The mission of the FIRE Central Illinois Ignite Committee is to provide a system of knowledge and support necessary to empower Catholic educators in their efforts to provide an inclusive, Christ-centered education.
Children of all abilities have the opportunity for a successful inclusive Catholic education.
Meet the Ignite Team:
Christine and her husband, Rich, have three children: Katie who lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, Charles, and their three children; Charlie, who lives and works in Peoria; and Anna, who lives in Chicago with her husband, David.
A career educator, Christine worked primarily in Special Education. She has experience teaching in the secondary classroom, serving as a special education coordinator and department chair. She spent ten years at the Special Education Association of Peoria County as an external coach with the Illinois MTSS Network. Her team provided MTSS training and supporting for Peoria County Public Schools and conducted professional development to county schools for inclusion, disability awareness, and IEP development.
Christine says, “The opportunity to serve on the Ignite Team is a tremendous privilege. I support the goals and values of the Fire Foundation and look forward to seeing its mission take root in the Diocese of Peoria.”
Kerry was born and raised in Peoria, IL and grew up as a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. She graduated from St. Thomas, Peoria Notre Dame High School, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education at St. Louis University. Her master’s degree is from Illinois State Univeristy. Her husband Pat, also a PND Graduate, have 2 daughters – Emma (4) and Lucy (2). Emma attends the full day preschool program at St. Jude.
Kerry has worked in public school education for over 12 years and am currently a Special Education Administrator for SEAPCO. She serves on the Education Commission at St. Jude and look forward to volunteering her time to help with the Fire Foundation Ignite Team. “Inclusive education is defined by both a culture and a mindset that all students can learn and succeed,” she says. “As a parent and parishioner of the St. Jude community, I look forward to supporting the Fire Foundation’s mission of building acceptance and understanding as well as providing opportunities to support inclusive education in the Catholic schools!”
Stacy grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, but moved to Bloomington in high school and attended Central Catholic. She met her husband, Jess, in college, and they have three children, Lauren, George, and Kathleen who attend Corpus Christi Elementary School.
After graduating from Eastern Illinois University she taught first and second grade for the Olympia School district for 11 years. She earned her master’s degree from Illinois State University, and shortly afterwards, she was hired as a reading and math interventionistat Corpus Christi. She now teaches Elementary Education at Illinois State Univerisity.
Stacy says, “I am thrilled to share my knowledge and experience with this committee. I am confident that our Catholic schools and community can create a plan that will aim for more inclusion in our Catholic schools while supporting our teachers.”
Sarah is a graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Master’s Degree in literacy instruction. She spent 20 years in the classroom working as a reading specialist in McLean County Unit 5 School District, and she has also taught Religious Education for several years at St. Patrick’s Church of Merna.
Sarah’s daughter, Maggie, was adopted from China 6 years ago and has cerebral palsy. It is the Arundale family’s desire that their daughter could attend their catholic school with an assistant that could help with her physical needs.
Sarah says, “I believe a child’s disability should not exclude them from a faith based education. The definition of “catholic” is “universal”. I believe a Catholic education should be extended to any family desiring their child to be raised in the Catholic faith.”
If you are an educator or have background knowledge about education, the MTSS pyramid and/or special education, please consider donating your time and talent!