Faculty

Blue Room

Kitty Culbert, co-teacher in the 5 Morning Pre-K and 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room classes, is returning for her 15th year teaching at Cherry. Kitty is delighted to be teaching in the Blue Room with Kim Newman again. She first taught in the Yellow Room with Debbie Boileve during 2002-03, then took a year off to student teach kindergarten at Walker School and complete her Education degree. Kitty has a Masters of Education degree from DePaul University as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Set Design from the University of Arizona. She has three children, all “Cherry grads,” ages 26, 23, and 21.

newman-kimKim Newman teaches the 5 Morning Pre-K and 4 Afternoon Pre-K classes in the Blue Room. She has a degree in early childhood education and is starting her 29th year as a preschool teacher. Kim worked as teacher/director of a preschool in California where she developed curriculum and taught four and five year olds. She also taught kindergarten and first grade for two years. The mother of two adult daughters, and proud grandmother of three, Kim was an active volunteer at Willard, Haven, and ETHS and served as president of Willard PTA. Kim has served as a Teacher Representative on the Cherry Preschool Board four times. Kim was part of the original staff of the preschool and served on the 2008-09 Strategic Planning committee.

erickson-emilyEmily Erickson is starting her tenth year on the staff as an Inclusion Aide in the T/Th Green Room Transition class and the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room class. In the past, Emily worked in the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room. Emily spends her summers working as a summer arts camp director. She also worked at Pope John XXIII School in the after school program. Emily is the parent of three young children, a son in eighth grade and two Cherry graduates – a daughter in fifth grade, and a daughter in second grade.

messam-lindaLinda Messam begins her 14th year on the Cherry staff, working as an Inclusion Aide in the 5 Morning Pre-K and 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room classes. Linda has been part of the summer camp staff and worked in the 3 Morning 3’s and Young 3’s Yellow Room classes in past years. Linda has been a long time Cherry fan, as she is Del Lord’s sister and attended many Cherry events before joining the staff herself! She was a teacher in Belize before coming to the United States, and she is very excited to have come back to her original love of education.

washington-chantelChantel Washington is beginning her 19th year at Cherry Preschool. This year, she is a teaching the Monday/Wednesday Transition Rose Room class with Rachel and is an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room class. In the past, Chantel has also worked as an Inclusion Aide in many of our classrooms and was the teacher coordinator of the afternoon lunch program. She is also part of the summer camp staff. Chantel is the mother of a Cherry graduate, Christian, who is a college junior. In her years as a Cherry parent, Chantel worked on Cherry’s Jubilee and volunteered for the Gift Card program. She has also served as a Teacher Representative on the Cherry Board. Chantel has earned three certificates and her AA degree in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College, as well as two State of Illinois credentials. Chantel proudly completed her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at National Louis University last year and is working towards a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education Administration.  She was a recipient of a scholarship from the Warren W. Cherry Foundation in both 2011 and 2013.

weine-karenKaren Weine is starting her 15th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 5 Morning Pre-K Blue Room Class. She is also the coordinator of the morning lunch program Monday through Friday. Karen is certified in food service and sanitation, a DCFS requirement for preschools. She has also worked in the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room as well as the summer camp and afternoon lunch programs. Karen’s son, Eric, is a Cherry graduate who is currently a junior at the University of Chicago. Karen has a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College.

Green Room

lord-delDel Lord is beginning her 23rd year at Cherry Preschool. She teaches both of the Transition classes in the Green Room. She also works in the morning lunch program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A native of Belize where she worked in a school for five years, Del also worked in childcare for over eleven years prior to joining Cherry’s staff. Del holds a CDA early childhood credential. Del’s son, Ray, is a Cherry graduate and DePaul University graduate.

