OUR TEAM

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Barb Thayer
Executive Director

Barb joined the Candor Health Education in 2011 and currently serves as the center’s Executive Director.  Previously, she held several positions at Candor Health Education including Chief Operating Officer where she led the development of a long-term strategic plan for the organization. Barb has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and currently lives in Burr Ridge with her husband and three children. She is thrilled to be part of an organization with such a rich history and looks forward to making Candor Health Education more impactful to families in the Chicagoland area.

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Betty Barsley-Marra
Health Educator

Betty Barsley-Marra began her career as an Early Childhood Development Specialist with the University of Missouri initiating a statewide system for the early identification of children with special needs. Upon returning to Illinois, she joined the faculty of Roosevelt University teaching psychology and education courses. She has taught and mentored countless students, teachers, counselors, youth development professionals, parents and community members regarding physical and mental health related issues through her work at Roosevelt, Merrillville High School and as a family life educator with University of Illinois Extension. She considers it a great privilege to have worked across the lifespan with infants through seniors. Betty earned her undergraduate degree at Northern Illinois University in Family Development and Early Childhood Education and her MS Ed from University of Illinois Chicago in Educational Studies with a specialization in Human Sexuality Education and Counseling and post Masters work in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys long distance cycling and indulging her love for the arts including pop culture. Her claims of “I saw him/her when” can be attributed to her habit of frequenting obscure venues to see bands, plays, performances and exhibits.

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Mark Boozell
Accountant
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Amanda Byrne
Development Manager

Amanda joins the Candor Health Education team with more than fifteen years of development experience. Amanda has been fortunate enough to work for some of the most exceptional nonprofit organizations in the area. She spent much of her career working in the arts and has also been integral to the development teams at child and animal welfare agencies. Amanda was drawn to these organizations out a deep sense of commitment for their missions.

Amanda is proud to be a member of the Candor Health Education team and an organization that is dedicated to making an impact on the health education of so many students. Amanda looks forward to meeting friends of the Candor Health Education at upcoming events and programs.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Science degree from Roosevelt University. Amanda and her husband currently live in Palos Heights with their three children.

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Eleanor Evins
Health Educator

Eleanor joined the Candor Health Education team in May of 2019 as an intern and transitioned to becoming a health educator with the organization in August of the same year. She is a double-alumni from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Health specializing in health promotion. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing Education from NIU and hopes to eventually teach the next generation of nursing students within a university setting. Eleanor has a variety of professional and academic interests and has worked as a registered nurse in a number of different healthcare settings such as inpatient critical care, outpatient surgery, and reproductive medicine. As a nurse and health educator, she values the role of primary prevention in addressing health disparities and promoting optimal health. She is excited to work with an organization that gives her the opportunity to continuously provide primary prevention and health promotion education to the students served by Candor Health Education.

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Kimberly Fronk
Health Educator

Kim Fronk joined Candor Health Education in August of 2019. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Miami University in Ohio and a Masters in Educational Administration from Northeastern Illinois University. She has been a 4th – 6th grade teacher at Chicago Public Schools, Oak Park District 97 and a K-8 substitute teacher at LaGrange Highlands. Kim has always had a passion for teaching and sharing her love of science with her students. As an educator and parent, Kim wants to help children navigate this often challenging world and support them in making informed and healthy decisions. She is excited to be part of an organization that encourages parents and youth to ask questions, talk openly about puberty, sex education and the impact of drugs and alcohol while looking at it through a scientific lens. In her spare time, Kim enjoys spending time with her family, being active in her church and playing tennis.

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Katie Gallagher
Director of Education

Katie joins the Candor Health Education team after working for over twenty years as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and middle school levels. She has a rich background in child development, curriculum development and social emotional learning. As a building principal, Katie provided teachers with ongoing feedback, curricular support and professional development opportunities. She implemented progress monitoring tools to allow for more data-driven decision making regarding student needs and curriculum updates. She worked to improve school/parent communication through the implementation of a schoolwide LMS (learning management system). Katie is looking forward to using her experience in her role as Director of Education at Candor Health Education. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Loyola University Chicago. Katie knows first-hand the value of Candor Health Education programs to students, teachers and families in the schools we serve.

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Liz Garcia
Health Educator

Liz received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Illinois State University. During that time, she became a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through The National Commission for Health Education (NCHEC). Liz joined the Candor Health Education in April 2017.

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Terence Hodges
Health Educator

Terence Hodges joined the Candor Health Education December 2019 as a Health Educator. This is Terence’s second time working for the center. He previously worked for Candor Health Education in 2015 and 2016. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Roosevelt University, an MA degree in Human Services from Concordia University Chicago, an M.Ed degree in Health Education from Carroll University, and a Doctor of Health Science (DHS) Degree from Midwestern University. He is also a certified alcohol and other drug counselor (CADC) and a certified health education specialist (CHES). Prior to joining Candor Health Education, Terence worked as a Department Chair and Assistant Professor at Methodist College in central Illinois, and most recently he worked as a full-time instructor in the Health Science department at Northern Illinois University. Terence is looking forward to impacting the lives of young people through Candor Health Education’s various programs.

