Teachers & Staff
Teachers & 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 marked the 30th year that Mr. Green has been teaching in Lutheran schools. It was 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
Caitlyn Chavez - Pre-Kindergarten Age 3
Mrs. Chavez 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 third year teaching at St. John's. She could not be more thrilled.
What is Mrs. Chavez' 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 Mrs. Chavez 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 Mrs. Chavez 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 six summers."
Mrs. Chavez - Pre-Kindergarten Age 3
Christina Yerkes - Pre-Kindergarten Age 4
Mrs. Yerkes has over 17 years of experience working with children of all ages and abilities, and has been a teacher since 2011. This is her 5th 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 Chicago 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 Schools Week activities. I love sports and would be interested in coaching or helping in some way in the future. I am also a parent so I would like to be involved in PTL or any other parent groups."
Mrs. Yerkes - Pre-Kindergarten Age 4
Michelle Wo - Kindergarten
Mrs. Wo is excited to begin her first year as St. John's Kindergarten teacher! She earned her Degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University Chicago and has been teaching for 28 years. Over the years, she has taught PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st grade. Mrs. Wo has two children in high school and her husband is a retired police officer.
What is Mrs. Wo's favorite Bible verse?
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100
What is Mrs. Wo excited for at St. John's?
"I am very excited to be teaching Kindergarten again so close to where I live in Chicago!"
What other roles does Mrs. Wo have at St. John's?
"I hope to help out with the St. John's library and book fair. I also plan on being a part of the hand bell choir in church."
Mrs. Wo - Kindergarten
Lisa Schuemer - 1st Grade
Mrs. Schuemer has completed 31 years of teaching experience in Chicago area schools and is excited for her second 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 28 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 does Mrs. Schuemer love about St. John's?
“I love that the St. John's community puts great importance on the children and their futures. St. John's sees the potential and gifts in all children, and it's a safe place for them to learn and grow academically and spiritually."
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 previously taught in the primary grades at Lutheran Unity/St. Paul-Canfield, and also taught 3rd through 8th grade English at Bethesda International Academy. The 2021-2022 school year will be her third year of teaching at St. John's.
Mrs. Gahgan has been married to her husband, Jeff, for 25 years, and they have three daughters and two grandchildren. In addition to spending time with her family, she enjoys reading and cheering for her beloved 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?
"More than just a school, St. John's is truly a family in which you see evidence of God's work and His love reflected through His people in ways both big and small. We know His presence in our lives each day by the people he surrounds us with to remind us of His mercy, grace, and unfailing love. It's a joy to serve at St. John's and to share the Good News of our salvation through Jesus with the children and their families, as well as with others both in and outside of our St. John's community."
Mrs. Gahgan – 2nd Grade
Bonnie Mayrens - 3rd Grade
Mrs. Mayrens has completed 35 years in the Lutheran teaching ministry, 16 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?
“I serve as the
faculty advisor for the Lutheran Junior Honor Association."
Mrs. Mayrens - 3rd Grade
Amanda Yamate - 4th Grade
Mrs. Yamate lives in Chicago with her husband, Doug, and has served for eleven 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. The 2021/22 school year marks her second year as the 4th grade teacher at St. John's.
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 have deeply loved St. John's since I was six years old, and I thank God every day for the faculty, staff, and families I have met. This place is filled with warmth and a common dedication to strong academics and servant leadership. I can't wait for the next school year to begin!"
Mrs. Yamate - 4th Grade
Robin Rocans - 5th Grade
Mrs. Rocans has taught for 28 years in Lutheran schools, with the last 11 being here at St. John’s. She is a graduate of Concordia University Chicago 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 45 years. They have one daughter and a son-in-law who blessed their lives 10 years ago with twins, Avery and Devin, and Skylar was born 8 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 10th 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 12th year teaching and this is his 9th 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 Stuart R. Paddock School in Palatine. His children, Gabriella (3rd) and Kade (Kindergarten) 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 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 be 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 17th 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 lives in Chicago with her husband, John Michael, and has served as a Music Teacher in many Lutheran schools over the past 7 years. This will be her 6th year at St John’s Lutheran School, where she teaches general music, is the chapel coordinator, directs ACTS-the chapel drama group, organizes the Christmas Programs, directs the musical, directs the student handbell choir and student choir, and works to offer many other opportunities for students to showcase their musical and dramatic talents.
Mrs. Jurica graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She has since gone on to become a certified Orff-Schulwerk teacher through Vandercook College of Music’s Orff Levels Program and is a certified First Steps in Music teacher and Conversational Solfege teacher. She is a certified Level 1 and Level 2 Google Educator. She is currently working on her Masters in Church Music from Concordia University Chicago.
