A Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster School

Faculty

Ravenswood school faculty are listed below. A quick-view PDF of staff assignments can be seen here: http://ravenswoodelementary.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/RavenswoodStaffSY2018.pdf

  1. Teachers
  2. Enrichment Teachers
  3. Support Staff
  4. Lunchroom Staff

Teachers

  • Name: Yeliz Williams (Zurawic)
  • Grade: Tuition-Based Pre-K
  • Room: 008
  • Bio: I am the tuition-based preschool teacher at Ravenswood Elementary. I have been working since 2012! I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and I have been living in Chicago for more than 15 years. I received my bachelor’s in education from DePaul, and I am currently getting my counseling degree at Adler Professional School of Psychology. I believe that education should empower a child and help him or her make a positive contribution to our world.

  • Name: Veronica Lazar 
  • Grade: Ready to Learn Pre-K
  • Room: 007
  • Bio: I have been working at Ravenswood School since 2007. I was introduced to this amazing community through DePaul University, where I earned my Bachelor of Science in early childhood education. DePaul connected me to Ravenswood as a student teacher. That experience led to several other positions including Pre-K teacher and kindergarten teacher. I’m privileged to have found my second home at Ravenswood!

  • Name: Vanessa Vergil
  • Grade: Kindergarten
  • Room: 109
  • Bio: I’m very happy to be starting another year at Ravenswood! I began my education at Northeastern Illinois University where I earned a bachelor’s in early childhood education. After teaching kindergarten and first grade for two years at Ravenswood, I discovered my passion for bilingual/ESL education, which led me to earn my master’s in bilingual/bicultural education, which I also completed at Northeastern Illinois University. I love teaching and feel privileged to work in such a wonderful school community. Go Rams!
    Quick Facts:
    Favorite Children’s Book: “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister
    Favorite Color: Black
    Favorite Food: Tofu pad thai and pizza
    Favorite Season: Autumn
    Favorite Sport: Baseball
    Favorite Pets: Dogs (I have a 5-year-old beagle)
    Favorite TV Show: “Property Brothers”

  • Name: Ryan Jacobi
  • Grade: Kindergarten
  • Room: 208
  • Bio: I’m excited to be teaching first grade at Ravenswood. Prior to teaching first grade, I was an assistant in our tuition-based pre-k room with Ms. Zurawic. Originally from St. Louis, I moved to Chicago seven years ago to earn my master’s in early childhood education from Erikson Institute. I love Chicago and I love teaching at this school. When I’m not at Ravenswood, I swim on a master’s swim team, belong to a book club and love trying new restaurants all over Chicago. Let’s have a great year!

  • Name: Molly Mehl
  • Grade: First
  • Room: 207
  • Bio: I am honored to be part of the first-grade team! I am originally from St. Louis. I received my bachelor’s in early childhood education from Ohio Wesleyan University, located in central Ohio. I also studied dance and Spanish there. Upon graduating, I moved to Chicago and was lucky enough to find a job at Ravenswood. I feel blessed to be a part of the Ravenswood community! Recently I completed a Masters of Arts in language, literature and culture with an English as a second language endorsement from North Park University. Besides teaching, my other interests include dancing, reading, traveling, learning new languages and going to theatre shows.

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  • Name: Meghan Residori
  • Grade: First Grade
  • Room: 206
  • Bio: I’m excited to be starting another school year at Ravenswood! I was lucky enough to find my place at Ravenswood and discover my passion for early childhood education at the same time. I began teaching with my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and later completed my Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Erikson Institute. I look forward to coming to work every day and feel fortunate to have found my second home at Ravenswood. When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending lots of time with my husband and two young boys, and visiting with our friends and family.
  • Name: Holly Domzalski
  • Grade: Second Grade
  • Room: 110
  • Bio: I am thrilled to be joining the second grade team at Ravenswood Elementary. I spent half of last year at Ravenswood as a long term sub, and I am so glad to return in a permanent capacity. I hold a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Erikson Institute and a Bachelors from Valparaiso University. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, I worked as an educator at Chicago Children’s Museum for eight years. My husband and I live in the Old Town neighborhood and spend a lot of our free time trying new recipes (he cooks, I bake) and watching too much Food Network. We try to balance that out with lots of bike rides. I believe in working hard and playing hard, and bring that balance with me into the classroom.
  • Name: Amanda Lonis
  • Grade: Second Grade
  • Room: 111
  • Bio: I’m the second grade teacher at Ravenswood. I’ve worked at CPS for 8 years, and this is my third year at Ravenswood. In addition to my degree in education I also have a degree in fine arts, and I’m excited to complete my ESL certification this year. Outside of Ravenswood I enjoy reading, running, and visiting museums. Looking forward to a great year!

  • Name: Eve Ludwig
  • Grade: Third Grade
  • Room: 312
  • Bio: My, how the time flies! I have been teaching at Ravenswood School for more than 20 years, and it seems like the blink of an eye. During that time, I have been a reading resource teacher of all grades, a middle school language arts teacher and a reading specialist. My favorite and most enduring post, however, has been that of a third-grade teacher. All of these years have afforded me the joy of watching children grow up to be fine citizens of this community and world. It is a great privilege to be a small part of that process.

  • Name: Michael Tajchman
  • Grade: Third Grade
  • Room: 310
  • Bio: I’ve been teaching at Ravenswood since 2010. Prior to becoming an educator, I was a social worker and Peace Corps volunteer. My interests outside of teaching include fitness (running, yoga and lifting weights) and reading (I facilitate a monthly book club for adults.) I love teaching at Ravenswood — there is not another school where I would rather teach! We have the best faculty, students and families in the city! And it just keeps getting better!

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  • Name: Priya Manocha
  • Grade: Fourth
  • Room: 305
  • Bio: I was born in Morristown, N.J., and although I have moved around quite a bit since then, I spent most of my adult life (wait, I’m an adult already?) in New York. In 2011 I married my husband, Erik Uhlig and moved to Chicago! My younger brother lives in New York; my parents live in New Jersey; most of my blood relatives live in India; and my dog, Georgia, lives on the couch! My road as a teacher began with a bachelor’s degree in family therapy and social services from Penn State and a master’s degree in elementary education from New York University. In New York, I spent most of my teaching years with the second grade. In Chicago, I have taught second grade, a fourth/fifth-split class and thankfully, now have been with fourth grade for two years. Being part of the Ravenswood School community has been a wonderful experience so far!

  • Name: Marc Garcia
  • Grade: Fifth/Sixth math
  • Room: 311
  • Bio: ”It takes a village to raise a child.” This Nigerian proverb is a personal philosophy of Mr. Garcia’s tenure at Ravenswood School. Born on the southeast side of Chicago to a Polish mother and Mexican father has added to his rich cultural experience that he brings to his classroom. A graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in education and a master’s from National Louis University, he has been teaching for 15 years. Mr. Garcia helped launch the annual spring musicals and is currently developing the fifth- through eighth-grade Peer Mediation Program.

  • Name: Timothy Hart
  • Grade: Fifth/Sixth English Language Arts
  • Room: 309
  • Bio: “If you know, teach. If you receive, give. Pass it on.” This quote by the late Maya Angelou is shared over and over by Mr. Hart in hopes of developing a cycle of students seeing themselves as both learners and teachers, and to develop a community where we all receive and give. For 21 years Mr. Hart has been teaching at Ravenswood. After graduating from UIC and working in the business field for three years, Mr. Hart received his master’s in teaching and learning from DePaul University and entered the teaching profession. Working alongside other passionate, dedicated educators, he is proud to be a part of the amazing place called Ravenswood School.

  • Name: John Catarello
  • Grade: 5/6 Social Studies
  • Room: 104
  • Bio: I am the middle school social studies teacher. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. I am married and I have two children. I also have nine brothers and sisters and 38 nieces and nephews. I consider Ravenswood as part of my large extended family. In what little spare time I have, I like to spend it with my wife and kids.

  • Name: Kim Toomey
  • Grade: 7/8 English Language Arts
  • Room: 002
  • Bio: I am working with all middle school scholars this year as a reading and writing teacher. Prior to coming to Ravenswood, I have worked as a middle school teacher, a reading specialist and a literacy coach. After beginning my teaching career with a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies from Antioch College, I went on to earn my master’s from NEIU as a reading specialist. Outside of teaching, my life is filled with four amazing children — Ruby, 13; Caleb, 10; Owen, 6; and Alice Rose, 2 — one teacher husband and lots of family fun time. Besides reading, traveling and making smores in the backyard, I love to watch the Bears, the Bulls and the Blackhawks. This is our year, Derrick!
  • Name: Gabriella De Loof
  • Grade: 7/8 Math/Algebra
  • Room: 003