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Nicole Holmes
Health Educator

Nicole Holmes, BS, CHES, is a new health educator with the Candor Health Education Team. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Some career highlights include presenting at the National Sexual Health Conference (Two presentations - Bisexual Health Symposium, Bisexuality 101 for Healthcare Providers) and contributing to The Consent Guidebook as well as a Vice article about FC2 (Female condom, receptive partner condom). Nicole is excited to broaden her public health horizons with teaching youth under high school age and she is excited to be a member of such a dynamic and supportive team that is considered a health education powerhouse. Nicole is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a season Ticket Holder for the Chicago Sky (WNBA Team), an avid movie fan and she enjoys trying new restaurants with her mom, friends, and or/partner.

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Karime Lopez
Administrative Assistant

Since joining the Candor Health Education in 2008, Karime has become the welcoming face and voice for Candor Health Education. She is responsible for the reservation system and schedules nearly 80,000 students a year,providing program confirmations and invoicing. With her mastery of the system and understanding of all of Candor Health Education’s offerings, she is able to guide teachers and parents toward programs that meet their needs. Additionally, she coordinates vendor visits and provides administrative support throughout Candor Health Education.

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Sandi Metcalfe
Health Educator

Sandi joined the Candor Health Education as a Health Educator in the Fall of 2018. Prior to joining the Candor Health Education team, Sandi spent several years working in DuPage County managing a Special Olympics sports program in a community special recreation cooperative for youth and adults with disabilities. It is here where she realized her passion for helping school aged children feel empowered and in control of their health and lifestyle choices. She looks forward to continuing this passion through delivering community health, sex, and drug education programs under the mission and vision of Candor Health Education. Sandi received a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and Master of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation from Illinois State University.

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Shelly Nicholson
Grants Manager

Shelly joined the Candor Health Education staff in October 2015 as the Grants Manager. Prior to Candor Health Education, she worked for the McHenry County Department of Health as a grant writer and manager of a community outreach, education and health insurance enrollment grant as part of the initial roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. She has a Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University and a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Shelly worked as a health educator for the US Peace Corps in Ecuador early in her career and is very happy to help sustain and expand Candor Health Education programming for the next generation.

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Sarah O
Administrative Assistant

Sarah joined Candor Health Education as an Administrative Assistant in July of 2018. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northern Illinois University, Sarah worked for five years for a non-profit organization helping adults with disabilities live full and abundant lives. The following six years were spent working for Northwestern Medicine in the inpatient Behavioral Health and Addictions settings. The topics of general and mental well-being are important to Sarah and she believes that educating children on these topics can lead to healthy, productive adults.

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Mishawn Purnell-O’Neal
Health Educator

Mishawn Purnell-O’Neal joined Candor Health Education in the Fall of 2016. As a Health Educator, she strives to pique the interest of young audiences by delivering science-based content while making the real-world connection. She is a double-alumni of Benedictine University, receiving a Master in Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. Mishawn has worked in several Public Health settings (March of Dimes, American Academy of Pediatrics, and SIDS Alliance). To broaden her Public Health outreach, she publishes books, educational activities, and board games designed for children and youth. Mishawn is a passionate Public Health professional, and is delighted to be a member of the Candor Health Education family.

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Laura Schwartz
Business Development Manager

Laura joined Candor Health Education as the Business Development Manager in September of 2017.  Prior to joining Candor Health Education, Laura worked in business development for Orange Theory Fitness in La Grange while raising her three children.  Early in her career, Laura taught 5th grade in Riverside, Illinois after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton.  Growing up in the western suburbs, Laura has had the unique perspective of attending Candor Health Education when she was a 5th grader herself, bringing her 5th grade students to Candor Health Education as a teacher, and being a parent of a student who recently attended Candor Health Education programs.

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Joan Sheldon
Health Educator

Joan Sheldon joined Candor Health Education in August, 2015.  She is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a major in Health Education, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University in Evanston.  She is a retired middle school Health teacher from Vernon Hills, IL. Joan used to bring her students to Candor Health Education. Joan is very appreciative of the opportunity to do what she is passionate about, educate our youth about their bodies and to lead healthy lives.

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Rachel Simmons
Health Educator

Rachel joined the Candor Health Education team in August of 2019. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health in 2017, having earned the Bronze Tablet distinction. Rachel later graduated with her Master of Science in Health Administration in 2019. While at Illinois, Rachel was a teaching assistant for an introductory statistics course, as well as the instructor for a medical ethics class. Rachel also had the experience to intern at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in the Department of Wellness and Health Promotion. As a part of Candor Health Education, Rachel is excited to provide important and accurate information regarding health topics to youth with the goal of giving them the tools to better understand their bodies and make positive choices in their lives.

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Roseanne Tenuta
Health Educator

Rose joined Candor Health Education in July of 2008 as a Health Educator. In her role at Candor Health Education, she is also responsible for assisting with  curriculum development. Prior to joining Candor Health Education, Rosanne taught Biology and Health Education at Oak Park & River Forest High School for 30+ years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Illinois, a Masters degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in curriculum from Northern Illinois University, and an Ed.S. degree from Northern Illinois University in Counseling.

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Lance Williams
Education Manager

Lance received his Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education from Illinois State University. After graduating, Lance began working with the Kane County Health Department as a Health Contractor, aiming to lower childhood obesity and tobacco use within the community.In February of 2011, Lance joined Candor Health Education as a Health Educator. In addition to teaching, Lance contributes to curriculum development and educator scheduling.

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