Each fall Latin welcomes many new faces to its community. Along with our students, dozens of faculty and staff will be 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.
Jayanthi Annadurai, Middle School History and Social Studies
Jayanthi is excited to bring her passion for teaching middle school to Latin. She cultivates a love of learning in her students as they grow emotionally, academically and socially throughout the middle school years. As the daughter of immigrant parents from India, Jayanthi encourages students to become global citizens and open-minded thinkers as they learn about history and the world around them. Getting to know each student while creating a safe learning environment that facilitates critical thinking and student-led inquiry is a priority for Jayanthi. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Jayanthi loves living in Chicago and spends her free time exploring new neighborhoods and trying different restaurants.
Joseph Benvenuti, Lower School Nurse
Calvin Brock, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Calvin was born and raised on Chicago's south side and graduated from Simeon High School. He is a sports enthusiast who participated in sports throughout his schooling and beyond. For the past eight years, he worked in schools and youth sports organizations, which brought him to Latin towards the end of last school year. He is excited to begin his role as an assistant teacher in Latin's lower school.
Janessa Butler, Assistant Director of Development, Annual Giving
Janessa is a development professional from South Carolina. She received her B.A. from the all-women's institution, Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina. She moved to Chicago five years ago to further her career in philanthropy. When Janessa isn't working she hosts a podcast focusing on grief, runs a small business and hoards unused planners. Starting in the fall of 2022, she will pursue her master's in pastoral care and counseling at Loyola University.
Jesse Chehak, Upper School Visual Arts
Jesse Chehak (pronounced chee-hawk) grew up in Hollywood and has lived all over the U.S., working as an artist, photographer, director and arts educator. Most recently, Jesse was teaching visual art at Harvard-Westlake School and is excited to be living in the midwest again. Jesse loves to travel, music, surfing, pickleball, BBQ and just being outdoors with family and friends.
Annika Cole, Alumni Relations & Development Coordinator
Annika is thrilled to join the Latin community and Development Team as the alumni relations and development coordinator. She relocated to Chicago from Pennsylvania after working on political campaigns. Annika earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies from Bryn Mawr College, where she enjoyed working in the Alumnae/i Relations Office. She’s excited to engage with Latin alumni and supporters. In her spare time, Annika enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, playing with her puppy, Drew, and exploring Chicago.
Michele D'Andrea, Extended Day Coordinator
Prior to joining Latin, Michele was a lead teacher in the lower school grades for 10 years in private schools in Winnetka, and most recently at Sacred Heart School in Chicago. She has a B.A. in speech communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Arts in teaching from National Louis University. She is very excited to join the Latin 360 Team, with a special interest and focus on social-emotional and social justice learning. Michele has three daughters, two dogs, and loves to hike, bike and travel.
Stephanie Fernandez, Associate Director of Enrollment Management
Stephanie was born and raised in the city of Chicago. After graduating from Northwestern University with a B.A. in sociology, Stephanie worked as an assistant director of admission for NU’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. She then moved to Seattle where she earned her MEd in education policy from the University of Washington. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles to become an assistant director of admissions for Brentwood School (another independent, co-ed day school). Stephanie is excited to work at Latin and live in Chicago once again. In her spare time, Stephanie loves to try new restaurants, hike, and travel with her dog, Zorro!
Ibrahim Fetuga, Associate Director of Enrollment Management for Diversity and Inclusion
Ibrahim comes to Latin from Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana, where he attended as a student, served as a major gift officer, assistant director of admissions for diversity and inclusion and assistant varsity football coach. Ibrahim earned his B.A. from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where he played football, served as assistant district director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and president of the Student Government Association. Following college, he worked for the Chicago Sky before moving to San Francisco for a position with CareerBuilder. Ibrahim is passionate about education and hopes to extend opportunities to deserving students of all backgrounds. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, eating everything in sight and cheering on his favorite Cincinnati and Ohio State sports teams.
Tom Fosgard, Senior Human Resources Generalist
Tom was born and raised in the Detroit area. Prior to arriving in Chicago in 2015, he lived in San Francisco for 15 years. He comes to Latin with nearly 20 years of human resources experience.
Brittani Fowlin, Lower School Division Assistant
Brittani is proud to be from Evanston and a graduate of both Evanston Township High School and the University of Maryland, College Park. Her mom is a first grade teacher, which inspired her passion for educating young people both in and outside of the classroom. Over the past 11 years, she has enjoyed working with students of all ages (K-12), backgrounds and experiences to prepare them for success in grade school and beyond. In her free time, Brittani loves spending time with family, playing/watching sports and exploring the city.
