North Central College - Naperville, IL

Thomas Smith M '02

Thomas Smith M ’02 was named social science/world language division head at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL. Smith has taught social science courses for 15 years at John Hersey, Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, IL, and Elk Grove High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from North Central and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northeastern Illinois University.

Jim Owczarski '02

Jim Owczarski was honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) for investigative journalism. His story, “Who is Montaous Walton?,” uncovered a Milwaukee man posing as a baseball prospect who was defrauding legitimate agents. Owczarski’s story also uncovered falsified documents, which led to an investigation by Major League Baseball and eventually an arrest. He was selected as one of 10 finalists along with writers from USA Today, the New York Times, Yahoo! Sports and Los Angeles Times.

Marcos Mateo Ochoa '02

Marcos Mateo Ochoa has guest starred in several television shows, including Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show,” Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” and “Nathan For You.” In late 2012, he and his partner Frank Cermak Jr. costarred opposite each other in a feature film with Academy Award nominee Karen Black (“Easy Rider”), Steve Railsback (“Helter Skelter”) and Daveigh Chase (“The Ring”). In 2010 he was invited to become a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Ochoa resides in Hollywood, CA. For more information visit marcosmateoochoa.com.

Robert Pomazak '01

Robert Pomazak was hired in the St. Charles North High School physical education department and will coach football beginning August 2013. He previously served as a physical education teacher, sophomore baseball coach and football defensive coordinator at Elk Grove High School. He holds a master’s degree in exercise science and health from California University of Pennsylvania. During his time at North Central, Pomazak played baseball for the Cardinals.

Amy Pietras Newman '00

Amy Pietras Newman received the 2013 Utah Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award from the Utah Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (UAHPERD). She teaches elementary physical education and middle school adventure physical education at Weilenmann School of Discovery in Park City, UT. Newman recently completed her first 50-mile trail race and plans on more races in the future. She and her husband Aaron reside in Park City with their dogs.

Kirk Overstreet '00

Kirk Overstreet accepted a position as assistant dean of adjunct faculty support at the College of DuPage. He is the second of two new assistant deans hired to work with the College’s adjunct faculty members. In his new position, he and a fellow assistant dean will work on adjunct faculty recruitment, orientation, professional development and evaluation. Prior to working for the College of DuPage, he served as associate director of human resources in the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jackie Mitchell Nelson '99

Jackie Mitchell Nelson accepted a new position at the American Red Cross as the director of the celebrity and entertainment outreach program. She manages relationships with celebrity ambassadors and promotes accurate and favorable Red Cross placement in television and film. She may be reached at jackie.nelson@redcross.org.

Emily Ruggiero '98

Emily Ruggiero is business development manager for Management Concepts in Washington, D.C. She has been in sales and marketing for 15 years and pursued post-graduate work at the University of Virginia. In her current role, she works with federal government entities and intelligence and civilian agencies regarding financial training and verification. Ruggiero may be reached at emilyr5481@yahoo.com.

Joanna Bourque '98

Joanna Bourque was a designer for the DuPage Children’s Museum’s M.A.S.K. Project to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The project supported the museum’s mission to stimulate curiosity, creativity and problem-solving in children. Professional artists designed more than 100 masks autographed by 65 celebrities, and the masks were auctioned off online. Before becoming a teacher, Bourque served as a school programs and exhibits specialist with the DuPage Children’s Museum. She is an elementary school art teacher at Spring Brook Elementary in Naperville.

Debra Behrens '97

Debra Behrens was named development director of College Possible Twin Cities. She will oversee strategic fundraising and communication plans to build community support for the mission and programs of College Possible. Behrens also serves on the board of the Stevens Square Community Organization. She previously held positions as the director of development for the Animal Humane Society and associate development officer with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.

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