Meet Our Staff
Holly Allen is a Resource Teacher at Pritzker College Prep. She grew up in Elmhurst, IL, and has moved to Chicago within the past few years. Holly graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Law Studies and a minor in Psychology. While attending school in Milwaukee, she began to work as an intern at the local courthouse where she discovered her passion for empowering youth. For the next three years, Holly continued her work in the legal field as a courthouse advocate in Maywood, IL. She is currently attending Concordia University to pursue her Master’s in School Counseling. Holly is excited to work for Pritzker and help students achieve their goals.
Jose Alvarez Jr. is the Marine Corps JROTC Instructor. He has a Bachelor’s in Justice Studies and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois. He is a native of Chicago, born and raised in the geographical area. He served for 21 years in the United States Marine Corps, decorated and honorably discharged. His passion is working with youth and mentoring wayward young men.
Hadley Austin was raised in Kentucky and spent most of her adult years in Arizona, moving to Chicago in 2008. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Religious Studies and again in 2007 with a Master’s in English. In the past she has taught English and religious studies courses at Northern Arizona University, worked as a librarian at NAU’s Cline Library and the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library. She has also taught ESL and composition courses at Truman College and had a brief tenure as a children’s social worker at a women’s shelter. Of all these undertakings, teaching at Pritzker has been the most rewarding.
Kaellagh Cassidy was born and raised in Elmhurst, Illinois where she walked to school every day. Some days she would gaze at Chicago on the horizon and dream of accomplishing her goals, but most days she read books while she walked and tried not to trip. She attended York High School where she ran track and cross country and took every honors class she could, but regrets not taking watercolors. At the University of Wisconsin- Madison she studied International Relations and French and tried to accomplish all of her life goals in 4 years. Needless to say she did not succeed, but she did live in France her junior year, run cross country and track, and captain an Ultimate Frisbee team. She did a lot of running. After college she spent six months working at the Wisconsin State Capitol and pretended she was still in college. Eventually she moved back to Chicago, enrolled in Graduate school at DePaul University and substitute taught, coached and tutored during the day. She graduated from DePaul with a Master’s in Teaching and Learning – a degree she earned by doing both. She now teaches World History at Pritzker and loves bringing dead people to life…figuratively speaking.
Ashley Clark was born in Columbus, Indiana and enjoyed the congeniality of a small farm town. She graduated from DePauw University with a double major in Communication and Religious Studies. In her years at DePauw, she found a passion for helping her peers as a tutor and helping children in any form or fashion. She studied in Istanbul, Turkey for a semester where she also worked as an English tutor and editor for an internet technology company. She coached gymnastics and cheerleading and helped struggling readers in after school programs. Ms. Clark continued her love for teaching through the Teach For America program in Nashville, Tennessee where she also completed her master’s degree at Lipscomb University in Educational Leadership: Supervision and Administration. She taught theatre and humanities at a start-up charter school before moving to Chicago to teach 9th grade multi-cultural literature. In the summer of 2010, Ms. Clark received a teaching grant through Fund For Teachers in which she studied social and racial tensions in post-apartheid South Africa for a month in order to bring more understanding and harmony to her students. Ms. Clark runs the cheerleading program at Pritzker College Prep and enjoys smiling. Smiling is her favorite.
Lauren Casty was born in sunny California and raised in fickle-weathered Chicago. She travelled to the other coast for college, graduating from Columbia University in the City of New York with a BA in Philosophy and Italian. After graduating she went back to Michael Jackson's roots to teach 7th grade math in Gary, Indiana. While teaching in Gary, she logged thousands of miles on her car and earned her Master’s in elementary education. Currently, she is pursuing her Certificate of Administration and Supervision through the KIPP School Leadership Program and bleeds blue and orange because she loves her job!
