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Faculty

Nadine BrockmanNadine Brockman, Kindergarten
B.A., Special Education, Illinois State University

“This summer I took a clay class. In addition to using a new medium artistically, I gained some important insights as a teacher. I find the process of using clay and a potter’s wheel very challenging. I’m using parts of my brain and body in ways that I have never needed to use them in the past. I asked myself - how might it feel to be a child struggling to understand or to learn a new skill? What kind of support did I need to overcome my frustrations and to be comfortable with learning something new? It is my hope that these insights will help me as I continually reflect upon my teaching.”

 

Dana NasrallaDana Nasralla, Kindergarten Assistant 
M.A., Early Childhood Education, Dominican University
B.A., Elementary Education and Psychology, North Park College

“One of my greatest adventures was rafting on the Blue Nile in Uganda. I recall our guide telling us that at some point we would find ourselves thrown from our raft, under churning water, not knowing which end was up. His advice was to relax. “You can hold your breath for ten seconds,” he insisted. “Hold your breath and trust that you will come to the surface. Eventually you will reach calm waters and return to the raft.” It all happened just as he described. This experience has become one of my favorite metaphors for life.”

 

Chrissie_JaltuchChrissie Jaltuch, 1st Grade
BA in Liberal Studies with concentration in Elementary Ed and Music

"I had the amazing opportunity to take an adventurous road trip from Los Angeles to Chicago this summer! I saw amazing sights like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, gorgeous mountains behind a vast desert landscape in Nevada, deep ravines and waterfalls in Idaho, breathtaking scenery, wildlife and geological wonders in Yellowstone and the Badlands of South Dakota. I saw how one man's vision inspired his family for decades to continue his life's work in creating a homage to a great Native American hero, Crazy Horse and just too many things to list. And as I traveled, I was reminded that the truest, deepest learning comes from our experiences. I had heard about and read about many of these places. But that did not even begin to tell the story of these amazing sites. We are able to really appreciate and take in what we can experience with all of our senses. I am grateful to be able to learn and teach in an environment that embraces this daily."

 

BDeFranciscoBen DeFrancisco, 1st Grade Assistant Teacher
B.A., Psychology and Gender Studies, DePaul University

M.A.T., Elementary and Middle Level Education, National-Louis University

"I have a simple quote, courtesy of Mahatma Gandhi, that speaks truly to my nature and philosophy of life and learning: 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.'  How will you shake the world?"

 

 

Christy-Martin2Christina Martin, Interim Teacher, 2nd Grade
B.A., Humanities, Yale College
J.D., University of Chicago

“I love being around children. Most children like to be silly, but they’re very earnest about the things that are important to them. I’m the same way. I love learning and am curious about just about every topic. At the Children’s School I get to explore with the children. I never knew anything about mummification or Ancient Japan or hatching chicks until I studied them with my class.”

 

Angela WhitacreAngela Whitacre, 2nd/3rd Grade
B.A., Women’s Studies, San Diego State University

"My favorite book as a child was A Wrinkle in Time. But maybe my favorite reading experience was Einstein's Dreams. I read it in 8th grade and it introduced me to thinking Science was this mystical journey in time and space and the result of intense day dreams. I remember very clearly the click in my head while reading that Math, Philosophy, Science, History and Imagination were the same thing."

 

Cathy WardCathy Schroeder, 4th Grade
B.A., Humanistic Studies, Saint Mary’s College
M.A., Art Education, The Ohio State University
M.A.T., Elementary Education, National Louis University

“Something I share with my students is how fun it can be to re-read books; each time you might think about something a little bit differently. It’s like visiting a friend that you haven’t seen in a while. It can be so comforting. My favorite book as a child was Fog Magic by Julie Sauer. The main character can travel back in time when the fog rolls in from the neighboring sea. She makes friends with children from long ago and has wonderful adventures. When I read and re-read this book as a child, the idea that a wispy fog could transform reality was magical.”

