Debbie Boileve is beginning her tenth year as Executive Director of Cherry Preschool. Prior to that, Debbie taught in the Yellow Room since Cherry Preschool was founded in 1992, and was a member of the Cherry Preschool Founding Board. Before becoming Director, Debbie was the curriculum coordinator for the preschool. She has mentored the staff through multiple reaccreditations by the Academy of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Debbie has a degree in early childhood and elementary education and has worked professionally with young children for over 30 years. She has worked as a day care teacher, teacher/director of a camp program, art resource instructor, curriculum coordinator for a home day care network, and preschool teacher. In 2009, Debbie was awarded a Level II Illinois Director’s Credential and was chair of the Evanston Early Childhood Directors’ Council. Debbie is the parent of two adult children and proud grandmother of twins.
Rhonda Cohen is beginning her 25th year at Cherry and her 21st as Child Development/Inclusion Director. In addition to her general administrative duties, Rhonda works with the staff to support the inclusion of children with special needs and children receiving outside support services. Rhonda is also available to consult with parents on issues related to their children’s development. The parent of two adult sons, Rhonda has an education degree as well as a Master’s Degree in special education and Ph.D. coursework in educational psychology, child development and speech and language acquisition. She has worked as a preschool and primary education teacher as well as a teacher of hearing impaired children. Rhonda was the recipient of the 2004 Childcare Network of Evanston early childhood award.
Bea Douma joins the administrative team this year as Admissions Assistant. Bea is also beginning her 16th year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Red Room Dual Language class. Prior to joining the Red Room nine years ago, Bea taught the M/W Transition Rose Room Class and the Latino Parent/Child Class. A native Spanish speaker, Bea is a certified teacher and has a degree in elementary education. She taught in Evanston/Skokie District 65 for seven years. Bea’s three children are Cherry graduates. Katie and Henry are adults and Jill attends Regina Dominican High School. Bea has served on the Board, both as Room Parent Coordinator and as a Teacher Representative as well as serving on Strategic Planning and Board Development committees.
Lynn Fiedler begins her seventh year in the office as Office Manager. She has been involved with Cherry Preschool since 2003. She and her husband, Brent, have three children who are all Cherry graduates. Lauren is a junior at ETHS, Lindsay is a freshman at ETHS and Matthew is in 6th grade at Haven Middle School. During the years her children attended Cherry, Lynn was a frequent volunteer and served four years on the board as the Gift Card Chair, Vice President and President.
Toni Goehring is starting her third year as Cherry Preschool’s Development Director. She has spent 16 years in the Fundraising and Development field. Toni completed Leadership Evanston—the signature program of the Evanston Community Foundation—and now sits on the board of LumenKids. In her free time, Toni enjoys spending time in her garden, playing with her son, Theo, who attends kindergarten at Oakton School, and doing yoga.
Maggie Hessler is beginning her 26th year as Site Director. A member of the Cherry Preschool Founding Board, Maggie has a background in business and social work. She is the parent of three adult children, Zachary, Jeremy, and Tess (who was in the first graduating class at Cherry). In addition to managing all aspects of building operations, Maggie helps to organize the day to day operations of the school. Maggie puts her background in social work and early childhood education to good use spearheading our community outreach efforts. For the past twelve years, Maggie has put a great deal of time and energy into establishing and maintaining the Latino Parent/Child class, and more recently has worked as liaison to the Family Support Program of the Infant Welfare Society.
Shirlene Ward, Cherry’s Financial Operations Manager for the past 21 years, handles all the school’s bookkeeping, budget analysis and preparation, and generally anything that requires a spreadsheet. She is the parent of Dan and Paul, two Cherry alumni now adults, and lives in south Evanston with her husband, Kevin Kipp. In her former life, she was a music librarian at Northwestern University, and has degrees in Piano, Musicology, and Library Science. She currently devotes her volunteer hours to the board of The Orion Ensemble, a chamber music group of five remarkable women who perform in Evanston, Chicago, and Geneva.
Laurie Levy, Cherry Preschool’s Founding Director, retired in May 2013. Laurie was a part of the Cherry Preschool staff for 22 years and continues to be a part of the Cherry Preschool family. Laurie paved the way for many children to experience a preschool that is inclusive, caring and respectful of all people; a preschool that brings children of all abilities and backgrounds together to play and grow. Her legacy lives on in each and every child that has attended Cherry Preschool, their parents and the Cherry Preschool staff.