Sarah Cross was born and raised in Illinois. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. While owning a restaurant had always been her ambition, she realized that working nights, weekends, and holidays so that customers could get a good steak was not actually what she wanted to do with her life. In 2007, Ms. Cross went to Costa Rica to become certified to teach English as a foreign language. She taught at a high school in Costa Rica for a year and then moved to Argentina to teach English to adults. Upon her return from South America, she volunteered with AmeriCorps for a year. Ms. Cross was extremely grateful that her AmeriCorps program placed her at Pritzker College Prep and felt that one year at such a great school was just not enough. She became an official member of the staff in 2010 and is very happy to have a job that she is excited to go to each and every day. In her spare time, Ms. Cross takes trapeze classes and occasionally performs at her circus school. She currently has no plans to quit her day job.
Adrienne Cruz is the freshman Learning Specialist here at Pritzker as well the Pritzker Student Council 10th grade faculty sponsor. Originally from South Florida, Adrienne relocated to the Chicagoland area to attend Northwestern University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science of Education in human development and psychological services. She continued on with her graduate studies at Northwestern to earn a Masters of Arts in learning disabilities, eventually becoming a certified Illinois Learning Behavior Specialist. For two years, Adrienne was the lead teacher in a small-group classroom at a therapeutic day school for emotionally and cognitively disabled students. The school year before coming to PCP, she was a learning resource teacher at an intermediate school in Glenview, Illinois. Adrienne’s favorite hobbies are traveling and nature watching, and she often finds a way to combine her two passions. In fact, by the end of summer 2011 she visited 15 National Parks in the US and 8 National Parks in Europe, the Caribbean, and Central America! Adrienne loves working with the freshmen, and she is honored to be a member of the Pritzker community.
Benjamin Das founded the music department at Pritzker College Prep in 2007. Originally from New Jersey, Mr. Das first started playing the bass at age 13 and has been performing professionally since high school. He attended Berklee College of Music where he studied jazz performance and music education. In his seven years of teaching in Boston and Chicago, Mr. Das' commitment to teaching has only deepened. His achievements in music education have been recognized both locally and nationally, and his honors include Fidelity's Inspire the Future Award (2007) and the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation Award (2010).
Laura Edwards was raised in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Michigan where she studied Organizational Management. Ms. Edwards worked in sales before getting her Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is in her fifth year of teaching. Ms. Edwards enthusiastically joined the Pritzker team in 2010 as a Learning Specialist, and is thrilled each day by the way students are transformed by the culture at Pritzker. She is passionate about making the rigorous, college preparatory learning environment available to as many students as possible. During her free time Ms. Edwards enjoys exploring the city she loves, whether on rollerblades along the lakefront or meeting friends for a bite to eat in various neighborhoods. In addition to staying active, Ms. Edwards travels to exciting new places and returns to old favorites as much as possible.
Grant Erwin was born and raised in a small town in Iowa. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2007 with a Bachelor's in Criminology and Family Services. He then decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan, and graduated in 2009 with a dual Master's in Public Policy and Higher Education Administration. Mr. Erwin joined Teach For America and taught 7th and 8th grade math in Gary, IN for two years. He is pumped to now be working on the Pritzker team as a 9th grade Algebra I teacher!
Luz Espinosa was born and raised in Chicago - aside from the three years that she lived in Mexico and the four years she lived in Carbondale while attending Southern Illinois University. After getting her bachelor’s degree in business administration, she worked for a real estate company as an office manager. Three years later she realized that real estate was not for her and left the business. After hearing from her sister that a new Noble school was opening and that they were hiring, she became part of the founding staff at Golder College Prep. Along with being the office manager, she also coached the girls’ soccer team. She is now in her third year at Pritzker and is currently working in the college counseling department as well as coaching both boys and girls soccer. She is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Michael Milkie and the Right Angle Foundation - which helped her attend Brown University during one of their summer programs - and do the same for Pritzker students.
