Christian Liberty Academy

Faculty & Staff

Every Student Matters to Christian Liberty Academy Faculty and Staff 

The faculty and staff are committed to providing an academic atmosphere enabling students to recognize and desire excellence. Christian Liberty Academy's teachespecialtyrs, staff, and administrators work hard to make sure each student knows they are valued. Our teachers hold themselves accountable to Jesus Christ and to the standards the school has set as they seek to teach as Jesus did - by word and by example. The school's standards are high, but involved faculty and a low student-to-faculty ratio allow for the individual attention that helps students reach their full potential.

CLA Administration

CalvinLRev. Calvin Lindstrom
Pastor of Christian Liberty Church and Schools

Professional Profile
After graduating from CLA, I started my studies in mechanical engineering first at Harper College and then at the University of Illinois, completing a B.S. (1995) and M.S. (1997). During the summer of 1995, I spent 6 weeks in South Africa. I traveled to several key cities in South Africa to spend time with different ministries. I also was able to speak on the importance of Christian education and homeschooling. In 1995, homeschooling was only getting a start in South Africa. I had opportunity to encourage those who were developing material and programs for use in South Africa. This visit was used by God to encourage me to focus on working in Christian education rather than pursuing a career in engineering. I decided to spend two more years at the University of Illinois, but after completing my studies, I started teaching at CLA in the fall of 1997. I taught from 1997 through 2006. I returned to Africa for further ministry in Zambia in 1999. During January 2006, I received a call to be the pastor of the Church of Christian Liberty. I continued my theological studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Whitefield Seminary.

Bennett Philip

Dr. Philip Bennett 
Superintendent of Schools

B.S. Mechanical Engineering; M.S., Phd, Theoretical & Applied Mechanics, U of I
Professional Profile

I did materials research for Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh for 4 years. For the next two years, I was head of the math and science department at Shelton College in Cape May, N.J. In 1969, I came to CLA and have been here since. I have worked in various capacities as teacher, headmaster, superintendent as well as serving as an elder in the Church of Christian Liberty.

ThadBennett

Mr. Thad Bennett
Headmaster, Anatomy & Physiology Teacher

BS Education, Liberty U, Trinity Int.Univ., Harper College, & SIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in Physical Education. My emphasis was in athletic training. After graduation I spent over four years in a Physical therapy clinic, helping rehabilitate patients with a wide variety of needs. In 1997 I took a job as PE instructor, soccer coach and athletic director at CLA. I worked in this position for 10 years until 2007, when I was given the opportunity to become the assistant Headmaster. Four years later, in 2011, I became the Headmaster.

Morrison Donna

Mrs. Donna Morrison
School Board, Guidance Counselor

BS Electrical Engineering, U of I @ Urbana-Champaign

Professional Profile
After receiving my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I worked for Motorola Cellular developing signaling software for their cellular switches. I was able to leave Motorola to stay home with my children while they were young, even home schooling them a few years. In 2005 I joined the staff at Christian Liberty teaching high school math and science. In addition to teaching, I now work in the guidance office as well.

Peter Held

Mr. Peter Held
Dean of Academics

Bachelor of Music Education, Wheaton College

Professional Profile
I graduated from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in 2011 with a degree in Music Education and a K-12 Illinois Teaching License. In my time at Wheaton College, the Lord called me into the teaching profession, and I have never looked back. Before starting at CLA, I spent three years as the youth pastor of my church, and it was there God confirmed his calling on my life to be in the education field. I have also had many unique jobs including: college post office worker, member of a "4am snow crew", lumberjack, musical instrument salesman, sales department manager, private music lesson instructor, and freelance French Horn performer.

I am currently the Dean of Academics, as well as the Music Director, at CLA. As the Dean, I am in charge of teacher observations, ACSI accreditation, curriculum oversight, and a member of the school board. As the Music Director I lead the beginning band, the middle school band, and the high school orchestra. I also oversee the private lesson program, the choir and string programs, and the general music program.

Benz JohnMr. John Benz
School Chaplain

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile

I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Baldwin DougMr. Doug Baldwin
School Board

Professional Profile

I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Preschool

Kurz Sherry

Mrs. Sherry Kurz
Director

Bachelor Spec. Ed/Elem. Ed, Bradley University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Bradley University in 1978 and went on to teach handicapped adults. I served as the Family Services Coordinator for Lake County and Northern Cook County at Countryside Association in Palatine where I worked for 8 years until I got married and moved to Pennsylvania to serve as a pastor's wife. In PA I worked with disabled young adults who were also mentally ill, many of whom had been in the prison system. I later home schooled my children, Alex and Aubrie, for 6 years. When they came to CLA to high school, I started in the preschool. I have been a camp counselor, flute teacher, Ladies' Bible teacher, water safety instructor, and have taught Sunday school classes since 1988… teaching is my passion!

