Each fall Latin welcomes many new faces to its community. Along with our students, dozens of faculty and staff will be becoming Romans over the next week. As always, we are pleased to introduce a dedicated group of teachers and staff members who have chosen to make Latin their home.
Anna Burdette, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Anna is excited to join the Latin community as a JK assistant teacher in the lower school. She was born and raised in Calhoun, Georgia, and moved to Chicago in 2011 to attend the Moody Bible Institute. Anna graduated with her B.A. in intercultural studies and music. She plans to start working on her M.A. in elementary education this fall. Anna is familiar with Latin as she has worked as an extended day teacher and substitute this past year. She can't wait to be a full-time faculty member and to continue working in the Latin community. During her free time, she loves to teach piano lessons, listen to country music, try new restaurants and spend time with her fiancé.
Nathan Clifford, Hand Cut Foods Supervisor
Mary Courtney, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Mary is excited to join the Latin community as second grade assistant teacher. Originally from Connecticut, Mary attended Indiana University and received a B.S. in elementary education. While at Indiana University, Mary volunteered with several clubs including ESL tutoring for local elementary students. Outside of education, she enjoys running, playing tennis and spending time with family and friends. Mary is excited to have the opportunity participate in and learn from the Latin community.
Julie Cousin, Upper School French
Julie is excited to join Latin as a French teacher in the upper school. Born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, she received a master's degree in African American studies from the Université Denis Diderot Paris 7. In 2002, she moved to Philadelphia where she taught French at the University of Pennsylvania for four years. After teaching in France and in India, Julie moved to Chicago in 2010 and received a master's in education from DePaul University. Since then, she has taught at Marist High School and Lincoln Park High School. She looks forward to sharing her passion for the French language and Francophone cultures with her students and the whole Latin community.
Carol Ann Cuellar, Middle School Evening Receptionist
Carol Ann is our new middle school evening receptionist. She comes to us after spending more than seven years in the spa industry as an Illinois Licensed Massage Therapist. Prior to this career she was an administrative assistant for several well known corporations in the Chicagoland area. Her passions are gardening, photography and history. She has a teenage son and two cats that keep her busy. She is excited to start this new job experience and looks forward to getting to know everyone.
Aubery DeNard, Lower School Physical Education
Melissa Dowling, Upper School Science
Melissa is excited to join the science department at Latin after a few years at home with her children. After earning her B.S. from Valparaiso University, she spent two years in the LEAPS program through Valparaiso University where she earned her master's degree in education while teaching on the southside of Chicago. After completing her degree, she taught at private and independent schools in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and most recently in the Chicago area. In addition to science, Melissa loves to cook and spend time with her family.
Matthew Dupont, Middle School Visual Arts
Having spent most of the past eight years teaching tennis in Lincoln Park, Matthew is excited to return to his other passion—teaching art! Matthew will be teaching Visual Arts in the middle school this year, in addition to coaching our varsity boys tennis team. This will be his fifth year coaching at Latin and fourth year as head coach. Matthew holds a B.A. in art history from Baylor University and a MFA in studio art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was an instructor of sculpture for two years following graduation. During his time teaching at SAIC, Matthew was also an adjunct professor of art at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he taught 2-D design.
Joseph Edwards, Upper School Dean of Students
Joe is delighted to join the Latin community as the upper school dean of students for grades 11 and 12. Joe previously worked for 10 years in student affairs positions at the University of Chicago. He holds a bachelor's degree in U.S. history as well as a Master of Liberal Arts, both from the University of Chicago, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University. Joe is originally from Fort Myers, Florida, and enjoys hanging out with his wife and three kids, taking in as many theater productions as he can, and cheering on his beloved White Sox.
Xavier Espejo Vadillo, Upper School Spanish
Xavier was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. He has taught English, Spanish and French as a foreign language in Spain, Denmark and the United States for almost two decades. He taught Spanish and French at different world language magnet and IB Chicago Public Schools for thirteen years before moving to Latin School. He earned a B.A. and an M.A. in English philology and a B.A. in education from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona with a specialization in teaching of foreign languages. He later earned an M.A. in the teaching of Spanish as a second language from Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia. As he is a lifelong learner, he has further expanded his education in the states obtaining an MEd in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in interdisciplinary studies from National Louis University and an MEd in educational leadership from American College of Education. During his spare time he enjoys spending time with his husband, learning foreign languages, practicing yoga and zumba.