 

LMarquezLaura Marquez, 5th Grade
B.A., Elementary Education and Spanish, Northeastern Illinois University

“This past year I was able to get back to my roots in nature. Every weekend I was going hiking and connecting to the smells, sights, sounds, and feelings of nature. It helped me realize the importance of connecting to our environment. Whether that be the outside environment, or the one that resides within. We have the power to rewrite the script that plays in our minds, so why not write it constantly, in the present moment, based on the needs within and without.”

 

WHudsonWill Hudson, 6th Grade
B.A., English Composition, University of North Texas
M.A.T. Biological Science, Miami University
National Board Certification - English as a New Language

“Growing up as a chronically under-motivated student, I was always more interested in what lay beyond the classroom than what I found within. It was the woods, creeks, and Outer Banks of North Carolina that captured my attention and prompted my earliest inquiries into marine biology and forest ecology. After a family move to Texas in high school, my interests turned to music and performance. During and after college, I immersed myself in the language, culture, and history of Mexico and Central America. As an educator, I have worked with students of all ages from all over the world. Over the years I have learned, and continue to be reminded, that the impact of what I teach is superseded by the impact I make on the quality of a day, how students feel about learning, and…ultimately, about themselves. Teaching and learning is less about the transmission of information than creating opportunities for the discovery of new and deeper understandings about the world and our place in it.“

 

Paul GrajnertPaul Grajnert, 7th Grade
B.A., Political Science,
Loyola University of Chicago
M.F.A., Columbia University, New York
M.A., Teaching, National-Louis University

“I once canoed down a wild river in Canada. On the first day, after a whole morning of paddling, the canoe tipped over and was swept under the rocks in the rapids. My partner and I had to hike through a thick and deep swamp the entire next day just to get back to the lake where our trip had begun. On the third morning, we saw a plane flying back and forth, up and down the river. After contacting them by radio we learned that they had seen our canoe and believed us drowned. Fortunately, the plane was able to land and take us back to civilization. The lesson: Don't stop; don’t panic; keep going.”

 

Gloria_MitchellGloria Mitchell, 8th Grade
M.Ed., Secondary Education, DePaul University

B.A., English, University of Iowa

“Teachers often name student engagement as one of their goals, but I think you can't understand engagement without understanding something about its opposite, which is boredom. Boredom is the discomfort we feel when we sense that what we are doing lacks sufficient meaning. When children are bored at school, adults sometimes believe that the solution is for them to move through the curriculum at a faster pace, but doing an insufficiently meaningful activity faster doesn't fix the problem. To engage students means to place important issues at the center of school life, and to give them opportunities to do work that matters. And although what is important to children changes as they learn and grow, we should try never to underestimate their desire—or their ability—to pursue the great questions of human existence.”

 

PSmithNEWPolly Smith, Librarian

B.M., Cello Performance, Manhattan School of Music
M.M., Cello Performance, Carnegie Mellon University
M.L.I.S. (Library and Information Science), Dominican University

"I love to travel and I love history, so summer vacations usually involve exploring ancient places. I've climbed the highest Mayan pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula. I've crawled inside medieval, beehive-shaped stone dwellings in Ireland. I've spent time in a remote canyon in Arizona sketching petroglyphs. All that sounds pretty rugged, but I'm not really a rugged person. When I was young my favorite book was Eloise, because she lived in a hotel, and that sounded very glamorous to me. I still love hotels...even when I'm exploring rugged places."

 

rickHPRick Halle-Podell, Physical Education Instructor

BS Psych, MAT, Licensed Massage Therapist
K-12 Physical Education, Health, & Driver Education
6-8 Social Sciences
First Aid, CPR, AED Instructor
Water Safety and Lifeguard Instructor
Certified Yoga Instructor
Credential 2

"I am excited to be a part of The Children's School family and share my love for physical activity, sports, and team building. Throughout my professional career I have worked with children and adults as a mental health professional, massage therapist, stress management consultant and physical welfare instructor. I love to bike, hike, and play hockey and guitar. Most recently I learned to sew, making my son a Talis for his Bar Mitzvah."

