Faculty & Staff
Faculty & Staff
Dan Green - Principal
Mr. Green was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Concordia, River Forest in 1988 with a BA in education. He has served in Lutheran Schools in both Michigan and Illinois. Mr. Green received his MA. Ed - Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2008. The 2018 school year marks the 30th year that Mr. Green has been teaching in Lutheran schools. It is also the 10th year of serving as a school principal. Mr. Green met his wife Sue in 1983 at his home church in Detroit where she was teaching 4th grade. Mr. Green and his wife are blessed with two sons, Paul and Stephen. In 2014, Paul married Andria and in 2018, their grandson, Connor, entered into the Greens' life.
What is Mr. Green's favorite Bible verse?
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Why does Mr. Green love St. John’s?
"I am excited to serve at St. John’s. In my short time here, it is obvious that St. John’s is a special place. I get to serve in a place where genuine Christian love and respect is witnessed daily. I am excited about the future of St. John’s and look forward to working with the students, families, faculty and staff."
Mr. Green - Principal
Miss Caitlyn Wheeler - Preschool
Miss Wheeler is a recent college graduate of DePaul University. She has been a substitute teacher for the Early Childhood Education Department at St. John's in the past, and this will be her second year teaching at St. John's. She could not be more thrilled.
What is Miss Wheeler's favorite Bible verse?
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Why does Miss Wheeler love St. John's?
As a former student and life-long member of the church, St. John's holds a very special place in my heart. I love St. John's for many reasons, including the environment that has been created by the dedicated faculty and staff, our amazing student body, and the Christ-centered atmosphere. It truly provides a sense of "home".
What other roles does Miss Wheeler have at St. John's?
"In addition to teaching preschool, I am the school librarian. I have also been a counselor for the Summer Camp program over the past five summers."
Miss Wheeler - Preschool
Christina Yerkes - Pre-Kindergarten
Mrs. Yerkes has over 16 years of experience working with children of all ages and abilities, and this is her 4th year at St. John's. Prior to St. John’s, she worked as a preschool teacher at Concordia University Chicago's Early Childhood Center. She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest, IL and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood certification.
What is Mrs. Yerkes’s favorite Bible verse?
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Why does Mrs. Yerkes love St. John’s?
"I love that St. John's is spreading the word of God and teaching with God's love throughout all aspects of learning."
What other roles does Mrs. Yerkes have at St. John’s?
"I help organize Lutheran School’s Week activities. I love sports and would be interested in coaching or helping in some way in the future. I also am a parent so I would like to be involved in PTL or any other parent groups."
Mrs. Yerkes - Pre-Kindergarten
Leslee Johnson - Kindergarten
Mrs. Johnson has completed 43 years of Christian teaching, 42 of which have been at St. John’s. Most of her teaching career has been in the kindergarten classroom. She has also taught pre-kindergarten and third grade, and was the elementary reading teacher for two years.
Mrs. Johnson graduated from Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She specialized in English, Speech, and Drama, and has a minor in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Johnson is the lead teacher for the Early Childhood department at St. John’s. She is the recipient of the 2001 CLEF Good News Award for excellence in Early Childhood Education and the 2018 LEA Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher Award granted by Lutheran Education Association.
What is Mrs. Johnson’s favorite Bible verse?
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5
Why does Mrs. Johnson love St. John’s?
“I love St. John’s because over the years, St. John’s has become my home away from home — my second family. What a blessing it is to be a part of such a loving and supportive Christ-centered community!”
What other roles does Mrs. Johnson have at St. John’s?
“I serve St. John’s as the Chapel Family Coordinator, School Yearbook Editor, a part of the church picnic committee, a member of LWML, and coordinator of the Angel Tree for the Joined Hands Food Pantry.”
Mrs. Johnson - Kindergarten
Lisa Schuemer - 1st Grade
Mrs. Schuemer has completed 30 years of teaching experience in Chicago area schools and is excited to begin her first year at St. John's. She is a graduate of Concordia University Chicago where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's degree in Reading Specialist. In addition to teaching in Lutheran schools, she has also taught as an adjunct professor in the English department at College of DuPage. She has experience coaching various sports teams as well as directing school musicals. She has been married to her husband for 27 years and together they have two sons.
What is Mrs. Schuemer's favorite Bible verse?
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14
What is Mrs. Schuemer looking forward to in her first year at St. John’s?
“I am excited to meet the students and families and to become a part of this community of believers.”
What other roles does Mrs. Schuemer have at St. John’s?
“I am excited to become a member of the church and am hoping to help wherever I'm needed with extracurricular activities at the school."