  • Name: Shari Hemesath
  • Grade: 7-8 Social Studies
  • Room: 202
  • I have worked my entire teaching career in Chicago Public Schools: six years in middle school ELA and two years in sixth grade, and now in elementary at Ravenswood. I love my job and believe so strongly in the power of education. My goal is to help your student reach his or her fullest potential.  When I am not teaching, I enjoy exploring the outdoors. I am a newlywed and I like anything that lets me enjoy the beautiful Chicago weather such as snowboarding, hiking, biking and camping. I also enjoy traveling and have been fortunate enough to visit many amazing foreign countries.
  • Name: Keri Schroeder
  • Grade: 5/6 Science
  • Room: 203
  • Bio: Keri Schroeder discovered her passion for science education while working as Program Director at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. She attained her Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and began working in Chicago public schools in 2008. Soon after beginning to teach, she attended the Masters in Science Education program at De Paul University to complete her science education certification. Prior to joining the staff at Ravenswood, Ms. Schroeder taught at Franklin Fine Arts Center in Old Town. Each summer, she teaches at Center for Talent Development through Northwester University. Wherever she teaches, she is passionate about creating classroom communities where each student feels socially significant and empowered to reach their learning potential. In addition to being a teacher, Ms. Schroeder is an outdoor enthusiast, a yogi, a violinist, and a swimmer. She enjoys spending time with her friends, her husband, and their baby boy Felix.
  • Name: Frank Panion
  • Grade: Middle School – Science
  • Room: 213
  • Bio: Time flies when you love what you do, and I love teaching science! I have been teaching students for over 20 years, in both English and in Spanish. I received my undergraduate degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and my graduate degree from Columbia College in Chicago. Science has fascinated me since I was a child and I’m thrilled to be able to share my passion for learning and science with the students at Ravenswood. I also enjoy music, dancing, and traveling. One of my favorite quotes is from the famous Noble Laureate scientist, Marie Curie, “Nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.”

  • Name: Susan Conti
  • Grade: 5th Grade Inclusion Teacher
  • Room: 401
  • Bio: This is my 14th year at Ravenswood. I joined the Ravenswood community as a student teacher and was lucky to be asked to join the staff permanently. In my years at Ravenswood I have had the privilege to teach both general education and special education. I live in the Ravenswood Community and love seeing students and parents in the neighborhood. I am also a mom to an amazing 2 year old girl who will be joining us at Ravenswood next year.

  • Name: Brittany Luxton
  • Grade: Inclusive Practices and Co-Teaching Coach
  • Room: 401
  • Bio: I have been at Ravenswood for many years. I started as a special education classroom assistant and became a special education teacher. I am currently the inclusive practices and co-teaching coach!

  • Name: Amanda Karansinski
  • Grade: Primary SPED Inclusion
  • Room: 401
  • Bio: I am thrilled to be part of the Ravenswood team! I am part of the special education team, specifically the K-2 inclusion teacher. This is my fifth year teaching and first year at Ravenswood. I love seeing children become excited and motivated to learn and enjoy being part of this process.
  • Name: Jessica Lukosavich
  • Grade: 6-8 SPED Resource
  • Room: 201
  • Bio: Chicago has been the place I’ve lived for the past 12 years, but I’ll always call Michigan home, which means rooting wholeheartedly for my beloved Detroit Red Wings during hockey season. I came to Chicago initially for college and after receiving both a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education from Loyola University, I decided to stay and make it a second home. I started here as a special education teacher and case manager for four years at an extremely high-needs dropout recovery high school (a charter of CPS). I loved my students, but I wanted to move into working with middle school students (which has always been my favorite), so I moved into an elementary school within CPS. Unfortunately I was needed for younger students, so I worked mostly with first- through fourth-graders for a few years. Still wanting to work with the middle grades, I made the move to Ravenswood last year and am very happy to be starting my eighth year of teaching now. Having taught every grade from first grade to 12th, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge about student development and am enjoying teaching my diverse students with a wide variety of needs both within the general education setting and within my own classroom.

 

Enrichment Teachers

  • Name: Kitty Conde
  • Grade: Art Teacher
  • Room: 112
  • Bio: My name is Miss Kitty, but I really have a last name: It’s Conde. The kids don’t ever hear that name. I grew up in St. Louis and went to the University of Michigan for a degree in English literature. I went on to the School of the Art Institute and learned a great deal about art. I have lived in Alaska, Spain and New York, but I truly feel Chicago is my home. I love the city and Ravenswood.

  • Name: Jeremy Guidry
  • Grade: Drama Teacher
  • Room: Roving
  • website: http://www.mrguidrydramaclass.com/
  • Bio: I have been teaching drama at Ravenswood since 2011. Prior to this magnificent school, I taught technical theatre at Arts at the Capitol Theatre Performance High School in Connecticut, drama at University and Cesar Chavez Middle School in Texas. I have worked as a Theatre Teaching Artist in Chicago and Connecticut traveling to middle and elementary schools to integrate drama into the classroom. I received my Masters of Arts in theatre education from Emerson College in Boston, and my Bachelor of Arts in theatre: performance and directing from the University of North Texas. I have been performing, directing, designing or running crew for theatre for the past 22 years, taking part in more than 150 productions. I couldn’t imagine a better home, a better staff, better students or a better administration than what we have here at Ravenswood to share my passion for this art form.