What is Mrs. Jurica's favorite bible verse?
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1
Why does Mrs Jurica love St John’s?
"I love that I get to be in a school where I get to sing about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus every day! I have the joy of hearing my students confess their faith in the Lord Jesus in our time in chapel as well as in our discussions of the hymns that we learn to sing. I also love that I get to teach every single student in the school and have the opportunity to learn about them."
What other roles does Mrs. Jurica have at St. John’s?
"I also offers private piano, guitar, and ukulele lessons to students at St. John’s and to students in the community. These lessons are conducted during and after school."
Mrs. Jurica - Music
Amanda Hays - Admissions & Marketing Coordinator
Amanda Hays joined the faculty of St. John's in July of 2020, and she enjoys being a part of such a wonderful team! Before joining the St. John's staff, Amanda worked in events at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in the West Loop. She has a strong background in event planning, nonprofit development, and communications and has worked at various nonprofits in Chicago. Amanda holds her BA in Theater from Northwestern College in Iowa and continued her theatrical training at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
Outside of her work at St. John's, Amanda is a professional actor and has worked with numerous Chicago theaters.
What is Amanda's 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 Amanda love St. John’s?
"I love experiencing the passion of both the teachers and the students whenever I pop into the classrooms to take photos. There is always a lot of laughter and smiles. My favorite part of my job is giving tours to prospective families and sharing all of the wonderful things that St. John's has to offer!"
What other roles does Amanda have at St. John’s?
"During my first year at St. John's, I enjoyed teaching theater as a guest in Mrs. Jurica's music class as well as working with students in the after school podcast club. I am looking forward to assisting with the 6th-8th grade musical in the Spring of 2022.
Amanda Hays - Admissions & Marketing Coordinator
Anne Mette - Kindergarten Teacher Aid
Anne Mette is in her fourth year of working as a Teacher Aid at St. John's Lutheran School. She has also previously worked in the After Care Program. She holds her BA in Psychology from North Park University.
During the summer, Anne loves to raise Monarch butterflies!
What is Anne's favorite Bible verse?
"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion." Philippians 1:6
Why does Anne love St. John's?
"I love that St. John’s Lutheran School provides a safe environment for students, families, and teachers to
learn and live out their faith."
Anne Mette - Kindergarten Teacher Aid
Andria Green - Art
Mrs. Green is excited to be in her third year of teaching at St. John's. Prior to joining the St. John's staff, Mrs. Green was an art teacher at a fine arts organization in Maywood for about three years.
What is Mrs. Green's favorite Bible verse?
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 38-29
What does Mrs. Green love about teaching at St. John's?
"I love seeing each of my students let out their creativity, and become more proud and confident in their work throughout the year. Art can be a little intimidating sometimes, since there is no right or wrong answer, but seeing the kids express themselves through the art they create is so rewarding. And I know they have a great time doing it!"
Mrs. Green - Art
Hilda Morales -Preschool Teacher Aid
Hilda Morales previously worked with early childhood through 9th grade students at Peabody Elementary and Wells High School in Chicago. She is also a Licensed Life Insurance Producer of eight years.
Hilda is grateful that her son, Elijah, has attended St. John's since 1st grade. Outside of her work at St. John’s, she enjoys sunsets with her dog, playing sports, and also cheering on her son during his baseball games.
What is Hilda's favorite Bible verse?
“She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” Proverbs 3:18
Hilda Morales - Preschool Teacher Aid
Trisha Leith - Kindergarten Teacher Aid
Mrs. Leith is excited to begin her first year as a Kindergarten Teacher Aid at St. John's! She is currently two classes shy of receiving her Bachelor's of Science in Human Services with a focus on social work. She has also completed three rotations of clinical internships with The Arc of San Diego.
Mrs. Leith previously served as the Director of Extended Care at St. John's. Her son, Jude, graduated from St. John's in 2021 and her son, Liam, is currently in 6th grade.
In her free time, Mrs. Leith loves to read mystery novels, travel, and take Disney cruises.
What is Mrs. Leith's favorite Bible verse?
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Why does Mrs. Leith love St. John's?
"I love watching the students grow up, and knowing that I had a little part in helping deepen their love of Jesus and education. I love encouraging them and reminding them of how special each and every one of them are."
Trisha Leith - Kindergarten Teacher Aid
George Bryant - Spanish
Mr. Bryant entered the teaching profession in June 1971. He received his bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Belize Teachers' College. Upon completion, