Please Change » Faculty and Staff Biographies

Faculty and Staff Biographies

Administration
 
 
Mrs. Kate O'Brien, Principal
 
Mrs. Kate O’Brien became Principal of Holy Family Catholic Academy in July, 2013 after a nation-wide search. Kate spent most of her career at The Frances Xavier Warde School in Chicago, a premier Catholic elementary school serving students from preschool through 8th grade. Most recently, she served as Principal, Old St. Pat’s Campus. Kate taught in the Academy’s first two-round kindergarten in 2008-2009. She was therefore uniquely familiar with many teachers and staff members and was well aware of HFCA’s reputation as a leader in 21st century education in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Her academic credentials include:
 
  • Loyola University, M.Ed. Instructional Leadership
  • National-Louis University, M.Ed. Language and Literacy
  • University of Dayton, B.S Elementary Education
 
Kate serves on the Office of Catholic Schools' Curriculum Committee. Read "HFCA Principal Recognized for Excellence"
and learn more about Kate's commitment to rigor, continuous improvement, and emphasis on 21st century instructional practices. 
 
Mrs. Laura Clark, Assistant Principal
 
Mrs. Laura Clark has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from National Louis University and a Master of Arts degree in School Administration from Concordia University. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Laura has endorsements in Middle School, Social Sciences, and Language Arts. Prior to joining HFCA as Assistant Principal, she taught in both public schools and Catholic schools and served as a Curriculum Director and School Principal. 
 
Two-year-old preschool
Mrs. Nancy Izzo, Preschool Teacher (2's)
 
Mrs. Nancy Izzo holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Nancy has taught in both public and Catholic schools and has experience teaching kindergarten and preschool.
 
Mrs. Donna Lorch, Preschool Teacher (2's)
 
Mrs. Donna Lorch has a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. She has previously taught elementary grades in area public schools and was a Preschool Enrichment Teacher for the Buehler YMCA.
 
 
Three-year-old preschool
Mrs. Christine Lopez, Preschool Teacher (3's and 4's)
 
Mrs. Christine Lopez has a Master of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University and a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications from Northern Illinois University. Christine has endorsements in Language Arts, Speech, Journalism, English and General School Administration.  Prior to joining HFCA, Mrs. Lopez worked for 16 years at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights where she was recognized for her outstanding contributions to education.  
 
Mrs. Maggie Miller, Preschool Teacher (3's)
 
Mrs. Maggie Miller has a Master of Arts Degree in Reading from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from St. Mary's College. She has an endorsement as a Reading Specialist. Prior to joining HFCA, Maggie taught intermediate grades in both Catholic and Public schools.
Mrs. Sandy Maiorano, Preschool Teacher (3's)
 
Mrs. Sandy Maiorano has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Roosevelt University where she graduated with honors. Sandy majored in Education and Sociology and has an endorsement in Special Ed. She has taught in both public and Catholic schools and taught elementary and preschool classes.  
 
Mrs. Kelley Sgroi, Preschool Teacher (3's)
 
Mrs. Kelley Sgroi has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and Spanish from Marquette University. She has taught in both public and Catholic schools and has experience in teaching preschool, primary (K and 1), and intermediate (3-5) grades.
 
Four-year-old Preschool
Mrs. Carol Betts, Preschool Teacher (4's)
 
Mrs. Carol Betts has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. Carol is a member of the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She has spent most of her career in early childhood education and has taught in both private and Catholic schools. 
Mrs. Katie Bird, Preschool Teacher (4's)
 
Mrs. Katie Bird has a Master of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University with a minor in Biology. Katie has endorsements in Biology, Geology, Math, General Science and Social Studies. She also has over 30 post graduate hours in Brain-based learning. She has taught middle school Math, Science, English and Social Studies in public schools before joining HFCA.
 
Mrs. Sarah Letts, Preschool Teacher (4's)
 
Mrs. Sarah Letts has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Illinois State University and has endorsements in Elementary and Middle School Education. Sarah has taught preschool and kindergarten as well as intermediate (grades 4-5) and middle school (grades 7-8) students in both public and Catholic schools.
 
Mrs. Christine Lopez, Preschool Teacher (4's and 3's)
 
Mrs. Christine Lopez has a Master of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University and a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications from Northern Illinois University. Christine has endorsements in Language Arts, Speech, Journalism, English and General School Administration.  Prior to joining HFCA, Mrs. Lopez worked for 16 years at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights where she was recognized for her outstanding contributions to education.  
 
Kindergarten
 
Miss Bridgette Darnell, Kindergarten Teacher
 
Miss Bridgette Darnell has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from National Louis University and has an endorsement in Special Education. She has previously taught preschool and kindergarten in public schools before joining HFCA.
 
Mrs. Janice Dufloth, Kindergarten Teacher
 
Mrs. Janice Dufloth has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education and Creative Arts from Western Michigan University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Janice has an endorsement in K-8 education and has primarily taught in Catholic schools.
 
Mrs. Jen Lando, Kindergarten Teacher
 
Mrs. Jen Lando has a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Fitchburg State University (MA). She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Jen has taught language and learning disabilities in intermediate grades in the public schools before joining HFCA.
 
First Grade
 
 
Mr. Tim Dowling, First Grade Teacher
 
Mr. Tim Dowling has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Millikin University. He has endorsements in Language Arts and Reading and is a Library Information Specialist.  Tim has devoted his career to teaching primary grades and has experience in both public and Catholic schools.
Mrs. Laura Moynihan, First Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Laura Moynihan has a Master of Arts Degree in Reading Education from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics from the University of Illinois. Laura is a Certified Reading Specialist and a Certified SLANT Instructor, a multi-sensory, structured literacy intervention program. She has taught middle school math, but has primarily devoted her career to elementary education in Catholic schools. 
 
Second Grade
Mrs. Catherine Lyon, Second Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Catherine Lyon has a Master of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College (Nebraska) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education for the University of Illinois. She has experience teaching in primary and intermediate grades in both public and Catholic schools. 
Mrs. Susan Marinelli, Second Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Susan Marinelli has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University with endorsements in Reading and Social Science. Susan was twice nominated for a Golden Apple Teacher award, and she Co-Authored Teacher Inquiries in Literacy Teaching/Learning for the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before joining HFCA, Mrs. Marinelli taught grades 2 through 6 in Chicago Public Schools. 
 
Third Grade
Ms. Lisa Arthur, Third Grade Teacher
 
Ms. Lisa Arthur has a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Art from Northern Illinois University. Lisa has endorsements in Art and Early Childhood education. She served as a Peace Corps teacher in Botswana and also taught in private schools in Abu Dhabi, Manila, Cambodia and Indonesia.
 
Mrs. Jane Buckstaff, Third Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Jane Buckstaff has a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa. Jane has experience teaching in grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 and has taught in both public and Catholic schools.  
 
Fourth Grade
 
Mrs. Lorraine Liesenberg, Fourth Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Lorraine Liesenberg has a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Concordia University (Mequon, WI) where she majored in business and marketing. Mrs. Liesenberg has taught her entire career in Catholic schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. 
Mrs. Debbie Toussaint, Fourth Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Debbie Toussaint has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. She also has a Master's Degree Equivalency in Curriculum and Instruction from courses taken at various universities. Debbie has endorsements in Elementary Education and Mathematics and was Student Teacher of the Year for Illinois in 1987. She has taught in both public and Catholic schools.
 
Mrs. Carla Anforth, Teacher Assistant
 
Mrs. Carla Anforth has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to joining HFCA, Carla taught at a Montessori school and helped develop a full day kindergarten program at another Catholic school where she taught for 8 years.
Fifth Grade
Mrs. Ann Pacion, Fifth Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Anne Pacion has a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marquette University majoring in Journalism and minoring in International Marketing. Anne has teaching experience in both Catholic, private and public schools including District 220 (Barrington) and District 47 (Crystal Lake). She holds endorsements in Middle School Language Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Most recently Anne taught undergraduate students at Loyola University, School of Education, Chicago, IL where she focused on Educational Psychology and IB Education in Middle School.  
 
Mrs. Jami Wildeman, Fifth Grade Teacher
 
Mrs. Jami Wildeman has a Master in Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University where she was named to the Dean's List. Jamie has endorsements in Social Studies and Kindergarten through grade 9. She has taught in both public and Catholic schools. 
 
Mrs. Ann Coombes, Teacher Assistant
 
Mrs. Anne Coombes has a Master of Science Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Illinois. Anne has endorsements in Social Studies, American History and World History. Prior to joining HFCA she taught social studies in grades 5-8 at an area Catholic school. 
 
Middle School
Ms. Christina Calcagno, Middle School Math Teacher
 
Ms. Christina Calcagno has a Master in Arts in Teaching Degree in Secondary Education from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Elmhurst College where she graduated with honors and majored in Mathematics and minored in Spanish. Christina has a middle school endorsement and prior to joining HFCA taught math at an area public high school. 
 
