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Staff & Faculty

Meet the teachers of St. Nicholas of Tolentine! 

Gabrielle A. DeStefano-Preschool Teacher

Ms. DeStefano-Preschool Teacher

MA in Early Childhood Education 

Special Education endorsement

ESL endorsement


“I am proud to teach here at St. Nicholas. I love walking into my classroom every morning knowing that my students will receive the best learning experiences, and I have the community and school to thank. St. Nicholas truly is the most magical place to learn.”


Mrs. Kathleen Giuffre-Preschool Teacher

Mrs. Giuffre-Teacher

BA in Early Childhood Education with Special Education Endorsement; Governors State University


“The sense of community at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School is especially enjoyable. I appreciate the respect of my young students and delight in watching them acquire new skills and knowledge. My goal is always to strive to instill good values in my students and develop a lifelong passion for learning.”

Maria T. Hernandez-Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Hernandez-Kindergarten teacher

BA Gobernor's Program and a minor in Spanish; Northeastern University

MA in Education/Type 03,Instructional Leadership, and Bilingual Endorsement; UIC


"When I see the academic progress in my students from the beginning of the school to the end of the school year is my great reward and satisfaction as a teacher."

Ms. Janachowski-Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Janachowski-Kindergarten teacher
BA in elementary education; Northern Illinois University
"I am dedicated to providing each student with an excellent and safe learning environment centered in the catholic faith."  

Marquis Jones-3rd Grade Teacher

Marquis Jones-Teacher

BA in English; Rutgers University


“Teaching methods are not set in stone. They should remain flexible and work to meet the needs of individual students.”

Taylor Sobieski-3/4th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Ms. Sobieski-teacher

BA in Elementary Education; Benedictine University


"Educating the mind and heart are the keys to changing the future." 

Mrs. D. Hortsman-4th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Hortsman-4th Grade Teacher
"Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods or techniques. The teacher is the heart of educational system.

Ms.Valdivia-5/6th Grade Social Studies 

Ms. Valdivia-5/6th Grade Teacher

BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Bilingual Education; Northeastern Illinois University


“Welcome to a new school year! This is my first year teaching at St. Nicholas and I am excited to meet my new students!”

Sheila Linane-6th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Sheila Linane-6th Grade teacher

B.A. in Education; Trinity Christian College

M.A. in Reading Specialist; Olivet Nazarene University


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."-Nelson Mandela

Philip O’Rourke-7th-8th grade ELA teacher

Philip O'Rourke-7th and 8th teacher
BA in English; Loyola University New Orleans
MA and SEL Certification; Loyola Chicago
Was a member of LU CHOICE
“If you shovel the ramp, we can all get in” 

Billy Schauer-8th Grade Teacher

Mr. Schauer-8th grade teacher

B.A. Human Development and Sociology; Boston College

M.Ed. Elementary Education; Loyola University Chicago

M.Ed. English Language Teaching and Learning; Loyola University Chicago


"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison

Ms. Lynn VonBruchhaeuser-Junior High Science

Ms. VonBruchhaeuser-Junior High teacher
BA Elementary Education; Lewis University

"I have literally spent half of my life at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine School and firmly believe it is the greatest place to learn and grow for students.  Every child is special, unique, and I want to help every chide reach their fullest potential."

Ms. Lauren Ward-Director of Inclusion

Ms. Ward

BA in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education; Saint Louis University