Meet Our Elementary School Teachers
Amy Carlino is in her third year at St. Benedict and her second year teaching first grade. She previously taught a technology class. Ms. Carlino graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Elementary Education. Prior to coming to St. Benedict, she worked as a learning assistant in first grade and kindergarten at the British International School. When she is not teaching she loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.
Debbie Geppert is in her second year teaching first grade at St. Ben’s. She has a degree In Elementary Education from North Central College in Naperville and many years teaching; this is her dream job! Debbie loves spending time with family and friends and making memories and lifelong friends at St. Benedict.
Gina Zadrozny is an alum, having attended St. Benedict High School. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Dayton, and received her master’s degree from National Louis University. Miss Zadrozny also has earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Curriculum/Instruction, English as a Second Language, from National Louis University.
She recently published a children's book about her dog (Oscar's Day Out) , whom she loves spending time with. She also loves visiting family including her two nieces.
Ellen Aggarwal joined St. Ben’s in 2016 as a “junior kindergarten” teacher, and has taught second grade since 2017. She previously taught at a Highland Park school, and “I am excited to be teaching closer to home in such a wonderful community!” She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Master’s in Teaching and Learning from DePaul University. She enjoys married life, teaching, and her hometown Chicago!
Katie Bielenberg joins us with three years of Reading and Math support in K-6th grade. She comes to us from Walt Disney Magnet School, where she served as the 4th grade inclusion teacher. Previous to Disney, Ms. Bielenberg served at Stafford Primary School in West Linn, Oregon as a second grade behavioral support
“I love to learn and continually grow (both personally and professionally). I believe that my students give me insights into myself as I learn along with them. I love seeing students apply what they learn in the classroom with enthusiasm and determination.
It’s a great feeling to help students develop their talents and interests and see their progression over the course of the school year,” she said. “I’m excited to be a part of an excellent learning community with caring and dedicated staff. I look forward to collaborating with a great team of educators.”
Molly Giltrow is in her eighth year at St. Benedict Preparatory School; her seventh in the second grade. Earlier she served as a preschool aide and as director of the preschool aftercare program. Prior to joining the St. Benedict team, Mrs. Giltrow attended Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame Indiana, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in education and a minor in Early Childhood Development. Mrs. Giltrow got married last year and she and her husband added a puppy, Sophie, to the family.
Lauren Cole joined St. Benedict Preparatory School as a third grade in 2014. Mrs. Cole received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University in 2011 and holds her Master in Education from DePaul University. In addition to teaching third grade, Mrs. Cole is a teacher moderate for the Elementary Student Council and various after school clubs. Mrs. Cole is originally from Louisville, KY, and loves calling Chicago home. She loves helping her students reach their full potential and hopes to spark a life-long love of learning.
Emily McGuinn has taught third grade at St. Benedict Preparatory School for seven years. She is originally from Niles, and currently resides in North Center. Ms. McGuinn has been involved in Catholic education for a great part of her life, and attended Loyola Academy for high school. She received a degree in Middle Childhood from the University of Dayton and studied English as a Second Language at the American College of Education. Ms. McGuinn enjoys moderating various after school clubs, and leading both the Elementary School Talent Show and Yearbook.
Rachel Nemes completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Loyola University Chicago in 2011. Since then she has served as a Substitute Teacher, Kindergarten Assistant, and is currently a third grade teacher at St. Benedict Prep. She is always excited to help students grow as life-long learners.
Molly Kennedy completed her Elementary Education degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2004 and a Reading Teacher endorsement from Dominican University in 2006. This is Mrs. Kennedy's 13th year teaching for the Archdiocese of Chicago and fifth year at St. Benedict Preparatory School. In her free time she likes spending time with her family and traveling.
Kelly O'Hara is in her eleventh year teaching; the fifth at St. Benedict. She graduated from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Development. Mrs. O'Hara grew up in Elmhurst, where she attended Immaculate Conception Grade School and Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep. When Mrs. O'Hara isn't teaching, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and puppy Rudy.
Roger Pinon completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. Upon arriving at St. Benedict Prep, Mr. Pinon began teaching Computers K-5 and then since 2012 he has taught fourth grade. He also coaches cross country and track where he's led the teams to two State Championships, four State Runner-up team performances and numerous individual State Champions. Mr. Pinon also has a Junior Olympic running club called Chicago Rabbits, where athletes in the city have an opportunity to compete with the best runners in the nation. This past month he earned his Master's degree in Sports Fitness at DePaul University.
Peter White completed his Master’s in Education through the Alliance for Catholic Education Program at the University of Notre Dame in 2017. Originally from Philadelphia, Mr. White also attended Notre Dame for undergrad, where he received dual degrees in Marketing and FTT. Mr. White assists with the athletics program at St. Ben's and can be seen coaching volleyball and basketball. When not at St. Ben's, Mr. White loves sleeping, playing basketball, and visiting ND.
Christina DeAngelis, a substitute teacher, attended Catholic grade school and high school. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University. Ms. DeAngelis is planning to continue her education to become a Reading Specialist. Ms. DeAngelis has been teaching within the Archdiocese of Chicago since 2013 and this is her first year at St. Ben’s. Girls on the Run is a program that she is very passionate about and is excited to coach the Girls on the Run team here at St. Ben's! In the summer you can find her spending time with family at the lake, walking the lakefront trail and riding waves on the Jersey Shore.
Sarah Klenkar (student teacher)
Cathryn Cheney joined St. Benedict Prep as a 5th grade teacher in 2015. She previously taught third grade for two years at a Catholic school in Austin, Texas. Mrs. Cheney grew up in Overland Park, KS, attending Catholic elementary and high schools there. She went on to attend the University of Notre Dame, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Education, then earning a master’s in Education degree through the ACE program at Notre Dame. Mrs. Cheney enjoys running, cooking, and cheering on the Fighting Irish!
