Board Member Bios

Renée Percell, Executive Director

Home Parish:

St. Patrick's Church of Merna Parish

Corpus Christi Catholic School


I was born and raised in Peoria, IL. My sister, brother and I all attended Catholic schools for 12 years starting at St. Philomena and then going on to Peoria Notre Dame. I met my husband, Jay while serving in the Peace Corps after college. We were married in 2005. We have three children- Micah, Ezra and Adele. Our sons attend Corpus Christi Catholic School in Bloomington. They started when they were 3-years-old, attending pre-K. We love the faith-based community and close relationships we have developed with teachers and administration. Our daughter Adele was diagnosed with a very rare microdeletion of a chromosome when she was 2 ½ years old. She is globally delayed. She was in Early Intervention starting at 9 months and is now in the Early Learning program at our local public school. She continues to defy the odds and slowly but surely achieves her milestones. Anyone that has met Adele will tell you that her smile and loving personality will brighten your day!

Career and Volunteer Affiliations:

I graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Biomedical Science and a minor in Psychology. In 2005 I graduated from A.T. Stills University with a master’s degree in Science and Physician Assistant Studies. I have worked at an underserved community health center in Arizona, Prompt Care in Bloomington IL and now am employed at the Couri Center provided integrative gynecology care to women in the community.

Reasons for serving on the FIRE Foundation Board:

As a parent of a child with special needs, it is a continual process figuring out and accepting the new reality of what your child can do. We are constantly evaluating and trying to figure out the best way for Adele to experience life fully despite her delays. When she turned 3 and we were considering preschool, it broke my heart that she would not be able to go to the same school her brothers currently attend. I grieved for her (and me) thinking of all of the wonderful experiences her brothers had while attending Corpus Christi Catholic School. Not only are the academics exceptional, but all of the small things like attending mass weekly, starting the day in prayer, growing in faith with peers, that she would not be able to experience. While she has thrived at her current school that can provide the therapies she needs with dedicated educators that are trained in special education, I wanted her to have the opportunity to attend a Catholic School. Adele has speech delay, so learning words and phrases can be a challenge for her. At an early age, however, she picked up on prayer and “Amen” immediately. Unlike her brothers who will always have friends, birthday parties, social activities, sporting events; Adele may not. The one thing she will always have is her faith. As a catholic parent wanting the most for her children, I want Adele to have the opportunity to practice her faith everywhere she goes, including her school.