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
Senior 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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Laura Benn
Social Media Coordinator

Laura joined Candor Health Education as the Social Media Coordinator in May of 2021. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication & Media Studies from Aurora University and did Multimedia Freelance work for the University following her graduation. After leaving her alma mater, she worked for Chicago Coding System in Saint Charles as a Digital Marketing Specialist where she developed the company's brand identity and B2B marketing strategy. Laura believes that learning about how our bodies work from a young age is pivotal in our overall development, adding, the more we know about our bodies, the better we can take care of them.

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Mark Boozell
Accountant

Mark joined Candor Health Education as their Accountant in July of 2020.  Prior to joining Candor Health Education, Mark worked as Controller for The Sureway Group, a manufacturing company in Franklin Park.  Mark graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Illinois University (where he met his wife Karen, an educator for over 35 years) and then went on to earn his MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.  Mark is a parent to two sons who both attended Candor Health Education programs.

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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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Tishauna Edwards
Health Educator

Tishauna joined Candor Health Education as a Health Educator in August of 2021. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Public Health from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. While at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Tishauna worked with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Department to provide educational hazard programs for elementary school students. Her goal is to assist with educating and encouraging the youth on healthy lifestyle practices.

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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
Senior 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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Peyton Hammon
Business Development Assistant

Peyton Hammon graduated from Iowa State University in May of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design with an area of concentration in Environmental Sustainability. After holding two marketing and sales internships during her college career, Peyton decided that she wanted to enter the business world for post-graduation work. Originally being from Lagrange, IL and having the opportunity to attend Candor Health Education’s programs as a kid, she is very excited to be the first Business Development Assistant on our team.

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Sarah Hawkins
Health Educator

Sarah joined Candor Health Education in August 2021 as a part time Health Educator.  She has a background in case management and home healthcare coordination and is very passionate about the need for inclusive, equitable, science based sex and drug education reaching children so is very excited to be starting in a career path that helps facilitate that mission.  Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and lives in Lombard with her husband and four children.

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Ebony Lane
LMS Coordinator

Ebony joined the Candor Health Education team in 2021. She is excited to work for Candor Health Education because it is an organization that offers much needed programs that were not available when she was younger. As a foster parent and former substitute teacher, she understands the need for educating and preparing students to help them make better decisions for a better life.

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Maggie Lane
Health Educator

Maggie joined Candor as an intern, and joined the team in May 2021 as a part time Health Educator while continuing school to receive her nursing degree. She received her Bachelors of Science from Illinois State University in Community Health Promotion while minoring in both Wellness Coaching and Public Health. While at Illinois State, Maggie worked to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles to students through a variety of outreach programs. She's very passionate about educating young people on how to make their own positive and healthy life decisions in the future.

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Karime Lopez
Administrative Assistant

Since joining 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
Data & Reporting Coordinator

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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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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