WINNETKA – The North Shore Country Day School community packed into the Auditorium Wednesday for a standing-room-only gathering known as the Morning Exercise, or Morning Ex for short.
“Now that I’ve experienced an entire school year, I have a much deeper appreciation of the role of Morning Ex, Buddy Days, and the day-to-day connections that North Shore fosters among its faculty, staff, students, and parents,” said Head of School Tom Flemma in his opening remarks. “It is no secret that those relationships are at the heart of our learning community, but I had to really live those relationships to fully understand how powerful they are.”
Morning Ex, typically held several times a month, brings faculty, staff and students from junior kindergarten to 12th grade together for a shared experience. It begins with a poetry reading, followed by a presentation by teachers, students or invited guests. The Opening Morning Ex is particularly steeped with tradition.
This year, 3rd-grade teacher David Green opened with a poem called “The Thing You Must Remember,” by Maggie Anderson. “We come together as a JK-12 community to learn from one another, to learn about one another and to share with one another,” Green said, as he introduced the poem. “Morning Ex is often a window into how we all spend our time here at school. ”
Each year, the Head of School chooses and reads aloud a children’s book to set the tone for the year and to reflect on its deeper meaning. This year, Flemma chose “A Bad Case of Stripes,” by David Shannon, which tells the story of Camilla Cream, a little girl who loves lima beans but is afraid to admit it because she wants to fit in.
“It is always best to be yourself, even when that means standing out in a crowd,” Flemma explained. “Stand up and be proud, even if its feel scary or if people give you grief. As Camilla showed us, it is only when we are truly ourselves that we feel whole, we feel our best, and we can meet the world — even the scary parts — head on.”
Joining the School community this year are 20 new faculty and staff members and 104 new students, who were recognized at the gathering. Three not-so-new faces were recognized as well. Seniors Haniya Ghazi, Thomas McDowell and Nina Valenti are what the North Shore community calls “Lifers” — students who have attended the school since junior or senior kindergarten.
Each Lifer addressed the crowd and talked about their experiences at North Shore over the years. Then, after music teachers Linda Kiracibasi and Will Hester led the crowd in a rousing rendition of the School songs, “O’er the Fields” and “Wake the Echoes,” the Lifers and their kindergarten buddies led everyone outside to ring the school bell and raise the American flag.
New North Shore Faculty/Staff 2017-2018
Kristen Allen of Park Ridge, has joined North Shore full time as Athletic Trainer and Middle School Health Teacher. Since 2013, she has been a part-time athletic trainer for us through Athletico Physical Therapy. She has a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from North Park University. Kristen has worked for Athletico since 2012 including positions as an athletic trainer at Oakton Community College and Mundelein High School, and as interim Health services coordinator at Christian Heritage Academy.
Kate Berlin of Wilmette will be our new part-time Upper School English Teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Medieval Studies from the University of Chicago, and a Masters of Science in Teaching Secondary English Education from Lehman College, The City University of New York. Kate was previously a Teacher-in-Residence at the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Chicago. She also held teaching positions at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Chicago as a 1st and 6th grade teacher, and was a New York City Board of Education Teaching Fellow at two middle schools in the Bronx teaching Language Arts.
Zach Blickensderfer of Los Angeles comes to North Shore as an Upper School Math Teacher and Teaching Fellow in the University of Pennsylvania Independent School Teaching Residency program. Zach has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Yale University and wrote his senior thesis on “The NP-Completeness of the Quadratic Minimum Linear Arrangement Problem.” While at Yale, he also served as the First Tenor and Tour Manager of The Whiffenpoofs of Yale, an Associate Director & Teacher with Arts Unlimited, and a Freshman Counselor in the Yale College Dean’s Office.
Sheila Burke of Evanston joins North Shore as the Middle School Administrative Assistant and part-time Centennial Events Coordinator. She received her Bachelor and Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise from more than a decade working as the executive assistant to the CEO/Superintendent of Schools for the Evanston/Skokie school district. Earlier in her career, Sheila worked as a trained therapist as well as in IT operations management. Sheila’s front-line experience with parents, faculty and students, combined with her operational knowledge and strong skills all contribute to our enthusiasm in welcoming her to our Middle School and to the North Shore community.
Siera Erazo of Chicago returns to us as our part-time Archivist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts in Public History from Loyola University of Chicago. Most recently, Siera was an Exhibition Developer at the Field Museum in Chicago. She was hired as the School’s first archivist in 2013 and is largely responsible for creating the organizational structure and accessibility of our archives. Siera also has experience working at the Winnetka Historical Society, as a museum curator.
Josh Fidler of Glenview joins the School as the 5th Grade Assistant Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of Montana and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Universite libre de Bruxelles. Josh most recently was a teacher at the Heartland Alliance in Des Plaines providing instruction to K-12 students in various subject areas. He has also been a tutor in Brussels, a project manager at Women’s Opportunity and Resource Development in Missoula, MT, and a preschool teacher at the YMCA in Missoula.
Tracie Frederick of Skokie returns to North Shore as the Senior Associate Director of Development, a newly created position that will support the School’s development and alumni engagement as well as the Centennial celebration. She earned Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Mass Communication from Iowa State University. Tracie was previously North Shore’s Advancement Associate from 2006-2009. In that role, Tracie led the Annual Giving Campaign and supported other parts of the Alumni/Development program. Since departing from that role, Tracie has served as the Director of Development for Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.