Sofi Fedushchenko is a sophomore teacher of mathematics at Pritzker. Born in Russia, her family immigrated to Baltimore when she was 6 years old. Having always loved school, Ms. Fedushchenko went to Mary Baldwin College and tried to major in everything, which, sadly, was not allowed. After narrowing it down to math and computer science, Ms. Fedushchenko graduated and worked in an unfulfilling career as a software developer, before setting her sights on education. This new goal led her to the Midwest, where she completed a master’s in education at the University of Michigan and finally moved to Chicago in hopes of a job. She feels extremely fortunate to be working in the Pritzker community. In her spare time, you’ll find her harassing students to do their homework, singing old songs in jazz clubs, and ballroom dancing.
Mollie Griffin graduated the fine institution of Boston College with degrees in English- creative writing and political science, both of which left her with few job prospects without further education. After two years of working at a Mergers and Acquisitions firm, she realized that it made her want to bang her head against a wall and that she needed to change course. Ms. Griffin then attended the UW-Madison for her masters, learning a lot about cheese and football and even more about educational policy and legal matters. After her masters, she joined the Chicago Corps of Teach For America where she was deemed terribly old by her cohort members, received another master’s in education from National Louis University, and began teaching IB English at a school on the south side of Chicago. The desire to want to bang her head against the wall resumed. After three years on the south side, Ms. Griffin is thrilled by her Pritzker students and her shortened commute. She teaches advanced placement (AP) and regular US History to juniors, while serving as the grade level lead for the junior teachers- a group that is often an example of Absurdist Theater. The rest of her time at Pritzker is spent reminding her advisory of sophomore girls to “act like ladies” listening to really bad student written poetry in the writing club, and over using the word fundamentally in class.
Molly Janney is the Junior and Senior Learning Specialist at Pritzker College Prep. Growing up in the small, northern suburb of Fox Lake, Illinois, Molly always knew that she wanted to pursue a career that allowed her to help people in some capacity. With this goal in mind, she set off to earn a degree in Learning and Behavior Sciences at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her four years at this university, Molly worked in a wide variety of settings ranging from kindergarten classrooms through adult transition programs. Although she enjoyed all of these age groups, Molly determined that her energy was best focused on assisting teenagers, and she began teaching at Urbana High School while beginning a Master’s program in Transition Services. Eventually, Molly tore herself away from the beautiful cornfields of central Illinois for a new adventure in Chicago at Pritzker College Prep. She firmly believes that all students can be successful with the right guidance and resources, and she works hard to assist them in finding their individual strengths and building skills for the future.
Caroline Kelly was born and raised in Hinsdale, IL a western suburb of Chicago. After graduating from Fenwick High School, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from Fairfield University in Connecticut. Upon graduating, she returned to Chicago and joined an AmeriCorps program called Project YES! Through this program she was placed at Pritzker College Prep in October of 2007. She is now our Dean of College Counseling and has successfully placed two graduating classes in some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in America.
Julie Klein was born and raised in Highland Park, Illinois. She went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (Go Blue!) where she studied history and political science and earned her secondary education certification. After graduation, Julie moved back to Chicago and joined Teach For America. She worked for two years at her placement school, another charter high school near Pritzker, teaching African American/Latin American history and US history. While teaching, she earned her Master’s in teaching reading from Northeastern Illinois University and became a certified reading specialist. Julie is now teaching sophomore English at Pritzker and is enjoying every bit of it! She especially enjoys time with her freshman advisory, in which she has the privilege of leading a fabulous group of gentlemen with her co-advisor, Ms. Sorock.
Hailing from ancient and, currently somewhat radioactive streets of Minsk, Belarus, Mikhail Kostetsky made his way across the ocean to arrive at Chicago. He attended Niles North and Stevenson High School in Suburban Chicago, spending a great deal of time reading dictionaries of English language and outlining potential conversations with the invisible people at various drive-throughs. After being accepted to every college he applied to, he chose to attend Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. By 2002 Mikhail burned through most of the classes the school had to offer and transferred to University of Illinois at Chicago where he went on to obtain Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in History and Teaching of History. In 2006 he joined the staff at Pritzker College Prep and taught Russian Language, Social Studies, and Reading. During rare moments of free time, Mikhail enjoys playing guitar, reading, and plotting schemes to get his daughter to hate Disney princess’ accessories.
