All Pulaski International School of Chicago teachers are of the highest caliber. Teaching in Chicago, in a community-supported IB World School authorized program is an attractive prospect which is not open to many Chicago Public School teachers. This has enabled Pulaski to be highly selective in offering teaching positions to the most experienced, highly qualified and committed of teachers. Teachers are supported by a dedicated team of educational leaders and staff.
Mrs. Crystal Rodriguez has 14 amazing years of experience in education. She worked as a paraprofessional for 6 years servicing students with special needs. Once she earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity Christian College, she became a Special Education teacher and Transitional Bilingual Education Teacher. After teaching for 8 years as a highly-qualified teacher she decided to commit herself to Educational Leadership seeing how she can leave a positive impact in the lives of students, families, teachers, and communities on a larger scale. Mrs. Rodriguez has a Master’s degree from Concordia University Chicago in Instructional Leadership and holds many endorsements in education including Illinois Principal Preparation Endorsement, Administrator’s Academy Course 2001 for Teacher Evaluation, Elementary Education (Type 03), Special Education (Type 10), Learning Behavior Specialist 1, Transitional Bilingual Educator Endorsement (ELS-TBE), Language Arts and Social Science Endorsements.
Mrs. Rodriguez is passionate about teaching, learning, and supporting teachers and students in sustaining the mission and vision of Pulaski School. Mrs. Rodriguez believes in the importance of building trusting relationships, hard work and integrity. Mrs. Rodriguez was born and raised in Chicago’s South Side, where she currently resides with her husband and two sons. During her spare time, she enjoys making memories with her family and friends.
Sra. Crystal Rodríguez tiene 14 años increíbles de experiencia en educación. Trabajó como paraprofesional para 6 años atendiendo los estudiantes de educación especial. Ella tiene su titulo de maestra de educación especial y maestra de educación bilingüe de transición de Trinity Christian College. Después de enseñar para 8 años como maestra, decidió comprometerse con el Liderazgo educativo al ver cómo puede dejar un impacto positivo en las vidas de los estudiantes, las familias, los maestros y las comunidades en una escala mayor. La Sra. Rodríguez tiene una maestría de Concordia University Chicago en Liderazgo Instructivo y tiene muchos certificados en educación, incluyendo el Endoso de la Preparación del Director de Illinois, la Academia del Administrador 2001 para la Evaluación de Maestros, Educación Primaria (Tipo 03), Educación Especial (Tipo 10), Especialista de Comportamiento 1, Bilingües de transición (ELS-TBE), Artes del lenguaje y ciencias sociales.
Sra. Rodríguez tiene pasión de enseñar, aprender y apoyar a los maestros y estudiantes para que mantengan la misión y la visión de la escuela Pulaski. Sra. Rodríguez cree en la importancia de construir relaciones de confianza, la perseverancia, e integridad. Sra. Rodríguez nació y se crió en Chicago, donde reside con su esposo y sus dos hijos. Durante su tiempo libre, ella disfruta haciendo recuerdos con su familia y amigos.
Grade Level Teachers
PreK – Room 108
Ms. Phyllis LaCour received her BA in Early Childhood Education with a focus area in Visual Arts from Columbia College Chicago. She received her MA in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESL Endorsement from Concordia University Chicago. Ms. Phyllis is dedicated, caring, and passionate about her work with young children. Ms. Phyllis is a Legend of Early Childhood Education and a Golden Apple Teacher. Her work with young children has been presented at Professional Development conferences. She also does mentoring and consultant work in the field of early childhood education. Ms. Phyllis has 5 cats; Za, Zimba, December, Pum Pum, and Moonpie, and loves them dearly. She also loves spending her summers in Louisiana with her family. She looks forward to another exciting year at Pulaski International School of Chicago!
PreK – Room 105
Mrs. Maldonado has been working at Pulaski International School of Chicago as the PreKindergarten Teacher in room 105 for the past eighteen years. She received her Baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood at National Louis University. She received her Masters of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction with an endorsement in ESL (English as a Second Language) and Bilingual Education at Concordia University. Her past educational job experience consists of working at Christopher House as a Head Teacher and Director of Head Start, Daycare and after-school programs. She also taught at St. Augustine College and taught ESL at the Puerto Rican National Guard in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. Her hobbies include sewing, puzzles, swimming, crafting, and camping with her family. She has an open door policy and welcomes her prekindergarten families to volunteer. Her passion is working with young children and their families and looking forward to a great school year.
Kindergarten – Room 001
This is Mrs. Mangelsdorf’s eighth year at Pulaski. Mrs. Mangelsdorf is a native Chicagoan who grew up in the Logan Square/Humboldt neighborhoods and has resided in Bucktown for over 35 years.Mrs. Mangelsdorf is a graduate of NEIU where she majored in elementary and middle school education with minors in math and science. Mrs. Mangelsdorf also holds a Masters in Education Technology from National Louis University. Mrs. Mangelsdorf also holds five certifications from Microsoft and truly enjoys technology.Mrs. Mangelsdorf is happy to be teaching Kindergarten again this year. There will be all sorts of new and exciting things to learn and do. There are sure to be adventures in learning and books will be written and published. There will be discoveries in math and science. Learning is so much fun!When not at school, Mrs. Mangelsdorf can be found working on projects (with a lot of assistance from a most kind and loving husband). She also enjoys playing with two grandchildren, making nifty Halloween costumes, reading, discovering and creating new art and learning new things. In addition, Mrs. Mangelsdorf is a proponent of kindness to others, because “Nice Matters”. She is very excited to meet her new class and help them build their classroom family. While we are starting school remotely, Mrs. Mangelsdorf believes that love can cross a digital divide and our community will be stronger than ever!
