MEET OUR TEAM


Ilya Korzhenevich

Ilya Korzhenevich - Director

Ilya is a Candidate-Master in chess (equivalent of mid-level U.S. Master) and a 1993 Russian Junior Championship Prize Winner. Ilya is a very experienced chess instructor at all levels. He is the creator of Chess Scholars curriculum. Ilya has also taught many fun-filled classes for children over the years, including Spanish, Brain Games, and Mighty Mathematicians. Ilya is very interested in foreign languages: in addition to his native Russian, he is fluent in Spanish. Ilya’s accomplishments include coaching 2002 7th grade and 2004 5th grade Illinois State Champions and the 2004 Frosh-Soph IL State Champion High School Team, as well as conducting blind-fold chess exhibitions. Ilya has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald. Ilya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Anna Korzhenevich

Anna Korzhenevich - Assistant Director

Anna Korzhenevich joined Chess Scholars in 2005. She oversees scheduling and day-to-day operations of Chess Scholars. Anna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian language, literature, and Cultural Studies from the Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University and MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In Russia, Anna was a klezmer and jazz singer, participating in many festivals and theater performances. Together with her twin sister and father, she released a CD of Jewish songs. Occasionally, Anna enjoys playing chess with her husband and even beat him once (with a handicap, of course). Anna also lived in Germany for a year and is fluent in German.


John Suits

John Suits - Operations Manager

John is a class A chess player and an expert guitarist. He is a very experienced chess coach, having taught with Chess Scholars for about ten years before becoming an Operations Manager in 2011. John is also fluent in Spanish and enjoys languages and history.


Matthew Schultz

Matthew Schultz - Software Engineer / Curriculum Specialist

Matt is a former chess instructor, with a passion for chess and engineering, joining the Chess Scholars team full time in 2015. Matt brings over 15 years as an experienced software engineer, specializing in user-first, data-driven web and mobile application development. When he isn't writing software or engineering curriculum for Chess Scholars and AES, Matt is an avid musician, an obsessed wood and metalworker, a Chicago Cubs fan, a martial artist, a motorcycle enthusiast, and an experimental pilot.


Paul Szuster

Paul Szuster - Operations Manager

Paul has been with Afterschool Enrichment Solutions since 2013. Initially starting as an instructor, he quickly grew into his current role as one of our Operations Managers. He is experienced in understanding the importance of class management and incorporating positive incentives in the process of youth learning. Paul enjoys analyzing calculated investment in the stock market on his free time as well analyzing new efficient ways to develop our children's minds while at work.


Agustin Celentano

Agustin Celentano - Client Services Manager

Agustin is a class A chess player and taught classes with Chess Scholars before joining the office staff. He is from Argentina, which explains both his fluency in Spanish and his passion for soccer. Other interests include philosophy, logic, and biking.


Nicole Borchers

Nicole Borchers - Program Cordinator

Nicole began working for Chess Scholars/Afterschool Enrichment Solutions in February 2016. Before coming to Chess Scholars, Nicole worked in Recreation for a number of years, with positions ranging from Camp Counselor, Intern, Preschool Teacher up to Recreation Supervisor. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science in 2005 from Truman State University with an emphasis is Sports/Recreation Management and Minor in Business Administration. When Nicole is not working hard for Chess Scholars, she is watching Netflix or hockey (Go Blackhawks!), going to concerts or singing with her brother-in-law's band, where her husband is the bassist as well.


Liz Rogers

Liz Rogers - Office Administrator/Curriculum Specialist

Elizabeth has been with Chess Scholars since July of 2016. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education and was a teacher for eight years in various elementary grades before joining Chess Scholars. She enjoys using her background as an educator to broaden the horizons of young children. She now has the opportunity to use her skills to develop curriculum at Afterschool Enrichment Solutions.


Janie Valentine

Janie Valentine - Office Administrator

Janie joined Chess Scholars as an Office Administrator in August, 2016. She holds a BSW from Union University and will be graduating with a MA in Bioethics from Trinity International University in December. Janie enjoys reading and spending time with her family.