Jennifer Kuehl is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but she has called Chicago her home for the last few years. Before Ms. Kuehl taught at Pritzker, she was an educator in Milwaukee, WI and at Harper High School, in the Southside neighborhood of Englewood. In each school, she has learned more about herself and why she is committed to improving the educational lives of teenagers in all walks of life. Reading and writing have been two of Ms. Kuehl’s great passions from an early age, so she dedicated her collegiate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to English. Ever since Ms. Kuehl completed her degree in English Education, she has worked to bring an understanding and love of reading and writing to high school students.
Megan Manna was raised in Des Plaines, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago. She attended Bradley University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in History Education. Ms. Manna taught World History at Pritzker for four years and is now the college writing instructor and a college counselor. She is co-director for Operation Snowball and runs the Senior Leader program. She loves her job, Lemonheads, the Chicago Blackhawks, and her family and friends. And of course, the Pritzker Jaguars!
Julia Martinez was born and raised in the city of Chicago, IL. After graduating from Lincoln Park High School, she worked at a law firm in Ripon Wisconsin while earning her degree in Politics and Government from Ripon College. Upon graduation, she volunteered in a political campaign in Chicago and is now at Pritzker College Prep, where she is a resource teacher and is very enthusiastic to start her first year teaching!
Kristin Mays was born in Illinois but grew up mostly in Florida and traveling around the United States. She returned to Illinois to attend Northwestern University, where she studied Psychology and Environmental Policy. After college she moved to New York City to teach Middle School Science. She is happy to be back in Chicago working with Pritzker students in 12th grade Environmental Science!
Matthew McCabe was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and grew up on Main St. as the oldest of seven children. After graduating from St. Joe’s Prep he attended the University of Pittsburgh where he played ultimate Frisbee, worked as the managing editor of the student newspaper and studied abroad at John Cabot University in Rome. In 2008, Mr. McCabe worked for a presidential campaign in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. After graduating magna cum laude from Pitt with degrees in Political Science and English, Mr. McCabe joined Teach For America which moved him to Chicago where he has taught at both the elementary and high school levels. In 2010, Mr. McCabe was nominated by President Obama to serve as a board member for the Corporation for National and Community Service. The nomination is currently pending before the United States Senate. Mr. McCabe has a teaching certificate from Dominican University with an MAT expected in 2012. Mr. McCabe teaches World History, coaches the varsity Ultimate Frisbee team and leads the greatest advisory known to man.
Angela Mercadante was born and raised in St. Charles, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. After graduating from St. Charles East High School, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Dayton in Ohio. Upon graduating, she was accepted into Teach For America - Chicago. From 2009 to 2011 she taught Pre K students in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. She is happy to have made the transition to high school and even more so to be a part of the Pritzker team!
Sarah Mercadante was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Dayton in Ohio. After college, she joined Teach for America and taught Spanish at South Shore School of Technology on the south side of Chicago. She also earned her Master’s in Teaching at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. After teaching Spanish for five years and working as a Lead Teacher for the Teacher Advancement Program, Sarah joined the Pritzker staff as a College Counselor and junior Pre-College Seminar teacher.
Kirsten Morton grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and decided to move to Chicago for college. After graduating from Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, she meandered around the country from Detroit, Michigan to Providence, Rhode Island working in politics until discovering her passion for urban education. Ms. Morton is now pursuing her Master’s in Social Work and enjoys contributing to the counseling needs of Pritzker students.