Kindergarten – Room 002
A native of Chicago and raised in Bucktown, Ms. Ramos is a graduate of Casimir Pulaski Elementary School. Her daughter also graduated from this same school.Ms. Ramos earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Her college education included studying abroad at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. In 2009 she obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Reading from Northeastern Illinois University.As a teacher for the Gifted Bilingual Program, she enjoys designing and implementing creative and developmentally appropriate interdisciplinary and multicultural lessons. She feels that while it’s important to teach Kindergarteners to read, it is just as important to provide children with sensory experiences and role-playing in their learning in order to positively impact them for life. Ms. Ramos also promotes the importance of being bilingual.Her hobbies include playing acoustic guitar and sewing.Una nativa de Chicago y criada en el barrio de Bucktown, la Sra. Ramos es una graduada de la escuela primaria Casimir Pulaski. Su hija Tambien se graduo de esta misma escuela.La Sra. Ramos obtuvo su licenciatura en administración de empresas de la Universidad de Illinois en Urbana – Champaign. Su educación universitaria incluye estudios extranjeros en la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Río Piedras. En 2009 obtuvo su Maestría en lectura de la Universidad de Northeastern Illinois.Como profesora del programa bilingüe de niños sobresalientes, ella disfruta en diseñar e implementar lecciones creativas, interdisciplinarias, multiculturales y apropiadas para el desarrollo del niño. Ella siente que es importante enseñarle a los estudiantes a leer, pero igual de importante es proporcionarle experiencias sensoriales y ofrecerles juegos en su aprendizaje que impacten sus vidas positivamente. La Sra. Ramos también promueve la importancia de ser bilingüe.Sus pasatiempos incluyen tocar la guitarra acústica y coser.
Kindergarten – Room 003
Mrs. Harris grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and is a graduate of Duke University (BA) and Manhattanville College (MAT). She has been teaching at Pulaski for eight years but has been a Pulaski parent even longer (both of her sons started in Ms. Phyllis’ PreK class; her oldest graduated last spring and her youngest will be in seventh grade). Mrs. Harris loves pina coladas and getting caught in the rain – and she IS into yoga.
Kindergarten – Room 004
Ms. Keen has lived and taught in Chicago for the last eight years, and this will be her eleventh year in education. She has her heart in primary grades, and is excited to be back in Kindergarten to start off the 2021 school year. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders/Speech Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!), and is currently working on coursework toward a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education. Ms. Keen grew up just outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, but has also lived in Guatemala City, Austin, TX, and Madison, WI. Ms. Keen speaks fluent Spanish and is a certified bilingual teacher, so feel free to speak or practice with her anytime! Along with being a teacher, Ms. Keen loves to spend every minute she can outdoors. Whether it is paddle-boarding, hiking, camping, biking, running, swimming, or just going for a walk, she enjoys fresh air as much as she can get it. She lives in Noble Square with her husband, almost three year old daughter, son, and dog. They hope to go on many more travel adventures around the world in the coming years, and love to take on a “big” trip at least once per year. Can’t wait to see what unique experiences the next year brings!
First Grade – Room 007
Mrs. Needleman teaches first grade at Pulaski International School. She received her Elementary Education degree from the University of Maryland and her Masters in Reading Education from Concordia University. She is Nationally Board Certified in Early Childhood Education. This will be her nineteenth year of teaching. Reading with her daughter, cooking with her son and kayaking with her husband are among her favorite activities.
First Grade – Room 009
First Grade – Room 011
Mrs. Allen moved to Chicago in 2008 when she was accepted into the Chicago Teaching Fellows program and earned her master’s degree in elementary education from National Louis University. She taught as a teacher of students with disabilities for five years. This is her eighth year teaching the first grade in CPS and her eighth year at Pulaski. Mrs. Allen is a National Board Certified teacher in reading and language arts and she has endorsements in ESL and bilingual instruction. Mrs. Allen’s love for teaching began while managing a daycare center in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala upon her graduation from Miami University in 2006. Mrs. Allen loves to travel and has made it a lifelong goal to travel to a new country and/or city in the U.S. every year. This past year she traveled to Paris, Amsterdam, and Düsseldorf, Germany and camped in the Badlands National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Besides travel, you can usually find her our running. Running has been a passion of Mrs. Allen’s since she was fourteen and she loves to run along Chicago’s gorgeous lakefront. Also, you may see her at some of your favorite Chicago races. Make sure you say hi!
First Grade – Room 012
Second Grade – Room 008
Ms. Weston is starting her fourth year teaching at Pulaski International School of Chicago. She is a second grade bilingual educator in Room 008. Having grown up in the neighborhood, she continues to show her appreciation for the community. Having attended LaSalle Language Academy and Lane Technical High School, she continues to show her dedication to the Chicago Public School system at Pulaski. She furthered her education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a minor and endorsement in Spanish. In her free time, Ms. Weston enjoys traveling to exciting places, spending time with family and friends, indulging in arts and crafts, and exploring what Chicago has to offer. She is excited and ready to start the year with remote learning with her new students! Ms. Weston pushes her students everyday to build on their daily inquiries within the IB framework. She is ecstatic to continue working with such inquisitive and dynamic students at Pulaski!
Second Grade – Room 010
This is Mrs. Kalnicky’s (formally known as Ms. Rosado) 9th year teaching at Pulaski International School of Chicago. She is a second grade gifted bilingual IB teacher and is extremely excited to continue being part of such a great educational community. Mrs. Kalnicky graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Sociology. She also currently has an endorsement in Middle School Social Science, a Gifted Teaching Certification and a Bilingual Certificate. As a teacher, Mrs. Kalnicky strives for academic excellence through creativity and collaboration. She recognizes the importance of developing inquiring and compassionate life-long learners. Her hobbies include playing sports such as softball or a mean game of corn hole, spending time with friends and family and cuddling with her dog Tito. She enjoys organizing special events for the Saber family for all to enjoy. Be ready for this year’s Staff vs. Students softball game!