Mrs. Schuemer - 1st Grade
,Veronica Gahgan – 2nd Grade
A second-career teacher, Mrs. Gahgan holds a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Reading Education, both from Concordia University Chicago. She has previously taught for four years in the primary grades at Lutheran Unity/St. Paul-Canfield, and has also taught English for grades 3-8 at Bethesda International Academy. Mrs. Gahgan has been married to her husband, Jeff, for nearly 23 years. They have three daughters, Rebecca, Anna, and Natalie, and a granddaughter, Sadie. In addition to spending time with her family, Mrs. Gahgan enjoys reading and cheering for her beloved Chicago Cubs!
What is Mrs. Gahgan's favorite Bible verse?
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. " Philippians 4:13
Why does Mrs. Gahgan love St. John's?
"Though I am new to St. John's, everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging. It is a place where I see God's love reflected through his people, and I'm so blessed and excited to get to know more of you."
What other roles does Mrs. Gahgan have at St. John's?
"I will be working with Mrs. Rocans to develop more service opportunities and outreach for our students. I am excited to help them serve others out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us. To God be the glory!"
Mrs. Gahgan – 2nd Grade
Bonnie Mayrens - 3rd Grade
Mrs. Mayrens has completed 34 years in the Lutheran teaching ministry, 15 of which have been at St. John's. She is a graduate of both St. John's and Luther North. She received her Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with concentrations in psychology and English literature, and, holds a Master's Degree in reading instruction from Concordia University Chicago.
What is Mrs. Mayrens’ favorite Bible verse?
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Why does Mrs. Mayrens love St. John’s?
“I love St. John’s because it’s my home away from home. I attended St. John’s as a student from 1968-1977. I was blessed to attend school in a place where I was reminded daily of God’s care for me. Now, as a teacher here, I have the joy of sharing that faith with others. I love that this is not only a school, but a community.”
What other roles does Mrs. Mayrens have at St. John’s?
“In the past I have served St. John’s as the art fair director and as the Reformation fair director. I would love to continue leading these fairs."
Mrs. Mayrens - 3rd Grade
Amanda Yamate - 4th Grade
Mrs. Yamate lives in Chicago and has served for ten years as a Lutheran educator in the Northern Illinois District. She has taught in elementary and early childhood classrooms and has served as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at North Park University. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Lutheran Elementary Education from Concordia University Chicago in 2010 and her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Nebraska in 2014.
In addition to teaching, Mrs. Yamate has enjoyed serving as a Vacation Bible School supervisor, cheerleading coach, and member of the NID Teachers Conference Committee.
What is Mrs. Yamate's favorite Bible verse?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs: 3:5
Why does Mrs. Yamate love St. John’s?
"I am incredibly excited to serve as St. John's 4th grade teacher because I am passionate about Lutheran education and intermediate learning targets. I am also excited to give back to the congregation I have deeply loved since I was six years old. I look forward to collaborating and growing with the faculty and staff of St. John's as we prepare for a new school year."
Mrs. Yamate - 4th Grade
Robin Rocans - 5th Grade
Mrs. Rocans has taught for 26 years in Lutheran schools, with the last 9 being here at St. John’s. She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and has endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies. Prior to St. John’s, she taught 7th Grade, 5th Grade, and combined 3rd & 4th Grade, and was an Athletic Director and coach.
She has been married to her husband, Vik, for 43 years. They have one daughter and a son-in-law who blessed their lives 8 years ago with twins, Avery and Devin, and Skylar was born 6 years ago.
What is Mrs. Rocans’ favorite Bible verse?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Why does Mrs. Rocans love St. John’s?
“I love St. John’s because we are all here for the same reason. As stated in our mission statement, we exist to pass our faith in Jesus Christ to our students, and to help them fully develop their God-given gifts. My job as a teacher is to help the children in my class become the very best they can be, both as students and as Christians, by what I teach and by the example I set for them.”
What other roles does Mrs. Rocans have at St. John’s?
“I serve St. John’s as the boys’ volleyball coach, and scoreboard operator/book keeper for the basketball season.”
Mrs. Rocans - 5th Grade
Rachael Franklin - 6th Grade Homeroom
Mrs. Franklin completed 3 years of teaching in Danville, IL before coming to St. John’s, and is in her 8th year here. She graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education, and received a Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Concordia University, Wisconsin.
She teaches 6th-8th grade Science and Social Studies and 6th grade Religion.
What is Mrs. Franklin’s favorite Bible verse?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Why does Mrs. Franklin love St. John’s?
“I love St. John's because the teachers, staff, congregation, and parents are all so supportive of the school. It is wonderful to be in a place where a good, Christian education is valued by everyone.”