Greg Gaczol, Upper School History
Greg was born in Poland and immigrated to Chicago at a young age. He spent the majority of his life calling Chicago his home. Greg has always been interested in social studies, and therefore, earned a B.A. in history/secondary education from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). He earned an MEd in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University and an M.A. in history from NEIU. Before joining the Latin community, he taught social studies in a Chicago Public School for seven years. He is thrilled to be joining Latin as an upper school history teacher. When he is not teaching, he loves playing and watching soccer, taking his dog on long walks and spending time with friends and family.
Alex Gaertner, Middle School Receptionist
Sara Gardner, Staff Accountant
Sara was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from North Shore Country Day School. She attended DePaul University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in biology. After graduating, she started working in education in AmeriCorps: City Year in San Antonio and continued along that path for several years. She is now excited to be joining the Business Office at Latin as a staff accountant. In her free time, she enjoys biking, playing soccer and spending time with family and friends.
Richard Getzel, Middle School Mathematics
A Queens native, Richard is excited to join the middle school math department teaching the eighth grade slate of algebra courses. He has taught grades six through twelve over his illustrious 13-year teaching career, which began in New York City public schools. During a seven-year stint at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74, his alma mater, he earned a master's extension in gifted and talented education, an experience that solidified his ability to deliver rigorous and enriched instruction to all students. After relocating to Chicago in 2016, he joined the ranks of GEMS World Academy-Chicago, spearheading the creation of a math department that was accredited by the International Baccalaureate at the middle and upper levels during his tenure at the school. In his free time, Richard enjoys travel, DIY home projects, tabletop gaming, baseball, the theater, and all the cultural offerings that Chicago has to offer. Most of all, he relishes his role as a father to his 5-year-old twins.
Blake Gideon, Upper School Computer Science
Blake is thrilled to join the Computer Science Department at Latin. He grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, and earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Loyola University Chicago. He also completed extensive coursework in classical civilization and economics. Blake has taught computer science to a diverse population of students, from kindergartners to graduate students. Prior to starting at Latin, he taught at Chicago Tech Academy in Pilsen. In his free time, Blake enjoys golfing, playing guitar, and watching Jeopardy!
Ashley Gilski, Middle School Learning Specialist
Ashley's true passion is working with middle school students, where she sees their inquisitive minds develop and their eagerness to grow and learn come to fruition. Ashley helps foster an environment where students are able to embrace their individual interests while challenging them each day to always do their best. Born and raised in the northwest suburbs, Ashley has worked in Chicago for the last 10 years, and loves spending time traveling, being with her friends and family and taking her dog to Montrose Beach.
Melissa Glassman, Associate Director of Development, Donor Relations
Melissa is relocating to Chicago from Austin, Texas. After working in higher education for the past five years, she is excited to join the Development Team at Latin as associate director of development, donor relations. Melissa loves helping donors support their passions, and can’t wait to work with the supporters at Latin. She earned a B.A. in English and public relations from Baylor University and an MEd in higher education administration from the University of Virginia. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys being outside, watching sports, cooking and spending time with her husband Scott, daughter Grace, and dog Rooster.
Nick Goodspeed, Lower School Lead Teacher
Originally from Northern California, Nick has lived in Chicago since graduating from Miami University in 2012. After getting his bachelor’s degree in communication and working in corporate marketing, he returned to graduate school to complete his master's in early childhood education at National Louis University. After three years as an assistant teacher at Latin, he is beginning his first year as a lead teacher in Junior Kindergarten. Nick lives in Lakeview with his wife and daughter. In his free time, he enjoys time with family and friends, playing golf, spending time outdoors and watching sports.
Rachel Hill, Lower School Lead Teacher
The heart of Rachel's educational philosophy is Vygotsky’s great insight that learning happens in the context of relationships. Over her 15 years in the classroom, she has observed that students grow academically when teachers cultivate children’s social-emotional learning and when parents partner with her in their children’s schooling. She has written interdisciplinary curricula for children around topics of identity, equity and literacy. A trained SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Leader, she has also presented at national conferences and designed professional development for educators with a focus on social justice. Rachel holds a BFA in studio art and a master’s degree in elementary education. When she is not teaching, Rachel enjoys spending time with her 10-year-old son, exploring new cities and being creative. She hopes to pass her love of learning, good books, Chicago, music and art on to her son and her students.
Caroline Holling, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Caroline grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved back to the city last year after graduating college in 2020 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She is currently pursuing a master's in early education from National Louis University. Last spring, she worked as support staff in an SK classroom at Latin. She loves to cook, travel, listen to music, go on walks and spend time with family. She is excited to be back at Latin this fall as an assistant teacher in a second grade classroom.