Second Grade – Room 013
Hi, my name is Ms. Shah! I am so excited to join the second grade team at Pulaski International School of Chicago. This is my 12th year of teaching and I love my job! I’ve taught kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 4th, and ESL resource. I have my Master’s in education and an ESL endorsement. I’m passionate about teaching my students about social justice, kindness, empathy, and I love teaching kids different cultures and holidays around the world. My priority is to make sure kids learn how to use their voice, be creative, and to encourage curiosity. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, cooking healthy meals, trying new cuisines, relaxing at the lakefront, and exploring all the different neighborhoods in the city. One of my favorite places I have traveled to is Istanbul, Turkey. Ecuador, Cuba, Costa Rica, Argentina, Croatia, Spain, and Vietnam are on my bucket list of places to go to next. I am looking forward to working with you and your kids this year!
Second Grade – Room 014
Adrienne Ward is part of the second grade team here at the Pulaski International School of Chicago. Prior to teaching at Pulaski and Skinner West in Chicago, she taught for 10 years at New York City Public Schools. Adrienne has lived in the Bucktown community since moving to Chicago and is thrilled to have an opportunity to deepen her involvement in the Bucktown community by teaching at the same school that her children attend. Adrienne enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, running, reading, and cooking. Adrienne grew up in Michigan and she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and later returned to MSU to complete her masters in Curriculum Development.
Third Grade – Room 200
Ms. Alley is thrilled to start the new school year! Together, we can do virtually anything! This is her ninth year at Pulaski, and eighth year teaching 3rd grade! This year she will be teaching humanities, which includes Reading, Writing, and Social Studies. Coming from a family of teachers, Ms. Alley is passionate about education. It is her goal to instill a love for learning in every student. She works hard to create authentic and engaging learning experiences, as well as a caring classroom community built on connection, empathy, and inclusion. Ms. Alley makes it a priority to give students a voice and choice in their learning, and encourages her students to be curious and creative thinkers! Ms. Alley grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and attended Northwestern University where she received her bachelor’s in History. As a former NU lacrosse player, you’ll be sure to catch her cheering on the Cats! Ms. Alley then worked on Obama’s ’08 campaign, which led her to Washington, D.C. where she worked for the Obama Administration – both at the White House and U.S. Department of Education. Then, she received her masters in Elementary Education at Northwestern University, with a middle school endorsement in social studies. Outside of school, Ms. Alley enjoys running, dancing, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends! During the summer of 2021, Ms. Alley did a lot of reading and played a lot of golf! Ms. Alley is a proud resident of Bucktown, so you may see her around town or running on the 606! She is confident that it will be a fun, adventurous, and successful school year!!
Third Grade – Room 204
This is Ms. Barbosa 10th year of teaching at Pulaski International School of Chicago. She is excited to teach 3rd grade this year. Ms. Barbosa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and is working on her Master’s degree for TESOL. In her spare time, Ms. Barbosa loves to read, dance, bake, and spend quality time with her family. Last year Ms. Barbosa traveled to Europe for two months and she believes that learning is an adventure, which she wants to take her students on.
Third Grade – Room 208
This is Ms. Freedman’s 3rd year at Pulaski, and 6th year teaching 3rd grade in CPS! Ms. Freedman received her bachelors from Temple University in Philadelphia and her Masters of Teaching with bilingual and ESL endorsements from Dominican University. Along with education, Ms. Freedman’s other passions are yoga (she is a certified yoga instructor and teaches vinyasa classes and practices acroyoga in her free time), cooking (Ms. Freedman has been a vegetarian since she was 8 years old and loves trying new cuisines), traveling (she has visited 11 countries on 5 continents including spending a semester studying in Barcelona and a summer teaching in India), reading and spending time outdoors, especially by the water or on a mountain. During the summer of 2020, Ms. Freedman found a new love of camping! In Ms. Freedman’s class you can expect social justice lessons, mindfulness techniques and collaborative communication practices in her desire to support students as leaders in their own educational journey and foster active global citizenship. This year will present many new challenges, but through perseverance, inquiry, collaboration and open communication this can be a transformative 3rd grade year! Ms. Freedman lives in Lakeview with her fiancee and very loud cat, PD.
Third Grade – Room 209
My name is Ms. Berdis and I’m excited to be teaching 3rd grade this year! I believe that every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can be! I enjoy working with children and helping them reach for their dreams through their education. I believe every child should be valued, treated with respect, and enjoy learning every day.Growing up with two parents who were teachers, they both instilled in me a love for learning. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and then continued on to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Governor’s State University. I have continued pursuing my educational dreams and recently earned my English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement this fall. During my down time, I enjoy doing Crossfit, playing with my dog Payton, spend time at my lake house with family and friends and traveling! I recently had the opportunity to visit London, Ireland, and Iceland, and I’m already planning my next adventure! I look forward to being part of the Pulaski team and look forward to an amazing year in 3rd grade!!
Fourth Grade – Room 203
Mr. Klein received his undergraduate in Marketing from Ramapo College in 2001. and his MAT from National Louis in 2012. This is Mr. Klein’s tenth year teaching, and his seventh at Pulaski International. Mr. Klein has lived in Chicago for the past 16 years with his wife and two children. When he’s not teaching, Mr. Klein enjoys traveling, spending time with his friends and family, as well as DJing all types of music. Mr. Klein is passionate about reaching all of his students and their different learning modalities.
