A Peoria Park District Facility

Meet the staff

LOOK FOR US AT THE MUSEUM: THE PLAYHOUSE FLOOR STAFF

AMANDA BIRKEY

Amanda - sm

Since 1998, Amanda has been working with families in the Peoria area, including teaching preschool and assisting many new families as a CLC and IBCLC. Amanda missed being able to work with children and found her way to the PlayHouse!

Erin Randolph

Erin - sm

Erin received her BS in Biology from University of Illinois and her MS in Historical Archaeology from Illinois State University. She is passionate about educating the public about history, science, and the arts through museum and other cultural experiences. 

Haley Gray

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Haley is a studio artist who received her BFA in Painting from Illinois State University. She loves helping kids use their imagination to create projects in Real Tools.

Jody Holtz

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Jody is a theatre arts, television arts double major at Bradley University. She loves performing, stand up comedy, and cooking delicious meals. Feel free to talk to her about movies, TV shows, and anything funny.

ROBIN HASTY

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Robin has a bachelor’s degree in music. She is the youngest of three and loves all things music and art, and animals, too!

KATE DAVIS

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Kate is from Central Illinois. She has visited Germany, Italy, and Scotland. She adores spending time with her nephews, visiting other museums, painting, cooking new things, and antiques.

MEGAN LANDRY

Megan - CROPPED

Megan is a student at Bradley University studying English. Her dream job would be working at a publication to publish books. She enjoys cooking meals for her friends and taking care of her plants!

ABBY FUENTES

Abby

Abby recently graduated from Bradley University. A fun fact about Abby is that she loves to dance! Growing up she tried ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and Latin dancing. If you see Abby around the museum, feel free to show her your best dance move!

Emily dinolfo

Emily

Emily will be graduating from Bradley University in May with an elementary education degree with a endorsement in English as a second language. She loves working with kids, and cant wait to be a teacher.

cara heineman

Cara - cropped

Cara recently graduated from Bradley University with a degree in Elementary Education, an endorsement in English as a Second Language, and a minor in Music. Aside from encouraging all kids to reach their full potential, Cara loves to bake, cook, sing, read, play piano, and sew.

katie klaus

Katie - sm

Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. Came to Central IL to attend Eureka College graduating in 2010 with a bachelors in English. Stayed in Peoria working various retail and customer service jobs before coming to the Playhouse in 2017. Enjoys playing with rambunctious son and cats.

taylor tomlianovich

taylor - sm

Taylor is working toward her bachelors degree in Early childhood education. Her dream job is to be a kindergarten teacher. She is the oldest of three kids. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family.

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE PLAYHOUSE OFFICE STAFF

RSH upside down

Rebecca Shulman Herz

Director

309-681-2853

rherz@peoriaparks.org

Rebecca moved to Peoria in 2013. For nearly 25 years prior to that she lived in New York City, and worked in the Education Departments of art museums, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Noguchi Museum. She is the author of the book Looking at Art in the Classroom and writes the blog Museum Questions.

Jake

Jake Guzan

Operations Manager

(309) 323-6893

jguzan@peoriaparks.org

Jake joined the PlayHouse in November 2018. He is a printmaker, with a BFA degree from Bradley University and an MFA degree from West Virginia University. He has worked as a Preparator for West Virginia University Mesaros Galleries, an Installation Preparator for the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and a Technician with Bradley University’s Audio / Visual Services.

courtney baby pic - use this one

Courtney Baxter

Education Manager

309-323-6896

cbaxter@peoriaparks.org

Courtney graduated with her MA in Public History in 2014 from Loyola University Chicago. She has experience working at various museums including Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Her interests and experiences are in museum education and museum audience diversity.

Tessa Martinez pic for bio

tessa martinez

309-323-6894

tmartinez@peoriaparks.org

Tessa studied ceramics and painting at Texas A&M International University where she also minored in dance. She holds an MFA in Ceramics from West Virginia University. She started at the PlayHouse as the Monticello Education Intern where she coordinated fieldtrips and assisted with programs. She loves the PlayHouse and making art with kids of all ages.

Jimmy pic

Jimmy Ulrich

Membership & Marketing Coordinator

309-323-6892

julrich@peoriaparks.org

Jimmy is a former Preschool Teacher and advocate of childhood learning and positive family relationships. He is very involved with Theatre in the community having directed both at Peoria Players and Cornstock. Jimmy has been on again and off again involved with the Peoria Park District since childhood.

Dori

Dori Beaupre

Development Coordinator

(309) 323-6897

dbeaupre@peoriaparks.org

Mary-Kate - cropped

Mary Kate Paetow-Fanning

Development Assistant

mpaetowfanning@peoriaparks.org

claire baby pic - sm

Claire Ambrose

Monticello Education Intern

(309) 323-6897

cambrose@peoriaparks.org
Juliana with bike

Julianna Rees

Exhibit Care Coordinator

jrees@peoriaparks.org

Dori graduated from ICC in 2012 with an Associate’s degree in Arts & Sciences for psychology.  Before joining the PlayHouse, Dori worked in multiple development roles at Children’s Home, and has over 7 years of customer service experience. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her three rambunctious boys.

Mary Kate is from Homewood, IL and is a student at Bradley University studying Sociology and Social Media Marketing. After graduation, she plans to continue working in non-profits back home in Chicago. Some of her favorite things include Irish Dance, vanilla lattes, and of course, the PlayHouse!

Claire Ambrose is from Bloomington, IL and recently graduated from Indiana University in May of 2019 with a BA in French Language and Literature.  Spending her 2017-2018 academic year in France allowed Claire to visit museums all over Europe, where she developed a passion for the field.  She is mainly interested in bilingual programming in museums and institutions.

Juliana is a junior at Bradley University, where she is studying History and Religious Studies. You can also find her helping out at the WTVP studio. She loves exploring state and national parks as well as hiking at Forest Park Nature Center. Her cat Pumpkin is the light of her life.

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum