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September 1, 2023 / Schafer

Get to Know Our Sharks: MTSS Team Edition

 

 

Katie Bolin

Bolin

Ms. Bolin is one of our veteran sharks and is a part of the MTSS team as a Special Education Resource Teacher. She is also the school’s Webmaster.

Ms. Bolin shares that her favorite part about being in education are the “lightbulb moments!” Getting to see the moment when something clicks with a student is one of the best feelings, especially the pride the student has in themselves when they finally get it. 

When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was her high school track throwing coach Mr. Wick. He was always so positive and willing to do anything for his students. He always went above and beyond. Even if it meant getting his nails painted school colors to match the team for the state track meet. 

If she could choose one teacher’s class to enroll in for a day, she would choose Mrs. Brennan. Her positivity, dedication, and passion for teaching makes such a welcoming and positive learning environment. If you are ever having a bad day, she is definitely one that will make you smile. 

Ms. Bolin wants our Sharks to know you may not know something yet, but you will. All you have to do is believe in yourself! Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is to provide her students with the skills, tools, and strategies to succeed!

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 18

Birthday: 8/10

Family: She has one older brother, who is a Lawyer. He lives in Chicago with his wife Jen and their two year old son Ronan. Ms. Bolin LOVES spending time with and spoiling her nephew.  

Favorite school subject: Math

Favorite school memory: One of her favorite memories as a teacher was helping one of her fourth grade students overcome challenges with self confidence. He would often doubt himself, so she assigned him a special homework assignment. She gave him a magnet with the phrase “Believe in yourself” on it. She told him that he had to tell himself every day that he believed in himself. Throughout that year, she watched that student overcome his doubt and start to thrive. His family shared that to this day, he still follows that motto and still wears bracelets every day that say “Believe in yourself” and “I can and I will.” He recently graduated high school and is off to college to become a teacher/coach. 

Favorite color: Green

Favorite pet: Dogs

Favorite hobby: Photography

Favorite drink: Diet Coke

Favorite food/restaurant: Sushi

Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite music: All types!

Favorite place visited: Green Lake, Wisconsin- she had a summer house right on the lake growing up, so many amazing memories.

Dream vacation: Ireland- she would love to see where her dad and aunt were born. Both were adopted from an orphanage in Ireland at very young ages. 

Surprising fact: She has received 4 teaching awards throughout her teaching career: CAPE award, Impact Award, Teacher of the Year, and Meritorious Service Award from ISBE.

Hidden talent: She can’t cook, but she can make dips for days!

Favorite quote: “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable!”

 

 

Azucena Arreguin

Ms. Arreguin is a veteran shark and is a part of the MTSS team. This year she is transitioning into a new role as Schafer’s Bridge teacher after many years as Schafer’s Bilingual Cross Categorical Teacher. 

Ms. Arreguin shares that her favorite part about being in education is the kids! When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was her 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Hagey. She was always very caring and gave Ms. Arreguin extra worksheets so that she could play teacher at home with her brother and cousins.

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 10

Birthday: 10/6

Family: She has her parents and a younger brother

Favorite school subject: Math

Favorite school memory: Friday Night Football games doing marching band

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite hobby: She likes to go bike riding

Favorite drink: La Croix

Favorite food/restaurant: Portillos

Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite music: Michael Bublé

Favorite place visited: So far, New York City

Dream vacation: To sleep in the glass igloos underneath the Northern Lights

Favorite quote: Live, Laugh, Love

 

 

Sarah Mehta

Mrs. Mehta is one of our newest sharks and is joining the MTSS as a Special Education Resource Teacher. 

Mrs. Mehta shares that her favorite part about being in education are connections. When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was Scar, high school English- so supportive.

Mrs. Mehta wants our Sharks to find their tribe and grow with them. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is to balance life and work and watch her students’ successes.

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 20ish years, in one form another 

Birthday: 7/25

Family: She has been married 18 years this fall (Sheroy)  one older greyhound (Tinkerell)

Favorite school subject: Art

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite pet: All animals

Favorite hobby: Cooking

Favorite food/restaurant: Sushi

Favorite sports team: BlackHawks

Favorite music: All types

Favorite place visited: Colorado

Dream vacation: Ireland or Australia/New Zealand 

Surprising fact: She just started to learn to play banjo.

Hidden Talents: She can cook

 

 

Rebecca Glade 

Ms. Glade is one of our veteran sharks and is a part of the MTSS team as one of Schafer’s Social Worker.

Ms. Glade shares that her favorite part about being in education are the kids!

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 15

Birthday: 5/7

Family: She is married and has two kids (6 and 2) and a Miniature Schnauzer. They like to go on walks or bike rides in the evening.