Brian Pavloff was born in South Philadelphia and spent most of his high school career studying visual art with a focus in glass. He was also a member of the high school jazz band and mixed choir and always maintained an interest in music. He attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky where he studied Glass Art and Music Studies, receiving a B.A. in Music. After graduating, he worked just about every job the small town of Danville could offer a musician: Music teacher at a Montessori School, choir director at a local church, assistant director of the community arts center, substitute teacher, piano teacher, music teacher for a summer art’s camp, provider of solo piano music at a variety of functions, band camp instructor, teacher’s assistant at the local middle school, and accompanist for the local community theater. Mr. Pavloff moved to Chicago after being accepted into the School of Music at DePaul University where he completed courses in music education and earned his teaching certificate. He has been teaching Choir at Pritzker since 2009. The highlight so far for the young choir program came last year, when the choir earned a Division I ranking at the IHSA Music Festival.
Emily Prettyman grew up in a small town outside of Ann Arbor, MI. From a young age she developed a love of running, musical theater, and of course, math and science. She received a full academic scholarship to attend DePaul University upon graduating high school. While at DePaul, she studied Physics and Mathematics and was a member of the Cross-Country and Track and Field teams. After graduating from DePaul University, she went out west to Boulder, Colorado to participate in a graduate program in Applied Mathematics, but city life in Chicago called her back to the Midwest. Since being back in Chicago, Ms. Prettyman has taught Algebra II and Geometry at Mt. Carmel High School on the South Side and served as the Math Resource Teacher at Northtown Academy on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Now, she has found a true home in the science department at Pritzker College Prep. She is also completing her Master’s degree in Education and Physics at DePaul University. When not at Pritzker, Ms. Prettyman can be found training for the Chicago Marathon, attending plays at the Goodman Theater, contemplating Chaos Theory, or scoping out delicious and unusual foods at any of Chicago’s great farmer’s markets.
Originally from beautiful New Hampshire, Laura Rincon spent her college years in the “southern slice of heaven” that is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Carolina, Ms. Rincon tutored for four years with America Reads and spent a wildly rewarding summer teaching with the Breakthrough Collaborative. In 2007, she graduated from UNC with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and set right to work not using it. After teaching-related adventures in the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, and Boston, Ms. Rincon joined the Pritzker team in 2009 to teach Freshman Composition. When she’s not teaching, you can find her skiing, traveling, eating good food, and catching up with her incredible friends and family.
Diana Ristoff is an Assistant Principal at Pritzker College Prep and cooks like nobody’s business. She grew up on the outskirts of Chicago and obtained her MSW at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she also studied as an undergrad student. At UIUC, Ms. Ristoff was a Bronze Tablet recipient and taught psychology – all before she was barely old enough to drink alcohol. Most recently, she obtained her second Masters from Columbia University in New York. Her signature Early College Scholars program and oversight of college admissions leaves her little time for her favorite past-time – repairing her condo from extensive water damage. In the future, Ms. Ristoff hopes to be the first supermom that will simultaneously raise a brood of hatchlings, start a number of schools and travel relentlessly across America fixing bad ones. Not too much to ask! (She’s actually quite humble - this profile was authored by Mr. Sierra!)
Mark Rychlik - PE Health, Football and Strength Coach. Mr. Rychlik grew up in the Northern Suburbs in the quiet little town of Hawthorn Woods. In 2001 he graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in history and business. In 2005 Mr. Rychlik earned his Masters of Education from DePaul University. Mr. Rychlik’s lovely wife, Stephenie, works for Starbucks Coffee Company as a store designer so he gets all the coffee he needs. This helps him have plenty of energy all day long. Before becoming a teacher at Pritzker Mr. Rychlik has worked in sales, construction, and was the assistant manager at the Cubby Bear by Wrigley Field.