Bentz Dina

Mrs. Dina Bentz
Teacher

Cosmotology Cert., Cosmotology School and ECC

Professional Profile
I attended Elgin Community college and also received my Cosmetology License in 1989. I have served children and their families specifically in a teaching role since 1994 through various church related ministries. I have served alongside my husband at the church he pastors since 1996. I stepped in as a substitute in the preschool department at Christian Liberty Academy in 2004. I have been teaching as a preschool teacher at Christian Liberty Academy since 2005. I consider it a huge joy and privilege to be used by the Lord to train the children both academically and spiritually. Realizing that any CLA teacher's role in each child's life is to be the supplement and partnership to the grand calling that the Lord has placed on each parent in the training and admonition of the Lord; I take this position with great humility and strong responsibility.

DeLaPena Daisy

Mrs. Daisy de la Pena
Teacher

Professional Profile
I graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1986 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. I immediately worked in my country' s Department of State for nine years and got assigned to the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago in 1995. After my six-year term at the Consulate, it was time to change career. I worked part-time at the Children's Ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel. Shortly after that I was blessed to have been offered a job at the Kids' World Department of Arlington Heights Memorial Library until 2008. While still working at the Library, I was offered a Teacher's Assistant position at the Christian Liberty Academy Preschool in 2004 and became a lead teacher in 2008. My teaching endeavor has been both a great blessing and a big responsibility for me.

Im SunHee

Mrs. Sun Hee Im
Teacher

Professional Profile
My name is SunHee Im. I graduated from Sejong University in Korea. I have a Bachelor's Degree in History (Major)/ Education (Minor). I have obtained a teaching certification for 6th - 12th grades in 1992. Also, I have obtained a certification for the Intensive English Program at UIC in 1993. Currently, I have been teaching at CLA since 2007 and I am teaching Sunday school at the Church of Bethlehem in Mt. Prospect. Also, since 2003, I have been teaching at the First United Church. I want to thank the Lord for this opportunity for me to serve and teach children because it seems like this is what God has called me to do. I love teaching them the word of God and spending time with them because it gives me joy and gratification.

Lee Joyce

Mrs. Joyce Lee
Teacher's Aide

Associates Degree Accounting, Oakton Community College

Professional Profile
My name is Joyce Lee. I am a Teacher Assistant in CLA Preschool since 2005. I graduated from Oakton Community College with an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Accounting in 1989. After graduation, I worked in Marvin Hershman, CPA firm for five years. I worked alongside the owner and one of the other CPA with computer based accounting work. Prior to CLA, I was working as a part-time staff in Morton Grove Park District Community Center for three years. I assisted and supported adults and children with disabilities to participate in the "Special Recreational and Inclusion Programs.

Mindak Michelle

Mrs. Michelle Mindak
Teacher's Aide

Professional Profile
I worked in the computer industry as a Managing Consultant for 12 years. I had the great pleasure of working with clients all over the United States. I was responsible for redesigning computer acquisition, distribution, and tracking processes utilizing our proprietary software within a variety of organizations. I was also responsible for training the clients on how to utilize and implement this software – in conjunction with the new processes that were developed – within their organization. My role required me to travel 5 days a week, every week, for months at a time. After marrying my husband in 2000, I decided to hang up my traveling shoes in order to start our family. My experience with CLA began as a parent with a preschooler in 2005. I was so impressed by the love, care, and biblical teachings given to the children that I wanted to be a part of it. Through God's blessing, I joined the Preschool staff in 2008 as a Teacher's Aide to Mrs. Dina Bentz. I am honored and extremely blessed to be working with God's little ones and sharing the love of Jesus with them. God continues to richly bless me through this ministry.

Kramer Gretchen

Mrs. Gretchen Kramer
Teacher

Professional Profile
Mrs. Gretchen Kramer is a Christian Liberty Academy graduate and the mother of two, she has been teaching since 2007. Children have always been a large part of her life as she comes from a family of ten! Her past job experiences as a nanny and a hostess of activities for children at a resort have helped her in her current job and given her many ideas for helping children learn in a group setting.

Her passion for her job and love of watching children grow every year and her flexibility and compassion when dealing with parents, children and staff have made her a very popular choice amongst preschool parents at CLA.

