New Staff 2018-19


 District Staff

 Judith Epcke  

Judi Epcke - Instructional Technology Coordinator
Judi Epcke is the new Instructional Technology Coordinator for District 28. Ms. Epcke served as a technology coach for five years with the district before taking a position as Director of Instructional Technology and Learning Spaces in Lake Forest elementary district.

“Judi stood out among the applicants for several important reasons, including her knowledge of technology integration and its impact on student learning; her experiences with innovative learning spaces; and her familiarity with many Apps, including Google Apps for Education.  Additionally, Judi understands the importance of building relationships and providing high-quality professional development for staff,” Superintendent Larry Hewitt, Ed.D., said.

Ms. Epcke will oversee the Learning First initiative and work with developing innovative learning spaces. She began her career as a classroom teacher in District 27, where she spent 17 years before becoming a technology director in Kildeer District 96. She joined District 28 in August 2007 and worked as a district technology facilitator for five years. She worked in Lake Forest District 67 for six years before returning this year to District 28.

 Mary Berger  

Mary Berger _ KidCare Director
Mary Berger
 will be the districtwide KidCare director in 2018-19. She is the current KidCare Coordinator at Westmoor School. Mary has had a wonderful first year as a coordinator overseeing the 50 students who attend the after-school program there. She has created strong relationships with parents, students and staff. Mary has her bachelor's degree from Elmhurst College and has experience working in preschool and camp settings.  We are very excited about her becoming the KidCare Director.

 Amy Butzow Amy Butzow, District Administrative Assistant
Amy Butzow is joining District 28 as the receptionist and administrative assistant for the business office. Amy comes to Northbrook from Lincolnwood District 74 where she worked as an administrative assistant in personnel. Amy replaces Donna Mundt, who retired.
 Jackie Blachut Jackie Blachut, Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent
Jackie Blachut joins the District 28 office staff as the assistant to Dr. Kris Raitzer, Assistant Superintendent. Jackie comes to Northbrook from Holy Cross PreK-3 school, which was based in Deerfield. She replaces Mary Lynk, who retired.

Greenbriar School


Adela Cabrejo   

Adela Cabrejo – Spanish teacher and English Learner aide

Adela Cabrejo will be joining the world language team as a half-time Spanish teacher, sharing her teaching time between Greenbriar and Meadowbrook Schools. Ms. Cabrejo will also work with students at Westmoor School as a part-time English Learner assistant. Ms. Cabrejo grew up in Columbia and earned her bachelor's degree from Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica in her home country. After moving to the United States, Ms. Cabrejo earned two master's degrees and holds endorsements in special education and ELS/bilingual education from Northeastern University. Most recently, Ms. Cabrejo has served as a long-term substitute Spanish teacher at Meadowbrook. We are very fortunate to have someone with her varied background to welcome to the District 28 family.

Meg Marienthal   

Meg Marienthal – Third Grade

Meg Marienthal comes to Northbrook after spending eight years teaching third grade in Antioch. She began her career teaching third and fourth grade for one year in Lake Villa. Ms. Marienthal has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University and a master’s degree in reading and literacy from Benedictine University.

Megan Esterling   

Megan Roberts Esterling – Second Grade

Megan Roberts Esterling is just completing a year working as a maternity leave substitute at Greenbriar. She quickly proved herself to be an expert teacher who was willing to adapt to the approaches and needs of District 28 students after spending more than a decade in Chicago Public Schools. She holds special education and English Language Learners certification. She has two master’s degrees from University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University.

Rebecca Parkinson   

Rebecca Parkinson – Social Worker

Rebecca Parkinson is a familiar face in the halls of Greenbriar School, where she was a third-grade teacher for seven years prior to completing her social work internship with Meghan Dames, Greenbriar’s current social worker. Ms. Parkinson earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University-Chicago. She also earned a master’s degree in teaching from National-Louis University. Her colleagues are continuously impressed with Ms. Parkinson’s love of learning, compassion, and positivity. She replaces Ms. Silverman, who is moving to the junior high.

Jess Hulings   

Jessica Hulings, 5th Grade Teacher Greenbriar

Ms. Hulings is excited to move from the position of Technology Support Specialist she held last year to a classroom teacher this year. Ms. Hulings first joined District 28 as a classroom assistant and also worked as a long-term substitute for math intervention. She brings knowledge of mathematics and STEAM to Greenbriar, where she co-led the Coding Club last year. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Trinity International University.


Meadowbrook School

Casey Hamilton   

Casey Hamilton – Speech Language Therapist

Casey Hamilton is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, with a master’s degree in Speech, Language and Hearing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from University of South Carolina. As part of her graduate training, Ms. Hamilton worked with speech and language therapists in school settings, including a rotation in neighboring District 30 elementary schools. In her interview, Ms. Hamilton impressed the team with her friendly confidence, her command of content area knowledge, and her enthusiasm for working with students. She is working a one-year maternity leave for Lisa Kosnik. 