Paul France, Third Grade Teacher
Paul is thrilled to be joining Latin's third grade team! Before Latin, Paul spent three years in Silicon Valley, serving as a founding teacher at three schools, co-developing technology tools for personalized learning and began writing for print and online education magazines, such as Educational Leadership, EdSurge, and Literacy Today. Before that, Paul was a public school teacher in the north suburbs of Chicago where he completed his master's degree, earned National Board Certification and became a certified reading specialist. He is so grateful to be back in his hometown doing what he loves: teaching (and finally eating good pizza again).
Rahul Gupta, Upper School English
Rahul is excited to be returning to Latin as an upper school English teacher and girls JV field hockey coach. He previously taught and coached at Latin during the 2014-15 school year. During the last two years, Rahul taught eighth grade reading & language arts at Wood Oaks Junior High School in Northbrook. He also taught English at Tilden Career Community Academy High School in Chicago. This will be his sixth year teaching. Rahul earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and his Master of Arts in teaching at Dominican University in River Forest. Outside the classroom, Rahul loves spending time with his wife (a high school counselor in the suburbs), reading, writing, cooking, exploring new restaurants, stumping people with trivia, playing tennis and practicing yoga, watching Chicago sports, biking, and running; he's preparing for his third marathon this fall.
Thad Hallstein, Theatre Technical Director
Thad is excited to be joining Latin as theatre technical director. He attended Illinois State University where he received bachelor's degrees in theatre production and graphic design. For the last 11 years, he was the technical director and head of design at the Theatre of Western Springs, where he supervised technical theatre operations, designed scenery, advised designers and taught technical theatre classes in the Children's Theatre program. Thad is also a Joseph Jefferson award nominated scenic designer. His work has been seen at companies including Profiles, Mary Arrchie, Metropolis Performing Arts, The Royal George, Brookhaven College (Dallas, Texas) Laboratory Theatre (Madison, Wisconsin) Rail Events Inc. (Durango, Colorado) and the United States Naval Academy.
Katherine Hannibal, US Lab Manager
Katie Hansen, Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Katie is very excited to join Latin as a JK teacher in the lower school. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Katie moved to Chicago in 2006 after earning a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Cedarville University in Ohio. For the past 10 years, she has enjoyed teaching kindergarten and first grade at both Chicago Public Schools and charter schools throughout the city. During her teaching career, Katie became certified as a child life specialist, working with children in hospitals to meet their social, emotional and developmental needs. In her free time, Katie enjoys cooking, spending time outdoors, camping and traveling with her husband and two dogs.
Karen Horvath, Upper School Assistant Director
Karen is elated to be joining the upper school team as the assistant director. Born and raised in Chicago, Karen comes to Latin with a school counseling background. Earning her B.A. in psychology at DePaul University, Karen continued her education at Argosy University earning her M.A. in clinical psychology. Additionally, Karen is a licensed professional counselor and has earned her professional educator license (school counseling). Karen has previously worked in administrative school counseling and college counseling roles in both the archdiocesan and independent school sectors. She also served as an adjunct professor at Saint Xavier University within the role of university supervisor to school counseling graduate students. Karen loves spending time with her husband and two daughters. As a Chicago native, she enjoys exploring the city, joining friends and family to try new restaurants, and attending concerts and festivals.
Patrick Huett, Lower School Math Interventionist
Patrick is enthusiastic about joining the lower school team as the math interventionist. He completed a Bachelor of Science in special education and elementary education from Texas Christian University and a Master of Education in instructional design from Western Governors University. Patrick has taught students in elementary, middle and high school with varying needs for over 15 years. After teaching in various instructional settings, he found his passion for intervention and has pursued this passion ever since. Besides teaching, Patrick enjoys being active, including running, pilates and being outdoors.
Mackenzie Kenning, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Mackenzie is so excited to join the Latin community as an assistant teacher in the junior kindergarten classroom. She grew up in the northern suburb outside of Chicago in a town called Lake Forest. Mackenzie attended Auburn University where she studied human development and family studies. After college, she moved back to Chicago and taught at a private preschool called Sprouts Academy Preschool. Mackenzie's favorite things to do is explore the city, find new restaurants and fun things to do with her friends. She also enjoys playing in sports leagues and getting to know other people. She cannot wait to start her journey at Latin.