Fourth Grade – Room 206
Mrs. Sompheth is looking forward to learning and growing alongside her students as we kick off the school year virtually. This is her seventh year at Pulaski and ninth year teaching in CPS. This year she will be teaching Humanities, which includes the subjects of Reading, Writing and Social Studies. Mrs. Sompheth is passionate about instilling a love of reading and inquiry in her students. She believes in the power of student choice and enjoys engaging her students in project-based learning, empowering them to take ownership of their learning. Mrs. Sompheth lives in the South Loop with her husband and two precious dogs — Mac, a 12-year old Chihuahua and Fawkes, an 11-year old Husky. Mrs. Sompheth grew up in Champaign and graduated from the University of Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Master of Arts in Teaching. She taught English in South Korea for two years before moving to Chicago. In her leisure time, she loves reading, knitting, and walking her dogs. This summer she has enjoyed dining out at so many wonderful restaurant patios in Chicago. She looks forward to traveling internationally again (hopefully) someday soon! She tries her best to maintain her mental and physical health through daily exercise, yoga and meditation. Mrs. Sompheth is looking forward to another fantastic year at Pulaski teaching action-minded learners.
Fourth – Room 211
Mr. Araujo is excited to teach Fourth Grade at Pulaski International School, and is celebrating his 11th year teaching! Mr. Araujo is a native of the Chicago-land area, and has completed his undergraduate studies in Secondary Education and History at DePaul University, and has completed coursework for a graduate degree in K-12 Bilingual Education from The American College of Education. Having previously taught second grade for three years, and 8 years teaching Kindergarten; he is prepared to engage students at all points in his students’ academic careers with a wealth of experience. As a classroom teacher, Mr. Araujo a huge advocate of literacy, technology, and fostering our students’ home cultures in the classroom to motivate student learning. Using a variety of multi-modal approaches to target specific learning styles, he brings enthusiasm in learning through videos, games, music, and in other hands-on and student-centered ways.Mr. Araujo resides in Avondale with his wife Ashley and his teeny toddler, Caspian. In his spare time he likes to play guitar, tinker with computers, and can be seen riding his bicycle all over the city.
Fourth Grade – Room 213
Ms. Rodriguez is this year’s 4th grade Gifted Bilingual teacher and couldn’t be more excited for this upcoming school year!Ms. Rodriguez graduated from DePaul University with a M.Ed in Elementary Education. She is also endorsed in Social Science, Spanish, and Bilingual education. Prior to this she obtained her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she graduated Cum Laud from the Honors College.On her free time, Ms. Rodriguez loves to travel and learn about different places and cultures from around the world. She hopes to instill this international mindset into her students and show how we are an interconnected global society.She is looking forward to an exciting year full of questioning, researching, and analyzing to help students become critical thinkers and global life long learners.
Fifth Grade – Room 304
My name is Mrs. Jonas and this is my second year teaching at Pulaski. Before teaching in CPS, I taught in the Cicero Public Schools for 8 years. My bachelor’s degree was in Elementary Education from Bradley University and I got my master’s in Bilingual-Bicultural Education from Northeastern Illinois University. I grew up in Chicago and have spent many years living here, but also lived abroad in The Gambia, Costa Rica, and India. In my free time, I like to go camping and hiking but my absolute favorite thing to do is curl up somewhere with a good book!
Fifth Grade – Room 310
Welcome to 5th grade! My name is Mrs. Padilla, and this will be my 21st year of teaching at Pulaski. I taught 4th grade for two years and the rest of my teaching experience has been in the 5th grade, almost entirely in the gifted bilingual program. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts degree in Reading. I enjoy integrating the arts into the curriculum and finding new ways to facilitate trans-disciplinary learning in the classroom to support the school’s IB program. The social-emotional health of my students is a priority, so mindfulness practices are integrated into the curriculum every day. Learning is a life-long journey, and I’d like to inspire this love of learning in my students. In my spare time, I love to travel, bake, and spend quality time with my family. On most weekends, you will find me at a soccer game, enthusiastically cheering on my sons, Javier and Andres, while they play for the Chicago Fire Juniors.
Fifth Grade – Room 312
Ms. Sheley is ecstatic to join the Pulaski team this year! Ms. Sheley focuses on creating a nurturing environment where all students feel supported to become risk takers. Ms. Sheley integrates mindful and restorative practices within daily instruction, and she believes in engaging students in project and inquiry based learning. She hopes to instill a love for learning, literacy, and inquiry within her students, so they become lifelong learners. Ms. Sheley graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and an endorsement in reading. Currently, Ms. Sheley is pursuing a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. This will be Ms. Sheley’s third year teaching in Chicago Public Schools. In her free time, Ms. Sheley enjoys trying new restaurants or cooking healthy recipes. You may spot Ms. Sheley running, as this is one of her new favorite hobbies! Ms. Sheley relaxes by taking yoga classes or getting lost in mystery novels. When there are breaks in the school year, Ms. Sheley travels to escape in nature and experience new cultures. During this unpredictable time, Ms. Sheley hopes to provide constant communication and a positive outlook to support learners and families navigate through remote learning.Here is a link to my google page: https://sites.google.com/view/miss-sheleys-classroom/home
Fifth Grade – Room 314
Ms. Tryboski is excited to be starting this year as a 5th grade Humanities teacher at Pulaski International School of Chicago. Ms. Tryboski graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Major in Elementary Education and a minor in Anthropology. She returned to school to complete a Master’s Degree in Reading, and received a Gifted and ESL Endorsement. Ms. Tryboski has been working for Chicago Public Schools for 22 years, focusing primarily on instruction in grades fourth and fifth.Ms. Tryboski enjoys reading, spending time with family, arts and crafts, and traveling. Before pursuing education, Ms. Tryboski was a travel agent and has had the opportunity to travel the world enjoying architecture and learning about different cultures and history.