David Mangless   

David Mangless –Kindergarten

David Mangless has been teaching full-day kindergarten in Oak Brook at Brook Forest Elementary School for the past four years. Mr. Mangless began his career as a kindergarten teacher in Stoughton, Wisc. He has a bachelor’s degree from Saint Norbert College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from National Louis University in Chicago.


Westmoor School

 Danielle Rubel Danielle Rubel - Instructional Facilitator

Danielle Rubel
 joins District 28 from Norridge School District 80 where she worked as an Instructional Coordinator. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Augustana College, her teaching certificate from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts from Concordia University. She has a strong literacy background and also has experience implementing a new math program and supporting social studies curriculum. 
 Marina Paliev  

Marina Paliev – English Learner Teacher

Marina will be joining the Westmoor staff as the English Learner teacher and Russian bilingual teacher. She worked last year as the EL instructional assistant at Westmoor and Meadowbrook. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and recently completed a master’s degree in elementary education at National Louis University.  Westmoor School has more than 20 students who speak Russian as their first language, requiring the district to hire a Russian-speaking teacher. She will work with all English Learners as well as serving Russian-speaking students.


Northbrook Junior High

Danyel Kilburg   

Mrs. Danyel Kilburg – Special Education NBJH

Mrs. Danyel Kilburg earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from Barat College. She served as a special education teacher at NBJH for six years prior to taking time off to raise her family. Eight years ago, she returned to NBJH and served as one of our special education instructional assistants. During her time as an assistant she successfully completed five different leave of absences for various NBJH special education teachers. Danyel’s wealth of experiences, relationships with students and staff, content knowledge, and overall passion for teaching will be tremendous assets to NBJH and the Student Services Department. We are happy to welcome back Mrs. Danyel Kilburg to full time teaching at District 28 and Northbrook Junior High.

Claire Greene 

Claire Greene, NBJH Library/Media Specialist

Ms. Greene has a master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University. She has worked in several school libraries in Chicago, Park Ridge and Downers Grove. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Northeastern University and most recently taught Spanish in Des Plaines District 62. 

Amy Hebel  Amy Hebel – 6th Grade Math
Amy Hebel earned her bachelor’s degree in public financial management from Indiana University and her master’s degree in educational policy and leadership from Marquette University. After a two-year stint teaching 7th grade math and U.S. History in Milwaukee as part of the Teach for America program, Amy has taught the past four years at Wood Oaks Junior High. She has taught 6th grade core math and accelerated math along with science and technology classes. Amy comes to us highly recommended from the District 27 administrative team who speak highly of her interpersonal skills, her work ethic, her content knowledge and her unwavering commitment to student success.
 Kristina Wagner  

Kristina Wagner, 8th Grade Special Education Teacher

Ms. Wagner has experience as a special education teacher at St. Mary of the Woods School in Chicago and Skokie District 65. She earned her master’s degree in special education from Nova Southeastern University and her bachelor’s degree in special education at Loyola University Maryland.


Foundational Program Faculty 

Alexis Anderson

Alexis Anderson – Speech/Language Pathologist

Alexis joins District 28 from the North Suburban Special Education District, where she held a similar position for the past four years. She began her career in September 2012 working for Easter Seals. Alexis has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne and a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from University of Central Florida. Alexis’s knowledge and experience with assistive and augmentative communication and her commitment to meeting students’ communication needs make her a valuable asset to the D28 team.

 Chelsey Cohen

Chelsey Cohen – Primary Foundational Teacher, Westmoor

Chelsey has been a special education teacher in East Maine School District 63 for three years, where she worked with general education teachers to implement individualized educational plans for her students. She has a passion for students who are most impacted by their disabilities and maximizing their potential. She has a bachelor’s degree in special education from Illinois State University.
 Kate Gilman

Kate Gilman – Occupational Therapist

Since graduating in 2015 with a doctorate of occupational therapy from Belmont University in Nashville, Kate has worked in both schools and private practice. She comes to District 28 from Autism Therapy Services where she was the lead occupational therapist. Kate has experience supporting students with a variety of diagnoses. Her perspective and expertise will be useful as we continue to partner with the many private providers with whom our students currently work.
Anne Ingratta

Anne Ingratta – Occupational Therapist

Anne has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dominican University and a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Rush University. She worked for a year in a clinic setting before joining North Suburban Special Education District in August of 2012. Over the past six years, Anne has worked with a variety of programs at NSSED, including the Educational and Life Skills classrooms and students in the Structured Academic Integrated Learning program. Anne has a commitment to working with parents to support student independence across environments.
Arianna Mazza 

