Specialty Teachers

Shane Woodcock – Athletic Director and Physical Education – earned his B.S. in Physical Education from Eureka College and M.S. in Sports Administration from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to coming to Countryside, Mr. Woodcock spent two years teaching 1st grade through 3rd grade PE in Charleston, Illinois. While there Mr. Woodcock coached high school boys’ tennis and co-led a running program for 3rd grade – 6th grade boys through the Mattoon YMCA. Mr. Woodcock coaches Countryside’s boys’ basketball team, assists with the coed soccer team, and coaches the track club.

Judy Rocke – Middle School Computer Programming – has over 30 years of experience in education and curriculum development. She holds a B.S. in Middle School Education with an emphasis in Mathematics from Illinois State University. Ms. Rocke taught 5th grade for twenty years and is currently a Curriculum Development Specialist at the University of Illinois. She has co-authored a series of books titled “Discovering Computer Science & Programming through Scratch” and is the General Editor of “KENWOOD Computational Thinking and Mathematics Materials,” a collection of Scratch lessons designed to integrate computational thinking into existing mathematical curriculum for grades K-5.

Erika Mennig – Music – 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 is also the head volleyball coach at Urbana High School, and she owns her own music studio giving private lessons in both piano and voice.

Amy Chesser – Creative Drama and Performing Arts – after receiving her Bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri-Columbia in theater performance and political science, Mrs. Chesser continued her studies in theater presentation at Georgetown University while working for a United States’ Senator from Missouri. She moved to Champaign and pursued her Master’s degree in theater history from University of Illinois and a second Bachelor’s in education from Illinois State University. Mrs. Chesser has taught both English and American Government at Centennial High School while coaching the speech team and has home schooled her own children (and a few more) for ten years. Her youngest is now an 8th grader at Countryside.

Katrina Widholm – Visual Arts – received her B.F.A. in Graphic Design/Visual Communications and her M.F.A. in Interaction Design from the University of Kansas. She returned to family and the Champaign area after living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for three years. She previously taught at the University of Kansas, Robert Morris College, the American Academy of Art, and the British American School. Ms. Widholm has also worked as a professional designer focusing on graphic design, website design and multimedia for the past twenty years. This is her thirteenth year teaching at Countryside, and she has a daughter in our middle school.

Eileen Chen – Chinese (Kindergarten – middle school) – 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 rewarded 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. She is the proud parent of a Countryside alumnus.

Whitney McComas – Latin (4th grade-middle school) – 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 seventh year teaching at Countryside.

Gloria Arizaga – Spanish (kindergarten – middle school) – 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 in our middle school.