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  • Name: Jeff Switzer
  • Grade: Gym Teacher
  • Room: Gym
  • Bio: I am the physical education teacher at Ravenswood Elementary School. I enjoy working with children and building their self-image and confidence. My goal has always been to instill in students a lifelong love of athletics and fitness.I was born and raised in Chicago but recently moved to Evanston a couple of years ago. My daughter, Katelyn, is in her final year of high school and looking forward to going away to college. I have a black lab named Luna that is 15 months old and loves to play and chase rabbits.I look forward to meeting and getting to know all of you this school year!
  • Name: Julie Kafka
  • Grade: Gym Teacher
  • Room: Gym

  • Name: Christine Reed
  • Grade: Dance
  • Room: 109
  • Bio: I am pleased to join Ravenswood Elementary as the dance teacher! I have taught dance for 12 years in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, dance studios and community programs. This is my third year working with Chicago Public Schools. Most recently I taught reading at Nettelhorst School as an RTI teacher assistant and dance at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as a teaching artist.After studying dance while growing up and at the collegiate level, I performed professionally as an original member of the Open Window Dance Company, a modern dance company that fuses contemporary dance styles with Asian movement forms. After performing in the Midwest and on the East Coast, I began teaching dance full-time. I enjoy teaching all subject areas and dance styles, and I love to integrate dance with other disciplines.I hold a Masters of Art in teaching with endorsements in elementary education, dance and socialsStudies, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration with concentrations in general business, dance and arts management. When I am not teaching and dancing, I enjoy practicing yoga, reading, biking and spending time with my family.

  • Name: Silvia Gonzalez
  • Columbia College Partnership Coordinator

 

Support Staff

  • Name: Kim Acosta
  • Special Education Classroom Assistant

 

  • Name: Tom Lobato
  • Special Education Classroom Assistant
  • Name: Jean Mamola
  • Special Education Classroom Assistant

  • Name: Daniel Ramos
  • Special Education Classroom Assistant
  • Name: Lindsi Lara-Perez
  • Sixth Grade Special Education Teacher
  • Bio: I am thrilled to join the Ravenswood team as a 6th grade inclusion teacher this year! Previously, I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades in both Indianapolis and Chicago. My firm belief in being a lifelong learner has led me to study Art History and English for my BA, Education Policy for my Masters in Public Policy, and then complete a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education. When I’m not at school, I love being inspired by design and completing DIY projects around the house, hiking with my dog, or trying to perfect an old family recipe.
  • Name: Laura Gangichiodo
  • Fourth Grade Special Education Teacher
  • Room: 304
  • Bio: I am excited to be joining the Ravenswood team for my 8th year as a teacher! I graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and am currently working on my third Master’s degree at UIC. In my free time, I enjoy running, bargain shopping, and cheering on Chicago sports teams. I can’t wait to meet all the Ravenswood families – especially our 4th grade scholars!
  • Name: Rachel Prastitis
  • Grade: Third Grade Special Education Teacher
  • Room: 310

  • Name: Nick Nutoni
  • Security

  • Name: Sarah Fry
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Bio: I am the Occupational Therapist at Ravenswood this year. I have a background in working at skilled nursing homes, an early intervention clinic, and the school setting. In my work I have found that working with children is my passion. I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa and my graduate degree at Midwestern University.  In my free time I enjoy being outdoors and exploring Chicago. I am very excited to join the Ravenswood team!

  • Name: Dayna Scaringe
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • I am very excited to be working with Ravenswood! I’ve been living in Chicago for seven years and working as a speech-language pathologist for CPS all over the city since 2012. I’m originally from upstate New York where I graduated with my masters degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. When I’m not working, I love spending time traveling and cooking. I look forward to working with the wonderful students and staff at Ravenswood!
  • Name: Dale Kirchberg
  • Psychology
  • Room: 306
  • Name: Cassie Millman
  • Social Worker
  • Room: 306
  • Name: Kate Picinich
  • Counselor and Case Manager
  • Name: Mary Jo Hennesey
  • Nurse
  • Room: 306
  • Name: Safet Hodzic
  • Engineer
  • Name: Maria Aguirre
  • Custodian
  • Name: Belem Arzuaga
  • Custodian
  • Name: Ziggy Zelico
  • Custodian
  • Name: Kate Picinich
  • Counselor and Case Manager

 

Lunchroom Staff

  • Name: Alba Perez
  • Assistant
  • Name: Julio Arocho
  • Porter
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