Lois Kim, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Lois joins Latin as a second grade assistant teacher. She was born in Philadelphia and is an avid Philly sports fan. Lois previously studied journalism at University of Illinois at Chicago for her undergraduate degree. She recently received her master's degree in elementary education from DePaul University. Lois is eager to be a part of the lower school team and strives to have students play with ideas, think deeply about the subject matter, take on more challenging work, fostering a responsive classroom, implementing high standards and instructional scaffolding to promote learning of new concepts and skills.
Lauren Kormushoff, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Kimberly Kuehl, Lower School Physical Education
Kimberly is excited to join the lower school P.E. department as an assistant teacher. She has coached the upper school boys and girls swim teams for the past two years. She has also coached the Chicago Latin Swim Club for the past three years. Kimberly was a Division 1 swimmer at the University of North Florida where she earned her bachelor's degree in nutrition and health sciences.
Ryan MacLeod, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Ryan recently moved to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his B.A. at Grand Valley State University with majors in group social studies and secondary education. This past summer, Ryan was a senior camp counselor for our Summer at Latin program. He is excited to see another side of Latin! Ryan loves to travel, try out new foods and play soccer.
Caroline Mahon, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Caroline looks forward to joining Latin this fall as the assistant teacher for fourth grade. Caroline grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, attended DePaul University and is now attending National Louis University to receive her Master of Arts in teaching for elementary education. She began working in education with City Year San Antonio, an AmeriCorps program, in which she served as a mentor, tutor and teacher's assistant for a seventh grade classroom. She then went on to work in a CPS third grade classroom on the west side of Chicago for one year. When she's not in the classroom, Caroline enjoys attending dance classes, listening to podcasts and enjoying all that Chicago has to offer!
Scott Marinier, Lower School Physical Education
After completing three years as a physical education assistant teacher, Scott is excited to become a lead P.E. teacher in the lower school. A native of Chicago, Scott earned a B.A. in physical education and health education at Central Michigan University. Outside the classroom, he enjoys coaching various sports in the lower, middle and upper Schools. In his free time, Scott enjoys spending time with his wife and family, as well as cheering on Chicago sports and learning how to grill. Scott is looking forward to continuing to promote health and wellness in the Latin community, as well as helping students remain physically active for a lifetime.
Maya Martin, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Crystal Medina, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Crystal is very excited to be working with the wonderful team at Latin in the beautiful city of Chicago as a lower school assistant teacher. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor's degree in English. After graduation, she lived in Mexico for half a year and taught ESL. She returned to my hometown of Chicago to be a camp counselor at Summer at Latin, and during the school year, she worked at the extended day program in the lower school. This will be her second year working in the Latin community and she looks forward to making new memories with all the junior kindergartners. Outside of school, she loves to travel as much as possible, read, draw, listen to music and spend time outdoors with friends and family.
Gretchen Metzler, Upper School Librarian
Gretchen is excited to join Latin as the new upper school librarian. Originally from Michigan, Gretchen received her B.A. in art history and master's in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gretchen moved to Chicago in 2006 working as teacher-librarian in Wilmette for the past 11 years. In addition to reading, Gretchen spends her free time running, teaching herself how to sew and cuddling her dog, Egon. She can't wait to collaborate with Latin's amazing students and staff.
Francisco Montalvo, Lower School Assistant Music Teacher
Francisco is excited to join Latin as the assistant music teacher in the lower school. After growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, he earned his Bachelor of Music in music composition from Columbia College Chicago. While in school, he enjoyed teaching after school music and chess classes to students throughout the Chicagoland area. When he's not teaching, studying, playing or listening to music, he enjoys spending time with his family and helping out at his church.
Sharla Nolte, Assistant Director for Annual Giving
Sharla joins Latin as the new Assistant Director for Annual Giving. Originally from Kansas City, Sharla earned her B.A. in English literature from Rockhurst University before moving to Chicago to start her career in fundraising. Since then, she has helped support the missions of great organizations like Victory Gardens, Chicago Children's Museum, Chicago House and Year Up. In her free time Sharla loves to read, run and spend time with friends. She's looking forward to connecting with everyone in the Latin community.