 

kennedy-meganMegan Kennedy is beginning her third year at Cherry and second year teaching the M/W and T/Th Transition Twos classes. Megan previously worked as an Inclusion Aide in the Orange room. She is the mother of two Cherry graduates, one of whom benefited from Cherry’s inclusion program. She was the co-chair of the auction committee for Cherry’s Jubilee for two years. Megan has a Master’s Degree in Education from National Louis University and has taught in the Chicago Public Schools. She and her family live in nearby Skokie.

erickson-emilyEmily Erickson is starting her tenth year on the staff as an Inclusion Aide in the M/W Green Room Transition class and the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room class. In the past, Emily worked in the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room. Emily spends her summers working as a summer arts camp director. She also worked at Pope John XXIII School in the after school program. Emily is the parent of three young children, a son in eighth grade and two Cherry graduates – a daughter in fifth grade, and a daughter in second grade.

Amanda Torihara  joins the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide this year in the T/Th Green Room Transition class. She has a Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities and prior to having children worked as a learning specialist at DePaul University and North Park University. Amanda is the mother of two.  Her son is a Cherry alum who was a part of the Inclusion Program and is now a first grader. Her daughter attends the 5 Morning Pre-K program. Amanda served as a Cherry room parent for three years and is beginning her second year as secretary of the Cherry Board. In her spare time, Amanda is also the director of children’s ministries at her church in Rogers Park. As a mom of a child with special needs who greatly appreciated the support of the Inclusion Program at Cherry, Amanda is excited to join the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide.

Orange Room

halverson-theaThea Halvorson returns for her seventh year as co-teacher in the Young Threes Orange Room as well as morning lunch program teacher on Thursdays. Thea left Evanston District 65 after 20 years of teaching Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. She has a BS in Elementary Education and a Masters in Early Childhood from National Louis University. In addition to teaching at Kingsley School in the District, she has also taught in the private sector. She taught kindergarten at Roycemore School in Evanston and was the Director/teacher at Unity Nursery School in Evanston for seven years. She has lived in Evanston since 1970. She has three delightful, grown children and a very lovely grandson is a Cherry Preschool alum. Children and teaching are her passion.

Amy May teaches the 3 Morning Threes, Young Threes, & 3/4 Afternoon Threes classes in the Orange Room. Prior to this, Amy worked in the Blue Room. This will be her 28th year teaching preschool. Prior to joining the Cherry staff, Amy worked as a substitute teacher extensively at several Evanston nursery schools. Amy also worked at Kendall College Day Care for five years, serving as lead teacher for part of her tenure there. Amy is the parent of two grown daughters as well as a grandmother of two. Amy has served four terms as a Teacher Representative on the Cherry Preschool Board! She was part of the original staff of the preschool and served on the 2008-09 Strategic Planning committee.

joann_zobelJoann Zobel is beginning her 19th year on the Cherry staff, working this year as a teacher in the 3 Morning Threes and 3/4 Afternoon Threes Orange Room  classes. She also teaches the Friday Morning Lunch program. Previously, Joann taught the M/W Transition Rose Room class and also worked as an Inclusion Aide in both the Green and Orange Rooms. She is the parent of two boys, ages 25 and 22. Her younger son, Joe, attended Cherry Preschool for two years. Joann has served on the Cherry Preschool Board and was an active Cherry parent volunteer.

martinez-mariaMaria Martinez Hain is serving her 13th year as Latino Program Coordinator, and is also working as an Inclusion Aide in the Young Threes and 3/4 Day Afternoon Threes Orange Room. She was the Latino Parent/Child teacher for six years. In addition, Maria translates materials into Spanish and works with Cherry’s Latino families to facilitate their full participation in the preschool. Maria’s sons are Cherry graduates. Will (19) is a college sophomore, and Mateo (16) is a junior at ETHS. In her life before children, Maria worked in public relations and marketing in the non-profit sector. We are happy to have Maria as one of our native Spanish speaking staff members.

schlax-kristiKristi Schlax begins her seventh year on staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 3 Morning Threes and 3/4 Afternoon Threes Orange Room classes. Kristi has a degree in business administration and worked in the financial industry for 17 years. Since then, she has been an active volunteer in her children’s schools, including a year on the Cherry Board, as well as working as a substitute inclusion aide in various classrooms. Kristi has been an active volunteer at Park School and is the parent of a child with special needs. Kristi and her husband Tony have three children, Peter, Maggie and Anna, two of whom are Cherry graduates, including one from our Inclusion Program.