Nicholas Schmidt was born outside of Berkeley, California, and is continuously wondering why snow storms chose to exist. He attended Vassar College in the fall of 2005, and quickly learned to read, write, do arithmetic, drink tea, and have a lively discussion. Schmidt took an early interest in the natural sciences and enjoys spending time outside. He wishes he could communicate more with animals, but will settle for studying them ad infinitum. Schmidt was a 2009 corps member in Teach For America, Chicago, where he taught English for two years at Harper High School, and currently enjoys sharing the ways of the world with his Biology Students at Pritzker. Due to a rugby injury late in his college athletic career, Schmidt is missing a major ligament in his knee, and will talk extensively about it if asked. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching at National Louis University.
Benjamin Seigle is from East Dundee, Illinois. He went to college at the University of Chicago where he studied history and English. He continued these studies at Brown University where he completed a master’s degree in history. Before coming to Pritzker College Prep, Mr. Seigle taught at St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York. He currently teaches English to seniors, has a senior advisory, and genuinely enjoys his work.
“Wes Siepiela’s born. He graduated college. He teaches physics.”
Daniel Selan received his B.S. in Mathematics from McGill University; M.S. in the Teaching of Secondary Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was born and raised in Chicago. Daniel began his teaching career at the University of Illinois and at Duke University's Talent Identification Program before he joined the faculty at Pritzker College Prep. He currently serves as the Mathematics Department Lead, teaches Pre-Calculus and Statistics, and also coaches the school's Math Team. Currently, Daniel is pursuing his Ed.M. in Educational Leadership at Columbia University. In his free time, you may find Daniel playing guitar, enjoying an obscure German board game, or trying to perfect his Mexican cooking skills in order to become the next Rick Bayless!
A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education, Ryan Smith is a life-long resident of the Chicagoland area and has been teaching math and science to the freshmen at Pritzker College Prep since 2007. As a youth in Chicago's south-western suburbs, Ryan could often be found working with his pencil and calculator, playing music, serving the community, or earning some cash at one of his many jobs at car washes, restaurants, or horseback riding summer camps.
Alexa Sorock was born in Evanston, Illinois and graduated from New Trier High School. She then moved to Pittsburgh to attend art school at Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Sorock soon discovered a passion for history, and decided to enroll in a dual major program so that she could study both studio art and social history. Upon graduation, Ms. Sorock worked as a very snarky waitress and quickly decided that she should become a teacher. She attended Northwestern University and received a Master’s degree in history education. For three years, Ms. Sorock worked at another charter school (with Ms. Klein!) near Pritzker, and simultaneously earned a Master’s degree in reading from Northeastern Illinois University. She is thrilled to have found a home at Pritzker College Prep.
Carrie Spitz was raised in the southern suburb of Glenwood, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergraduate student, where she studied Spanish Literature, Psychology, and Criminal Justice. While in school, she lived abroad in Seville, Spain for 6 months, and still attributes this experience as being one of the most influential of her life. After graduating from U-W Madison, Mrs. Spitz joined Teach For America where she worked to help minimize the educational crisis in this nation. While teaching Spanish at Harper High School, she also completed her MAT (Masters in Teaching) from Dominican University. Mrs. Spitz was thrilled to join the Noble Network in July of 2007, and worked as the Freshman Literature teacher at Pritzker College Prep from Fall 2007 until Spring 2011. As of Fall 2011, Mrs. Spitz has ‘changed hats’ and is now the new Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Pritzker; she is excited for the opportunity to make a broader educational impact. Mrs. Spitz is actively involved in creating new and wonderful experiences for the students of Pritzker, including the bi-annual Europe Trip and the Operation Snowball club and weekend retreat. She is excited for another successful and fantastic year at Pritzker College Prep – where we continue to raise the bar.
Rebecca Stone was born at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, but spent most of her time growing up in Darien, Illinois. After completing her four years at Hinsdale South High School, she attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree and became a certified Learning and Behavior Specialist and Elementary Education teacher. Upon graduating from Bradley, she went on to teach and coach volleyball for two years at Joliet West High School. She was then accepted to the 2009 Teach For America Corps and was relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she worked at Arthur Ashe Charter - a school within the FirstLine Network. While at Arthur Ashe, Rebecca taught 4th grade math, was the RtI Coordinator, and also worked as the RtI Consultant for schools within the FirstLine Network. After her two years in New Orleans, she migrated back north and is excited to take on the role as Intervention Coordinator and teach reading as a member of the Pritzker staff.