6th Grade – Room 110
Sixth Grade – Room 300
Ms. Issen teaches 6th grade math and language & literature. This year is her third at Pulaski and fifth year teaching in Chicago. Ms. Issen has her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bradley University. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, playing tennis, bike riding and catching up on TV shows. Although she has no pets, she loves cats and dogs.
Mr. De Bruyn
Sixth Grade – Room 302
Contact Mr. De Bruyn
Sixth Grade – Room 303
Ms. Abdallah will be teaching 6th grade Science and Language Arts at Pulaski International School of Chicago. This will be her sixth year teaching in CPS. Ms. Abdallah graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, in which she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Middle School endorsements in Science, Language Arts, and Social Science. Ms. Abdallah went on to obtain a Master of Science in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in English as a Second Language at the University of St. Francis. During her free time, Ms. Abdallah enjoys reading, going on walks, and spending time with family and friends.
Seventh Grade – Room 301
Welcome to a new school year. Ms. McNamara is very excited to be teaching 7th grade Language Arts and Math this year at Pulaski. This is her 11th year teaching at Pulaski, prior to that Ms. McNamara taught in Pilsen. Ms. McNamara has been teaching Math in CPS for the past 18 years and she is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Math. Ms. McNamara grew up on the south side of Chicago, graduated high school from Mother McCauley and attended Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, where Ms. McNamara earned her degree in business administration. In 2002, Ms. McNamara earned her type 09 teaching degree from National Louis University. Ms. McNamara believes that the middle school years are challenging years that ask students to not only increase his/her skills and knowledge, but to independently demonstrate skills acquired, explain strategies used, and support ideas with references from the text and other resources. She believes that these skills will help create global learners. Ms. McNamara enjoys spending time with family and friends, is an avid reader and enjoys traveling.
Mrs. Hai Syed
Seventh grade – Room 305
This is Mrs. Hai Syed’s 7th year at Pulaski International School as a 7th grade Language Arts and Individuals & Societies teacher. Prior to Pulaski, Mrs. Hai Syed taught 6th-8th grade Humanities and 9th-11th grade World History, US History, and Global Studies for over 17 years in the Chicago Public Schools system. Ms. Hai Syed’s extensive experience in teaching high school has served as an asset for her middle school students by preparing them with the skill-sets required for the academic rigors of higher learning.Ms. Hai Syed grew up in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan (Hail!) where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Middle School Endorsement. Additionally, Mrs. Hai Syed attended National Louis University in Chicago to obtain a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction as well as a Type 09 Certificate to teach high school. Ms. Hai Syed is a big advocate of a healthy mind and body! She has been a track and field and cross country coach for most of her years at CPS and is an avid runner herself. Mrs. Hai Syed has completed two Chicago marathons and competes in various races throughout the year. Mrs. Hai Syed is also a dedicated yogi and enjoys cuddling up with a good book to unwind.
Seventh Grade – Room 307
Ms. Reardon (married name appears on CPS email as Reardon Carroll) is in her tenth year teaching at Pulaski International School of Chicago as a 7th grade Life Science and Language Arts Teacher. Prior to Pulaski, she taught Kindergarten, 4th grade, and 6th grade for 5 years in the Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Reardon grew up on the north side of Chicago and graduated high school from Loyola Academy in Wilmette. She attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison and earned a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish. In her first three years of teaching Ms. Reardon worked to obtain her Bilingual and ESL endorsements as well as her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on ESL and Bilingual Education. She is endorsed in Language Arts, Social Studies, Spanish, and Science at the middle school level. Ms. Reardon married her husband, Mark, in October 2017 and has an almost 2 year old daughter, Maeve. Ms. Reardon has completed several Chicago Marathons and Triathlons and enjoys running and working out in her free time. She is very close to her family as they all still reside in Chicago. She is also an avid fan of Big Ten Football and Basketball. Go Badgers!
Eighth Grade – Room 306
Mrs. Jackson teaches 8th grade MYP 3 Science & Language A. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. Mrs. Jackson holds Illinois Endorsements in Science, Language Arts, and Social Science education. She enjoys traveling, reading, snow skiing and spectator sports. Mrs. Jackson is also a big fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. In both Science & Language A, students will participate in interactive activities which utilize a variety of teaching strategies including cooperative learning, the writing process, academic vocabulary and the use of technology.
Eighth Grade – Room 309
Welcome to 8th grade at Pulaski International School of Chicago! Ms. Jimenez teaches Algebra 1 and Language Arts. She has been teaching at Pulaski for 23 years. Ms. Jimenez has a Master of Education degree from Columbia College Chicago and a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Spanish Literature from Loyola University Chicago. She is endorsed in middle school math, Algebra 1, Language Arts and Spanish. Ms. Jimenez lived in Madrid, Spain for two years and learned the importance of international mindedness. Living among Europeans and transplanted South Americans truly opened her eyes to the value of diverse perspectives and basic global awareness. As an educator she is excited about the prospect of fostering international mindedness in the classroom so that Pulaski’s youth are better equipped for the challenges of a global community.
To Be Announced
Eighth Grade – Room 311
Diverse Learners – Room 012
Ms. Grober is excited for her second year of teaching at Pulaski!! Ms.Grober has taught diverse learners for 7 years and is up to the challenge of teaching remote! She believes in building an environment in which all students feel confident and respected. Ms. Grober received a B.S. from Marquette University in 2010 and a Masters Degree in Community Mental Health/Special Education Support from Duquesne University in 2012. Before teaching, Ms. Grober worked with individuals with disabilities in an array of positions: Academic Therapist, Community Support Therapist, Case Manager, Early Intervention ABA Tutor, and Milieu Therapist at a psychiatric hospital. These experiences prior to teaching gave Ms. Grober tremendous insight on how to support students outside of the classroom. Ms. Grober enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and being outside (when the weather permits, haha). Ms. Grober looks forward to a unique school year!