What other roles does Mrs. Franklin have at St. John’s?
“I serve St. John’s as the girls’ volleyball coach and I assist in coaching track & field.”
Mrs. Franklin - 6th Grade Homeroom
Jeremy Benedict - 7th Grade Homeroom
Mr. Benedict is in his 11th year teaching and this is his 8th year at St. John’s. Mr. Benedict graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin.
In addition to his own teaching, his wife works as an Administrative Assistant at St. Peter Lutheran School in Arlington Heights, IL. His children, Gabriella (1st) and Kade (3 yr.) can often be seen with him before and after school.
He currently teaches 6th-8th grade English, Reading, and Physical Education.
What is Mr. Benedict’s favorite Bible verse?
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Why does Mr. Benedict love St. John’s?
“I love teaching at St. John's because of the family environment. This environment spans not only between the student and teacher relationships, but also the between the relationships I have with my teaching peers, the parents, and the church congregation members. It is the welcoming aspect that makes my family excited to here."
What other roles does Mr. Benedict have at St. John’s?
"I serve as the Athletic Director and I coach 7th & 8th grade boys' basketball."
Mr. Benedict - 7th Grade Homeroom
Michelle Runge - 8th Grade Homeroom
Mrs. Runge is in her 16th year of Christian teaching here at St. John's. She graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Her area of concentration was Psychology. She has her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.
She is the lead teacher for the High School Prep program and teaches 6th-8th grade Math and 8th grade Religion.
What is Mrs. Runge’s favorite Bible verse?
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
Why does Mrs. Runge love St. John’s?
“I love St. John’s because of the daily opportunity I get to share my faith with my students. I love being such a vital part of their lives as they prepare for the next step of God’s plan for them. It brings me such joy watching my students grow and mature as they become ready for high school and the world beyond St. John’s.”
What other roles does Mrs. Runge have at St. John’s?
“I serve St. John’s as the cross country coach, the 7th & 8th grade girls’ basketball coach, and the track & field coach."
Mrs. Runge - 8th Grade Homeroom
Katrina Jurica - Music
Katrina Jurica graduated from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She declared an emphasis in General Music and Choral Music. While at Concordia University, she had the chance to rehearse and conduct the Concordia University Kapelle, the premiere touring choir. She studied voice, piano, guitar, and percussion and participated in many student ensembles, including the Handbell Choir, Women’s Choir, Jazz Band, and University Band. She still participates in the University Band as a member of the percussion section.
Mrs. Jurica states that one of the main reasons why she chose Concordia University Chicago was because of the active and thriving faith community at the school. She believes that because of her peers and professors, her relationship with God and understanding of God’s Word grew. That is why she chooses to teach in the Lutheran schools of Chicago-because she wants to be able to freely proclaim the Gospel to her students, as well as instruct them in growing as musicians and as human beings.
Mrs. Jurica joined the faculty of St. John’s Lutheran School as the Music Teacher in August of 2016. She also teaches General Music and Choral Music at Grace English Lutheran School. She is looking forward to another year of singing God’s praises and teaching her students to do.
Mrs. Jurica - Music
Amanda Hays - Marketing and Enrollment Coordinator
Amanda Hays is excited to begin her first year at St. John's in this newly created role. For the past three years she has been working in development at various Chicago nonprofits. She has a strong background in event planning and communications. She holds her BA in Theater from Northwestern College in Iowa and continued her theatrical training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco,
When she is not working at the school, she is pursuing a career in acting and has worked with various Chicago theaters.
A Chicago native, she resides with her husband, Warren, on the North Side of the city.
What is Mrs. Hays' favorite Bible verse?
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 16-18
Why does Mrs. Hays love St. John’s?
"Although I've only been at St. John's a short time, I already love experiencing the passion of the teachers, the family aspect of the school, and the mission to spread God's love through a Christian education."
What other roles does Mrs. Hays have at St. John’s?
"I would love to get involved with directing the school musicals and helping the teachers find ways to incorporate theater into the classroom."
Amanda Hays - Marketing and Enrollment Coordinator
Andria Green - Art
George Bryant - Spanish
I Am REDEEMED
What a privilege it is to be a part of St. John's Lutheran School. The Lord has entrusted His most precious cargo in my care and I am truly thankful.
By God's grace I can impart knowledge (Spanish Language) that is bursting in flavor, vibrant in culture, and rich in traditions.
I give God the glory for ushering my footsteps to this community of believers. I am convinced that the purest pleasure is found in useful work.
Come join this express train bound to greatness.
L'lnete a este tren expreso con destino a la grandeza.
Mr. Bryant - Spanish