Gretchen's goal is to work with you and your child to help them advance seamlessly into kindergarten and to help introduce a Godly spirit and a good work ethic into a young child's life.

Gonzalez VeronicaMrs. Veronica Gonzalez
Teacher

Professional Profile
I graduated from Palatine High School and I attended Harper College for two years. I have past experience from working in the public school districts for 6 years. I had worked with preschool graders to third graders. I also have been working as Children's Ministry Director and Vacation Bible School Director at church since 2005. I love what I do, I am very passionate about children and teaching God's word to kids. My goal is to see children grow in a Godly spirit as well in academics.
I am a proud mom of three wonderful kids, two boys and a girl. I decided to leave the public school districts to be a stay home mom for six years. When my kids were ready to start school, so was I. I started looking and praying for a new job and God gave me the great opportunity to be a part of Christian Liberty as a teacher assistant in preschool. I have been working at Christian Liberty since 2007.

Wouters Kathy

Mrs. Kathhy Wouters
Teacher's Aide

John Hersey High School

Professional Profile:
Before I began my family I worked at an insurance company in the word processing department, I then was a secretary for a small pharmaceutical company. For a number of years I worked for an appraisal firm as a secretary for the real estate department. I was a homemaker for 17 years and then began my career at Christian Liberty Academy beginning as a substitute teacher and helping with the lunch services part time. An opening presented itself in the KAP program of which I was apart of for three years. I am currently a teachers aid in the pre-school and have had the joy of working with Sherry Kurz since 2008.

Mrs. Melissa Irwin, Teacher's Aide

Master of Education, DePaul University, BS Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Professional Profile
Melissa worked as Insurance Underwriter in Fireman's Fund Insurance Company from 1992 till 1996. In 1997 she started working as English Teacher in Maine Township High School District 207, and she stayed there till 2000. Then she worked as a home school literature teacher in Truth in Action Academy, from 2000 till 2007. She started working in CLA in 2006 as preschool teachers' aide.

Kindergarten

Junior Kindergarten

Baer Rebecca

Mrs. Rebecca Baer

BA Elementary Education, Wheaton College, Wheaton IL

Professional Profile
I love teaching Kindergarten! My Illinois teaching certificate is for K-9th with endorsements in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Early Childhood. I taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in Dist. 102 until the first of my four children came along. In 2006, my search for the best school for my children led me to CLA. My passion is creating a happy environment by utilizing art projects, music, dance, playtime, and story time to teach fundamental reading, writing, and math skills. 

Violin Teacher, Director of KinderStrings, (Suzuki style violin troupe).

Mrs. Meredith DeRidder

BA Elementary Education, Wheaton College, Wheaton IL

Professional Profile
After completing my college degree I worked for 1 year at Christian Liberty Academy teaching Physical Education. During that year my husband and I were asked to help on a short term mission project in Papua New Guinea. The short term trip led to a future career in Tribal Church planting from 2000-2011. Since returning from the mission field I have taught at CLA in Kindergarten Bible. In addition, I have a part time job with KitchenAid as a Product Specialist.

Statement of Faith
I was raised in a Jewish home. At the age of 13 I heard for the first time about the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I heard that my sin separated me from a Holy God, bit through Christ my sin could be forgiven. I trusted in Christ as my Savior and praise Him for saving me!


Sherwell Josie

Mrs. Josie Sherwell

Professional Profile
Following a decade-long career in the corporate "world," I discovered my true passion - educating young children. After continuing my education I was blessed to be hired as a Junior Kindergarten teacher at Christian Liberty, and have been teaching Junior Kindergarten since 1995. I love what I do and am so blessed to have a career I find so rewarding! I believe that a good teacher is one who continues to learn and I strive to continually improve with professional classes, publications, etc.

Kim Sunny

Mrs. Sunny Kim

Early Childhood Ed., Harold Washington College, International Christian Education College

Professional Profile
I graduated from International Christian Education College with an Early Childhood Education in 1997 and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I also taught at Niles Korean School from 1997 - 2006. I started teaching pre-school at Christian Liberty Academy in 2005 and since 2006 I started teaching Junior Kindergarten. I have also been a Sunday school teacher since 1995.

Senior Kindergarten

Ruta Char

Mrs. Charlene Ruta

BA Elem Ed; Masters classes – Spec Ed/Learning Disabilities, Northeastern IL University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Education, and a minor in Early Childhood Education. Course work was completed at Northeastern for a Master's Degree in Special Education: Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities. I am certified in the state of Illinois, and taught in the inner-city of Chicago since 2003. I resigned when our first son was born, and was blessed to have been able to stay home with our children for 10 years. I resumed my teaching career at CLA when our youngest son began kindergarten.