Diverse Learners – Room 012
Ms. Gilson is a recent graduate from DePaul University with a BS in Special Education. She began teaching at Pulaski last year, teaching ELA resource for K-2nd grade and math for grades 1, 4, and 6! She is excited to continue her professional career at Pulaski International School of Chicago! Ms. Gilson completed her student teaching at Pulaski, and has grown to love and appreciate the students and staff who have played a pivotal role in her development as an educator. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Ms. Gilson ventured to Michigan to study special education for two and a half years at Central Michigan University, specializing in low incidence and cognitive disabilities, before transferring to DePaul where she completed her degree. Outside of school, Ms. Gilson’s interests include: spending time outdoors and the arts, particularly theatre, as she worked in lighting and technology for Central Michigan’s School of Theatre and Cinematic Arts. Ms. Gilson is eager to begin sharing ideas and collaborating with all of the Pulaski teachers, students, and families!
Diverse Learners – Room TBD
Contact Ms. Patton
Diverse Learners – Room 308
Ms. Furia teaches diverse learners in elementary grades. She grew up in India and moved to the U.S. a few years ago. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Mumbai and a Masters degree in Special Education from the University of Georgia. Ms. Furia firmly believes in the importance of providing early special education services and interventions in order for every student to succeed. When she is not working, Ms. Furia likes to cook and spend time with family. She also loves to travel and has visited several cities in the U.S. In addition to teaching all the academic subjects, Ms. Furia lives her passion for Chess by coaching the after school Chess Club. Ms. Furia is looking forward to finding innovative ways to teach students and support parents in the highly unusual circumstances that present this school year.
Diverse Learners – Room TBD
Contact Ms. Luces
Diverse Learners – Room TBD
Ms. Chang is originally from New York City. She received her Bachelor’s from Wesleyan University in Literature and Government. While in New York, she worked with several publishing houses as an Editor, and continued her editorial work when she moved to Chicago. She received her Master’s in Teaching from National-Louis University. This will be her 5th year at Pulaski as a Diverse Learner teacher. She enjoys growing vegetables in her container garden and playing with her rambunctious cats. Ms. Chang is ready to make the 2020-21 school year a collaborative learning experience for all of her kiddos!
Diverse Learners – Room 214
Mrs. Hirsch brings over 22 years of teaching experience to Pulaski. She has taught in school systems in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and now Chicago. She has taught in every grade from 1-6 with a wide set of learners and school settings from inner city to suburban schools. Mrs. Hirsch went to West Chester University in Pennsylvania and followed with graduate courses at Temple in Philadelphia and George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She is married and has three adult sons. Out of school hours, she enjoys traveling, reading, sewing and trying new foods.
Diverse Learners – Room 214
Ms. Henry arrived at Pulaski to teach Diverse Learners in 2009 and has enjoyed working with a variety of grade levels over the years with a focus on 4th-8th. Ms. Henry loves to integrate her personal hobbies into her work and organize fun activities for the students. She directs the annual school play and talent show, coordinates Field Day and the OST programming, and facilitates the Saber Council and cooking clubs. She received her BA in English and German at Grinnell College in Iowa and MAT from National-Louis University.
Diverse Learners – Room TBD
Ms. Ruscitti grew up in Lithuania and has been living in Chicago for over 25 years! Prior to starting at Pulaski last February, she has taught diverse learners on the South Side of Chicago. She has high expectations for her students and works hard to support them. Ms. Ruscitti is excited to use her Wilson training to teach students with dyslexia. She has earned a B.A. degree in Sociology (Roosevelt) and M.A. in Special Education (NEIU).When not teaching, Ms. Ruscitti enjoys road trips, skiing, gardening, knitting and she loves reading!
Single Subject Teachers
Language Acquisition/Spanish – Room 107
Ms. Halliday knows language learning is a life-long process – she started learning Spanish when she was 10 years old, and it has been her favorite class ever since! Ms. Halliday tries to make her classes fun and engaging by incorporating music, movement, art, puppets, and social emotional learning. Before Ms. Halliday became a Spanish teacher, she was a magazine writer! She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism (BSJ), Loyola University’s School of Education (MEd), and is currently enrolled in DePaul’s Master’s of Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling program. Ms. Halliday has completed professional training in mindfulness, self-compassion, Conscious Discipline, and kids’ yoga teaching. When she’s not teaching, Ms. Halliday loves riding her bike, practicing yoga, reading and crafting. La Sra. Halliday sabe que el aprendizaje de idiomas es un proceso que dura toda la vida – ella empezó a aprender el español cuando tenía 10 años, y el español ha sido su clase favorita desde entonces. La Sra. Halliday intenta hacer que sus clases sean divertidas e interesantes por medio de incorporar la música, el movimiento, el arte, marionetas, y el aprendizaje socioemocional. Antes de ser una maestra de español, la Sra. Halliday fue periodista. Ella se graduó de la Escuela de Periodismo Medill en la Universidad de Northwestern (BSJ), la Escuela de Educación en la Universidad Loyola (MEd), y actualmente está matriculada en un programa de Consejería Escolar en la Universidad DePaul. La Sra. Halliday ha completado clases profesionales en mindfulness, self-compassion, disciplina consciente, y enseñanza de yoga para niños. Cuando no está enseñando español, a la Sra. Halliday le encanta montar en bicicleta, practicar yoga, leer y hacer arte.