Ariana Mazza – Physical Therapist

After graduating from Northwestern University with her doctorate in physical therapy, Ariana Mazza worked for one year at PAEC Special Education Cooperative in Maywood before joining the physical therapy staff at North Suburban Special Education District, where she has worked for the past three years, primarily in the Early Childhood and Educational and Life Skills programs. Ariana received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and education from the University of Illinois and is also a certified physical education teacher. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School, Ariana also coaches field hockey and basketball there. Ariana has a passion for school-based physical therapy work and enjoys the challenge of ensuring that all students can access their school environments with as much independence as possible.
Jennifer Moore 

Jennifer Moore – Speech/Language Pathologist

Jennifer joins District 28 after spending 12 years at North Suburban Special Education District, three of which were at Westmoor School teaching in the intermediate Educational and Life Skills classroom. She graduated from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in communication science and disorders and has been working in NSSED’s ELS program ever since. Jennifer has a passion for working with students and families who are most impacted by their disabilities. Jennifer excels in her knowledge and implementation of assistive and augmentative communication, and she is constantly thinking about how to support student communication across the school day.
Jamie Slowinski 

Jamie Slowinski – School Psychologist

Jamie received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree in School Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jamie began her career as a school psychologist in the Antioch Public Schools, providing group and individual counseling for students, and completing case study evaluations. For the last five years, Jamie has worked as an intervention specialist in the Educational and Life Skills program at North Suburban Special Education District. Jamie has been a part of classroom teams at elementary, junior high, and high school levels, supporting students and families with a broad range of academic, behavioral, and social-emotional interventions.
Katie Comer 

Katie (Trier) Comer – Intermediate Foundational Teacher, Westmoor

Katie Trier returns to District 28 in the role of Westmoor intermediate (3-5) foundational teacher. Katie was the classroom teacher in the Westmoor intermediate North Suburban Special Education District Educational and Life Skills classroom for five years before moving to the Glenbrook North NSSED Life Skills classroom two years ago to gain experience with another grade level. Katie returns to District 28 with a new perspective on what she is preparing her students for as they move through elementary, junior high, high school and toward their adult lives. Katie has a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University. Katie has a wealth of experience in creating connections for her students within the school environment and developing opportunities for them in the community.
Brooke Valentine 

Brooke Valentine – NBJH Foundational Teacher

After graduating with a teaching degree from Western Michigan University, Brooke accepted a position as a teaching assistant with North Suburban Special Education District in the Educational and Life Skills program. While working, she returned to school to earn her special education endorsement from National Louis University. She has been the teacher in the NSSED ELS classroom at Northbrook Junior High School since spring 2015. Brooke has a collaborative nature and thinks creatively to develop programs for students. Brooke looks for ways to facilitate friendships between her students and the peer mentors who join her class four periods a day.
Laura VanDien 

Laura VanDien – Foundational Teacher, Meadowbrook

Laura VanDien earned a bachelor’s degree at New Mexico State University and a master’s degree in special education from Loyola University Chicago. Laura has worked for ten years in the North Suburban Special Education District Life Skills classroom at Glenbrook North High School, teaching a number of District 28 graduates. Laura has proven herself a tireless and unflappable teacher, thinking creatively to provide a rich, individualized educational experience for students with a wide range of abilities. Laura celebrates the importance of developing relationships between general education students and her classroom, welcoming high school peer mentors into her classroom each period of the day and providing space and structure for meaningful friendships to develop.

Early Childhood Structured Language and Learning Classroom (SLLC)

Kelly Breen 

Kelly Breen, Early Childhood Speech/Language Pathologist

Kelly is passionate about autism spectrum disorders, augmentative communication and building functional communication systems for preschool age children. Kelly received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree in speech language pathology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. She has worked as both a private provider and in the school setting for the past 11 years. For the past four years she has worked for North Suburban Special Education District in the early childhood program at Arbor Academy and Winnetka Extended Blended. In 2014 Kelly was named Autism Speaks Hero of the Year Chicago. As the Chair for Autism Speaks Young Professional Program and Services Committee, she oversaw the creation of quiet areas that were launched around Chicago to provide a safe place for children who were over stimulated. Kelly has enthusiasm and passion about working with students and supporting their growth throughout the year.

Molly Walsh 

Marjorie (Molly) Walsh, Early Childhood Teacher

Molly received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in early childhood education at the University of Colorado at Denver. Molly taught in Colorado for ten years before moving to Chicago. For the past five years Molly has worked for North Suburban Special Education District as an early childhood teacher at Greeley Elementary and Winnetka Covenant Church. Throughout her career Molly has assisted in training early childhood staff, developed systems to support the needs of students with autism, created and implemented English language development programs to support English learners and acted as a co-teacher with the speech language pathologist.