Flores Maria

Mrs. Maria Flores

B.S. Teaching, NIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BS in Elementary K-8 and Special Education K-12. I began my career teaching Special Education at Grove School, Lake Forest, IL. I worked with autistic students ages 9-18. I then taught at Jesse Spalding School, Chicago, IL as a handicapped / Bilingual teacher. I taught primary age bilingual special needs students. I've been teaching kindergarten at Christian Liberty Academy since 1998.

Pittman Lena

Mrs. Lena Pittman

Professional Profile
I graduated in 1996 from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Biology/ PreMed; however, having just begun my walk with the Lord, I felt the Lord leading me in another direction. I began studies at Trinity International University in order to satisfy my increased hunger for God's Word and interest in counseling. Once my first child was born, I began my destined career as a Mother and teacher. When our oldest was ready, I started homeschooling and taught my children for five years at home and in the various cooperative programs, in which we were involved. In 2006, an opportunity to teach at Christian Liberty and enroll my children there arose. I started teaching in the preschool and then, the next year, began teaching Senior Kindergarten I, where I have been teaching ever since.

Elementary School

First Grade

Kleinke Tina

Mrs. Tina Kleinke

BA in Early Childhood Ed., & IL certified, Concordia University and Triton College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Concordia University with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and I am a Certified Illinois Teacher. I have been teaching first grade at Christian Liberty Academy since the fall of 1999 and JSK Summer School since the summer of 2000.

Edmonds Chris

Mrs. Chris Edmonds

Bachelor's in Elementary Ed., Southeastern Bible College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Southeastern Bible College in 1982 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Bible. Upon graduation, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where I taught first grade for one year. After teaching in New Orleans, I moved to Chicago to work with an inner city mission where I coordinated a children's outreach ministry and wrote Bible curriculum until 1988. From 1994 through 2007, I served as a teacher's assistant in a Christian elementary school in downtown Chicago. During this time, I tutored children in reading, taught math, and physical education classes. In 2007, I accepted a first grade teaching position at CLA. This is my sixth year teaching first grade at CLA.

Second Grade

Wolke Lissette

Mrs. Lissette Wolke

BS in Biology, Northeastern IL University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While attending college, I taught Math and English for four years at a private school in Chicago called Language and Math Academy. I have four daughters who all attend CLA. When my youngest daughter turned two, I began to pursue employment at Christian Liberty. I have been working at Christian Liberty Academy since 2009. I worked in after-care my first year. My second year, I was a teacher in the preschool. Then I worked full-time in the KAP program and also functioned as a Kindergarten Teacher's Aide. In 2012, I also began to pursue a degree in Education in order to fulfill my dream of becoming a full time teacher. Soon after that, I began teaching first grade. After teaching first grade for two years, I became a second grade teacher. I thoroughly enjoy my role as a teacher and do not take that responsibility lightly. I love teaching at a Christian school where I may also share the Lord with my students.

Third Grade

Adams Jennifer

Mrs. Jennifer Adams

Elementary Ed. B.A. and Reading M.A., College: NEIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in June of 1999 with a B.A. in elementary education (K-9), middle school endorsement, and psychology minor - type 03 certification. I began teaching Jr. Kindergarten at Christian Liberty Academy in September of the same year. I continued my professional development at NEIU and received my M.A. degree in reading in 2008 – K-12, type 10 certification. I taught 2nd grade for several years and then 3rd grade.

 


Fourth Grade

Manahan Margaret

Mrs. Margaret Manahan

BAS Elementary Ed, Harper, Biola, Northern University

Professional Profile
I graduated from CLA in 1997, and attended Harper College for two years. After getting my associates I flew to sunny Los Angeles, California and attended Biola University. I took Christian Education Classes and Bible classes connected with Talbot Seminary. After an expensive year of college, I flew back to Chilly Chicago and finished up my Elementary Education Degree at Northern Illinois University. I began teaching 4th grade in 2003. I am a certified elementary teacher who believes learning should be fun and meaningful to students. I also love the Lord and want my students to not only learn more about Jesus, but to have a personal relationship with him. I encourage my students to do their best on tests, quizzes, and homework, because it will glorify God.

Schustek Dan

Mr. Dan Schustek

MA Theological Studies, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School, Lynchburg, VA; BS Behavioral Science, National Lewis University, Evanston, IL; Association of Christian Schools International Educator Certificate; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America; New Tribe Bible Institute, Waukesha, WI

Professional Profile
I served in the United States Army, I am a Vietnam Veteran. I was a missionary with New Tribes Mission. I am a Staff member of Armitage Baptist church. I work as a 4th grade teacher at Christian Liberty Academy.