Gabriel Paynter, Third Grade Teacher
Gabriel is thrilled to join the Latin community teaching third grade. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, and moved to Chicago shortly after graduating from Kent State University. Gabriel continued his education in Chicago and received a master's degree in elementary education from DePaul University. He went on to complete his educational leadership certification from National Louis University. Gabriel comes to Latin after teaching fifth grade for nine years in Avoca School District in Wilmette. When not in the classroom, Gabriel enjoys staying active. He plays beach volleyball, loves to bike on the lakefront and teaches yoga classes around the city.
Heather Polek, Second Grade Teacher
Heather Polek is beyond thrilled to be joining the Latin community as a second grade teacher. She worked for Chicago Public Schools for nine years as a kindergarten teacher and one year as a fourth grade teacher. Heather graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in business and communications and graduated from National Louis University with a master's in teaching. When Heather is not in the classroom, she can be found walking around the neighborhood with her two English bulldogs.
Jed Silverstein, Director of Studies and Professional Development
Jed is excited to join Latin as the new director of studies and professional development. Originally from Scarsdale, New York, Jed has spent the last seven years teaching English and philosophy and leading the Learning Research Team at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, New York. Jed earned an A.B. in the comparative study of religion at Harvard College before earning an M.A. in philosophy from Tufts University and a PhD in philosophy from Brown University. He enjoys spending time with his young family and hiking with his standard poodle, Rufus.
Meghan Smith, First Grade Teacher
Meghan joins Latin as a first grade teacher in the lower school. She grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Meghan attended Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in early childhood education with a minor in special education. After college, she moved back to Chicago and was selected as a resident teacher for The Academy for Urban School Leadership. She attended National Louis University and received her master's in education while completing a year as a resident teacher. Meghan has worked for Chicago Public Schools for five years in first and second grade classrooms and is excited to now join the Latin family.
Nicholas Stender, Reception
Kara Sullivan, Middle School Social Studies
Kara joins Latin as a fifth grade social studies teacher. After earning her B.A. in history from the College of the Holy Cross, she taught eighth grade English and history as an AmeriCorps member in Massachusetts. Kara moved to Chicago and received her MEd from DePaul University in secondary education while working at Francis W. Parker as an assistant teacher. She is excited to be at Latin and part of the community. Outside of the classroom, Kara coaches field hockey and volunteers for an animal rescue.
John Taylor, Fourth Grade Teacher
Having taught fourth grade for twelve years in San Francisco, John is excited to join Latin as part of the lower school's fourth grade team. He cannot claim a hometown as he was raised in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Hong Kong. A proud alum of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, John earned degrees in elementary education and history. John was on the rowing team at Wisconsin and is a Badger super fan! Outside of the classroom, John loves to spend time with his family. He and his wife, Cecile, are constantly entertained by and their four-year-old son Henry and their two-year-old daughter Eleanor. John loves to be outside and active, and can often be found playing basketball, running with his dog, Rosa, or riding his bike.
Verónica Valentín, Upper School Spanish
Verónica is joining Latin as an upper school Spanish teacher. Born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico, Verónica earned a B.A in secondary education with a concentration in history from the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras. Shortly after completing her undergraduate degree, she was hired by the New York City Department of Education to serve as a bilingual history teacher. This experience inspired her to become an inclusive and dynamic educator. Equipped with this conviction, she subsequently completed her MSEd in dual language, bilingual, special education, and general education with a focus on middle school at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. In her many years of experience, she has taught Spanish, world history, U.S. history and ESL in New York City, New Jersey and Spain.
Emily Van Dam, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Originally from Wilmette, Emily is excited to move to the city and join the Latin community as an assistant teacher in the lower school. She attended University of Wisconsin-Madison where she recently completed a certification program in early childhood and English second language education and earned her B.S. in education. While in school, she worked in various early childhood classrooms in Madison's public schools. During her summers, she has worked as an assistant teacher at Northwestern's Center for Talent Development Leapfrog Program and studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin. When she isn't in the classroom, Emily enjoys exploring the city, trying out new restaurants and spending time with her friends and family.
Wayne Wheatley, Middle School Science
Wayne has been teaching middle school science since 2000. He has taught in traditional classrooms and informal settings such as museums, summer programs, camps, and private tutoring. In addition to science, he has taught reading, social studies, character education, human development, study skills, and algebra classes. He has coached middle school cross country, track, and snowboarding (varsity and middle school). He has also coached Science Olympiad and FIRST LEGO League teams and taught LEGO Mindstorms robotics programming camps. He has a master's in educational psychology from Wayne State University.