Language Acquisition/Spanish – Room 107
Sra. Hernández begins her 8th year with the Spanish team at Pulaski this 2020-2021 school year. She is a proud Chicago native and daughter of Mexican immigrants. As a heritage speaker of Spanish, she believes in the benefits of being bilingual as supported by research and personal experience. La Sra. Hernandez is committed to helping all children become developing bilinguals. She received her B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University with majors in Spanish and Criminal Justice and her M.A. in Secondary Education from Loyola University, Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading Spanish books with her 2 year old and newborn, and finding new ways to be a better Spanish teacher. Sra. Hernández empieza su 8o año con el equipo de español de Pulaski este año escolar 2020-2021. La Sra. Hernández es una orgullosa nativa de Chicago e hija de inmigrantes mexicanos. Como parlante de herencia del español, ella cree en los beneficios de ser bilingüe, cuyos son apoyados por investigación y por experiencia personal. La Sra. Hernández está comprometida a ayudar a todos sus estudiantes a convertirse en bilingües en desarrollo. La Sra. Hernández obtuvo su bachiller en estudio del Español y Justicia Criminal de la Universidad de Northeastern Illinois. Ella realizó su formación como docente en la Universidad de Loyola Chicago. En su tiempo de ocio, la Sra. Hernández disfruta pasando el tiempo con su familia, leer libros en español con su hija de 2 años y bebé recién nacido, y buscar maneras de ser una mejor maestra.
Language Acquisition/Spanish – Room 107
Mr. Lipnick is one of Pulaski’s Spanish Language Acquisition teachers. Mr. Lipnick attended the University of Iowa, where he received his Master’s degree in Spanish Literature. He previously taught dual language in CPS and Spanish at the college level. Before beginning his teaching career, Mr. Lipnick worked in public health helping to put on clinics for migrant farm workers in Iowa. When he’s not teaching, Mr. Lipnick enjoys riding his bike, camping, learning new languages, reading, writing and traveling. He has spent considerable time studying in Spain, Chile and Mexico. Mr. Lipnick also loves running and coaching the Pulaski 7/8th grade Track and Cross Country teams. El Sr. Lipnick es uno de los maestros de adquisición del idioma español de Pulaski. El Sr. Lipnick asistió a la Universidad de Iowa, donde recibió su Maestría en Literatura Española. Anteriormente él enseñó lenguaje dual en CPS y clases de español para principiantes a nivel universitario. Antes de comenzar su carrera docente, el Sr. Lipnick trabajó en salud pública, ayudando a establecer clínicas para trabajadores agrícolas migrantes en Iowa. Cuando no está enseñando, al Sr. Lipnick le gusta andar en bicicleta, acampar, estudiar nuevos idiomas, leer, escribir y viajar. Ha pasado un tiempo considerable estudiando en España, Chile y México. A Lipnick también le encanta correr y entrenar a los equipos de atletismo de Pulaski.
Physical and Health Education – Gym
Mr. Battin is the MYP Physical Education and Health Education teacher at Pulaski International School of Chicago.He lives on the Northwest side of Chicago with his wife and 3 children. He received his teaching certificate through the Physical Education/Kinesiology program at Northern Illinois University and is pursuing his Masters Degree.Mr. Battin is a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, Blackhawks, Bears, and Bulls and enjoys watching and attending games whenever possible.Hobbies include: working out, biking, playing all sorts of sports and racing sports cars. Mr. Battin looks forward to the upcoming year at Pulaski and providing your child with a high-quality Physical & Health Education experience. View International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) Description
Personal and Physical Education – Gym
Mr. Schram is a Physical Education and Health teacher at Pulaski International School of Chicago and teaches grades K-5. He received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa in 2003. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Robert Morris University in 2005. In 2010, Mr. Schram received his Master’s of Arts of Teaching degree from North Park University. Mr. Schram has been a personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management coach since 2005. He also holds a Youth Fitness Specialist certificate from the International Youth and Conditioning Association. He works with children, teenagers, and adults helping them lead healthier lives. He enjoys training young athletes helping them improve their strength and performance in various sports. Mr. Schram enjoys watching all the Chicago sports teams, as well as the Iowa Hawkeyes!Mr. Schram looks forward to the upcoming year at Pulaski and providing your child with a quality Physical Education experience. Students at Pulaski participate in physical education class two times per 6 days for 60 minutes. Students learn about their bodies, engage in exercise to improve their cardiovascular system and improve their muscular strength and endurance, participate in individual and team sports, learn about nutrition, and other health concepts. Students at Pulaski are asked to think critically about their bodies and how they move, situational decision making during sports, and short-term and long-term benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Affective learning behaviors such as the demonstration of team work and positive encouragement/reinforcement of other students will be emphasized consistently throughout the year.Proper attire is paramount to ensure the safety of your child in Physical Education class. Students are required to wear athletic shoe without marking soles at all times. Boots, sandals, flip-flops, and Crocs will not be permitted. Large hoop earrings and necklaces will not be allowed. Students that do not have the proper attire will not be allowed to participate in physical activity.Children should receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. You can help your child receive the recommended amount of physical activity by exercising with them. You and your child can exercise together by going for a bike ride, walking or running together, playing catch, or swimming.
