Emily Chambers
Assistant Principal
Hi! I was a former general and special education teacher and now am one of the Assistant Principals at Thorp. Before I came to Thorp, I served as a Professor in several special education departments including DePaul, Concordia, Northeastern, and Loyola universities. I have a wonderful husband who is a middle school history teacher and two very special kids who are in 3rd and 5th grades. Also part of our family are our two lovable Labradoodles, Charlie and Otis, who are 13 and 14 years old. On my free time, I love to spend time with family, travel, read, camp, spend time outdoors, and go to my kids sporting events. I feel so blessed to be part of the Thorp community!
Madonna Arredondo
Assistant Principal
Hello! My name is Madonna Arredondo and I am one of the Assistant Principals at O. A. Thorp. I love working at Thorp with the students, the staff, the families and the community. For the last 30 years, I have worked with students from 6 weeks to 8th grade. I attended the School of the Art Institute for a couple of years, before graduating from St. Xavier’s University with a BA in Education. My first teaching position was as an ESL Lead Teacher, where I had to create a new ESL/BIL program for School District 143.5. I worked there for several years, while attending National Louis University for my MA in Curriculum/Instruction and English as a Second Language. Meanwhile, I took additional course work from NLU and Northeastern University in Reading, Writing/LA and Middle School. Later, I went back to school to earn another degree from Chicago State University in School Administration. I have worked for CPS for over 20 years as an ESL classroom teacher, a Writing Teacher, a Lead Literacy Teacher, a Literacy Coach at the Network Level, and now as an Assistant Principal. I came to Thorp several years ago and have worked as a Literacy Coach, a MTSS/ELL Teacher and finally as an A.P. I love teaching and working with children and adult learners. When I have free time, I love to read, travel, try new restaurants and watch old movies. I live with my husband Bill, and Hans Solo (our Miniature Schnauzer) in Orland Park. I have two adult children, and they are Melissa and Matthew. This past June, Melissa gave birth to my first grandchild, Delilah June.
Efren Toledo
Hi, I'm Efren Toledo and I am delighted to work as the principal of OA Thorp Scholastic Academy. I have been a teacher, a technology coordinator, and an assistant principal before I became the principal of Thorp Academy in 2012. I graduated from with a degree in Literature and Philosophy from Wheaton College. I also have a Master's Degree in Teaching with Technology and I received my endorsement in Educational Administration. I have extensive experience incorporating educational technology in the classroom and ensuring that students are able to see the purpose behind their learning. I am passionate about preparing our students for a future that they cannot even imagine by ensuring that they implement Creativity, Critical Thinking, Caring, Communication and Collaboration in all aspects of their learning. If you are looking for me at school, the last place to look is the office. Instead, I try to be in classrooms coaching teachers and working with students. When I'm not at school I love hanging out with my wife (who is a Kindergarten teacher), my two kids and our dog Lucy. I also love to read all types of literature and anything that will help make me a better principal. If you have some good reading suggestions - please let me know.
Michelle Goldstein
Counselor - Case Manager
Hi! My name is Mrs. Goldstein, and I am the case manager and one of the school counselors. This is my 4th year at Thorp, and I can't wait to start the year! I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I got my Master's Degree at DePaul University. What I love most about my job is getting to be a positive person in students' lives. I love teaching them about life and doing anything I can to make their learning environment more pleasant. The relationships and bonds that I develop with students stays with me forever. I expect my students to be respectful and honest with me and to use me as a resource when necessary. I just got married to my wonderful husband, Mike, and we went to Hawaii this summer for our honeymoon (which ended up being my favorite vacation)! We had lots of adventures (as well as some relaxation too). My favorite thing to do is dance, and I look forward every year to the dance club I run with my Thorp Middle School students! I can't wait to experience this school year with everyone!
Lauren Leibovich
Ms. Leibovich is a counselor at Thorp Academy.
Shana Davis
Speech Pathologist
My name is Mrs. Davis and I am really excited for this new school year! I have been at Thorp for 17 years! I have my bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois. I love being the Speech Pathologist because I get to work with children of lots of different ages with lots of unique abilities! I am always challenged and never bored! I have 4 children and a fish. My favorite thing to do is spending time with them (the children-not the fish) and my husband.
Michelle Duda
Occupational Therapist
Hi! I'm Mrs. Duda. I am the Occupational Therapist at Thorp. I have been with CPS for 10 years and love working with kids. I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush University. I enjoy running (I have run 11 Marathons), reading and all things Disney.
