Our Vision

The IHSEA endeavors to create and foster competitive esports programs in all Illinois high schools by providing assistance, organizing tournaments, and presenting information to schools and advisers. These programs cultivate talents in potentially underserved populations and provide a pathway to college scholarships and careers in the gaming industry. The IHSEA pledges to invest proceeds back into schools and students to advance esports programs in secondary education.

Todd McFarlin

Director of Operations
U of I – Discovery Partners Institute

Todd has taught Exploring Computer Science and IB-ITGS and was a coach for several CPS schools in Chicago. He is also on the IHSA Esports Advisory Committee tasked with getting esports sanctioned as an activity across the state.  Interested in gaming since childhood, Todd currently plays League of Legends and FPS and RPG games on Xbox. He has played League since beta and has peaked ranked at Plat 3. He finds the competitive nature of esports useful for unlocking his students’ potentials.


Andy Mendez

Naperville North/Heartland College

Andy Mendez is the Director of Esports at Naperville Community Unit School District 203 and is an alumni of IHSEA’s very own Metea Valley High School Esports, in which he founded in 2016. With both Naperville powerhouses (Naperville North and Naperville Central) under his direction, he now looks continue his success and add more accolades to his arsenal. Esports was initially Andy’s passion as a student; now it translates into his career. Favorite esports titles: League of Legends, Halo, and Overwatch. Andy primarily assists with live event logistics and is a member of the broadcast team.

Amy Whitlock

Public Relations/Social Media
Oswego East High School

Amy is a French teacher at Oswego East High School and is the current esports team sponsor and coach. She has always been a tech junkie and gamer since her first video game, Adventure, on the Atari 2600. Although more a console player than a computer gamer, she plays League of Legends mostly to amuse her players. Amy believes esports in the high schools is an engaging way to encourage the teamwork and communication essential for students’ futures.

Cora Kennedy

Esports Director of
Illinois Wesleyan University

Cora got her start with the IHSEA as the Director of Esports at Glenwood High School in Chatham, IL where she also served as a teacher for Math and Computer Science back in 2018. Throughout her time there she ran GHS Esports for three years, finding a state championship and multiple teams placing among the top 8 in the IHSEA. She also was the tournament organizer, broadcast director, and caster for sixteen different tournaments in the IHSEA across four games including starting the Valorant and Rocket League series for the league. She transitioned to her role at Illinois Wesleyan University as the full time Director of Esports in July 2021. Outside of her professional life, she is heavily involved in the Women’s amateur and professional scene for Valorant and does everything she can to promote Women and LGBTQ+ individuals in esports in every form.