Meet Our Staff








Marlene Christ, Project Director: Marlene Christ is the Project Director for STAR NET Region VI. She has extensive experience in early childhood programs and services. Marlene has worked as a school based speech-language pathologist, diagnostician on an Early Childhood Team; Early Intervention service provider, and supervisor of an Early Intervention program. Marlene also served as supervisor of the speech-language program and assistive technology program at Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education and as an educational consultant and trainer for Infinitec. Marlene has a B.A. in Speech, a M.H.S in Communication Disorders and has completed graduate coursework for a School Administrators Certificate. Marlene can be reached at

Sheila Bauer, Resource Specialist: Sheila brings 17 years experience as a social worker to the STAR NET team. Sheila devoted most of her career to working in Early Childhood and Early Intervention programs as a social worker. She has led parent groups, facilitated children's social groups, provided support in the classroom and contributed to assessment/diagnostic teams. Sheila has a B.A. in Psychology, Masters in Social Work and Masters in Education Administration. Sheila can be reached at

Mary Ann Bonello, Program Secretary: Mary Ann Bonello is the Program Secretary for STAR NET with the friendly voice that answers the phone, takes messages, assists with the library, and keeps track of the whereabouts of the STAR NET staff. Mary Ann also handles all workshop and webinar registrations and maintains our data collection system.  She is also the parent of an adult son with disabilities and has firsthand knowledge of working with school programs. Prior to being a stay-at-home mom for many years, Mary Ann was employed as an Executive Secretary for a major corporation. Mary Ann can be reached at

Becky Handler, Resource Specialist: Becky Handler worked for many years as a speech pathologist in a communication development classroom and as an inclusion facilitator. She has extensive experience consulting in early childhood elementary classrooms, day care sites and Head Start programs. She is a trainer of trainers for Teaching Strategies GOLD, Creative Curriculum 5th Edition and ECERS-R and ELS. Becky is also a trainer for the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS). Becky has a B.S. and a M.S. in speech language pathology.Becky can be reached at