Barry Fulton of Queens, NY, is our new Head of Middle School. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from Williams College and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Private School Leadership from Teachers College of Columbia University and The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership. Barry was most recently the Middle School Dean of Student Life at The Pingry School in New Jersey. In addition, he fulfilled roles as 6th-Grade Team Leader, Middle School English Coordinator and English Teacher. He also has experience at The Pennington School, Berkshire School, Salisbury Summer School, Williamstown Elementary School, the Louis August Jonas Foundation and Upward Bound.
Arturo Garcia from Chicago will be our new Middle and Upper School Computer Science Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from Pomona College. Prior to joining North Shore, Arturo was the Technology Innovation Specialist, STEAM Instructor and Lower School Technology Instructor at Quest Academy in Palatine. In addition, Arturo was an Instructor of Computer Science and Advisor at Lake Forest Academy.
Will Hester of Nashville, TN, is the School’s new Middle and Upper School Choral Director and Music Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Spanish and minoring in Music, from the University of Alabama, a master’s degree in Music focusing on choral conducting from the University of Houston, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. Will comes from the Nashville School of the Arts where he was Director of Choral Studies and taught AP music theory. He also has experience as Director of Choral Music at The Ensworth School in Nashville, and KIPP Houston High School and The Kinkaid School, both in Houston.
Jake Kann ’12 of Wilmette returns to North Shore as the 1st and 2nd Grade Assistant Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Denison University. Jake was previously a 2nd-Grade Associate Teacher at Baker Demonstration School. In addition, he was a Summer Travel Baseball Coach for the Wilmette Baseball Association, an Intern and Assistant Coach for Active Kidz Shanghai in China during his study-abroad program and a Senior Counselor at North Shore’s Summer Camp Program.
Jenna Nemec-Loise of Chicago comes to the School as our Head Librarian. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St. Norbert College and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science/Youth Services from Dominican University. Jenna has held numerous librarian roles including Acting Branch Manager and Children’s Librarian at a Chicago Public Library, Youth Librarian at Lincolnwood Public Library and School Librarian at St. Norbert School. She is also an Adjunct Instructor at Dominican University in the School of Information Studies for graduate students.
Tobye Ostrow of New York is joining North Shore as the Lower School Learning Specialist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University and a Master of Arts in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College-Columbia University. Most recently, Tobye was an Administrator at Aaron School in New York and also served as Educational Supervisor of six primary classrooms. She also was a Preschool Classroom Teacher at Fred S. Keller School, a private Educational and Behavioral Services Specialist providing training to families and individuals working with students, and a home-based instructor through the YAI New York League Lifestart Program.
Sara Pyne of Bainbridge Island, WA, is the new 3rd and 4th Grade Assistant Teacher at North Shore. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Political Science from Lesley University. Sara has experience as a private nanny that included tutoring in all elementary subjects and as a Summer Intern at Boston Collegiate Charter School. She also has been an active volunteer for the Girl Scouts and Hope By Twelve that helps raise funds for underprivileged girls in Ethiopia.
Rebecca Reátegui ’12 of Highland Park returns to North Shore as the JK and SK Assistant and Spanish Teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Bennington College. Rebecca most recently was an assistant 4th Grade Teacher and Middle School Extended-Day Leader at The Catherine Cook School in Chicago. She also has experience as a Counselor and Director of the After-Care program at North Shore’s Summer Camp Program.
Catalina Rincón-Bisbey of Chicago joins North Shore as an Upper School Spanish Teacher for the 2017-18 academic year during Carmen Gomez-Fiegl’s sabbatical. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Studies from The National University of Colombia and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in Spanish from Tulane University. She has previously served as teaching assistant, instructor and researcher at Tulane and other educational institutions. Beyond teaching, she has also served as a translator, tutor and academic conference organizer.
Tom Saleh of Evanston is a new Upper School Learning Specialist. He has a Bachelor of Arts in American History from Northwestern University and a Master of Education in Secondary History and Social Sciences. Most recently, Tom was a Special Education Teacher at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein. Previously, he was a United States History Teacher and Special Education Teaching Assistant at Lake Forest High School, Social Studies Teacher at St. Joan of Arc School in Evanston and History Teacher at Evanston Township High School, as well as a long-term substitute teacher at New Trier High School.
Brian Sarfo of New York joins us as Upper School Social Studies Teacher and Teaching Fellow in the University of Pennsylvania Independent School Teaching Residency program. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with concentrations Hispanic Studies and African-American Studies from Columbia University. Brian has experience as a summer Teaching Fellow at UnCommon Schools in Brooklyn, a Training and Organizing Intern for Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, a Legislative Intern for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation working with U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and an Intern for New York City Council Office of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—Community Engagement Unit.
Ty Scaletta of Evanston comes to North Shore as a Middle School Science Teacher. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Northwestern University. Ty’s experience includes student teaching middle and high school science at Lane Tech College Prep in Chicago, tutoring at Evanston Township High School and serving as a Teaching Assistant at Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development.
Christine Wachter of Chicago joins us as our Communications Associate—Print Specialist in the Marketing and Communications Department. She has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Christine is a talented marketing and operations manager with experience in nonprofit publishing. She has more than a decade of publication management, editing and design experience with the Community Renewal Society as Marketing and Operations Manager of The Chicago Reporter and its sister publication Catalyst Chicago.
Submitted by North Shore Country Day School