Grace Ciszek
Social Worker
Hi! My name is Grazyna (Grace) Ciszek and I am the school social worker at Thorp Elementary. I attended Chicago Public Schools from kindergarten until the 12th grade. I then went on to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I obtained my Master of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I LOVE to read and always look forward to Autumn. My goal is to help students have happy hearts and minds so they can be ready to learn in school!
Jenson Joseph
Physical Therapist
Jenson Joseph PT, DPT. I received my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of Sciences in Philadelphia and Minor in Exercise Sciences and Wellness Management. I chose to be a Physical Therapist because I love helping others and seeing students progress in their gross motor skills and improve their level of independence. My hobbies are traveling and fishing! Favorite Quote: "Be the reason someone Smiles today ".
Mary Sanabria
Kdg - Room 110
My name is Mary Sanabria and this is my 5th year teaching kindergarten at Thorp. I was born and raised in Chicago! Teaching at Thorp is extra special for me because it's the school I graduated from in 8th grade! Boy, a lot has changed:) My husband and I met in high school at Lane Tech. We have two beautiful girls. Grace is 3 1/2 and Emma is 6 weeks old. Spending time with my family is my absolute favorite thing to do. We love going for walks and cooking together:) In my spare time I also love taking pictures and baking! I can't wait for a new and exciting year in kindergarten!!!
Christine Benedict
Kdg - Room 102
My name is Chrissy Benedict, and I have been teaching Kindergarten at O.A. Thorp since the year 2000. It's very rewarding to see the enormous growth each class makes from the beginning of the year where they are barely writing their names, to the end where they are writing stories! When I'm not teaching, I'm busy with my family. I am married with two young children. I've made some very close friends here at Thorp, and enjoy spending time with them outside of school.
Marcy Morales
Kdg - Room 107
I have been teaching for almost 15 years and the past 7 years I have spend as a Kindergarten teacher at Thorp. Last year I finished my master's program along with receiving an ESL endorsement. I have truly enjoyed my time here at Thorp, and hope to spend many more years as a Kindergarten teacher.
Claire Talbert
Teacher - Kindergarten 110
Ms. Talbert is teaching kindergarten while Ms. Sanabria is on maternity leave.
Luz Hollimon
Teacher K-2 Cluster 101
My name is Luz Hollimon and this is my first year teaching at O.A. Thorp scholastic academy in the K-2 cluster program. I have been teaching for the past 13 years mainly in a private therapeutic day school. I joined CPS this year and I couldn’t be more pleased in this new journey. I am married to my best friend whom I first met in the 6th grade. I am the mother of two beautiful boys (20-year-old and a 4-year-old) and a step mother of two awesome boys! I am all about my family. It is with that same passion and care for family that I fell in love with the field of special education. I was blessed to be the cousin of a beautiful girl born with Down syndrome. It is because of my cousin that I am a special educator today and have been able to touch the lives of so many children and their families. In our spare time, my family and I try to travel any chance we get. Some of my personal hobbies include singing, drawing, and painting. GO CUBS!!!
Anna Santos
Teacher 1st Grade - 109
I'm Mrs. Santos, first-grade teacher in Room 109. Welcome parents and students to another exciting school year! I have been teaching at OA Thorp Academy for over 10 years. Ever since I was a child, I played school and had a great interest in becoming a teacher. After starting my education program at UIC, I knew I wanted to work with second language learners. Spanish is my first language and even though I struggled in my primary years, knowing 2 languages opened up many opportunities for me in the education field. I was first hired at Thorp Academy as the ESL bilingual coordinator, and for 7 years I greatly enjoyed working with the ESL students in small group resource instruction. I then transitioned into the classroom and taught fourth grade. I have been teaching first grade for the past 6 years. I am the mother of two loving sons, Eryen Juaquin and Cyrus, who are learning 3 languages-English, Spanish, and Tagalog. My husband and I enjoy taking the boys to different children's museums in the Chicago area and in other neighboring states. Teaching new skills to my children and to my first graders is amazing! I love working with this age group because they are unique individuals who are like sponges eager to absorb so much knowledge!
Kristina Buschle
Teacher - 1st Grade
Ms. Buschle/ First Grade Room 108-I am so excited to teach first grade this year here at O. A. Thorp Academy. Before teaching at O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, I taught kindergarten and preschool for four years at St. James Lutheran School in Lincoln Park. I graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. I am currently working towards my Masters Degree in Special Education at DePaul University. I am a third generation teacher and have always loved working with children. I am passionate about instilling a love of learning in my students and differentiating my instruction to meet the needs of all learners.
