I graduated from Trinity Bible School with a BA in Elementary Education. I taught at Christian Life School for 12 years and then took some time off to focus on being a mom. I started teaching at Open Wings in February of 2021. I love teaching at Open Wings because this school focuses on the child as an individual, not a label they have been given. Each child has an opportunity to succeed on their level.
This is my first year as a teacher in the Open Wings Upper School and I am honored and excited to be a part of the Open Wings family! I have a degree in Elementary and Middle School Education as well as a Master’s in Family and Community Counseling and Development and have enjoyed teaching the “littles” to the “bigs” in several school settings. I love the privilege of building learning relationships with our students and helping them to reach their full potential in all areas of development.
Dr. Corey Drake
Head of School
After several years of being a supporter and frequent visitor to Open Wings, I was lucky enough to become the Head of School in June 2021. It is a privilege to be in a position to support the amazing work our staff and students do every day! Prior to coming to Open Wings, I was a Professor and Director of Teacher Preparation at Michigan State University. I look forward to continuing to support Open Wings as a place where current and future teachers can learn to build on students’ unique strengths and interests and where all students can soar.
I joined Open Wings because I visited the school and met the most delightful and eager group of learners I have ever encountered. These young people are a joy to spend time with. Our job together is upper school math and science. Every day we work together on new problems relevant to our learners’ lives and imagination.
Thomas G. Eber is a retired school administrator with 28 years of administrative experience. Most recently, he was principal of The Skokie School in Winnetka. During those 13 years, the school was routinely recognized for excellence. His school received two special awards from The Northern Suburban Special Education District for inclusion and the development of a program for students with autism. The Skokie School was identified by The Chicago Magazine as a premier public school. Prior to working for the Winnetka Public Schools, he served as principal in a K-6 building in Des Plaines, Illinois and for seven years and a K-8 Catholic School in Chicago. Tom has presented at numerous conferences including ASCD, NCTE, and The Midwest Principal’s Association. He helped develop a staff development program with NCTE and continues to attend workshops at The Teachers College in New York to enhance his skills in the teaching of literacy skills. He has helped develop social emotional skills programs concentrating of developing problem solving skills.
I have been at Open Wings since September. I have a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and am a former Montessori 3-6 year old teacher as well as a former homeschool mom. I am really enjoying the children at Open Wings.
Social Work Associate
My name is Amy Gordon and I am so excited to have joined the Open Wings family this school year as a social work associate. I couldn’t be more happy to be part of this amazing community that truly focuses on the whole child and celebrates every milestone. I am so honored to have the opportunity to link arms with our parents to be a team and to do life together with all of our families.
I started teaching music at Open Wings 3 years ago. During my second year teaching, I joined the online staff and taught language arts and math as well as doing music virtually for the entire school. This year I am teaching music, social studies, and science both in person and online. In the few short years I have been here I have learned so much from both the students and staff. I feel very fortunate to be working in such an amazing school and look forward to many more years to come.
Hayley Henschel Jensen
I am a Carthage College graduate and received my BA in Elementary Education. I have been teaching at Open Wings for 5 years now. Prior to coming to Open Wings I was the Preschool Director at St. Mary's Lutheran Church. The greatest joy for me as a teacher is seeing that lightbulb moment when a student understands and learns a new concept. What a celebration that is for all of us.
Dr. Kim Hufferd-Ackles
Founder and Educational Advisor
Kimberly Hufferd-Ackles had the dream of opening a school where smiling students would enter the doors in the mornings for many years. This dream became a reality in 2012 when the first group of students came in the doors at Open Wings. She has devoted the past decade to the most rewarding and most challenging work of her professional career supporting students, teachers, and families at Open Wings. Kim received her PhD from Northwestern University in 1999. In addition to being the mother to four children, she thrives in her ongoing support of many aspects of Open Wings Learning Community and in knowing the amazing students that call this school home.
Alicia holds a Bachelors degree in Special Education with an emphasis in behavioral disorders from University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She taught at an alternative high school for two years before taking time off to raise a family. Alicia taught at Open Wings for three years before moving into the position of Executive Director. She loves that at Open Wings we have the ability to provide hands on, individualized instruction to our students and to work closely with families.
My name is Delaney Leber and I am a graduate from Carthage College in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology as well as Education and Spanish. This will be my 4th year as a part of the Open Wings community. I am very honored to be at a place that really focuses on students learning in a way that best supports them and makes sure they know that they are always welcome at school. What I truly enjoy the most is the overall atmosphere of the school; the kindness, caring, and understanding nature of not only the educators, but the students and their families as well.
My name is Jon Ludtke and I have been with Open Wings for two weeks now and absolutely love it. My role in this school is an associate in the lower wing group. I currently hold an associates degree in early childhood education, but I'm going back to school to earn my bachelors in secondary education.
Susan Ojala Myers holds a BA in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. She performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as Momenta! Performing Arts Company before finding her true passion as a teacher. Susan has been working with dancers of all ages and abilities for over twenty years, and is proud to have earned her level two certification in Autism Movement Therapy in 2015. Besides teaching in the private dance studio world, she teaches AMT classes, and runs several outreach dance programs in Kenosha area schools. Susan’s professional goal to make the joy of dance accessible to all children led her to Open Wings. Her experience as a parent, challenged with finding the right learning environment for her own children, has made spreading awareness of this very special school a personal goal. Susan and her husband Eric live in the Kenosha area with their three children.
Naomi worked for OW on and off starting 2014…this school year marks the start of her 5th year. Received bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from UW Stout with concentration/special certificate in autism spectrum disorders. Mrs. Petrovich is mother to 4 biological and adopted children. Prior to being a Wisconsin native, she was born and raised in California
(snow = 👎🏽).
Bill holds a Masters degree in special education, cross-categorical, and is certified to teach in Wisconsin K-12. He has been with special education departments in Door County and worked for three years in the Wisconsin Early Autism Project. He began as a regular education teacher in middle and high school English. He was with Open Wings our first three years, took a year to work in another district, and is now back. He has always felt that Open Wings is where he was meant to be and is proud to be part of such a talented and dedicated staff in a progressive school.
My name is Mikah Steitz, and this is my second year teaching at Open Wings. I grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2019. I moved to Kenosha to attend the Living Light School of Worship in 2019-2020, and began working at Open Wings the following school year. As a new teacher, I consider it such a privilege to learn from the amazing students and staff at this school!
I am Kayla Uhwat and I have been with Open Wings for 7 years now! I was in the building for 5 of those years and when life pulled me to Kentucky I helped establish our Online school. I graduated from Carthage College with a Psychology degree in 2017. I am currently enrolled to start my Masters in Social Work in January from Aurora University. Open Wings is a one of a kind place. There is truly no place like it. We have a way to meet each unique learner where they are and establish meaningful relationships with each one. Everyone has a place at Open Wings and everyone is welcomed. These will always be my people and my favorite place on Earth.