Courtney Joseph, Lower School Assistant Teacher
After spending the summer as a camp counselor for Summer@Latin, Courtney is very excited to start her first year as an assistant teacher in the lower school. She grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and went to New Trier High School. She graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a B.A. in media studies and production and a minor in theatre and drama. Soon after graduating, she found her passion for teaching. She was an assistant teacher at Trinity Church Nursery School in Wilmette before the pandemic. She is now pursuing her master's in elementary education at DePaul University and looks forward to getting back in the classroom. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family and friends as she enjoys every aspect of living in Chicago. She is also a huge cinema buff!
Caroline Kirkland, Lower School Assistant Teacher, Upper School Swim Coach
Caroline is from the Bay Area in California and loves to swim, bike and surf. She went to Moody Bible Institute and got her degree in children and family education. Caroline is starting her second year at Latin and cannot wait to join the SK team!
Jane Knoche, Upper School Counselor
Jane is excited to join the Student Support Team at Latin. Jane graduated from DePauw University with a degree in sociology and worked in advertising for two years before earning her master's in community counseling from DePaul University in 2013. With licensure in both clinical mental health and school counseling, Jane has experience working in residential, hospital, school and private practice settings. In her free time, Jane enjoys hiking, running, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Anneliese Kranz, Upper School Counselor
Anneliese was born and raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where her father was an English professor at Dickinson College. She graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in psychology and then worked in the field of advertising for six years in both NYC and Chicago. She eventually realized that she wanted to make a more direct impact on individual’s lives and made the decision to return to graduate school to obtain her M.A. in both mental health and school counseling from Loyola University of Chicago. In grad school, she developed a passion for working with adolescents in a school setting and has served as a school counselor for the past seven and a half years at Loyola Academy. She is also a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) in Illinois and has her own therapy practice where she sees clients part-time on the side. She is very excited to be joining the Latin community this year. In her free time, she enjoys time spent outdoors (especially at a beach), being active (fitness, exercise, running, biking, yoga), traveling, making pottery on a wheel, reading, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog.
Debbie Linder, Upper School History
Debbie was born in St. Louis and moved to Evanston for college, with a short stop at Interlochen Arts Academy for her senior year of high school. After studying music and history at Northwestern University, she started her teaching career in Chicago. After a few years here, she headed west to teach for a short time in San Francisco and then crossed the country again to Boston, where she taught for 18 years while raising her two sons. Recently, her family chose to return to Chicago, where you are likely to see her cycling to the north along Sheridan Road or commuting downtown along the Lakefront Path with her husband. She is very excited to join the history department at Latin!
Jasmine Madrid, Lower School Assistant Teacher, Upper School Tennis Coach
Tennis has always been a passion of Jasmine's and she has been lucky to use her skillset at Latin on both the girls and boys tennis teams. Jasmine attended the University of Illinois at Chicago for two years and played on their club tennis team. She spent her last two years of undergrad at North Park University, where she was a tennis team captain and played number one singles and doubles. Besides tennis, she loved being in the lower school classroom last year as teacher support and is excited for her role as a Lower School Assistant Teacher this year.
Brianna Malin, Upper School Learning Specialist
Brianna is excited to join Latin as an upper school learning specialist. Her passion for working with students stems from her lived experience growing up with a learning disability and ADHD. Brianna earned her bachelor's degree in social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. After earning her master’s degree, she moved back to Chicago and worked as a high school learning specialist at a private high school in Lake Forest. She then spent several years in higher education and most recently worked at Northwestern University’s Disability Services Office. She is looking forward to working with high school students again, helping them prepare for higher education and overall future success.
Elizabeth Mintz, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Elizabeth was born and raised in New York. After graduating from Indiana University in 2018 with a B.A. in youth development and family studies, she moved back to NYC where she taught first grade in a charter school followed by co-teaching in a private preschool. Elizabeth decided to move to Chicago in June of 2020 and is now earning her master’s in early childhood education from National Louis University. She worked as an assistant teacher at Francis W. Parker last school year and is very excited to be joining the second grade team at Latin this year! Aside from her teaching experiences, she spent several years working at a sleep-away summer camp on the east coast and cherished her time there. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, cooking, traveling and spending time outdoors. Elizabeth is excited to continue with her passion for teaching children and can’t wait to have an amazing school year!
Tony Mucia, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Tony was born and raised in Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools K-12. He graduated from Northwestern University and is currently finishing his M.A. in early childhood education at DePaul University. He lives with his wife, Sari, and their two cats, Ozymandias and Thebes. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, paddle boarding and cooking vegan-friendly meals.