Middle School

Sixth Grade

Stack Robert

6th - 8th Grade

Science: Mr. Robert Stack

BA, MBA, University of IL – Champaign-Urbana; Northern IL University

Professional Profile
I started teaching at CLA in 2000. I am very thankful to be here teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade science. My experience prior to teaching at CLA was 25 years in industry where I worked for IBM Global Services and Digital Equipment Corporation. I have a BA from the University of Illinois at Champaign and a Masters degree from Northern Illinois University and have been certified to teach by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In industry I was a certified IBM Project Management Executive and Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional.

Mrs. Tracee Patterson, Grammar & Literature

BS in Elementary Education and Home Economics Family Services - Eastern Illinois University MA in Curriculum & Instruction - Northern Illinois University

Professional Profile
After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a double major in Elementary Education (K thru 9) and Home Economics Family Services, I taught 5th grade in Naperville/Aurora District 204 for six years followed by two years in Buffalo Grove’s Aptakisic-Tripp District 102. I put my swimming background to work and coached the freshman girls’ swim team at Waubonsie Valley High School for a few years. During that time, I received my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University. At Northern, a stellar Children’s Literature instructor ignited my love for quality writing. I haven’t looked back since. Homeschooling entered my radar right around the time my firstborn was 5 years old and it seemed like a good fit for our growing family. I’ve spent the last 19 years immersed in the homeschool community – teaching my children as well as others as we participated in several coops. Middle and High School writing, grammar, and literature are the subjects that I’ve taught and tutored most through the years.

 


Meyers Jennifer

Mrs. Jennifer Meyers

BA Elementary Education, Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University in 2005 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and endorsements in Social Studies and Language Arts. I began working at Elk Grove Community Daycare Center and was the lead teacher in the school-aged room. Afterward, I began to follow a different passion of mine and got a job at a photography studio. However, teaching was truly what I wanted to do. In 2007, I began teaching 5th grade at Christian Liberty and have loved every moment of it.

High School

Bible / Philosophy

Baldwin Doug

Mr. Doug Baldwin: 10th, 11th & 12th Grade

Professional Profile
I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Benz John

Mr. John Benz: 7th, 8th, and 9th Grade

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Constitution / Economics

Bennett Kurt

Mr. Kurt Bennett: 11th Grade Economics; 12th Grade Constitution

Professional Profile
I attended CLA during its early years and upon graduating in 1978 began my life as a carpenter. I went to Grove City College and studied history, politics and economics, continuing my education and maintaining these interests through reading. When CLA bought the Arlington building in 1985, they needed a carpenter, a locksmith, a glazier and later an Economics and Constitution teacher. I have been grateful to be able to serve the Lord at CLA in these positions and also in others that I was called upon to fill as were needed in a growing school. I continue to study the train wreck that is politics in our ever changing nation, and am able to include current events in both the economics and constitution classes. I still have the privilege of running the woodshop, teaching woods and more recently woodturning.

History

Kostelny Paul

Mr. Paul Kostelny: 10th Grade Ancient History; 11th Grade European History; 12th Grade U.S. History

BA US History-Carthage College; MA-UWM European History

Professional Profile
My name is Paul Kostelny. I have been teaching at CLA since 1991. I received my B.A. from Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin. Majoring in U.S. History and my M.A. from U.W. - Milwaukee specializing in Modern European History.

Algebra

Morrison Donna

Mrs. Donna Morrison: Algebra 1

BS Electrical Engineering, U of I @ Urbana-Champaign Professional Profile
After receiving my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I worked for Motorola Cellular developing signaling software for their cellular switches. I was able to leave Motorola to stay home with my children while they were young, even home schooling them a few years. In 2005 I joined the staff at Christian Liberty teaching high school math and science. In addition to teaching, I now work in the guidance office as well.  