Purple Room

rapisarda-julieJulie Rapisarda is starting her fifth year teaching in the AM Pre-K Purple room class. Prior to this, Julie taught the 3 Morning Threes and 4 Afternoon Multi-age Orange Room classes for five years. Julie started at Cherry as a parent during our founding year (1992) and has a degree in special education. She taught in the Transition and Parent/Child classes for nine years, leaving in 2003 to focus on her role as PTA President at Haven Middle School. Julie served on the Cherry Board as Secretary and as a Teacher Representative multiple times. Her three grown children, Christopher, Amelia and Jenna are all graduates of Cherry Preschool. Julie is excited to meet the new “Rock Stars” of the Purple Room!

Sarah Schoonyoung july 2016 cropped for webSarah Schoonyoung is excited to be teaching the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple room class with Julie. Sarah has also been an Inclusion Aide in the 5 Morning and 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple Room classes. Prior to moving to Evanston, Sarah worked for ten years as a preschool and elementary school teacher in California and Oregon. She has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Saint Louis University and a Post Baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education from California State University. Both of Sarah’s children graduated from  Cherry and now attend Walker Elementary. Sarah lives in Evanston with her kids, husband and dog. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys volunteering in her children’s school and carpooling to activities.

jain-sunitaSunita Jain begins her 15th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide, working as part of the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room team and as an afternoon lunch teacher. In past years, Sunita worked in the M/W Transition Rose Room program. Sunita is from India where she taught school for 11 years. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology and has taken classes in child development. As the mother of a child with special needs, Sunita is very interested in working with children in our Inclusion Program. She is the mother of two adult children.

Red Room

michelle-brewerMichelle Brewer begins her sixth year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Morning Young Fours Red Room class. In the past, Michelle was a teacher in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple room and worked as an Inclusion Aide in the Purple, Yellow and Red Room classes. Michelle received her certification in early childhood education and administration from California State University Dominguez Hills and has a BA in English from the University of Delaware. Prior to having children, Michelle worked as a teacher in a day care in California, as a director at a day care in Chicago, and as a teacher at Baby Toddler Nursery here in Evanston. While home with her sons, she served as Board President of Covenant Nursery School and Chair of the Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee for District 65. She also served her church as Chair of their children’s program, Co Moderator of their Board, and currently serves as chair of their youth program. Michelle lives here in Evanston and has two sons, a senior at ETHS and a college sophomore.

Ann Herder is beginning her 18th year at Cherry Preschool. Ann is excited to join the Red room team this year teaching the 4 Morning Young Fours class with Michelle Brewer. Ann taught the Afternoon Pre-K Purple room class last year and Transition classes in the Green Room for 16 years. She is the parent of two adult daughters; a preschool teacher in Washington D.C. and a graduate of University of California Santa Cruz. Ann served on the Cherry Preschool Board while her younger daughter attended Cherry and also served on the Board as a Teacher Representative. Ann is a graduate of Miami University and holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education.

Martha Belmonte begins her 21st year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Afternoon Dual Language Red Room class. Prior to co-teaching in the Red Room, Martha worked as an Inclusion Aide and in the office and was a teacher in the lunch program. A member of the founding board of Cherry Preschool and past Board President, Martha has an Education degree and was a special education teacher for six years. In the past, she served on the Long Range Planning and director search committees. Martha is the parent of three adult children who are Cherry graduates.

Beatriz Douma is beginning her 16th year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Red Room Dual Language class and joins the administrative team this year as Admissions Assistant. 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.

rojas-reynaReyna Rojas is starting her 13th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Morning Young Fours and 4 Afternoon Dual Language classes. Reyna also teaches the Latino Parent/Child Class. In addition, she has been part of the summer camp staff for many years. In the spring of 2005, Reyna did an internship for early childhood education in the Rose Room M/W Transition class and has an Early Childhood Education certification from Oakton Community College. Reyna is the mother of three adult children. We are also excited to have Reyna as one of our native Spanish speaking staff members.

