Staff


Amador, Sylvia

Upper School, Spanish 2

Sylvia was born in Spain and met her Mexican husband while studying at Moody Bible Institute. They now live in Little Village, the largest Mexican neighborhood of the Midwest, where Paco serves as a pastor. Throughout the…

Read More

Black, Jessica

Director of Events & Extra Curricular

Jessica has a B.S. in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. Her experience includes working with new moms in addictions treatment, as a program director for wards of the state residing in shelters and…

Read More

Eng, Melody

Elementary Science

Even as a young child, Melody would sit in her class and daydream about how she would teach and reach students differently if she were to become a teacher one day…

Read More

Crabtree, Melissa

Elementary, Upper School, Elementary, Theater

Melissa holds a BA in Applied Theatre and Music Theatre Performance. She is a director, choreographer, and teacher for Spotlight Youth Theater, Schaumburg Summer Theatre, and St. Genisus Productions as well as performing at the professional level around the Chicago area. Her fun-loving personality, energy, and diverse & various talents will ensure a creative and exciting club that appeals to all!

Criminger, Valerie

Elementary & Upper School, Literature

Valerie has a B.A. In Communication from DePaul University and a Masters in Social Work from University of Chicago. She is a voracious reader whose greatest hope is to pass this passion onto her students. For the past five years she has been teaching literature to students ages 8-13 in a homeschool co-op. Prior to starting homeschooling her two children in 2001 she worked in nonprofit organizations on Chicago’s west side building resource networks and writing proposals for funding.

Ginter, Jenny

Director, Co-founder

Jenny has a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Writing. She taught English as a second language for many years prior to shifting her focus on raising her growing family and educating her children at home. Following a 2-year sabbatical from ODE, Jenny is pleased to be back and looking forward to a great year.

Huang, Susie

Elementary, Upper School, Mandarin Chinese

Susie comes to us all the way from Taiwan. Her career began in Taiwan where she studied to be an elementary teacher and taught for nine years. Upon arriving in the US she worked with homeschool students in California for five years. She then moved to Big Rock, Il and continued…

Jacks, Karina

Upper School, Elementary Art 

Karina graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art Education. Since school she’s spent her time teaching in various capacities, from traditional school settings to community centers. Whatever model she fits her teaching into, it always encourages hands on discovery, collaboration and an outlet for self-expression.

Kelsey, Gail

Kindergarten, 4’s & 5’s

Gail has a BA in Child Development and Family Life. She taught four years at Lydia Home’s day care program in Chicago. The youngest of her five children is fifteen; and all of her children have enjoyed homeschool and school combinations growing up. Two are out on their own;she has two granddaughters – who live in far-away Texas. She enjoys her time with the little ones.

Merrill, Lindsey

Kindergarten & Preschool 

Lindsey’s ministry is working with young children. She has been working at ODE as a preschool teacher’s aide for many years along with working at Classical Conversations and Greater Chicago Church. She and her husband have a college aged son and elementary aged daughter who is homeschooled, of course!

Miller, Cindy

Upper School, Literature

Cindy earned a BA in sociology from North Park University which she used in her work as a caseworker with World Relief. She received a promotion to full-time homemaker with the birth of her first child 28 years ago. She and her husband Jay have enjoyed the process of homeschooling their nine children for the past 23 years. For over a decade Cindy has taught literature to middle and high school students in a home-based co-op. She is a lover of quality writing and is enthusiastic about sharing this love with young people.

Thompson, Theresa

Upper School, Biology and AP Biology, Anatomy & Physiology

Theresa will be teaching Chemistry for the 2nd time around for us, and also offering Astronomy for the first time! Theresa’s husband, Mike Thompson, is the senior pastor at Crossroads Church of Hillside. Michael and Theresa are graduates of Moody Bible Institute.

Mrs. Y (Elizabeth)

Upper School, US History and AP; Web Content Developer

Elizabeth taught a public high school before moving private and served as a lay-worker for the Episcopal Church. She was ODE’s first upper school teacher and has since launched Advanced Placement and the Constitution Exam. Elizabeth also works on ODE’s yearbook. She and her husband began homeschooling in 2009 and their children are part of the ODE community.

Chen,Han

Elementary Math

Han came to the United States from China for her graduate study at DePaul University, where she was awarded a full scholarship. With a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, Han worked in the field for a few years before becoming a homeschooling mom of four kids.  As she began to teach other home school kids in co-ops and Sunday School, Han developed a desire to challenge kids to think more critically.  What better way to do this than through one of Han’s favorite subjects- MATH!  In her class, the students will be guided to think, process, and solve problems more efficiently and critically. Students will see that math is applicable in every area of their lives and even find math to be fun!

Galassini, Kathy

Unit

Since she was a young child, all Kathy wanted to do when she ” grew up” was  to teach children. Her educational background was initially in Therapeutic Recreation, she worked many years with children and adults with special needs in a recreational setting.  She currently is working on a degree in in Early Childhood education with a concentration in Special Education. She is an early childhood teacher and home schools her high school aged son. She has worked in various areas at ODE and looks forward to teaching the unit class this year.  She believes in hands on learning and meeting a child where they are at!