Megan Harris attended St. Catherine Laboure School and Loyola Academy before completing degrees in classics and art history at the University of Notre Dame. Following graduation, she worked as the operations manager and educational coordinator for the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition, traveling first to Philadelphia and then to London. She remained in the United Kingdom and completed her teacher training course at St. Mary's University College, Twickenham. Mrs Harris taught in British schools for four years before returning to the United States to begin teaching at St. Benedict Prep.
Angela Peterson was born and raised on the northwest side and attended a Catholic grade school and high school. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University, and her passion is mathematics. She is hoping to go back to school in the near future to earn her Master’s degree. This is Ms. Peterson’s sixth year teaching and her fifth year at St. Ben’s. In her free time, she loves reading and doing yoga.
Medina Nikezic completed her K-12 Education degree and ELL endorsement from University of Illinois at Chicago. This is her second year teaching at St. Benedict Preparatory School. Mrs. Nikezic hopes to return to school to get her Master’s degree.
When she is not teaching, she enjoys shopping, traveling, and binge watching shows on Netflix.
Anna Piotrowski was born and raised in Traverse City, MI and started playing the violin at age 5. She pursued her passion for music in college by earning a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Music in Violin Performance degree from DePaul University. She is also a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (the Chicago Symphony’s training orchestra) and maintains an active freelance career and private lesson studio as well. When not teaching or performing, Ms. Piotrowski enjoys being outdoors and attending concerts.
Jacqualyn Stancin completed her Master's degree in Art Education in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked over the past 12 years as an art educator in different settings. During the last 8 years Mrs. Stancin has served as the art teacher at St. Benedict Preparatory School, helping to grow the passion and appreciation of art among her elementary students through thematic and hands-on learning. As an alumni of St. Benedict High School, she enjoys working creatively with St. Benedict Prep families serving grades 2nd through 12th this school year.
Hannah Thompson feels very blessed to continue her path as a music educator at St. Benedict Preparatory School in her eighth year of teaching. Her degrees include a Bachelor's of Music from Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Master’s in Vocal Performance from North Park University. Along with performing private vocal recitals around Chicago, Hannah is also a certified Orff-Schulwerk music teacher exposing her students to a highly creative and student-centered music education. She encourages and establishes a joyous love for music in her students.
Agata Noca is the school's Band Director. She recently earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Chicago's prestigious VanderCook College of Music. Earlier, she attended the American International School of Abuja in Nigeria for pre-K through 12th grade. She was a student teacher at two schools: James Ward Elementary, where she served in the General Music Program, and at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, where she taught in the band program.
"I chose teaching as a career because I was blessed to have awesome teachers in my life that inspired me to take that route in my own life," said Ms. Noca. "I'm excited to join the close-knit community at SBPS and hope to maintain the high expectation and the excitement in the music education program that is present here," she said.
In her free time Ms. Noca enjoys making music with friends (she primarily plays saxophone), and with her brother, who plays the trumpet.
Kalie Groberg (substitute)
Caitlin McDonough is in her sixth year teaching Spanish at St. Benedict Preparatory. In addition to Early Childhood, she also teaches second and third grade. She grew up attending Catholic school in Chicago, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Teaching Spanish at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also studied for a year at the University of Barcelona in Spain. Ms. McDonough loves traveling and reading, both in Spanish and English!
Erico Ramirez is in his fourth year teaching Spanish here and serves at the PK-12 World Language Curriculum Chair. He taught grades 6-12 previously. This is his first year teaching grades 3-8. Erico is of Mexican descent and is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where he studied Spanish and Journalism at the University of the Incarnate Word. He is currently a graduate student of World Language Education at DePaul University. In his free time, Erico serves the Secondary School community as “DJ Rico."
Kristi Enriquez graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Elementary Education and completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education at National Louis University. She has worked at St. Benedict for the past seven years. Ms. Enriquez taught kindergarten for three years and is now going into her fifth year as an Inclusion Facilitator. This year, she works with students in grades 4-5 and direct the inclusion team. Ms. Enriquez is excited to show all learners the power of education.
Carolina Blazkow joined us in 2019 as our School Counselor for elementary and middle-school. She completed her undergrad in psychology from Northern Illinois University and earned her master's degree in counseling from DePaul University. Ms. Blazkow completed an internship at Notre Dame College Prep, where she connected with students and families regarding academic, social-emotional, and college/career aspects.
She is excited to make St. Benedict Prep her first post-graduate professional experience, and hopes to create wholesome relationships while being an essential resource for St. Ben’s and the community. As a mental health advocate, Ms. Blazkow also hopes to continue promote balance and a positive well-being for students and faculty.
Megan Peters is our first Reading Specialist, having joined St. Benedict Prep in 2016. She was a first grade teacher for her first two years here, and transitioned into this new role in 2018.
Ms. Peters earned her undergrad degree at Michigan State University, where she is also finishing her master’s degree in Curriculum Development with a focus on Reading Specialist.
Nicolette Parra, Grade 5 Title I Services
Stacy Litherland, Grades 1-4 Title I Services
Lisa Wiederkehr is librarian at St. Benedict, having served as a librarian at St. Matthias School and Sulzer Regional Library. She has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from St. Joseph's College and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University. She loves to spend her free time with her husband, daughter, who is a senior here at St. Benedict, and her two kitties, Dipper and Mabel. She is a huge fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, enjoys traveling and being outdoors, and of course, loves to read!
Heather Perez, RN
Chris Deakins, Athletic Director, PK-8