Visual Arts – Room 207
Ms. Swinford is the Visual Arts teacher at Pulaski and works with students from Kindergarten to 8th grade. Before coming to Pulaski, Ms. Swinford taught middle school art at a Chicago Public School in Gage Park and worked for three years as an art teacher at a private residential treatment facility at the University of Chicago. Ms. Swinford has a Master’s degree in art education from Columbia College Chicago and has completed coursework for endorsements in special education and teaching English as a second language. Ms Swinford believes in the unique power of art education to transform the way students look at our world and is dedicated to fostering a commitment to social justice, self-discovery, and a love for learning that lasts a lifetime.In addition to art and teaching, Ms. Swinford has a passion for travel. She has visited over 30 countries and helped to start a non-profit organization in Tanzania in 2010. Ms. Swinford initially traveled to Tanzania in 2008 as a volunteer English instructor and left motivated to help Tanzanian students gain access to quality education. She collaborated with two other educators to start EdPowerment, which is an education-based 501(c)3 in the United States. The organization supports a local community center in Moshi, Tanzania, sponsors over 50 Tanzanian students in high school and university, and works to advocate for individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Tanzania. Ms. Swinford lived there for a year after she completed graduate school and returns each summer to run programs. She loves incorporating her experiences in Tanzania, and other countries around the world, with the lessons she teaches to students in her own classroom. If you’re lucky, she might even teach you how to say hello in Swahili. 🙂
Music/Band – Room 114
During his undergraduate studies at VanderCook College of Music, Mr. Green had taught various ensembles throughout Chicago. This is his 10th year at Pulaski International School of Chicago. During this time, Mr. Green has taught Pre K-8 music classes, Beginning Band, Advanced Band, Jazz/Modern Band, and the Marching Sabers. He has also been the co-director for the CPS All-City High School Band (North Region) and CPS All-City Elementary Band for 2013, 2016 – 2019. Mr. Green earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education with certification to teach grades K-12 in 2011.The mission of the music program at Pulaski is to have students excel in music in all of its forms and to learn advanced concepts in a fun, yet safe, environment.
Design – Room 110
Mr. Wojciaczyk joined the Pulaski Staff in April 2013. Mr. Wojciaczyk teaches MYP Design to students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade and computer science to 5th grade. Mr. Wojciaczyk graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with endorsements in Science, Social Sciences, Language Arts, and Music. He has also obtained a Transitional Bilingual Certificate in Polish. Additionally, Mr. Wojciaczyk holds a Master Degree in Educational Technology with concentration in digital teaching and learning and computer applications endorsement. Mr. Wojciaczyk believes that the purpose of education is to provide our next generation of students with the necessary knowledge and life skills that will make them successful and responsible citizens of our community. Mr. Wojciaczyk hopes to achieve this goal by providing his students with numerous learning experiences and opportunities that will allow them to enrich their learning not only in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well. This year Mr. Wojciaczyk hopes to encourage his students to dream big and help them gain an understanding of themselves, and what they want to achieve in their lives. Mr. Wojciaczyk was born in Poland, and through his international experiences, he is looking forward to enhancing the IB program at Pulaski. He is excited to incorporate his multi-cultural perspective when teaching problem solving and creativity in his Design classes. In his free time you can find Mr. Wojciaczyk swimming laps, SCUBA diving, working on his marine fish tank, and playing his bassoon. He also enjoys musical theater and new technology. Mr. W advises the Pulaski TV club that produces the Pulaski News.
Librarian and Information and Communication Technologies – Library Media Center
The 2020-2021 school year will be Mr. McCarthy’s third year as the Library Information Specialist for Pulaski International School of Chicago, though Mr. McCarthy brings several years of experience to the position with this being his fifteenth year of teaching in CPS and his tenth year as a school librarian. Prior to embarking on his career in education, Mr. McCarthy graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor of science degree in Advertising, and earned a master of arts degree in Elementary Education from Chicago State University with endorsements in both Library Information & Media Science and Language Arts. Mr. McCarthy aims to instill a love of reading in all students and strives to equip students with the skills necessary to become lifelong learners. He lives in the Avondale neighborhood with his wife, Jordan, and in his free time likes to travel, collect vinyl records, and spend time with family.
Check out the Library Media Center Website.
Counselor – Room 104
Ms. Echevarria is the School Counselor at Pulaski International of Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree in Geology and Anthropology at University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign and went on to obtain her Master’s in Counseling from Eastern Illinois University. In her spare time Ms. Echevarria stays active and loves keeping abreast with Latino arts and culture.
Student Engagement Specialist
Case Manager – Room 015
PYP & MYP Programmes IB Coordinator – Room 006
Mrs. Sanchez is Pulaski’s International Baccalaureate Coordinator. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and is a proud product of Chicago Public Schools. She graduated from DePaul University, where she founded the first Latina oriented sorority on campus. Over her 20 years as a CPS teacher, Mrs. Sanchez has completed two additional degrees: Masters in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute and Masters in Reading from Concordia University Chicago. In 2007, Mrs. Sanchez earned the highly prestigious National Board Certification (NBCT.) Before coming to Pulaski International School of Chicago, Ms. Sanchez worked in teacher leadership development as both a Bilingual Lead Teacher/Coordinator and a Reading Coach. Her favorite book to read to her students is “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom,” by Louis Sachar.
Ms. Hernandez – Nurse Contact Ms. Hernandez
Ms. Blazevic – Occupational Therapist Contact Ms. Blazevic
Ms. McCausland – Physical Therapist Contact Ms. McCausland
Ms. Al-Khalidi – Psychologist Contact Ms. Al-Khalidi
Ms. Potter – Speech/Language Pathologist Contact Ms. Potter
Ms. Chopra – Social Worker Contact Ms. Chopra
Ms. Toohey – Audiologist Contact Ms. Toohey
Ms. Deily Garcia – Office Clerk – Modular Building
Contact Ms. Garcia
Ms. Cruz Berrios – Office Clerk – Main Building
Contact Ms. Berrios
Mr. Granados – Technology and Testing Coordinator – Room 205
Contact Mr. Granados
Parent Resource Coordinators
Mrs. Sherman – Resource Coordinator – Room 006
Contact Mrs. Sherman
Mrs. Tolzmann – Resource Coordinator – Room 006
Contact Mrs. Tolzmann
Ms. Williams – Lunchroom Manager
Contact Ms. Williams
Lunchroom Staff – Ms. Delgado, Ms. Cruz, and Ms. Smith
Special Education Classroom Aide (SECA)
Mr. La Luz
Ms. Rivera & Ms. Pagan – PreK Teaching Assistants
Mr. Ocasio – Main Building
Ms. Marchan – Modular Building