Rose Room

Linda KuselLinda Kusel is starting her fifth year as Cherry’s music specialist and second year teaching the Parent/Child class. Her entire professional life has been devoted to arts enrichment for children, which she believes leads to lifelong growth, fun and joy. Linda has a B.A. from Mudelein College/Loyola University in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with an emphasis on educating children with special needs. She began her teaching career in the Chicago Public Schools teaching a developmental kindergarten classroom. These skills combined with her love of music and dance led to the establishment of Creative Kids Corner (CKC) in Evanston as part of Kendall College’s Early Childhood Education teacher training program. As CKC’s Creative Director in recent years, Linda has developed and expanded the “Cooking For Life” after school culinary instruction program while serving as music specialist for several schools. Linda is the proud mother of two creative and accomplished adults, Ben and Carolyn who is a Cherry Preschool grad. Linda is honored to have been a finalist for the 2001 Kohl-McCormick award.

rojas-reynaReyna Rojas is starting her 13th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Morning Young Fours and 4 Afternoon Dual Language classes. Reyna also teaches the Latino Parent/Child Class. In addition, she has been part of the summer camp staff for many years. In the spring of 2005, Reyna did an internship for early childhood education in the Rose Room M/W Transition class and has an Early Childhood Education certification from Oakton Community College. Reyna is the mother of three adult children. We are also excited to have Reyna as one of our native Spanish speaking staff members.

Rachel Woodrick is joining the Cherry staff as teacher in the M/W Transition Rose Room class. Rachel has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Reading. She has worked as a second/third grade classroom teacher and a reading coach for the Chicago Public Schools for six years. In addition, she was a reading specialist for the Golf School District for K-8th grade students for three years. Rachel and her family live in Evanston. Her son, Owen, is a Cherry alum and is a third grader at Lincoln Elementary School. Her younger son, Charlie, attends Cherry’s 3 Morning Threes program this year.

washington-chantelChantel Washington is beginning her 19th year at Cherry Preschool. This year, she is a teaching the Monday/Wednesday Transition Rose Room class with Rachel and is an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Blue Room class. In the past, Chantel has also worked as an Inclusion Aide in many of our classrooms and was the teacher coordinator of the afternoon lunch program. She is also part of the summer camp staff. Chantel is the mother of a Cherry graduate, Christian, who is a college junior. In her years as a Cherry parent, Chantel worked on Cherry’s Jubilee and volunteered for the Gift Card program. She has also served as a Teacher Representative on the Cherry Board. Chantel has earned three certificates and her AA degree in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College, as well as two State of Illinois credentials. Chantel proudly completed her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at National Louis University last year and is working towards a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education Administration.  She was a recipient of a scholarship from the Warren W. Cherry Foundation in both 2011 and 2013.

Yellow Room

hart-maryMary Hart is starting her 12th year on staff, working as co-teacher in the Young 3’s and Morning Threes Yellow Room. In past years, Mary was an Inclusion Aide in the Transition Rose Room, Transition Green Room, and Young Threes Yellow Room classes. She also taught the Parent/Child class. Mary has two children who graduated from Cherry Preschool. Her older daughter is a college sophomore and her younger daughter is a junior at ETHS. As a Cherry parent, Mary served on the Board for two years as Community Outreach Chair. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a degree in Psychology and had previous experience as a teacher of parent/child classes. She has also served on the Cherry Board as a Teacher Representative.

cudahy-michaelaMichaela Cudahy begins her tenth year on the Cherry staff as Mary’s co-teacher in the Young Threes and 3 Morning Threes Yellow Room.  Michaela’s twins, Rose and Luke Lawless, are 2009 Cherry graduates. She has a background in social work with an MSW and LCSW from Loyola University. Michaela has been an outreach worker with the mentally ill community. She has also worked in a daycare center with infants and in a preschool summer camp.

