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About Us

Mission Statement


We exist to provide an alternative scholastic system that eliminates the educational gap our students face, making education count. 

Excel Homeschool Academy was founded in 2021 fueled by a passion to become “solutionist” to the ever-growing problem of a failing public school system. Driven by compassion to help her own grandchildren navigate through their education careers, Nona Parker opened the doors of EHA to the public of Joliet, IL.

Excel set its course to become a premier institution that developed from a desire to provide an alternative to families and students from what the public school system offered. Through dedicated research, Parker discerned that the legislation of the education system had an agenda more associated with politics than the advancement of knowledge for our children. Thus, Excel sought to design educational programs that count and make lives work.

Excel quickly realized their strength in tailor-made curriculum that help students learn at the level they are at to help them bridge their learning gap. By way of special testing, EHA was able to analyze and accurately assess where students are at within their education career compared to their age and grade level. Therefore, implementing gap-learning and gap-teaching to aid students in feeling accepted and proud to learn as they catch up to their class.


The name “excel” is a self-claimed outcome. Each child that encounters our programming will advance within their grade level to one day become some of the world’s brightest minds. Our expanding classrooms are filled with joy and enthusiasm to learn. Excel seeks to groom generations to equip our future society with the best leaders, entrepreneurs, and ultimate professionals.

Our Story


Nona McKenzie Parker is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Antioch Christian Assembly Intl’ (ACA), a thriving New Testament church located in Chicago’s South Suburbs, and Gate Church in Lexington, KY. She is also the founder of the Antioch Network of Churches (ANOC) comprised of 7 churches and ministries within the continental US. Nona McKenzie Parker has developed ANOC Training Institute (ATI), which is the “training extension” of Antioch Network of Churches and was developed to thoroughly train and develop churches and their leadership teams for their ministerial and life assignments. She is the CEO of The Hope Center of Joliet and Chancellor of Excel Homeschool Academy. Nona McKenzie Parker holds a B.A. in Accounting from Trinity College and is an ordained and commissioned Minister of the Gospel, receiving credentialing through Price University and New Era Apostleship Restitution Society of Churches and Ministries located in Tulsa, OK. Nona McKenzie Parker is the mother of one daughter and two grandchildren. She is a successful business woman and entrepreneur with a passion for educating God’s best and brightest minds

Dr. Nona Parker


Anita M. Cotton is a native of Joliet, IL. She is a product of Laraway School Dist. 70C and the Joliet Township High School District 204. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science Degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Saint Francis, Joliet. Anita was employed by the Joliet Grade School District 86 for 36 years full time and worked as a Substitute Teacher at Woodland Elementary School for five additional years. She was a recipient of the Joliet Area Great Teacher Award from the Joliet Chamber of Commerce in 2010. Her unique, yet simplistic style of teaching transcends the various genres and blesses not only her grade school students, but also those in the Body of Christ. She was the principal of Antioch Christian Homeschool Academy from September 2014 – June 2016 and is currently the Principal of Excel Homeschool Academy in Joliet. Miss Cotton seeks to set the standards of quality education to a whole new level in the years to come. Her passion is to see the light bulb come on as students LEARN, ACHIEVE and DISCOVER new concepts. Anita is the Director of Education for the Hope Center of Joliet. She exudes excitement and passion for the education of students young and old.

Anita Cotton

Principal & 1st -2nd Grade Teacher

6th-7th Grade teacher

Gerald Blackmon

Mrs. B

PreK-Kindergarten Teacher

Danielle Andruszko

Before School & Specials Teacher

Miss A. has a passion for awakening creativity in young minds and helping them to discover the problem-solving skills they possess as they pursue their discovery of identity. She loves teaching art because it is a versatile platform for students to explore multiple dimensions of discovery into the person they were created to be through various forms of expression. In addition to teaching art, Danielle has held multiple teaching positions from Infant – 8th grade students until promoted to the position of Assistant Site Director for Knowledge Universe (KinderCare). While Danielle adores working with children and families, she underwent a career change in 2017 and shifted into her other passion of Administration. She is currently employed by Walgreens Co. as a Senior Administrative Assistant. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Arts in University Studies with a minor in Spanish from Illinois State University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Business Administration from Capella University. Her passions include volunteer work in the realms of local politics, ministry, and local non-profit organizations.

Derrick Franklin

Mental Health Counselor

Derrick is a graduate of Ashford University and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in clinical Mental Health Counseling. Derrick currently works as a mental health counselor for Ada S, McKinley Foundation and Excel Homeschool Academy. Derrick is a certified traumatologist specializing in emotional trauma. Derrick is a father of four. He currently reside in Joliet Illinois. Derrick’s passion is helping children and adults overcome their emotional trauma.

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