Our Teachers



Kate Richards

Kate Richards

Co-Director

BA in Elementary Education, Aurora University
MA in Curriculum and Instruction, Aurora University
MS in Educational Leadership, American College of Education

"I am excited to work with students in a collaborative environment. We have a lot of exciting resources and partners to work with and I look forward to introducing these resources into our class. Our students will have so many opportunities and I cannot wait to see our students prosper."

 

Elizabeth McAlpin

Elizabeth McAlpin

Co-Director

BA Elementary Education, The University of Iowa (Go Hawks!!)
MA Curriculum and Instruction, Benedictine University

"I am so very excited for this upcoming (my 29th) school year! It will be wonderful to have everyone back in-person learning, where we can learn and grow together! I love the unique opportunity that this program provides to work with students and teachers from the university, other school districts, as well as various corporate partnerships. This year promises to be a wonderful adventure!" 

 

Louise Grissinger

Louise Grissinger

Grades 3-8, STEM Art

Bachelor of Fine Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction, National Louis University

"Venturing to define my personal form of expression and mission in my works. I found my voice in art education and for 25 years I taught classes, workshops, and seminars at the Hinsdale Centers for the Arts, The Art Center in Highland Park, The Elmhurst Art Museum, College of DuPage, SEA Charter High School in Compton, LA., and the last 17 years as a teaching artist at Geneva Community High School. I am very honored to be teaching Art here at the John C Dunham STEM Partnership School."

 

David Bielat (Not Pictured)

Grades 6-8 ELA and Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher

 

 

Robert Savoie

Robert Savoie

Grade 4 Teacher

BA Interdisciplinary Studies – Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi 
MA Reading and Literature Instruction – Benedictine University 

"Hello! My name is Robby Savoie and I am ecstatic to be joining the staff at John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. To this day, learning is my favorite pastime and is followed closely by the act of sharing knowledge. The best advice I have for life is to smile for no other reason; worst case scenario you’ll make somebody else’s day just a little bit brighter. Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to smile!"  

 

Nancy Hebert

Nancy Hebert

Grade 6 Teacher

BA Elementary Education, North Central College
MSEd Curriculum and Instruction, Northern Illinois University
K-12 Reading Specialist Certification, Northern Illinois University

"After teaching fifth grade for four years at STEM, I've made the move to middle school! I am so excited to continue my STEM journey in sixth grade. I feel very fortunate to spend each day with such amazing staff members and students." 

 

Elizabeth Kaleta

Elizabeth Kaleta

Grades 6-8, Math and STEM

BA in Education, Illinois State University
MEd, Nova Southeastern University
Administrative Type 75 Certificate, Lewis University

"I am most excited about collaborating with other educators and STEM partners to design authentic and challenging learning experiences that engage students in critical thought and exploration as well as prepare them for our ever-changing world."

 

Meg Papadolias

Meg Papadolias

Music Teacher

BA Fine Arts, Music Education, Vocal Emphasis, Northern Illinois University 
MA Music Education, Northern Illinois University

"I feel strongly that every person should have the ability and the right to appreciate and create music."

 

Jenna Parham

Jenna Parham

PE Teacher

BA in Physical Education; Health Education, Aurora University
M.A. Educational Technology

"I graduated from Aurora University in December 2015 with a degree in K-12 Physical Education and 6-12 Health Education and recently completed my master's degree in Educational Technology in May of 2021. I have truly enjoyed my time being the physical education/health teacher here and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as a teacher at STEM in the coming year. I am excited to make new connections with students and continuing to incorporate STEM concepts into the health and physical education curriculum."

 

Deborah Nelson

Deborah Nelson

Science Teacher

BS in Biology, Northern Illinois University
MA in Teaching, National Louis University

"I am excited to be able to facilitate and participate in the level of authentic collaboration that comes from teaching within the JCD STEM Partnership School model.  I feel it is a privilege to have the opportunity to join this collaborative movement, which allows students to experience meaningful learning in the context of real-world problem-solving. I also look forward to sharing my experience with others as I learn and grow myself!"

 

Elizabeth Eisenman

Elizabeth Eisenman

Grade 5 Teacher

B.A. Elementary Education, The University of Iowa
Reading Specialization grades K-8
Language Arts certification grades 5-8
M.A. Teaching, Aurora University

"I am delighted to join the staff at John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School!  I look forward to supporting and teaching our scholars in this amazing environment as they continue to develop into dynamic leaders and thinkers.  As I enter my 21st year in education, I aim to strengthen my craft while our scholars flourish in authentic experiences.  I can't wait to share in their creativity and zest for learning!"

 

Rich Vine

Rich Vine

Grade 3 Teacher

B.S. in Exercise Physiology, Northern Illinois University
M.A. in Teaching, Aurora University
M.Ed. in Instructional Technology, American College of Education

"Whether it is in the classroom or on the athletic field, I have a passion for helping students reach their greatest potential.  This chapter of my educational career is one in which I am looking forward to continuing to establish a collaborative, supportive environment in which children thrive to “Be Great” in one of the most unique learning opportunities currently available."  

 

Mary Jelden

Mary Jelden

Math and Reading Interventionist

B.A in Journalism, Northern Illinois University 
Teaching Certifications IL & IN, American College of Education
MBA in Business, Keller Graduate School

"I have been teaching in Aurora schools for 15 years and this is my 4th year at the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. I have a true passion for working with our young learners and helping them progress in all areas of their development at their own individual pace. It is my pleasure and privilege to work with your child this year."