Speech, English

Bennett Amber

Miss Amber Bennett

BA in English, Dordt College and MA in Library Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Professional Profile
I graduated from Christian Liberty Academy in 2007 and moved from there to Dordt College where I earned my BA in English with an emphasis in writing in 2011. I spent 2012 working as a live-in nanny. During that time I became aware of a new position opening up in the CLASS program as an editor for high school essays and research papers beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. I applied and was accepted. Soon it became apparent that the day school also needed a speech teacher for their high school students. With a background in literature, speech, and theater, I was deemed a good fit for the course. That's when I discovered I loved teaching high school. Along with beginning an essay service and teaching a high school speech course, I began graduate school. I completed my library science masters degree with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and have begun working with CLA's library along with my teaching duties. I have loved teaching through the years, and I now teach several upper high school English and speech classes. My other favorite thing to do at CLA is direct theater and run the improv club.>

Chemistry, Biology

Mrs. Shiny George

M.S. in Organic Chemistry, B.S. in Chemistry & Biochemistry, B.S. in Education, University of Mumbai, India

Professional Profile
After my Graduate studies in Chemistry, I decided to pursue my desire to become a Teacher. I received a Bachelors degree in Education and had the privilege to teach in India and in the US in both Public and Private schools. I currently hold IL State Professional Educator License endorsed in High School Chemistry, Middle School Sciences and Elementary Education. Teaching is an extension of my ministry and an excellent medium to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I am excited and humbled to be teaching Chemistry, Biology, and 5th Grade Science during my third year teaching at Christian Liberty Academy.

 

Study Halls 9th Period by core subject:

  • MATH: M, W, F - Mr. Young Chang
  • HISTORY: Mr. Paul Kostelny
  • PHILOSOPHY: Mr. Doug Baldwin

 



Specialty

Art

Smith Judy

Mrs. Judy Smith; Elementary Art Instructor

Professional Profile

Having grown up in an artistic home with the smells of oil paint and turpentine pervading, it was extremely likely that I'd have an interest in and desire for art. My mother was an artist, and had an Art Supply store/studio business, "Brinkerhoff Art Studio & Gallery", which exposed my brothers and me to a world full of supplies, interesting people, and plenty of opportunity for play-time expression. 

Having taught my own children at home, combined with my unorthodox upbringing just happens to work to my advantage while instructing the Kindergarten and 1st and 2nd grades through the After School Art Program.
Because of my interest in God's gift of plant-based materials for our well-being and healing, I began a doctorate program with Clayton College of Natural Medicine, but I quickly found that 'interest in' is far different than 'being called to', so I began teaching art at Christian Liberty Academy in 2000 after having worked at CLASS and CLP in the Testing Service division since 1997.

Athletic Director

Bennett Jed

Mr. Jed Bennett

BS Political Science, Dordt College

Professional Profile
I graduated from CLA in 2004, and went to Dordt College in NW Iowa. I received a BS in political science. I originally thought I would go into police work and spent a year driving an armored truck. I was asked to come back to coach and found I had a real passion for it. I filled the rest of my hours as the evening security guard and have coached three varsity sports in 2009-2012. In 2013 I am dropping security and transitioning into director of student activities where I will be in charge of student council and service hours as well as speaking in chapel.

Auto Shop

Kramer Paul

Mr. Paul Kramer

Professional Profile
My name is Paul Kramer. I began attending CLA in seventh grade, and graduated in 1982. I began working with the CLASS program in 1982, and am currently the building engineer. I have gained much of my learning from experience working with my step father, who was a plumber and a builder, and from specific courses for various skills such as HVAC, welding, and asbestos abatement. I have taught auto shop at CLA since 1999.

Band, Music & Choir


Held Peter

Mr. Peter Held: Music Director

Bachelor of Music Education, Wheaton College

Professional Profile
I graduated from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in 2011 with a degree in Music Education and a K-12 Illinois Teaching License. In my time at Wheaton College, the Lord called me into the teaching profession, and I have never looked back. Before starting at CLA, I spent three years as the youth pastor of my church, and it was there God confirmed his calling on my life to be in the education field. I have also had many unique jobs including: college post office worker, member of a "4am snow crew", lumberjack, musical instrument salesman, sales department manager, private music lesson instructor, and freelance French Horn performer.

I am currently the Dean of Academics, as well as the Music Director, at CLA. As the Dean, I am in charge of teacher observations, ACSI accreditation, curriculum oversight, and a member of the school board. As the Music Director I lead the beginning band, the middle school band, and the high school orchestra. I also oversee the private lesson program, the choir and string programs, and the general music program.