Elizabeth Plummer
Teacher 1st Grade
Hi, I'm Ms. Plummer - Room 103, my home away from home. I came to Thorp as a sub one day in January, 1992, and I never left! For the past twenty five years Iv'e taught Kindergarten and First Grade. The best grades! I've met so many wonderful students and families along the way. When I'm not teaching I like to read, do yoga, cook(eat!), and am an organization nut! 😉
Cathy Behrens
Teacher - DL Support K-2
Ms. Behrens supports DL students in grades K-2.
Holly Pruett
Teacher - Reading 2nd 104
Hi, I'm Ms. Pruett. I have been at Thorp Scholastic Academy for 19 years. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's in Education from National-Louis University. I'm also certified in Gifted Education, ESL and hold a Reading Specialist certificate. I teach Second Grade Literacy in Room 104. I live in Roscoe Village with my two favorite dogs, Lincoln and Matilda.
Mary Beth Mediana
Teacher - 2nd 105
Hi! I'm Mrs. Mediana. This is my tenth year at Thorp, I even did my student teaching here! I teach second grade and love it. I attended the University of Dayton and Roosevelt University. I enjoy reading, shopping and cheering on all the Chicago sports teams! Go White Sox!
Albino Robles
Teacher - Math 2nd 106
I teach because I want to prepare our children for the future. Education: ISBE Administrative Type 75 Middle School Science Middle School Math ESL/ELL Endorsement Hobbies: Love to bike ride and travel all over the world.
Rosario Gomez
Teacher ESL Support K-2 109
I knew I wanted to work with young children ever since I was little. I was always role playing as a doctor, a nurse, or a teacher and taking care of all my friends in the neighborhood. That is why I became a teacher and here I am 21 years later. I have been at O. A. Thorp for 17 years. I'm a scientist at heart yet, this year I have a new challenge as the ESL teacher/coordinator. I hope to help those like me, with a second language succeed academically. I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with my children. I'm a total animal lover and enjoy my cats and dogs.
Jahmila Rodriguez
Teacher - Math 3rd 206
My name is Jahmila Rodriguez, my dream to become a teacher started on the southwest side of Chicago, where I am from and very closely self-identify. I graduated from DePaul University in 2014, and will be starting my special education Master's program in January at UIC. I am also a 2010 Golden Apple scholar.
Marisol Carlos
Teacher - LA 3rd 205
I am Marisol Carlos. I teach 3rd grade reading and writing. I love my job! I have known I would be a teacher from the time I was in first grade. I went to Kindergarten not being able to speak or understand a word of English and thanks to my teachers and Sesame Street, I conquered the language. I want to make students feel that same way, like anything is possible because it is.
Jennifer Hehn
Teacher - Social Studies 3rd/4th 204
Hi! My name is Jennifer Hehn and I have been teaching at Thorp since 2006. I grew up on the far northwest side of Chicago and I'm forever a Cubs fan! In my free time I enjoy traveling, going to concerts and sporting events, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
LaToshia Maddox-Colvin
Teacher - Science 3rd/4th 203
Hello my name is LaToshia Maddox-Colvin,( Mrs. Colvin for short). This is my first year at Thorp. I've been teaching in CPS for 13 years. I love to watch "The Food Network channel" and cook. I am a True Michigan fan, Go Blue!!! I think science rocks! I can't wait to meet you all during science class. See you soon. Mrs. Colvin
Carrie Lah
Teacher - Math 4th
My name is Mrs. Lah. I have been teaching at O.A. Thorp since 2001. I enjoy teaching because I believe kids are capable of wondrous things. My favorite place is Cable Lake in Sister Lakes Michigan. It is a very special for my family and me.
Ami Thaker
Teacher - Math / Reading 4th
My name is Ami Thaker and I have had the privilege of teaching at O. A. Thorp for 20 years. I have a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UIC. I enjoy creating curriculum and find myself researching ways I can improve my skills as a teacher. Growing up in a family of teachers has instilled in me the importance of an education. On my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family. I met my husband in high school and we have been together ever since...an incredible 27 years (Married for 17 years). We have 2 beautiful children, Jayden and Maya. When I get time to myself, you can find me working on DIY projects, reading, or working out.