Lamiaa Nadif, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Lamiaa was born in Morocco and grew up in the East Moline, Illinois, region of the Quad Cities. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to complete her B.A. in political science. Lamiaa is currently pursuing her MAT in elementary education with an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement at National Louis University. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading and hanging out with family and friends.
Michelle Neely, Upper School Mathematics
Michelle grew up in Pittsburgh and headed west for graduate school in Boulder. She stayed in Denver for 20 years more where she taught at the University of Denver High School and Kent Denver. After experiencing all that Colorado had to offer, Michelle and her family relocated to Worthington, Ohio. While not as scenic as Colorado, Ohio’s rolling hills, lush woods, and family-friendly communities has been a perfect place to raise two personable, confident teenagers. So perfect, in fact, that the rest of her family is remaining in Ohio, while Michelle works at Latin. She plans to commute to school by bike or foot for as long as she can withstand the cold.
Erin Nelson, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Erin grew up in Massachusetts before coming to the Chicago area to attend Northwestern University. After graduating from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, she worked as a graphic designer in San Diego for two years. Erin returned to Massachusetts to pursue a career in teaching. She worked with students in behavioral health hospitals as an on-unit teacher for three years before deciding to return to Chicago. She is pursuing her Master of Arts in teaching and hopes to lead her own elementary classroom in the future. In her free time, she loves to play guitar and cook. She is so excited to be part of the fourth grade team!
Jennifer Pagnucci, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Cameron Pilcher, Lower School Lead Teacher
Cameron is a Chicago-area native and is thrilled to join the Latin community permanently. She holds a B.A. in studio art and African-American studies from Lake Forest College and is excited to complete her M.A. in elementary education at DePaul this upcoming fall. Cameron has taught first, second and third grades both in-person and remotely. During those years, Cameron strived to incorporate and celebrate project-based learning, the cultivation of community and learning experiences that enrich students' problem-solving skills and autonomy. In her spare time, Cameron enjoys baking, traveling and playing and watching sports.
Rachel Spector, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Freddie Swinson, Upper School Mathematics
Freddie is excited to be joining the Latin team this year! She grew up in mid-Michigan and completed her bachelor's in secondary education at Central Michigan University. After teaching high school math for six years in northern Michigan, she and her family moved to the Chicago area. Though she has always enjoyed math, Freddie is also a fan of theater and the arts. She was actively involved in theater during her schooling years and loves to attend local theater and Broadway shows. Freddie cannot wait to begin her experience with the Latin community, and looks forward to working with everyone!
Bliss Tobin, Lower School Director
Bliss' beginning at Latin as Lower School Director marks a full cycle in her career in elementary education. She began her journey in the kindergarten classrooms at Francis Parker while earning her master's from the University of Chicago. Bliss thrived in her eight years at Crow Island School in Winnetka before making a big transition out to San Francisco. Her 22 years in the Bay Area led to administrative roles including founding admissions and curriculum director at San Francisco Friends School, and lower school director at The Berkeley School. The best adventures along the way are Bliss' daughter, Lily, their dog, Oliver, and as much dancing, theater, and travel as she can squeeze in!
Kristine Von Ogden, Mary Gertrude White Upper School Director
Jessica Weed, Lower School Assistant Teacher
Jessica grew up in Hinsdale and graduated from Hinsdale Central High School. She completed her undergraduate degree at Tulane University in New Orleans. In New Orleans, Jessica worked at several different schools in various grades, including pre-K, kindergarten, first grade and third grade. She loved her experience in New Orleans but was excited to return back to the Midwest and work in Chicago after graduation. For two years, Jessica worked as a kindergarten teacher at a charter school in the South Shore neighborhood. She is excited to begin a new chapter with the junior kindergarten team and the entire lower school community at Latin.
Earlyn Whitehead, Middle School Dance
Earlyn is excited to be back at Latin as a middle school dance teacher after fulfilling the interim sabbatical position during the 2018-19 academic year! She holds a BFA in performance & choreography from Ohio University’s School of Dance. As an educator, Earlyn has had the pleasure of teaching dance residencies in Chicago Public Schools with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Youth Education program and Columbia College Chicago’s Youth Arts and Media summer camp. In addition to working in academic settings, Earlyn has a wide array of teaching experiences in dance studios throughout the United States and in Guatemala. When she is not teaching, Earlyn enjoys reading, listening to and collecting vinyl records, cooking and spending quality time with her family and friends.
David Wisnieski, Upper School Science
Born and raised in Indiana, David is excited to be back in the midwest. He taught science in New York City public schools and at an international school in South Korea. He also spent time working with the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History and the various characters at PBS. Outside of work, he enjoys biking, swimming and baking.
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