Mrs. Anne Walton: Music Teacher/Choir Director
Elementary School, Middle School, High School, & Specialty


BA in Church Music, Moody Bible Institute, M.A. in Music Education, VanderCook College of Music

Professional Profile
I am thankful to have grown up in a church where I was encouraged to use and develop my musical gifts. One of my pastors recommended that I pursue studies at Moody Bible Institute, where I eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music with a Voice Emphasis in 1998. After teaching music and choir at CLA from 2000-2005, I took some time off to stay home with my children. During this time, I provided vocal music for various church events, most regularly as a soloist for memorial services at Willow Creek Community Church. I returned to teaching in 2011, spending four years teaching K-8 general music and junior high choir at a Christian school. In 2015, I returned to teach at CLA, having had already started coursework in general and choral music education towards a Master of Arts in Music Education which I completed in 2017. I currently teach third through eighth grade general music and direct the junior high choir and the high school choir.

Rubel SharonMrs. Sharon Rubel: Elementary & Middle School Choir

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.

 


Bible

Baldwin Doug

Mr. Doug Baldwin: 10th, 11th & 12th Grade

Professional Profile
I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Benz John

Mr. John Benz: 7th, 8th & 9th Grade

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Rubel Sharon

Mrs. Sharon Rubel: Junior Kindergarten & Senior Kindergarten

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.

Sicilian Laura

Mrs. Laura Sicilian: Junior Kindergarten; 2nd-6th Grades

Triton College

Professional Profile
From 1993-1997, I home schooled our three children, using CLA's CLASS Curriculum.  I taught every subject, grades K – 8, including Bible. I taught Art classes at APPLETREE, a home school enrichment program in McHenry, for three years. I have been a teacher at Christian Liberty Academy since 1999. I have taught third grade science, spelling, American history and JK – 6th grade Bible. In 2012 I was a chapel speaker once a week, and I'm substituting in 2013. I've been a private tutor in McHenry, for several years.

Computer

Yang Victor

Mr. Victor Yang

BS Math Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

Professional Profile
Previous work experience includes working on the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy and on the Web Development Team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Shortly after graduating from UIC and just prior to coming to CLA, the Lord opened the door for me to be accepted into the JET Program, a language and cultural exchange program in Japan, where participants teach English and culture in public elementary, junior high, and/or high school. For 3 wonderful years I taught in 9 elementary schools and 2 junior high schools and fell in love with teaching along the way. Returning to the states, I had no idea whether to return to the computer industry or to pursue teaching. But the Lord knew where He wanted me to be. And by "coincidences" upon "coincidences" the Lord opened doors and provided this position for me here at CLA; which perfectly blends my background (computers) with my passion (teaching) and my faith (in Christ alone). God is good!

Culinary Arts / Lunch Program

Almy Tim

Mr. Tim Almy

Food Service Director, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

Professional Profile
2000 Honor Graduate, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
2000-2001 Catering Director, Marriott Corporation
2001-2004 Executive Chef, Marriott Corporation; Campus Dining at Trinity Int. & Northwestern Universities
2007-2011 Owner & Operator, Timmy's Sandwiches and Ice Cream
2004-2012 Food Service & Facilities Director, Lydia Home Chicago

Languages

Rosado Carmen

Mrs. Carmen Rosado: Spanish Instructor

Professional Profile
¡Saludos! My name is Mrs. Carmen Rosado, I am also called Senora. I have the pleasure of teaching Spanish I, II, III and AP. I have been teaching here at Christian Liberty Academy since 1993. I have a B.A. degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Growing up in a Spanish speaking home exposed me to the rich culture and language of the Spanish speaking people. Over the years I have been blessed to visit Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain. During each of these visits I was amazed at the vastness and wonderful difference of these lands and people.

Physical Education

Rowland Joseph

Mr. Joe Rowland: boys' P.E. all levels

BA Education, Judson University Professional Profile
I graduated from Judson University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in Education. Upon graduation I was hired on as head Physical Education instruction teacher at Fox Valley Christian School in McHenry IL for the following school year. While there I had the opportunity to teach in a coed environment to students ranging from elementary through high school. During the summer of 2007 I was offered a job to teach PE at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights IL. While there I have been able to work with a large number of students from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I have juggled class schedules which include students with daily PE classes and other students with alternating every other day class. Outside of the classroom I have been able to gain experience coaching 6th grade basketball, HS and Junior High baseball, and scorekeeping for all levels of girl's volleyball. I currently teach and coach for the Christian Liberty Academy Chargers.

Schustek Dan

Mr. Dan Schustek: Dynamics of Fitness for High School

MA Theological Studies, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School, Lynchburg, VA; BS Behavioral Science, National Lewis University, Evanston, IL; Association of Christian Schools International Educator Certificate; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America; New Tribe Bible Institute, Waukesha, WI

Professional Profile
I served in the United States Army, I am a Vietnam Veteran. I was a missionary with New Tribes Mission. I am a Staff member of Armitage Baptist church. I work as a 4th grade teacher at Christian Liberty Academy.