Favorite school subject: Independent reading

Favorite color: Rainbow

Favorite hobby: Walking, reading

Favorite drink: Diet Coke

Favorite music: Calming music

Favorite place visited: Maine/Northeast

 

 

Diana Wirth

Mrs. Wirth is one of our veteran sharks and is part of the MTSS team as Schafer’s Literacy Leader.

Mrs. Wirth shares that her favorite part about being in education is teaching children that reading can be fun! When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was Mr. Wall, her high school geometry teacher. Every day after the geometry lesson, he told his students a Fable of the Day in order to share his wisdom with them. If she could choose one teacher’s class to enroll in for a day, she would choose Mrs. Mascheri’s Art Class! She has always wanted to learn how to improve her stick figure drawings.

Mrs. Wirth wants our Sharks to know if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is a year of fun and success for all in the Schafer Shark Family! 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 28

Birthday: 11/1

Family: She has a hilarious brother and three adventurous nephews, a wonderful husband who is as solid as a rock and the cutest pup in the world! 

Favorite school subject: Math, until she was able to read whatever she wanted, then reading became her favorite

Favorite school memory: Field day as a kid was the best! 

Favorite color: Orange

Favorite pet: Dogs

Favorite hobby: Swimming, yoga, walking my dog, traveling and of course reading 🙂

Favorite drink: Pistachio latte

Favorite food/restaurant: Steak medallions at Wildfire! 

Favorite sports team: She watches sports with family, but she doesn’t really have a favorite.

Favorite music: She grew up listening to Willie Nelson, so he remains her favorite! 

Favorite place visited: Turks and Caicos 

Dream vacation: Maldives -to swim in the clearest water! 

Surprising fact: She had her photograph taken by National Geographic scuba diving as a young girl. She was underwater petting a sea turtle. 

Favorite quote: The whole world is weird, except for thee and me, but even thee is a little bit weird.

 

 

Melissa Foster

Mrs. Foster  is one of our veteran sharks and is a part of the MTSS team as one of Schafer’s School Psychologists.

Mrs. Foster shares that her favorite part about being in education is working with kids! When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was her 2nd grade teacher because she was very caring and she wanted to learn about their interests. 

Mrs. Foster wants our Sharks to know to stay positive and strong through difficult times. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is to make as many connections as possible with students and staff.

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 11

Birthday: 7/4

Family: Her and her husband have a 2 year old son and a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog named Matilda. 

Favorite school subject: history

Favorite color: purple

Favorite pet: Dogs

Favorite hobby: She loves to read! 

Favorite drink: Iced Caramel Macchiato

Favorite food/restaurant: Favorite food is pizza and favorite restaurant is Cheesecake Factory

Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs

Favorite music: Coldplay

Favorite place visited: Vienna, Austria- Her family is from there and she loves visiting my extended family that still lives there! 

Dream vacation: A road trip through the western United States

Favorite quote: Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today

 

 

Jason Sarantos

Mr. Sarantos is one of our veteran/newest sharks! Team

Mr. Sarantos shares that his favorite part about being in education is working with the students. When he thinks about his own school experience, he shares that his favorite teacher was Mr. Bonk because he made history class a lot of fun. He would tell stories from U.S. history and never teach out of the book. The end of each class was like a cliffhanger, and Mr. Sarantos couldn’t wait until the next class to find out what happened. If he could choose one teacher’s class to enroll in for a day, he would choose Mr. Wiegel’s class for a day because his class is a lot of fun. 

Mr. Sarantos wants our Sharks to know to treat everyone with kindness and respect. His wish for the 2023-24 school year is that the students and staff will enjoy coming to school every day. 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 20

Birthday: 7/24

Family: He has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 20 years. They have two children, Lex and Scarlett. Lex is a sophomore and Scarlett is a 7th grader. 

Favorite school subject: History

Favorite school memory: His favorite memory was when he was an assistant coach on Stevenson High School’s varsity lacrosse team in 2005. His team defeated Loyal Academy and Neuqua Valley in the state playoffs to make it to the final 4. Traveling back to the school on the bus for both games was the most excitement he has ever experienced. 

Favorite color: Green

Favorite pet: Cats

Favorite hobby: He plays in an ice hockey league and regularly cooks.

Favorite drink: Hot black coffee

Favorite food/restaurant: Tortilla chips and spicy salsa/Heng Wing (Chinese Restaurant)

Favorite sports team: Chicago Bears

Favorite music: Rock/Beatles

Favorite place visited: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Dream vacation: He would like to go to Europe with his wife to visit Ireland, Sweden, Italy and Greece. 

Surprising fact: He loves cats.

Hidden talents: He can eat really fast. 

Favorite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Wayne Gretzky

 

 

Stephanie Brasie 

Brasie

Mrs. Brasie is one of our veteran sharks and is on the MTSS team as one of the Special Education Resource Teachers.