Cynthia Delgado
Teacher - Language Arts 4th 204
Hi! I am Mrs. Delgado and I teach fourth grade reading and writing. I have lived in Chicago for most of my life, and I too am a product of CPS! I attended Northeastern University and earned my degree in Elementary Education with middle school endorsements in Language Arts and Social Science. I love teaching and feel blessed to be a part of Thorp for 13 years now! My favorite things to do are: spend time with my husband and our 3 kids, try new recipes, garden, read, and watch the Chicago Cubs and HGTV shows. I am excited for this upcoming school year and know it will be wonderful!
Sharon Binns
Teacher - LA 3rd Support 206
Ms. Binns provides support in Language Arts for students in 3rd grade.
Molly Rasmussen
Teacher - Cluster Program 3-5 317
I'm a CPS graduate, parent and teacher. I like books, bicycles and babies. I love being a teacher because I like to learn new things and my students teach me as much as I teach them.
Susan Knudsen
Teacher - Math 5th 210
Hello! I'm Ms. K and my home base is 210 with a bunch of wonderful 5th graders. This is my 9th year at Thorp, 10th year teaching. I started out a Sociology/Anthropology person, thinking my future involved Residential Life or social research, but after moving back to Chicago 10 years ago, that all changed. I have my MS in Education from Northwestern and have taught 5th grade math through 9th grade algebra over my career. People always ask what grade is my favorite and I always tell them that kids are wildly different at each grade level, but all have a lot to enjoy! I have family here in Chicago, a sister and brother-in-law along with their three boys as well as my mom. My brothers and other nieces and nephews live in Wisconsin and Connecticut respectively. My brother in Connecticut has twins due in December! Every single one of us is a teacher. It runs in the family or it's contagious... have not quite figured that out yet. At home I have the most cuddly feline fur babies that greet strangers at the door and love to be pet. Don't let the cats fool you though. I am a die hard dog lover.
Vince Coughlin
Teacher - Social Studies 5th/6th 211
Education: - Bachelor's Degree: University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) - Master's Degree: DePaul University (Chicago, IL) Hobbies: - Traveling - Eating - Sports Interesting Facts: - Have been to all 50 U.S. states and 15 countries - Seen a game at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums - Successfully completed a ghost chili wing eating contest Favorite Quotes: - "Don't Give Up! Don't Ever Give Up!" - Jim Valvano "Attack every day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!" - Jim Harbaugh - "You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." - John Wooden “Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion!” - Muhammad Ali
Roxann Moline
Teacher - LA 5th 212
Hello! My name is Roxann Moline and I've been a Language Arts teacher at O.A. Thorp for 11 years. I attended Illinois State University and The University of Illinois at Chicago, earning degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. When I'm not planning lessons or grading papers, I enjoy reading, hiking, and spending time with my family.
Natalie Schoonewolff
Teacher - DL Support 5th
Hi, I'm Ms. Schoonewolff and I'm the 5th grade diverse learners teacher. I have been a part of the Thorp team since 2013. I received my bachelor's degree from Loyola University and my Masters in Education from Dominican University. I have always believed that the greatest gift one can bestow upon another is that of a good education. My belief led me here. I am an avid Cubs fan who enjoys flying the W! I love to read and travel. I'm always looking for new books to read and new places to visit. My goal each year is to have my students see themselves through my eyes because once they see the greatness that lies within them, they will never give up. "There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs."
Meggan Romei
Teacher - Science 5th/6th 308
Hello everyone! This is my 6th year with the Thorp community. I graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Education. In addition to teaching science there are many hobbies I enjoy! I love Chicago sports (especially the Blackhawks), playing tennis and volleyball, reading science fiction novels, and traveling (Hawaii has been my favorite vacation). My favorite color is blue and my favorite super hero is Batman. To quote Bill Nye the Science Guy "We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere." Think about it!
Crystal Hanauner
Teacher - Math 6th 309
Hello, Thorp families! I'm Mrs. Hanauer, though some of you might know me from previous years as Ms. Corrigan. I teach 6th grade Math at Thorp and have taught both 7th and 8th Grade Mathematics here in the past. Before coming to Thorp I worked as a Primary Intervention Specialist at Edgebrook Elementary School. I grew up in Montana and completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Montana. I harbor a deep love for all things outdoors--rock climbing, skiing, hiking, camping, and more. I also enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and most of all (surprise!) math. I can't wait to share that passion with our new sixth graders. After receiving a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of Montana, I moved to Virginia to explore both more of the US and my interest in working with children. I taught at a Montessori school for one year, solidifying my decision to teach and to return to the Midwest. I came to Chicago for a Masters in Education at Northwestern and stayed for the delightful winters. Just kidding. I stayed for Chicago's great food, of course!
