Meet our amazing Open Wings staff. They have changed the lives of every single child who has attended our school.
Dr. Kim Hufferd-Ackles - Founder and Educational Advisor
Kimberly Hufferd-Ackles was most recently a school administrator at The Skokie School in Winnetka, Illinois. Kim received her PhD from Northwestern University in 1999. Her research interests focused on mathematics teaching and learning and the role of discourse in the implementation of mathematics educational reforms. Her dissertation work appears in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. She enjoys working with teachers and helping them apply current research in education to their classes. She teaches mathematics methods at Northwestern to preservice teachers in the Master’s of Science in Education program. Dr. Hufferd-Ackles graduated with a BA in neurobiology and physiology, Phi Beta Kappa, from Northwestern University. Her MEd was completed at Auburn University. In addition to being the mother to four children, she is currently combining her passions for strong educational opportunities and school leadership with her experiences raising a daughter on the autism spectrum to found and direct Open Wings Learning Community.
Tom Eber – Literacy Coordinator
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.
Alicia Johnson - Executive Director
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.
Bill Sneeberger - Teacher
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.
Hayley Jensen - Teacher
Hayley has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education K-8 from Carthage College. She has more than 30 years of experience in education ranging from being a Lead Teacher to a Preschool Director. Her favorite thing about Open Wings is that we are all part of a community that teaches each other.
Delaney Leber - Teacher
Delaney graduated from Carthage College in 2017 with a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology as well as Education and Spanish. After graduating, Delaney worked as an associate at Open Wings in the spring of 2018 before starting full time as a teacher in the fall of 2018. What she loves about Open Wings the most is the overall atmosphere of the school; the kindness, caring, and understanding nature of not only the educators, but the students as well. She is honored to be a part of such an amazing community.
Sharon Daszcuk – Music
Mrs. Daszczuk (Mrs.D) is very excited to be a part of the team here at Open Wings Learning Community. She did her undergrad studies at UW Parkside, including a BS in Psychology with an emphasis in learning; as well as Music and Vocal performance. She did her graduate level studies at Concordia University of Wisconsin in Music Education and in Curriculum and Planning. She has taught for over ten years in Kenosha area Catholic schools. She believes that all children can learn many aspects of music and music basics, while having fun and loving music. She loves to see her “kids” smiling when learning new songs, singing and/or dancing. She feels that music is more than an art; it is a tool that can be implemented for many areas of learning and can often reach within students and aid in learning success.
Susan Myers - Dance
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.
Kayla Uhwat - Teaching Associate
Jacqueline Gurney - Teaching Associate
Hannah Perotti - Teaching Associate
Cheryl Koons - Teaching Associate
Cassandra Bingham - Teaching Associate
MaryBeth Kent - Teaching Associate
MaryBeth has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University. After working for 15 years she stayed home to raise her 2 children. She has worked extensively with her own special needs child. She is versed in ABA, speech and occupational therapies, augmentative communication, as well as diet and biomedical interventions. She brings a true love and compassion to help those in need.
Gina Hartlaub - Office
Gina has a business degree from UW-Madison, but spent most of her life homeschooling her seven children. From the students to the staff, she loves the people of Open Wings who make it a great place to be!
Jennifer Hendrick - Office