Mrs. Brasie shares that her favorite part about being in education is those “Ah Ha!” moments. When you can see a student grasp a concept they have been struggling to understand. When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was Mr. Baumeister, her 8th grade US history teacher. He really made these events that happened long ago come alive. As a resource teacher, she has the pleasure to work in many teachers’ rooms so this is a hard choice because her colleagues are so wonderful. If she had to pick just one though, it would be Mrs. Wegner’s classroom. She does an amazing job with read alouds. Not only are the books she picks great choices, but her presentation is excellent. She does a great job asking follow up questions that get her students thinking. 

Mrs. Brasie wants our Sharks to know to just try. Learning is scary. You could make a mistake, but through those mistakes, you learn. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is for each of our Sharks to overcome something that is challenging to them. 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 16

Birthday: 2/20

Family: She has been married to my husband, Steve, for almost 8 years this coming December. They have two energetic and funny kids, Finn (6) and Ellie (3) who keep them on our toes. They have a pet turtle named Slick. 

Favorite school subject: History

Favorite school memory: She loved hands-on learning experiences. In 5th grade, her class got to take over a local restaurant, Silverado for a day. Before they could do that though, they had to do everything that went into opening a restaurant. Approach a bank for a loan, calculate costs, advertise ect. The culmination of the project was being able to work at Silverado for the day and serve our families. 

Favorite color: Pink

Favorite pet: Without a doubt, dogs. Cats just seem to attack her and she is allergic to them. 

Favorite hobby: Triathlons and read mysteries 

Favorite drink: Coffee

Favorite food/restaurant: Cheeseburgers, plain cheese burgers 

Favorite sports team: Green Bay Packers 

Favorite music: The Monkees

Favorite place visited: She loves Rhinelander Wisconsin. She has stayed at a small resort called Merry Dale on Lake George for nearly 35 years. There is something special about going on vacation but still feeling like you are home. 

Dream vacation: She would love to go to Glacier National Park. 

Surprising fact: She is an Ironman.

Hidden talent: She can fold a dollar bill into a bow tie.

Favorite quote: “You have a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.”- Vince Lombardi

 

 

Maddie Luse

Maddie

Ms. Luse is one newest sharks and joins us as one of the speech pathologists on the MTSS team. 

Ms. Luse shares that her favorite part about being in education is the community aspect of being in a school and how she is able to collaborate with so many professionals and parents! 

Ms. Luse wants our Sharks to always know that adults make mistakes too! It’s okay to make mistakes and ask for help. Every teacher will always love you as a person and want the very best for you even if you make a mistake or have a disagreement. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is for a year full of learning, growing, and progressing within both myself and for my students! 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: This is her third school year as a school based SLP. 

Birthday: 12/17

Family: She is the youngest of her family. She has two older brothers that both live in the area. Her oldest brother has two children that she loves spending her time with and spoiling! 

Favorite school subject: Anything reading, writing, English! 

Favorite school memory: Her favorite memory from working with a student was when she helped a student practice their script for a theatre performance. They felt so much better practicing it together and they felt a lot more confident for their performance and did amazing! 

Favorite color: Green

Favorite pet: She loves dogs and always had a dog growing up! 

Favorite hobby: She loves to read and go for walks in my free time. 

Favorite drink: Dr. Pepper

Favorite food/restaurant: Culvers

Favorite sports team: Cubs

Favorite music: Taylor Swift 

Favorite place visited: Treasure Island, FL- Her and her family go there every year for Thanksgiving! 

Dream vacation: Anywhere on a beach. 

Surprising fact: She writes left handed but does almost everything else (like cutting, holding tools or sports equipment) right handed. 

Favorite quote: Today is a good day for a good day.

 

 

Jessica Vizcarra

Mrs. Vizcarra is one of our veteran sharks and is a part of the MTSS team as our SLA 4th and 5th grade teacher as well as K-5 interventionist. 

Mrs. Vizcarra shares that her favorite part about being in education is that she can give students the tools, skills, and encouragement to read in Spanish and English. She shares that it is great to see her students grow and succeed. When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was her 2nd grade teacher Ms. Fogel. She was very caring, fun and enthusiastic. She made Mrs. Vizcarra feel special and Mrs. Vizcarra always enjoyed helping her with special projects. 

Mrs. Vizcarra wants our Sharks to know every day is a new beginning. We all have good and bad days. Don’t dwell on the bad days because a good day will soon come. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is for students to feel more knowledgeable, capable, loved and to have fun while learning. 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: She has been teaching for 21 years. She has been a Kindergarten, 2nd Grade, 3rd, and Reading Resource Teacher. 

Birthday: 8/3

Family: She is married to her wonderful husband, David. They have been married for 19 years. They have two wonderful children. Her son Daniel is 14 years old and just started high school. Her daughter Isabella is 8 years old and is in 3rd grade. They enjoy spending time together. They like to try new foods and visit new places.