Emily Stowell
Teacher - LA 6th 310
I attended UIC and have a bachelor's in Secondary Education - Teaching of English, with a middle school endorsement. I've been teaching since 2010. I most enjoy teaching classic American literature and modern YA novels with social justice themes. I also enjoy teaching writing, especially poetry and creative writing. I grew up in the countryside of downstate IL, though I've lived in Chicago for more than 10 years now. I spend my free time traveling, sewing, attending concerts and music festivals, and baking.
Leah Carter
Teacher - DL Support 6th 310
Hello! My name is Leah Carter and I am thrilled to be starting my 4th year at O. A. Thorp! This will be my third year in the 6th grade- 6 is where it's at! I am a born and raised Chicagoan and a product of CPS Elementary and High Schools. I chose to go to North Park University and earned a Bachelors Degree in Counseling and Social Services. I continued my education there and earned a Masters Degree in Elementary Education with certifications in Special Education and English as a Second Language. I love learning new things, so I am lucky because the kids teach me new stuff all the time. When I am not at school, I am busy with my husband, two kids (9th and 6th grade!) and our CRAZY dog. We love to spend time on the water, watching movies together and goofing around outdoors. This year will fly by for all of us. Enjoy it, work hard, keep your chin up and when in doubt choose kind.
Michelle Dybisz
Teacher - DL Support - 5th/6th 311
My name is Michelle Dybisz. I am one of the diverse learner teachers for 5th and 6th grade. I graduated from Concordia University with a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to become a teacher. I have always enjoyed working with children and encouraging them to reach for their dreams through their education. During my free time, I love to travel and be outdoors. I want to continue to grow as an educator while I empower students to discover and pursue their dreams.
Ann Powers
Teacher - LA 6th (Interim) 310
Mrs. Powers is teaching 6th grade Language Arts while Mrs. Stowell is on leave. My name is Ann Powers, and I'm so excited to be teaching sixth grade this year! I have had the privilege of subbing/teaching at Thorp for the last four years and I am so very grateful to be able to teach at this amazing school. I am a born and raised northwest side Chicagoan. I received both my B.A. and my M.A. in Language Arts -Secondary Education from Northeastern Illinois University. I am extremely proud to be from this neighborhood and am happy to see that pride in Thorp students as well. I have a sassy three year old daughter named Julia. My husband and I love planning family fun days for us to explore different parts of the city. We often travel to Michigan as well and had an amazing time exploring the beaches there this summer. I am looking forward to an inspiring and memorable year in sixth grade!
Mary Galligan
Teacher - Social Studies 7/8 302
Mrs. Mary Galligan: BA in History/Secondary Education, North Park University. MAed with a concentration in Special Populations and Curriculum/Instruction, Dominican University, MA Reading Concordia University. NBCT - National Board Certified Teacher, Early Adolescent History/Social Studies. I enjoy gardening and cooking. I choose to teach because I'm a lifelong learner and It is never too late to learn something new and I instill that in my students. Famous Quote: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Deirdre Littleton
Teacher - LA 7/8 303
I have a Master's Degree in English from Loyola University Chicago and a second Master's in Teaching from National Louis University. I teach 7th and 8th grade Language Arts at Thorp and coach the debate team. My favorite pastimes are hanging out with my nieces and nephew, traveling, and reading a good book!
Rebecca McNally
Math - 7/8 305
I grew up in Alaska and love returning to visit, but I am more at home in the city. My favorite memories from living there are catching a 110-pound halibut and clam digging with my bare hands! I attended Marquette University and still enjoy going to basketball games there. I live in the Albany Park neighborhood and love the diversity of people and restaurants. My hobbies include going to the gym, doing puzzles, and eating out way too much. I love teaching middle school because I am passionate about math and enjoy imparting my knowledge of the subject, as well as including random references to 1990's pop culture.
Brynn Dumalski
Teacher - LA 7/8 306
Ms. Dumalski teaches 7/8th grade Language Arts.
Thomas Mackie
Teacher - Science 7th/8th 307
Greetings. My name is Tom Mackie. I am the 7th and 8th-grade science teacher. I am so thrilled to be back at Thorp and I hope you are too. I was born in Chicago but grew up in NJ. I have a BS degree in Environmental Science and a BA degree in Education. I have acted in movies as a child, practiced and taught massage therapy, and worked at Colgate-Palmolive formulating toothpaste. I have had many occupations throughout my career, but I feel as though I have found my niche in teaching science. I have a beautiful wife and three dogs: Millie; Molly (Beagle sisters); Merlin (our Welsh Corgi Man). We are in the process of adoption and hope to be adding to our family soon. When I am not reading or doing something sciencey, I love to cook, antique, and follow the Chicago Bears. I am excited to spend a full year at Thorp and bring my love of science to all the students I meet.
