Meet the Staff

Meet the hard-working team of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois.

Also, visit this page to see the members of the Board of Directors.


Jeanne Stahlheber

Chief Executive Officer

j.stahlheber@bbbscil.org

Jeanne Stahlheber serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois (BBBS), one of the largest mentoring programs in the state. She has held this position since June 1992, and provides leadership to a staff of 19 professionals. As the chief administrator of this youth-serving organization, Jeanne has led BBBS through strategic growth and has expanded the reach of BBBS to 7 counties in Central Illinois, currently serving over 900 children.


Prior to joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, Jeanne was the Program Director for the Decatur YWCA. She was a Decatur Lakeview High School graduate and holds a Bachelor's degree in Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Corey Burrows

Chief Operating Officer

c.burrows@bbbscil.org

Corey grew up in Bethany, IL, and attended Millikin University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History Education. After college he spent two years with the AmeriCorps program, the second at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois, where he currently serves as the Chief Program Officer. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Teri, and two sons, Grant and Will, as well as traveling, playing sports, hiking and fishing.

Chantel Thompson

Program Director

c.thompson@bbbscil.org

Chantel grew up in Chester, IL, which is also Popeye the Sailorman’s hometown. From there, she attended Murray State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Human Development and Leadership. She has been a case manager here since January 2008 and also serves as the Quality Assurance Analyst for all seven Central Illinois counties. She works part-time and is a full-time mom to Ainsley and Jack. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and watching Cardinal baseball.

Macon County

Desiree Thomas

VISTA

d.thomas@bbbscil.org

Desiree grew up on the Southside of Chicago, IL. She received her Bachelor's in English - Creative Writing and Spanish Language from Millikin University. She is currently taking a break from school but has plans to pursue a MFA in Creative Fiction. She has been a Big Sister with the program for 3 years and is excited to become a member of the team. In her leisure time, Desiree enjoys writing short stories, watching cartoons, and not doing homework.

Marygrace Hjort

Case Manager

m.hjort@bbbscil.org

Marygrace grew up in Wheaton, IL and Dubuque, IA. She received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Olivet Nazarene University and graduated in 2013 from the University of Illinois with her Master’s degree in Social Work. She completed two internships as a school social work intern, working with students from pre-k to high school, both in general and special education. In her free time, Marygrace enjoys playing the cello, traveling, spending time with her husband, and visiting her family in Iowa

McLean County

Estelle Strantz

Case Manager

e.strantz@bbbscil.org

Estelle grew up in Chicago, IL. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Illinois State University in Community Health and Wellness. Estelle is a US Navy Veteran and served in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has held various positions since moving to the Bloomington area 5 years ago, and has also served on McLean County Wellness Coalition during her internship with ISU. Estelle looks forward to making a positive impact in McLean County through working with BBBS. She also loves to travel, workout, and spend time with her two daughters Brooklyn and Katelyn as well as her husband, Todd.

Heather Peavler

VISTA

h.peavler@bbbscil.org

Heather grew up in Clinton, IL and Bloomington, IL. She attended Eastern Illinois University and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. After her family fostered and adopted her youngest sister, she became inspired to make a positive impact on the youth in her community through nonprofit work. In her spare time, Heather loves to read, encourage others, spend time with her friends and family, and travel to new places.

Lauren Hutton

Case Manager McLean County, Program Manager Dewitt County

l.hutton@bbbscil.org

Lauren grew up in Casey, IL, which is home to several of the World’s Largest things, including the World’s Largest Rocking Chair and the World’s Largest Wind Chime. From there, she attended Lake Land College and earned her Associates degree in Environmental Science. After Lake Land, she attended Eastern Illinois University for 2 years and received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography with a Minor in Sustainability. Post-graduation, Lauren joined AmeriCorps and became a VISTA for Mid-Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters in Charleston, IL. She loves to volunteer, attend church activities, and go on mission trips. Her favorite place to go on mission trips is Haiti, which she has been to 3 times and plans on going back to in the future.

Megan Gaboda

Case Manager

m.gaboda@bbbscil.org

After a move from the Bay Area, California to central Illinois during high school, Megan went to study at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she received a bachelor's degree in Spanish. During her time at Mizzou, Megan enjoyed being an active member in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and spending a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain. Now as a recent graduate and new employee at Big Brothers Big Sisters, she looks forward to connecting with the Hispanic families of Central Illinois. In her free time, Megan works as a freelance makeup artist and enjoys traveling.

Simone Newsome

Case Manager

s.newsome@bbbscil.org

Simone is from Decatur, IL. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Illinois State University. During her time in college she became interested in community outreach, which led her to Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a new employee at Big Brothers Big Sisters she is excited to help volunteers make a huge impact in the lives of children throughout the community. In her free time she enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and cooking.

Champaign County

Kala Hammer

Case Manager

k.hammer@bbbscil.org

Kala grew up in the small town of Annawan, IL. She attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL and received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in History.

After college, Kala was a nanny in New York City and Yuma, AZ. She then worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermilion County in Danville, IL and transitioned into Case Manager after her year of service was complete. She worked as Case Manger for almost a year before becoming part this agency.

Kala has been matched with her Little Sister since 2012. They enjoy spending time baking and making crafts together. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending her time watching movies, cheering on the Chicago Cubs and being with friends and family.

Sue Cupka Head

Case Manager

s.cupkahead@bbbscil.org

Sue was born and raised in the Midwest. She lived in several rural Midwest communities before attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. At Ball State, she studied English Literature and Gender Studies and enjoyed interning and volunteering for local nonprofits. After graduating, Sue spent a couple of years working as a substitute teacher and office manager for an archaeology firm before starting her family. While growing her family, Sue attended the University of Southern Indiana to complete her Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Administration, specializing in Nonprofit Administration. Sue began her post-schooling career in private mental health but has since chosen to return to nonprofit work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois. Sue enjoys handicrafting, cooking AND eating, attending live music shows, and spending time with her two daughters and husband.

DeWitt County

Lauren Hutton

Case Manager McLean County, Program Manager Dewitt County

l.hutton@bbbscil.org

Lauren grew up in Casey, IL, which is home to several of the World’s Largest things, including the World’s Largest Rocking Chair and the World’s Largest Wind Chime. From there, she attended Lake Land College and earned her Associates degree in Environmental Science. After Lake Land, she attended Eastern Illinois University for 2 years and received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography with a Minor in Sustainability. Post-graduation, Lauren joined AmeriCorps and became a VISTA for Mid-Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters in Charleston, IL. She loves to volunteer, attend church activities, and go on mission trips. Her favorite place to go on mission trips is Haiti, which she has been to 3 times and plans on going back to in the future.

Ford County

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