Remember: 'Healthy Active Kids Learn Better' and 'Exercise Grows Brain Cells'

 

B.Ramsay_2Becky Ramsay, Social Worker

B.A. Drama Studies Kenyon College
M.S.W Loyola University Chicago

"I came across a quote once that I always seem to come back to. I couldn't tell you who said it, or where it came from, but it sticks with me as a good reminder that at some point we all need help recognizing (or remembering) the things of which we are capable and that we don't have to do it all on our own: "Surround yourself with the dreamers and doers, the believers and the thinkers. But- most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don't see it yourself." It could seem as though TCS has been using this as their unspoken motto. I'm so thrilled to be a part of a learning and teaching community where everyone has the true opportunity to discover and practice their greatness."

 

Music and Arts
Our music education program exposes children to the joys and techniques of reading, interpreting, and performing a variety of music. All students participate in chorus, and 2nd-5th graders also learn recorder. We celebrate their accomplishments with two musical performances per year. The Children’s School also works with a number of community artists to advance curriculum goals and needs, especially classroom projects. Artists we’ve used include potters, photographers, quilters, carpenters, muralists, actors, and musicians. Close proximity to the artist-rich areas of Oak Park, Forest Park and Berwyn in particular further fuels these connections.

 

Mary_Dye_2015Mary Dye, Applied and Visual Arts Teacher

Bachelors in Music Performance (Trumpet) – Depauw University

Bachelors in Music Education – DePauw University

Masters in Music Performance (Trumpet) – Indiana University Studio Resident and Apprentice w/ Stephen Mickey – Evanston Art Center

Ceramics Teaching experience: Evanston Art Center, Terra Incognito Studios and Gallery, Lill Street Art Center, North Central College (Naperville), Loyola University (Lake Shore Campus), Leyden East and West High Schools

"I believe that learning to make things with our hands – especially with raw materials – is essential to being human. It is my goal to create a place where all students can explore and learn from “making stuff” with clay, with paint, with wood, with repurposed objects, with whatever inspires them. As a child I wasn’t much interested in what was going on in the classroom. But I was deeply interested in and inspired by exploring Nature, Making Stuff, Tearing Stuff Apart, Fixing Stuff, Music, Drawing and Reading Books. The Arts saved my life, and making and teaching continue to nourish me every day. What a revelation it was for me to find the Children’s School and a philosophy of education that made so much sense to me!   I am honored to be a member of the most talented and dedicated group of teachers I’ve ever known."

Jennifer Trueman ResekJennifer Trueman Resek, Choral Music
B.A., Music, Carleton College
M.A., Music Composition and Theory, University of Minnesota

"I listen to music all the time; in the car, while I'm cooking, while I'm jogging. I am constantly asking myself "would the children at school like to sing this?", and I imagine their enthusiastic clear voices in renditions of Bach or Elvis. Making music with young people is a great joy, and I am lucky to spend a lot of time doing just that. I teach private piano and direct a children's choir in Oak Park. My children are musicians as well, and there's rarely a quiet moment in our house."

 

Mary Anne Wolfe GardnerMary Anne Wolfe Gardner, Recorder/Music
B.A., Political Science, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
M.A., Music, Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL

"Music moves me in a way that no other art form does, and I simply love bringing that possibility to others through teaching. Music encourages connection - with our own thoughts and feelings as we play, with other cultures and times, with the people we play with, and with those we play for - and connection is what life is all about. In music class we work together, individuals with a common goal, and there's nothing better than hearing a room full of kids playing music together! Here at the Children's School, people work every day building connection with each student and helping the students build connection with each other and the world we all live in, and that's one of the things that makes this a very special place."

 

  


kite_foot

 
"The marvelous thing about learning style is that every teacher can help to provide a warm prevailing breeze to lift all those “kites” and help them soar. Sometimes the strings may get tangled up, but now we can understand how a little more dimension and space can keep them free and flying."
Emilie Piper

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