Special Education

East Peoria District #309 is committed to working cooperatively with families, students, colleagues, and other professionals within our community to empower each student, with or without disabilities, to become responsible and productive citizens in today’s society.

Courses Offered

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Special Education Staff

Lorie Becraft - 309-694-8306 - lbecraft@ep309.org

Mrs. Becraft received a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree from Bradley University and the endorsement to coordinate cooperative education from the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition to teaching, her responsibilities include coordinating the ICC Bridge Program, cooperative education, and managing all aspects of the School Store. She enjoys writing educational grants which directly benefit her students.


Susan Burdick - 309-694-8323 - sburdick@ep309.org

I was born and raised in Peoria, IL. After graduating from high school, I studied at Western Illinois University, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Special Education. My first teaching job was at Mid-County Jr-Sr. High School in Varna, IL. I was the only special education teacher at the high school and I also was the Head Volleyball Coach for 2 years. In 1994, I came to East Peoria High School, where I teach special education classes. I was a volleyball coach for 7 years. In 2004, I received my Masters in Education from St. Xavier University, then in 2009 I received my Masters in Administration from Aurora University. I have been teaching at EPCHS for over 20 years.


Tracey Carlson - 309-698-7527 - tcarlson@ep309.org

Mrs. Tracey Carlson graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. She started working at East Peoria High School in 2007 and has been working here ever since! Mrs. Carlson loves coaching the Raiders track and field Special Olympic team. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, shopping, going to concerts and spending time with her 4 children, Gavin, Grant, Sarah and Eleanor.

Mission for the Class :

In my classroom, I strive to create an active and welcoming atmosphere. All students are encouraged to actively participate on a daily basis, while having fun learning. I encourage learning through active and engaging activities, hoping to make learning relevant and meaningful.


Josh Childs- 309-698-7545 - jchilds@ep309.org - Website

Mr. Childs is a long time resident of East Peoria, graduating from EPCHS himself in 1996 and joined the United States Army. After his military service he attended ICC and Bradley University, graduating in 2006 with his Bachelor’s degree in Special and Elementary Education. Mr. Childs currently co-teaches freshman English, High School 101, and is as a member of the Freshman Academy team, and also serves as the Girls Varsity soccer coach. In his spare time, Mr. Childs loves to spend time with his wife and son, and he enjoys the outdoors, camping, and hiking with his family.


Tamme Dimitroff - 309-698-7502 - tdimitroff@ep309.org

Tamme Laughlin-Dimitroff is a speech language pathologist with her M.S. from Western Illinois University, ASHA CCC’s and IL state license. She has been practicing in schools and skilled nursing facilities since 1991. Tamme has experience with augmentative communication, autism, assistive technology, receptive and expressive language, articulation, stuttering and a variety of other therapeutic approaches. Originally from Milan, Illinois, Tamme has been involved with volunteering with Girl Scouts, her church, Friends of the Armstrong Prairie and EP STEM. Tamme currently is the sponsor of the EPCHS Chess Club. When not at school, she enjoys spending time with her family, creating art, reading and being outdoors.


Teresa Eberle - 309-698-7538 - teberle@ep309.org

Mrs. Eberle graduated from Illinois State University and later attended Walden University where she obtained her Master’s degree in Education. She started her career in 1993 at Pekin High School, and came to East Peoria in 1995. Mrs. Eberle currently teaches English and business classes. Mrs. Eberle has served as a class sponsor, and has been active in various union committees. She and her husband have two children. In her spare time, Mrs. Eberle enjoys exercising, spending time outdoors, watching old movies, reading and spending time with her family and friends.


Erica Fleming - 309-698-7511 - efleming@ep309.org

My name is Erica Fleming and I teach Earth Science and English here at EPCHS. I received my bachelor of arts degree in Special Education: Learning and Behavioral Studies in 2009. I've been teaching here at EPCHS since the fall of 2009, and I'm also a former EPCHS student. In addition to teaching, I am the school muscial choreographer, one of the International Club advisors, and on the Alumni Scholarship Council. I am married to fellow EPCHS teacher Zach Fleming and we have one daughter together. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, shopping, and watching movies.


Laurie Grant - 309-698-7565 - lgrant@ep309.org

I started my teaching career at EP in 1991 after graduating with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Education from Illinois State University. I also earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration from ISU. My assignments at EPCHS have included teaching in the behavior program, working as a vocational coordinator, and also as a special education teacher for students with learning disabilities. My administrative duties have included the Director of Special Education for 6 years and a Dean for 4 years.


Erika Kelly -309-698-7544 - ekelly@ep309.org

Erika received her Bachelor’s of Science from Western Illinois University in May of 2009. She has experience teaching Special Education at both the middle school and high school level. Erika has taught in a variety of schools around Illinois which include: Elmwood High School, Avon Middle School, Amboy High School, and Cuba Middle School before settling down in Washington, Illinois. She began teaching at EPCHS in 2016. When Ms. Erika Kelly isn’t teaching, you can find her traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, or cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals.


Pete McGinnes - 309-694-8333 - pmcginnes@ep309.org

Pete McGinnes earned his Special Education degree from Illinois State University. I teach a variety of subject areas. When I am not teaching, I am either coaching or officiating a sporting event.


Erika Ridge - 309-698-7508 - eridge@ep309.org

Mrs. Erika Ridge, Teacher of the Life Academy 18-22 Transition Program. Bachelor of Science in Education from EIU, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Aurora University, and Special Education Transition Specialist from ISU. I began teaching at EPCHS in 2003. I love teaching the students of the Life Academy Program and assist them in learning skills to become active and participating citizens of the community. I am married with one son. I spend the majority of my free time watching him play basketball, travel soccer, and travel baseball.


Erin Theleritis - 309-698-7576 - etheleritis@ep309.org

Mrs. Theleritis is a 1993 graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. In 2006, she received her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Olivet Nazarene University. She currently co-teaches in the English Deparment and Math Deparment. Mrs. Theleritis is the Lead Teacher for the Special Education Department. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her husband, son & daughter. She can usually be found sitting in the stands cheering her children on at a sporting event when she isn’t shopping or watching reality TV!


Jill Thornton - 309-694-8361 - jthornton@ep309.org

I'm Jill Thornton, Director of Special Services. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor's degree and then graduated from University of Illinois in 1990 with a Master's degree in School Social Work. I attended Bradley University where I received my administrative certificate endorsement and have worked in school administration since 2007. I joined the staff at East Peoria in 2012. East Peoria is an excellent school district that has wonderful resources to meet the needs of all our students and I'm excited to have the opportunity to further my career here.


Evan Schaller - 309-698-7549 - eschaller@ep309.org

Evan grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Evan received his Bachelor’s of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University in May of 2013. He taught up in Sparland, Illinois for 4 years before coming to EPCHS at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. While in Sparland, Evan earned his Master’s of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2019. In Mr. Schaller’s spare time, he enjoys watching movies, playing board games, and spending time with his wife.


Bethanie Whittaker - 309-694-8369 - bwhittaker@ep309.org