Twelve educators from the suburbs make up of our panel of judges for this year's Academic Team.
• Jill Bauer: Inher 12th year as Student Volunteer Program Coordinator at Barrington High School. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester. Bauer serves on the Barrington Giving Day board of directors and as the high school liaison for the local CROP Walk, United Way and Relay For Life.
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• Diane Bourn: Finishing her sixth year as college counselor at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect. She has a B.A. in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, an M.S. in Counseling, and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor.
• Barbara A. Brennan: A counselor with Community High School District 94 in West Chicago since 2001. She holds a B.A. in psychology and sociology from Eureka College, M.A.; a B.A. in Education with secondary teaching certificate from Concordia University; and an Educational Leadership Certification from Aurora University.
• Jim Conrey: Coordinator of public information for Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125 in Lincolnshire. He has worked at Stevenson since 1994 after spending seven years as a journalist. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
• Julia Husen: Coordinator of College and Academic Counseling at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora since 2006. She has a B.S. in Education and M.S. Ed in Counseling. She has been at IMSA since 1992 as a faculty member, an instructional facilitator, and a college and academic counselor.
• Kim Munro: Guidance counselor at Glenbard North High School, shehas a bachelor's degree in music from DePauw University, and Master's and Educational Specialist degrees from Northern Illinois University. She has worked in Student Development at Northern Illinois University, Millikin University and Ball State University. She has been a guidance counselor at Geneva High School, St. Charles North High School, and the Glenbards.
• John Novak: Assistant Principal for Student Activities at John Hersey High School, where he has worked for 25 years, the last 10 as assistant principal. Taught all levels of math, coached four sports. and ran the IHSA state tennis finals. Has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois, and is a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University.
• Kristen Ras: Religion Department chairwoman at St. Francis High School in Wheaton. She graduated with a B.A. cum laude in Religious Studies from Bradley University in Peoria and has a Master's in Pastoral Studies from the Catholic Theological Union. This is her seventh year at St. Francis and 10th in education overall.
• Janine Steffen: Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Hampshire High School. She also is an adjunct professor at Aurora University and Concordia University Chicago. She earned her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago. Previously, she was the English Department Chair at Hampshire and taught all levels of English.
• Peter Sullivan: Principal of Lisle Senior High School for three years. Prior, he was the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Lockport Township High School District 205. He attended Loyola University and has completed graduate work at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of St. Francis.
• Dan Thorpe: Marmion Academy's Director of College Guidance. He is also the head football and track coach. Prior, Thorpe was a guidance counselor and head coach at Notre Dame Cathedral Latin School in Chardron, Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and a Master's Degree in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls.
• Amy Wesley: College counselor at Benet Academy in Lisle since 2000 and coach of competitive cheerleading for 10 years. She was Assistant Director of Admission at Bradley University and MacMurray College. She has served on the University of Illinois' Counselor Advisory Board. Amy earned her B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University and her M.A. from Bradley University.