In the 1880s, Phillip Stosberg’s ancestors emigrated from northwest Germany to Louisville, KY, where he was born and raised. In high school, he took a life-changing world literature course, in which the teacher introduced him to Russian literature. It was during his senior year of high school that he read the great prose works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Lermontov. He continued to study Russian and German at the University of Kentucky, graduating summa cum laude in 2004. Mr. Stosberg also studied and lived with a family for a year in Vladimir, Russia and for a year in Germany, where he studied Russian, German, and philosophy at one of the oldest universities in Europe, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg. Mr. Stosberg also completed the advanced level summer course at Middlebury College’s Russian School in 2004. After teaching German for a year in Louisville, Mr. Stosberg moved to Chicago to find new teaching opportunities and to pursue music. At Pritzker, Mr. Stosberg teaches Russian language and literature. In addition, Mr. Stosberg runs the Chess Club and gives drum lessons. Mr. Stosberg has played drums since grammar school and has toured and recorded with several different bands. His motto in life, which comes from his host family in Russia, is, “Не усложняй жизнь.”
Mary Sweeney grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, and attended Benet Academy, where she had an unusually good high school experience. Her favorite parts of high school were running cross country and graduating. She went on to attend University of Dallas, a small liberal arts school with a Great Books curriculum. There she majored in English and minored in Painting. After earning her Masters in Literature at American University, she, naturally enough, teaches a reading-intensive Genre Studies course at Pritzker as well as... Pre-Calculus. Her hobbies include painting, riding her bike around Chicago, and bonding with her nieces and nephews. This is her first year teaching at Pritzker College Prep, and she is excited to be part of the Noble culture!
Joseph Villanueva - Physical and Health Educator, assistant Football Coach. Mr. Villanueva was born and raised on the north side of Chicago Illinois. After graduating from Lane Technical High School, he attended Wilbur Wright College on a full wrestling scholarship majoring in Biology. After two years at Wright College, Mr. Villanueva transferred to Northeastern Illinois University to complete his undergraduate degree in the field of Physical and Health Education. Now as a proud member of the faculty at Pritzker College Prep you can find Mr. Villanueva around campus helping students in either the fitness center, the gymnasium, or on the Football field on how to reach the next level of their physical training.
Dominika Villena was born and raised in the great city of Chicago. She attended elementary and high school on the northwest side and went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she majored in History and minored in Mathematics. Since she knew she always wanted to move back to the city she loved, she decided on the University of Illinois at Chicago for her graduate work. While there, she completed her Masters of Education and discovered the place she now calls home, Pritzker. This is Dominika’s fifth year as a teacher at Pritzker and is looking forward to seeing another class graduate and go to college. While teaching at Pritzker, Dominika completed an additional educational degree, a Certificate of Advanced Study, from National Louis University. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing and studying Taekwondo and recently earned her Black Belt.
Jeff Watkins is an Oklahoma native, born and raised. And though he tries to hide it, his Okie drawl rears its ugly head from time to time. After spending the first eighteen years of his life in a small farming town, he went to Oklahoma State University, where he would spend the next four years of his life in a somewhat bigger farming town earning his Bachelors of Science in Sociology. Upon graduating, Mr. Watkins moved to Chicago and joined AmeriCorps Project Yes! mostly because he wanted to participate in civil service, but also because he wasn’t sure what to do with his life. After serving as an AmeriCorps member at Pritzker for a year, he became very attached to both the school and the students in it. Now, one can find Mr. Watkins substituting for teachers when necessary and running LaSalle after school, in which he stares menacingly at students who decided to not do their homework.
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