Meet the CAKE Board
Jana Martin, President
Jana is in her 19th year of teaching music, with experiences in PK-12 vocal and general music. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado and Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She completed her Kodály Certification at New York University, and Orff certification at DePaul University. She also had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Kodály Seminar at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary to learn more about the methodology in the birthplace of Kodály and to study with world-class musicians and continue her musical learning. Jana currently teaches general music at Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette Public Schools District 39, and directs the Wilmette High Five Junior Choir for students of all abilities. She is also a member of the faculty at the DePaul University Summer Kodály Institute, where she has taught musicianship classes since 2016.
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Larena Code, President-Elect
Larena Code is an elementary music teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She holds a Bachelors of Music Education degree from DePaul University (2015) where she also studied piano performance. She completed her Kodály certification at DePaul University and her Orff certification at University of Kentucky. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Music Education with a Kodály concentration at the University of St. Thomas. Taking her passion of teaching into the community, Larena has presented at the Illinois Music Educators Conference as well as local universities. Previously the music teacher at Keller Elementary School, her work is published in the Illinois Music Educator Journal (IMEJ. As a child, she lived in Norway which instilled a passion for music and folk dance of all cultures.
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Daniel Ewen, Treasurer
Daniel Ewen currently teaches elementary K-6 general music at Minooka District #201. Before working at the elementary level, he taught at the secondary level but found his passion teaching the younger students. Daniel received his Bachelor’s in Music from Concordia University and his Master’s from VanderCook. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Teaching from St. Xavier University. He continued his education by completing all three levels in Kodály at Indiana University and in Orff at DePaul University. He has continued his professional association with both of these organizations by serving on the local chapter’s boards. Although Daniel began his musical experience on the violin, his primary instrument is voice. He loves to dabble on other instruments like piano, organ, guitar, ukulele, dulcimer, banjo, trumpet, clarinet and anything else that can make a sound. If it can help him teach his students, he wants to know about it!
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Amanda Caretta-Hull, Membership Secretary
Amanda Caretta-Hull is a general music and instrumental teacher in the Mukwonago Area School District in Wisconsin. She has been teaching for over a decade, and has a strong background in Kodály inspired education. In her free time, Amanda plays Traditional Irish Music with the bands Ogham, Tradforce, and Paddygrass, and is a musician and the music director at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Amanda graduated with a BFA in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2005, and earned her MA in Education from Boston University in 2011.
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Ella Bender, Recording Secretary
Ella Bender began her teaching career in 2010, and is currently the K-5 general music teacher in Medinah School District 11. She is also fortunate enough to direct the middle school choir in this same district. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010 and graduated with her Master of Music in Music Education degree with a Kodály emphasis from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio in 2017.
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Alicia Brown, Member-at-Large
Alicia Brown is in her tenth year of teaching and currently teaches PK-6 dual-language music and advanced elementary choir for Chicago Public Schools. She holds a BME from Illinois Wesleyan University and a M.A.M.E. in Kodály from the University of St. Thomas. She has also completed Levels I-III in Orff-Schulwerk at the University of St. Thomas. Alicia has presented strategies for promoting music literacy and creation in the ESL/bilingual classroom at music education conferences throughout the U.S. She is passionate about teaching bilingual students and the use of culturally inclusive practices in the elementary classroom.
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Vicky Long, Member-at-Large
Vicki Long is an elementary general music teacher and beginning band director at Queen Bee School District 16. In the past, she taught general and instrumental music at the middle and high school levels and was on faculty at Northern Illinois University teaching Double Reed Techniques. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Master of Music in Bassoon Performance from Northern Illinois University. She has completed two of three levels of Kodaly Certification at DePaul University and is expecting to complete certification next year. While she primarily studied instrumental music in college and began her career path in this direction, she has found a love for vocal and general music in recent years. In addition to teaching, Vicki is also the principal bassoonist of the Lakeview Orchestra during the regular season and performs with the Wheaton Municipal Band over the summer.
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Jamie Parker, Past President
Jamie Parker has been serving on the CAKE board since 2013. She taught kindergarten through fourth grade music class and choir at Troy Craughwell Elementary School in Joliet, Illinois from 2008-2019, and she teaches in the Kodály levels programs at DePaul University and James Madison University. Jamie received her Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2008 and her Master’s Degree in Music Education with a Kodály Emphasis from The Kodály Institute at Capital University in 2012. She is the President of the Midwest Kodály Music Educators of America. She has presented workshops for Northern Illinois University, the Illinois Music Educators Conference, the Chicago Area Kodály Educators , and the Midwest Kodály Educators of America Conference.
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Janell Bjorklund, Webmaster
Janell Bjorklund teaches general music for students in grades K-5 and adaptive general music (ages 3-21) for Evanston-Skokie School District 65 in Evanston, Illinois. She holds degrees in music education from DePaul University and the University of North Texas. Bjorklund is certified in the Kodály approach through the Plano ISD at SMU training program and is certified in the Orff Schulwerk approach through DePaul University.
Bjorklund presented her research on "The Use of Soprano Recorder in Kodaly-inspired Classrooms" for poster sessions at the Illinois Music Education Association Annual Statewide Conference and the Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference in 2015. She has presented professional development sessions on facilitating social justice conversations in the Kodaly-inspired classroom at both ILMEC (2017) and OAKE (2019) conferences. Bjorklund teaches DePaul University and Southern Methodist University's Kodály training programs.
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