), Urbana’s Station Theatre, and CUTC’s Penguin Project, a program featuring young people with disabilities paired with peer mentors. She received her B.A. in Journalism from UNC–Chapel Hill and her MFA in Directing from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. In addition, Ms. Jacki was our guest director for Countryside’s 8th grade production of Into the Woods, Jr. in 2016.
Whitney McComas graduated from the U of I with both her B.S. in Classics with a concentration in Latin and her M.A. in Classics with a specialization in Latin. While pursuing her Masters in teaching, she was recognized by her university students for excellence in teaching. Ms. McComas student-taught at Victor Andrew High School in Tinley Park, has tutored Latin, and has taught summer language camp for children ages 9-12 at the University of Illinois. Ms. McComas is in her eighth year teaching at Countryside.
Erika Mennig has a Master of Music Education from the University of Illinois. In addition she has a Bachelor of Music Education (choral), a Bachelor of Music in Open Studies (music business), and a Bachelor of Music in Fine Arts (piano performance) – all from the University of Illinois. Ms. Mennig previously taught music and directed the choir both at Edison Middle School in Champaign and in Rantoul. She also owns her own music studio giving private lessons in both piano and voice. Ms. Mennig is also the head volleyball coach at Urbana High School and at Countryside School.
Brooke Kim received her B.A in Art Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She taught art at Robeson Elementary School and has been a summer art camp leader at the Urbana Park District. In addition, Ms. Kim student taught at schools in Mahomet, at Centennial High School in Champaign, and at the Saturday Art School at the University of Illinois. Ms. Kim’s volunteer experience includes teaching bible study and volunteering with the homeless in Osaka, Japan, and leading weekly bible study discussions for college and graduate students locally.
Shane Woodcock earned his B.S. in Physical Education from Eureka College and M.S. in Sports Administration from Eastern Illinois University. This is Mr. Woodcock’s sixth year at Countryside. Through his creativity and enthusiasm about physical education, he has grown our program with several new activities. Mr. Woodcock established our archery program, archery summer camp, and the First Tee Golf program. He founded our ever-popular Annual Color Run and more recently, our Countryside Golf Outing. In addition to serving as our Athletic Director, Mr. Woodcock coaches Countryside’s boys’ basketball team, coed soccer team, and archery club. He is also a Middle School Advisor.
In January 2020 our previous Head of School resigned. In her place, three interim heads began. Two long-time faculty with extensive curriculum knowledge became the heads of elementary and middle school (in addition to their teaching positions). A long-time member of our Countryside community with extensive knowledge of business and operations became our interim head of school. They have served Countryside well - navigating us through the unexpected COVID situation.
Krystal Young holds a B.A. in English literature and M.Ed. with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has served as a substitute teacher in a variety of schools and content areas at Champaign Unit 4 Schools. While earning her M.Ed., she gained familiarity with and contributed pieces to the curriculums of several local area schools. Krystal maintains her teaching license and completes professional development, mostly focusing on dyslexia.
Prior to her current position, Mrs. Young was a co-founder and managing partner of Codagami, a Champaign-based technology company that develops web and mobile applications for some of the most recognized brands in the world. During her tenure, Krystal was responsible for marketing, human resources, finance, employee development, and operations. Mrs. Young has been a member of the Countryside community for eight years, and she has three daughters currently attending Countryside.
Chris Antonsen has a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Rhetoric from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Folklore Studies from Western Kentucky University, and a PhD in English from Ohio State University with joint emphases in Folklore Studies and American Literature. He has been a college professor, the founding managing editor of a small academic publishing house, projects manager and grants writer for the National Foreign Languages Resource Center, a web-delivered database developer, and a scout leader. He studied folklore at England’s University of Sheffield where he later held an Honorary Research Fellowship while conducting dissertation fieldwork. Mr. A is the proud parent of two Countryside alumni.
Stacy Kirby was born and raised in Champaign, IL. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University. Mrs. Kirby minored in Reading and is a Reading Specialist. She has completed Gifted Levels I and II training and is a Certified Junior Great Books Leader. She began teaching at the newly founded Countryside School in 1993, working with the founding board and then with the first Head of School to help create the foundations of both the curriculum and community on which Countryside stands today. Stacy and her husband are proud parents of two Countryside alumni.
Chris Antonsen – Interim Head of Middle School
Binky Bognar – Administrative Assistant
Vivian Carpenter – Business Manager
Kristin Feddersen – Director of Communications & Alumni Relations
Judy Kaplan – Director of Admissions
Stacy Kirby – Interim Head of Elementary School
Susan Richardson – Associate Head of School
Krystal Young – Interim Head of Administration