Meet Our Staff

  • Head shot of Marlene Christ, Project directorMarlene 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


    Headshot of Sheila BauerSheila Bauer, Resource Specialist: Sheila Bauer has 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 is a Trainer of Trainers for The Pyramid Model for Social Emotional Competence and is a member of the State Leadership Team on the Pyramid Model for Illinois. Sheila has a B.A. in Psychology, Masters in Social Work and Masters in Education Administration.  Sheila can be reached at


    Headshot of Mary Ann Bonello, program secretaryMary 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


    Headshot of Becky Handler, resource specialist Becky Handler, Resource Specialist: Becky Handler has her B.S. and a M.S. in speech language pathology. Her past work experience includes team teaching Kindergarten children with severe communication disorders, consulting and an inclusion facilitator in a school district. She has extensive experience consulting and mentoring in early childhood and elementary classrooms, day care sites and Head Start programs.  She is a trainer of trainers for, Portfolios, ECERS-3, IELDS and ELS. Becky can be reached at


    Headshot of Rhonda OConnor, resource specialist Rhonda O'Connor, Resource Specialist: Rhonda O'Connor has over a decade of experience as a special education teacher with emphasis on early childhood.  She has focused on teaching young children with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities.  She has a Master’s in Special Education and licensure in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. She is an accredited Trainer of Trainers for The Pyramid Model for Social Emotional Competence and ECERS-3.  Rhonda can be reached at