 

stojko-magdaMagda Stojko is beginning her 13th year on the Cherry Preschool staff, working this year as an Inclusion Aide in the Young Threes and 3 Morning Threes classes and as the afternoon lunch teacher/coordinator. In the past, Magda has worked in almost every room at Cherry. She rejoined the Cherry staff in 2009 in the Green Room after working at Cherry from 1999 – 2003 as an Inclusion Aide and as the coordinating teacher in the Morning Lunch Program. Her two sons, Maciej and Voitek are Cherry graduates. Magda has taken classes in early childhood education and worked as a nanny prior to joining the Cherry staff. She has attended many workshops and seminars in early childhood education.

Lunch & More Program

Morning Lunch Program

weine-karenKaren Weine is starting her 15th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 5 Morning Pre-K Blue Room Class. She is also the coordinator of the morning lunch program Monday through Friday. Karen is certified in food service and sanitation, a DCFS requirement for preschools. She has also worked in the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room as well as the summer camp and afternoon lunch programs. Karen’s son, Eric, is a Cherry graduate who is currently a junior at the University of Chicago. Karen has a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College.

halverson-theaThea Halvorson returns for her seventh year as co-teacher in the Young Threes Orange Room as well as morning lunch program teacher on Thursdays. Thea left Evanston District 65 after 20 years of teaching Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. She has a BS in Elementary Education and a Masters in Early Childhood from National Louis University. In addition to teaching at Kingsley School in the District, she has also taught in the private sector. She taught kindergarten at Roycemore School in Evanston and was the Director/teacher at Unity Nursery School in Evanston for seven years. She has lived in Evanston since 1970. She has three delightful, grown children and a very lovely grandson is a Cherry Preschool alum. Children and teaching are her passion.

lord-delDel Lord is beginning her 23rd year at Cherry Preschool. She teaches both of the Transition classes in the Green Room. She also works in the morning lunch program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A native of Belize where she worked in a school for five years, Del also worked in childcare for over eleven years prior to joining Cherry’s staff. Del holds a CDA early childhood credential. Del’s son, Ray, is a Cherry graduate and DePaul University graduate.

 

joann_zobelJoann Zobel is beginning her 19th year on the Cherry staff, working this year as a teacher in the 3 Morning Threes and 3/4 Afternoon Threes Orange Room  classes. She also teaches the Friday Morning Lunch program. Previously, Joann taught the M/W Transition Rose Room class and also worked as an Inclusion Aide in both the Green and Orange Rooms. She is the parent of two boys, ages 25 and 22. Her younger son, Joe, attended Cherry Preschool for two years. Joann has served on the Cherry Preschool Board and was an active Cherry parent volunteer.

Afternoon Lunch

jain-sunitaSunita Jain begins her 15th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide, working as part of the 5 Morning Pre-K Purple Room team and as an afternoon lunch teacher. In past years, Sunita worked in the M/W Transition Rose Room program. Sunita is from India where she taught school for 11 years. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology and has taken classes in child development. As the mother of a child with special needs, Sunita is very interested in working with children in our Inclusion Program. She is the mother of two adult children.

schlax-kristiKristi Schlax begins her seventh year on staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 3 Morning Threes and 3/4 Afternoon Threes Orange Room classes. Kristi has a degree in business administration and worked in the financial industry for 17 years. Since then, she has been an active volunteer in her children’s schools, including a year on the Cherry Board, as well as working as a substitute inclusion aide in various classrooms. Kristi has been an active volunteer at Park School and is the parent of a child with special needs. Kristi and her husband Tony have three children, Peter, Maggie and Anna, two of whom are Cherry graduates, including one from our Inclusion Program.

stojko-magdaMagda Stojko is beginning her 13th year on the Cherry Preschool staff, working this year as an Inclusion Aide in the Young Threes and 3 Morning Threes classes and as the afternoon lunch teacher/coordinator. In the past, Magda has worked in almost every room at Cherry. She rejoined the Cherry staff in 2009 in the Green Room after working at Cherry from 1999 – 2003 as an Inclusion Aide and as the coordinating teacher in the Morning Lunch Program. Her two sons, Maciej and Voitek are Cherry graduates. Magda has taken classes in early childhood education and worked as a nanny prior to joining the Cherry staff. She has attended many workshops and seminars in early childhood education.