Salsgiver Natalie

Mrs. Natalie Salsgiver: Athletic Director, girls' P.E. all levels

BS in BA, Columbia College in Missouri

Professional Profile
I graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with a Bachlor of Science in Business Administration. I have been working at Christian Liberty Academy full time since 2000 but I have been coaching here since 1997.

Sewing

Rubel Sharon

Mrs. Sharon Rubel

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.


Woodshop

Bennett Kurt

Mr. Kurt Bennett: 11th Grade Economics; 12th Grade Constitution

Professional Profile
I attended CLA during its early years and upon graduating in 1978 began my life as a carpenter. I went to Grove City College and studied history, politics and economics, continuing my education and maintaining these interests through reading. When CLA bought the Arlington building in 1985, they needed a carpenter, a locksmith, a glazier and later an Economics and Constitution teacher. I have been grateful to be able to serve the Lord at CLA in these positions and also in others that I was called upon to fill as were needed in a growing school. I continue to study the train wreck that is politics in our ever changing nation, and am able to include current events in both the economics and constitution classes. I still have the privilege of running the woodshop, teaching woods and more recently woodturning.

Support

Dayschool Office

Horstman Mary Beth

Mrs. Mary Beth Horstman, Secretary

Professional Profile
I started working at Christian Liberty Academy in 2003. I take care of the books, teacher substitutes, and daily office duties. I was a home school mom before working at Midwestern Christian Academy in Chicago.

Kramer Nancy

Mrs. Nancy Kramer, RN, BSN - School Nurse / Weekly Emails

BS in Nursing, Bradley University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Bradley University with a BSN in Nursing in 1976 and began my nursing career at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago working as a Charge Nurse and then a Staff Nurse Specialist in Orthopedics until 1980. I moved on to work at the Cook County Dept. of Public Health as a Public Health Nurse until 1983 and then was offered the Head Nurse position in Pediatrics at St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago where I remained until my first son was born. While my children were growing up I worked as an agency nurse so that I could be home with my children as much as possible. In 1996 Pastor Paul Lindstrom and Dr. Bennett asked me to be the first Christian Liberty Academy School Nurse, and the Lord has led me to make this my home since that time. I initially started in the School Office and also shared secretarial duties with the School Office staff. I currently still do the school emails. I have taught Culinary Arts here and also coached Varsity cheerleading, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Fortner Jeanette

Mrs. Jeanette Fortner, Registrar

Professional Profile
After 15 years of working in the Healthcare Software industry the good Lord led me, through the prayers of my daughter, to CLA, where in 2013 I started working in the Office as a Registrar.


Librarians

Bennett Amber

Miss Amber Bennett

BA English, Dordt College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Christian Liberty Academy in 2007 and moved from there to Dordt College where I earned my BA in English with an emphasis in writing in 2011. I spent 2012 working as a live-in nanny. During that time I became aware of a new position opening up in the CLASS program as an editor for high school essays and research papers beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. I applied and was accepted. Soon it became apparent that the day school also needed a speech teacher for their high school students. With a background in literature, speech, and theater, I offered to teach the course. Along with beginning an essay service and teaching a high school speech course, I am also beginning graduate school in the fall 2012. I will be studying with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a part of their information sciences program, emphasizing in library science.

Forsythe Barbara

Mrs. Barbara Forsythe

Professional Profile
A graduate of East Leyden High School in 1977, I went to work full time the day after. Living in Schiller Park, IL I worked at a manufacturing company doing all of the computer work. This was just before the personal computers so I worked in a computer room with a large NCR computer before me. I left the company to get married in 1979.

I began helping in the small christian school that was there for the children of the church. I first did some substituting and then taught first grade for a while till our first child was born. I also attended Bible school in the evenings with my husband Roy.

I started working in the CLA library in 2000 and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here.

KEP - Kindergarten Enrichment Program

Monasterio Melissa

Mrs. Melissa Monasterio, KAP Director

Professional Profile
In 1985, I graduated from William Fremd High School, where I took several classes on child care, child development, and parenting. Immediately following high school, I attended Arlington Academy of Beauty Culture and received my Cosmetology License. I worked in my family's hair salon business, in both Des Plaines and Park Ridge, from 1986‐2002. In 2002, I began working at Christian Liberty Academy in the K.A.P. (Kindergarten Activities Program.) department. Throughout my time here, I have also served as a teacher's aide and reading coach. In 2011, I became the K.A.P. Director, and I am currently overseeing the kindergarten students in this program.