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 14th 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 25, 22, and 20.

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 28th 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 ninth 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 has worked as a summer camp teacher and teacher aide at School for Little Children and at Cherry. She also worked at Pope John XXIII School in the after school program. Emily is the parent of three young children, a son in seventh grade and two Cherry graduates – a daughter in fourth grade, and a daughter in first grade.

messam-lindaLinda Messam begins her 13th 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.

weine-karenKaren Weine is starting her 14th 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 sophomore 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 22nd 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 recent DePaul University graduate.

 

kennedy-meganMegan Kennedy is excited to join the Green Room teaching team this year as Del’s co-teacher in the M/W and T/Th Transition Twos class. 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.

clarke_emilyEmily Clarke begins her second year in the Green Room as the inclusion aide for the M/W Transition Twos class. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chld and Family Studies. Prior to having children, Emily was a social worker on the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s Hospital) and at Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin. Emily and her husband, Rob, live in Evanston with their children, Sam and Nora, both Cherry graduates who now attend Washington School. Emily was an active member of the Cherry Preschool Board for several years, as Community Outreach Chair, Secretary and most recently as Cherry’s first ever Parent Council Chair.

erickson-emilyEmily Erickson is starting her ninth 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 has worked as a summer camp teacher and teacher aide at School for Little Children and at Cherry. She also worked at Pope John XXIII School in the after school program. Emily is the parent of three young children, a son in seventh grade and two Cherry graduates – a daughter in fourth grade, and a daughter in first grade.

Orange Room

halverson-theaThea Halvorson returns for her sixth year as co-teacher in the Young 3 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 3’s, Young 3’s, & 4 Afternoon 3’s classes in the Orange Room. She also teaches the After School Care program in the Orange Room. Prior to this, Amy worked in the Blue Room. This will be her 27th 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 18th year on the Cherry staff, working this year as a teacher in the T/Th Transition Twos Green Room class and the 3 Morning 3’s Orange Room  class. 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 24 and 21. 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 12th year as Latino Program Coordinator, and is also working as an Inclusion Aide in the Young 3’s and 4 Day Afternoon 3’s 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 (18) is a college freshman, and Mateo (15) is a sophomoreat 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.

Reyna Rojas is starting her 12th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Morning Young 4’s Red and 4 Afternoon 3’s Orange Room classes. Reyan also teaches the Latino Parent/Child Class. In addition, she has been part of the summer camp staff. 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.

schlax-kristiKristi Schlax begins her sixth year on staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 3 Morning 3’s Orange Room. 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

donoghue-anneAnne Donoghue is happy to be starting her 13th year teaching the 5 Morning Pre-K class in the Purple Room. Going way back, Anne taught in the Orange Room as a founding Cherry staff member and at another preschool in Evanston. Between teaching in the Orange Room and the Purple Room, Anne taught at a wonderful co-op nursery school in Michigan. Anne and her husband, Larry, have three adult children and are the proud grandparents of four. Anne has served on the Cherry Board as a teacher representative.

rapisarda-julieJulie Rapisarda is starting her fourth year as Anne’s co-teacher in the Purple Pre-K class. Prior to this, Julie taught the 3 Morning 3’s 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!

michelle-brewerMichelle Brewer begins her fifth year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple Room class. In the past, Michelle 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 17th year at Cherry Preschool. Ann is excited to join the Purple room team this year teaching the 4 Day Afternoon Pre-K class with Michelle Brewer. Ann taught the 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 recent 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.

jain-sunitaSunita Jain begins her 14th 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.

Sarah Schoonyoung july 2016 cropped for webSarah Schoonyoung is excited to be joining the Cherry Preschool staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 5 Morning and 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple Room classes. For the past five years, Sarah has stayed home with her two daughters, volunteering in classrooms and carpooling to activities. 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.

washington-chantelChantel Washington is beginning her 18th year at Cherry Preschool. This year, she is a teaching the Monday/Wednesday Transition Rose Room class with Jackie and is an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple 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 sophomore. 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 this past spring and will begin 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.

Red Room

belmonte-marthaMartha Belmonte begins her 20th year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Morning and 3 Afternoon Red Room classes. 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 15th year on the Cherry staff as a teacher in the 4 Morning and 3 Afternoon Red Room classes. Prior to joining the Red Room eight 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 12th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Morning Young 4’s Red and 4 Afternoon 3’s Orange Room classes. Reyan also teaches the Latino Parent/Child Class. In addition, she has been part of the summer camp staff. 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 fourth year as Cherry’s music specialist and is excited to be teaching the Parent/Child class this year. 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 12th year on the Cherry staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Morning Young 4’s Red and 4 Afternoon 3’s Orange Room classes. Reyan also teaches the Latino Parent/Child Class. In addition, she has been part of the summer camp staff. 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.

scobie-rogers-jackieJackie Scobie-Rodgers is starting her 11th year on the Cherry staff as teacher in the M/W Transition Rose Room class. She served on the Board of Cherry Preschool for two years as the secretary, and been active within the Cherry community as a volunteer for various fundraising events. Jackie has a BA in Early Childhood Education from National College of Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy from National-Louis University. She has been teaching young children for over 20 years throughout the North Shore and has also taught education courses at the college level. Jackie’s children, Jackson and Jessica, are Cherry graduates and attend ETHS and Chute Middle School. Jackie lives with her husband and children in Evanston.

washington-chantelChantel Washington is beginning her 18th year at Cherry Preschool. This year, she is a teaching the Monday/Wednesday Transition Rose Room class with Jackie and is an Inclusion Aide in the 4 Afternoon Pre-K Purple 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 sophomore. 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 this past spring and will begin 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 11th 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 3’s 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 freshman and her younger daughter is a sophomore 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 ninth year on the Cherry staff as Mary’s co-teacher in the Young 3’s and 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 12th year on the Cherry Preschool staff, working this year as an Inclusion Aide in the Young 3’s and 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 for five years 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 14th 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 sophomore at the University of Chicago. Karen has a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College.

halverson-theaThea Halvorson returns for her sixth year as co-teacher in the Young 3 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 22nd 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 recent DePaul University graduate.

joann_zobelJoann Zobel is beginning her 18th year on the Cherry staff, working this year as a teacher in the T/Th Transition Twos Green Room class and the 3 Morning 3’s Orange Room  class. 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 24 and 21. 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 14th 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 sixth year on staff as an Inclusion Aide in the 3 Morning 3’s Orange Room. 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 12th year on the Cherry Preschool staff, working this year as an Inclusion Aide in the Young 3’s and 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 for five years prior to joining the Cherry staff. She has attended many workshops and seminars in early childhood education.