Favorite school subject: Reading and Art

Favorite school memory: Her 3rd grade students had to learn their multiplication tables. The students loved rap so they learned them with rap songs. It was so much fun and all of the students were eager to learn them.

Favorite color: Teal

Favorite hobby: Reading, drawing, cooking, and doing yoga. 

Favorite drink: Coffee

Favorite food/restaurant: Seafood and soup/ Cooper’s Hawk

Favorite place visited: Costa Rica

Dream vacation: Thailand- she wants to explore its tropical beauty, tranquil beaches, history, and enjoy its amazing food. 

Hidden talent: She is good at drawing 

Favorite quote: “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” Her dad used to tell her this all the time growing up as a kid.

 

Brenda Sullivan

Sullivan

Mrs. Sullivan is one of our veteran sharks and has moved into a new position after many years in 4th grade. This year she is Schafer (and Westmore’s) Advanced Academics teacher.

Mrs. Sullivan shares that her favorite part about being in education is watching students celebrate successes! When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was Mrs. Trojanowski, her fourth and fifth grade teacher because she gave Mrs. Sullivan the love of reading and made personal connections with her students. If she could choose one teacher’s class to enroll in for a day, she would love to be in Mrs. Wegner’s class when they do a place-value hospital. 

Mrs. Sullivan wants our Sharks to know that if you unsure ask, there are probably 10 people wondering the same thing! There’s never a bad question. Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is that everyone can envision and strive for their best self. 

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 26

Birthday: 9/10

Family: She has a 2 year old grandson, 3 adult children and her husband. 

Favorite school subject: Reading

Favorite school memory: As a student her favorite memory was read aloud and poems with her favorite teacher. As a teacher her favorite memory is doing mystery science experiments with all the fourth grade, especially our coffee cup races. 

Favorite color: Bronze

Favorite pet: She has both cats and dogs (She can’t pick a favorite)

Favorite hobby: Read, swim and Zumba 

Favorite drink: Hazelnut coffee 

Favorite food/restaurant: She loves shrimp in all forms 🍤

Favorite sports team: Chicago Blackhawks

Favorite music: Chris Stapleton 

Favorite place visited: Marco Island, Florida 

Dream vacation: A week at a beautiful lake with her whole family. 

Surprising fact: She was a radio DJ in high school. 

Hidden talents: She can figure skate. 

Favorite quote: Choose kindness 

 

 

Kelly Ramirez

Mrs. Ramirez is one of our veteran sharks and she honestly is part of every team because she is our Instructional Coach. 

Mrs. Ramirez shares that her favorite part about being in education is definitely the kids, watching them grow into learners and leaders! When she thinks about her own school experience, she shares that her favorite teacher was Mr. Mordini her 6th grade math teacher. Mrs. Ramirez was terrible at math and he not only taught her math, but made her feel like she was the smartest person in the world! She was able to reconnect with him and do some observation hours during college! She shared it was an amazing experience.

Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is that all students, staff and families feel welcomed and supported at Schafer.

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: This is her 11th year, 6 years teaching 2nd & 3 years teaching 3rd, 2nd year as Instructional Coach- all at Schafer

Birthday: 7/16

Family: Husband Lou, kids Olivia- Sophomore at University of Washington-Seattle , Ava- Freshman at University of Pittsburgh and Maxx-Junior in HS, Nephew Joey- 4 years old. She loves spending time with her family!

Favorite school subject: Social Studies

Favorite school memory: Socializing with friends. She loved the social element of school.

Favorite color: Red

Favorite pet: Love DOGS

Favorite hobby: Shop

Favorite drink: Coffee

Favorite food/restaurant: Pasta

Favorite sports team: CUBS

Favorite music: She likes all music but country music is her favorite

Dream vacation: In an overwater bungalow in the Maldives

 

Nicole Talsma

Ms. Talsma is one of our veteran sharks and is one of the Speech/Language Pathologists on the MTSS Team.

Ms. Talsma shares that her favorite part about being in education is being able to collaborate with others easily in order to help and advocate for students.

Her wish for the 2023-24 school year is that her students continue to feel proud of themselves and all the students this year flourish to their full potential. She also wishes that we all have a fun and exciting school year 🙂

 

Fun Facts:

Years in education: 7

Birthday: 3/21

Favorite school subject: English

Favorite color: Red

Favorite pet: Dogs 100% but she does love all animals

Favorite hobby: Travel, spend time with her dog Maisy, play tennis 

Favorite drink: Diet Coke 

Favorite food/restaurant: Pasta and Chocolate 

Favorite music: Taylor Swift and The Lumineers

Dream vacation: Italy 

Favorite place you visited: Big Sur, California and Sydney, Australia 

Favorite quote: “Just be kind and brave, that’s all you ever need to be”