Sonali Bagri
Teacher - DL Support 7/8 305
I have a Master's Degree as a Learning Behavior Specialist I and an endorsement in ESL. I have a passion for learning about other cultures and am also an adrenaline junkie. Take me skydiving, scuba diving, dog sledding, or abroad to explore a new city! Traveling is a passion of mine. Thus far, my favorite destinations have been to Africa, India, Australia, and down the Pacific Coast Highway in California. My students are my world, and I love working with them and watching them grow.
Edipola Aquino
Teacher - Support 314
I'm Edi Aquino - a wife, mother of 3, grandmother of 2- and a TEACHER of many. This is my 31st year of teaching at Thorp. I started in 1986 as a 5th grade teacher. In 1987-2015, I was assigned as a third-grade teacher. Thereafter, I'm doing MTSS (6-8) Math. My own love of children and learning make me passionate to teach. I believe teachers can make a difference by providing social guidance and help students make right decisions even when they are not in the classroom. "Traveling is learning." I believe in learning first hand that is why I invest in traveling. Books make me see the world but for learning to last, I should be in it. I spend my free time going to movies, concerts, and above all babysitting whenever needed.
Mary Mcgoldrick
Teacher - PE
This is Mary McGoldrick and I am the P.E teacher here at Thorp. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago and yes I am a WHITE SOX FAN!!! Congratulations to the Cubs on your World Series Championship. Growing up I loved to play sports and attend sporting events. My favorite class in school was P.E and decided to become a P.E teacher. I graduated in 1992 from University of Illinois of Chicago and starting teaching at St. Andrew. I came to Thorp in 2001 and love being an Eagle. I also love to golf and spend time with family and friends.
Nereida Sotelo
Teacher - Spanish
Ms. Sotelo teaches Spanish at Thorp.
Sean Ryder
Teacher - Health
I went to high school at Fremd High School in Palatine. I went to college at Illinois State University where I studied Physical Education and Health Education. I am a very active person and a sports fanatic! The Cubs, Bears, Bulls, Michigan Wolverines, and Blackhawks are my favorite teams in that order. Coaching kids has also been a big passion of mine since I started coaching tee-ball when I was 16 years old. I currently coach Flag Football, Basketball, Softball, and I also run the Intramurals after school program here at Thorp.
Maximilian Vikhter
Teacher - Music/Media
I was born in the USSR and grew up in Chicago. As a kid, I loved to play piano, guitar, drums, and many more instruments. Both my parents were computer programmers, and I picked up a lot of skills from them too. I got a scholarship for my piano playing, and at the same time I began teaching for non-profit community outreach. I fell in love with teaching, and decided to use my scholarship to also get a degree in education.
Amy Wilson
Teacher - Art
My name is Amy Wilson and this is my 19th year teaching Art at Thorp. I have a B.A. in Art from North Park University. I love to read, watch documentaries, and travel. My passion is Interior Design and I watch a whole lot of HGTV. I am also a life-long Cubs fan, thanks to my grandma who cultivated my loyalty at a very early age. I have an amazing tuxedo cat named Waldo, who acts like a dog and warms my heart with his funny personality.
Cathy Ruszel
My name is Cathy Ruszel. It's great to be back in the Library Media Center after last year's lengthy medical leave. Teaching in the library is the best job I've ever had! I see all of the students once a week and love to watch them grow from wiggly little kindergarteners to mature 8th graders about to embark on a new adventure in high school.In the library I get to introduce and nurture a love of literature and information literacy and technology. Each year is a new adventure for me and it's fun to choose new books to share every year. I've been teaching at Thorp for the past 26 years though not always as the librarian. For 3 years I taught Science and Language Arts. Before I came to Thorp I taught High School Biology and Middle School Science.I love reading a variety of genres, hiking, theater going and spending time with family and friends. I love dogs and greet them (and their owners) in my neighborhood as I meet them on my walks. I'm very proud of my son who is also a teacher and attended Thorp as a child and as a substitute teacher. He is currently teaching technology in an elementary Chicago Public School. We meet to share dinner every week and attend an annual Storytelling Festival once a year.