Mrs. Nikki Carso, Middle School Teacher
 
Mrs. Nikki Carso has a Master in Education Degree in Curriculum Development from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. She has endorsements in Middle School Language Arts, Social Studies and Math. Prior to joining HFCA, Nikki taught middle school in the Chicago Public School system and a local suburban district. 
 
Mrs. Pam Gannon, Middle School Teacher Assistant
 
Mrs. Pam Gannon has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Western Illinois University. She holds endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies and has spent her entire teaching career at Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Chicago.
 
Mr. Mike Henry, Middle School Math Teacher
 
Mr. Mike Henry has a Master in Business Administration Degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Engineering from United States Air Force Academy where he graduated in the top 10% of his class. Mike is certified to teach K-8 and is also an adjunct faculty member at Harper College where he teaches Business Math. 
 
Ms. Kate McCully, Middle School Math Teacher
 
Ms. Kate McCully has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics from Seattle Pacific University (WA) where she graduated Cum Laude and was a Member of the National Mortar Board.  Kate has a Certificate in Secondary Education and endorsements to teach Mathematics in grades 6-8 and high school grades 9-12.
Mrs. Mary Moussa, Middle School Teacher
 
Mrs. Mary Moussa has a Master of Arts Degree in Education, with distinction from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mary has endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies. Her teaching career has focused on middle school grades in Catholic schools in California and Illinois. 
 
Mrs. Roberta Muran, Middle School Teacher
 
Mrs. Roberta Muran has a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from National Louis University and a Bachelor of Business Degree from Western Illinois University. Roberta has middle school endorsements in Social Science, Business and Marketing. Mrs. Muran has devoted her teaching career to Catholic education teaching grades 5 through 8. She was a member of the Science Curriculum Committee for the Chicago Archdiocese and developed inquiry units in science and social studies that were used in Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.
 
Mrs. Jeanne Olmstead, Middle School Teacher
 
Mrs. Jeanne Olmstead has a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Missouri at Kansas City and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Literature and Communications from Illinois Benedictine University where she graduated magna cum laude. Jeanne has endorsements in English and Language Arts for grades 6-12. Prior to joining HFCA, Mrs. Olmstead taught in the Missouri public school system. 
 
Mrs. Eileen Paparone, Middle School Teacher
 
Mrs. Eileen Paparone has a Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education from Illinois State University. She holds endorsements in Social Studies (grades 6-12) English (grades 6-12) Language Arts (grades 6-12) and Secondary Education (grades 6-12). Prior to joining HFCA, Eileen taught grades 9-12 at St. Joseph's Academy (Niles) a therapeutic day school. 
 
Special Subjects
 
Mrs. Colleen Biere, International Baccalaureate World School Coordinator
 
Mrs. Colleen Biere has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois with an endorsement in Language Arts. Prior to assuming the role of HFCA's International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Colleen taught 4th grade at HFCA for 10 years. During that time, she authored inquiry units through Loyola University grants and presented inquiry learning to many teachers throughout the Chicago area.   
 
Mrs. Bev Breen, Art Teacher
 
Mrs. Bev Breen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art and Sociology from Eastern Illinois University where she graduated magna cum laude. Bev has taught art to kindergarten through grade 8 students at HFCA since 2004.
Mrs. Janice Geisheker, Technology Coach
 
Mrs. Janice Geisheker has a Master of Arts Degree in Computer Education from National Louis University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree from Northeastern University. Janice also obtained a school administrator certificate from Loyola University and served as principal for many years in District 71--Niles Elementary Schools.
 
Ms. Jessica Loyaga, Spanish Teacher (preschool through grade 5)
 
Ms. Jessica Loyaga attended university in Lima, Peru. She has experience teaching Spanish language in early childhood, elementary school and middle school. She uses the immersion method in her classroom and always incorporates innovative activities and projects into her curriculum. Jessica is also an expert in Peruvian Folk Dance. 
Ms. Devan Redlinger, Physical Education Teacher
 
Ms. Devan Redlinger has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology from Northern Illinois University where she was named to the National Dean's List and the Northern Illinois Honors Society for her academic excellence. Coach Red is CPI certified and a member of the American Sport Education Program. Prior to joining HFCA, she taught at Barrington High School and other Barrington elementary schools.
 
Mrs. Alisha Welc, Reading Specialist
 
Mrs. Alisha Welc has a Master of Arts Degree in Reading from Concordia University (Chicago) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University where she graduated Cum Laude. She was also a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society. Alisha has experience in area public schools and has endorsements in Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies and a LBS-1 (Learning Behavior Specialist) endorsement. She is SLANT certified and a member of the Illinois Reading Council.