Michael Pedersen, Founder of Junior Code Academy;  M.A. Intelligence Studies, B.S. Education and Training


Michael has had a passion for STE(A)M initiatives since his formative years, taking 1st place at the Science Olympiad in Jr. High and AP courses in Chemistry and Calculus. His passions for both science and mathematics led to his co-founding of Kumon in O'Fallon in 2011 with his wife Michelle. Michael's primary employment sees him interpreting strategy, architecture, and engineering solutions for the Department of Defense; designing future data centers and integration of Geo-Spatial solutions. He has taken additional efforts to complete certifications in CompTia Cloud+ and Security+. 

Michael brings a wealth of education to the position with a variety of degrees. His primary degree is a Bachelors of Science from SIUC in Education and Training, with a focus on Curriculum and Design. He also holds a Masters in Intelligence Studies from American Military University,  additional degrees are in  Logistics, Human Resource Management, and Applied Sciences. He is slated to complete his MBA in late 2016. 

Additionally, Michael networks religiously, constantly looking to expand his contacts and knowledge base. He collaborates with Lab 1500, LaunchCode, Code until Dawn, Kumon, area STE(A)M initiatives, and District 90 to expand his accumen of education and developing computing trends. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, supports the Moose Lodge #2608, American Legion and VFW. Michael and his wife Michelle are former foster parents, raising two girls Chasity and Mariyah, adopting them the spring of 2012. In his free time plays golf, although not very well, and enjoys camping.
*To contact Mike, email at mike@juniorcodeacademy.com.

Michelle Pedersen, Education Consultant;               M.S. Special Education, B.S. Elementary Education


Michelle consults and support the development of curriculum and standards.  A strong advocate of STE(A)M initiatives in our schools, she's an integral part of the team providing insight, guidance, and resources to support the JCA and its respective efforts.
*To contact Michelle, email at michelle@juniorcodeacademy.com.


Justin Haque, Instructor;                                    Southern Illinois University Student

Justin Haque

Justin Haque is a second year student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  He is studying to become a computer engineer.  Justin is very knowledgeable with how to code Java and JavaFX language and he is also heavily involved as a tutor at Kumon in Mathematics.  In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and piano.
*To contact Justin, email at justin@juniorcodeacademy.com.



Cleavie Lyerla-Figueroa, Instructor;
M.S. Human Resource Management & B.S. Information Systems Management

Cleavie comes to us with a very diverse IT industry background that includes education and facilitation. She comes to us with a B.S. in Business Administration, an M.S. in Human Resource Management, a Security+ certification, and extensive Amazon Web Services (AWS) training through an Amazon partnership.  Cleavie is currently enrolled at Western Governors University, where she will graduate in February 2017 with a B.S. and M.S. in Information Technology and emphasis in Network Administration and Security.

With over 14 years' experience in both military and civilian IT environments, Cleavie has supported naval and joint infrastructures in addition to developing analytical assessments and briefings. She hopes to share basic IT concepts, principles/practices, and analytical methods with our students here at the Junior Code Academy.

Her career in the U.S. Navy brought her to Illinois where she and her family have settled and enjoyed being a part of and involved in our community. Cleavie is a community business owner, member of the O'Fallon American Legion and Chamber of Commerce member in Troy, IL. She enjoys spending time with her three children and supporting their shared loved of education and Information Technology.  When not focused on work and teaching, Cleavie is a busy dance and soccer mom who enjoys taking in the local culture and all there is to do in St. Louis.
*To contact Cleavie, email at cleavie@juniorcodeacademy.com.

Thomas Krag, Instructor;
M.S Information Technology, B. S. Electronics

Thomas has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years including laboratory computers, Windows, and Mac systems.

Thomas retired from the Air Force after 26 years of service and was a civil service employee for 7 years. He taught at the technical school for his field, including computer fundamentals and developed course materials.  He also taught a Computer Science course for Chapman University, led configuration of over 3,000 printers for USAA, developed web-based training, and provided help desk support.
*To contact Thom, email at thom@juniorcodeacademy.com.

Kenn Jewell, Chief Technology Officer;                     B.S. Information Systems Technology-Security

Kenn has actively worked in the IT industry for over 15 years and with it, brings along vast amounts of experience and talent to the program. His primary degree is a Bachelors in Information Technology from Western Governors University, with a focus on IT security.  He also holds a degree from the Community College of the Air Force in Information Systems Technology. Additionally, he has obtained his Security+, Project+, various Microsoft and Cisco certifications, and has recent experience with Amazon Web Services.  He is scheduled to start his MBA in IT Management later this Summer.

Kenn is in the Air Force Reserves part time working in the Cyber Operations field and will continue to bring his military experience back home here at the Junior Code Academy.  His systems development and strategic initiatives will help grow our e-commerce, social media, technical culture, as well as drive SEO efforts and content management.

When Kenn is not off playing G.I. Joe somewhere in the world, he works with the Military Cyber Professionals Association-St. Louis Chapter and attends coding and technology events locally.
*To contact Kenn, email at kenn@juniorcodeacademy.com.