Our Team

R.J. McMahon
Chief Executive Officer

R.J. joined the Robert Crown Center for Health Education (RCC) in June 2014 as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to taking the leadership role at RCC, R.J. served as Vice President and Director of Development for Fenwick High School. He has spent the last 15+ years in the non-profit sector, primarily in education. He served as the Director of External Relations for the Chicago International Charter School, preceding which he served as President of St. Martin de Porres High School in Waukegan. In his role as CEO, he sits on the Chicago Area Opiate Task Force, is a member of the Lake County Opioid Initiative and is a partner with the DuPage Coalition Against Heroin. Additionally, he testified in Springfield in favor of House Bill 1 (Heroin Crisis Act); in front of the City of Chicago Heroin Task Force and has presented about heroin at community forums and the DuPage County Health Department.

Barb Thayer
Executive Director

Barb joined the Robert Crown Center for Health Education (RCC) in November 2011 as Special Events Coordinator. Barb has also held the position of Director of Operations, Development Associate and currently serves as the center's Executive Director. Prior to joining RCC, Barb devoted 10 years to raising her three children. Barb lives in Hinsdale and has been involved in volunteer projects with many local Hinsdale organizations. Previously, Barb enjoyed a successful career in the retail industry, working as a Department Manager, Buyer and Planning Manager for Marshall Fields, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel. Barb has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Kris Adzia
Director of Education

Kris has been involved in both formal and informal education as well as program and project development throughout her career. She was trained as an elementary educator and holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Learning. Kris taught fourth grade for three years and took part in a Golden Apple Science Summer workshop and received a State of Illinois Museum in the Classroom technology grant.After leaving the classroom, Kris joined the Education Department at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She developed, taught, and managed community outreach programs both at the Museum and off site. She taught and updated learning labs,  scheduled and trained classroom facilitators, and developed and taught teacher workshops.

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.

David Bedney, M.D.
Senior Health Educator

Dr. David has been an RCC Educator since October 2005. He began his career as a health educator for Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, at the County of Riverside Department of Health, in Riverside California in 1986, after receiving his Masters in Public Health from Loma Linda University in the same year. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, The Chicago Medical School, in 2002. He has taught scores of elementary and teen youth about relevant health issues. and has personally taught more than 35,000 Chicagoland youth and their parents. David also serves as a valuable resource to RCC’s curriculum development team and as a trainer and advisor for his team of health educators.

Liz Carter
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 Robert Crown Center as a Health Educator in April 2017.

Karime Lopez
Administrative Assistant

Since joining the Robert Crown Center in 2008, Karime has become the welcoming face and voice for the Center. 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 RCC’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 the Center.

Shelly Nicholson
Grants Manager

Shelly joined the Robert Crown Center (RCC) staff in October 2015 as the Grants Manager. Prior to RCC, 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 RCC programming for the next generation.

Mishawn Purnell-O’Neal
Health Educator

Mishawn Purnell-O’Neal joined the Robert Crown Health Center 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 Robert Crown Health Center family.

Katie Schram
Health Educator

Katie Schram joined the Robert Crown Center as a Health Educator in September of 2016. Her primary role is to deliver educational and medically accurate programs and maintain engaging classroom environments while teaching at the Center and in schools. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education from Northern Illinois University. Prior to joining the Robert Crown Center, Katie worked as a Teacher’s Aid with the Day Reporting Program at the Juvenile Services Center in LaPorte, IN.

LeeAnne Stifflear
Staff Accountant

LeeAnne joined RCC in January 2015 as Staff Accountant. Prior to joining RCC, LeeAnne devoted 13 years to raising her two children. LeeAnne lives in Hinsdale and has been involved with many community volunteer projects. She is excited to be part of the RCC team and to share in such important community education. LeeAnne previously worked in both public and private accounting firms. She earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Roseanne Tenuta
Health Educator

Rose joined the Robert Crown Center for Health Education in July of 2008 as a Health Educator.  In her role at RCC, she is also responsible for assisting with  curriculum development.Prior to joining the Robert Crown Center, 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.

Lance Williams
Health Educator

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 the Robert Crown Center as a Health Educator. In addition to teaching, Lance contributes to curriculum development and educator scheduling.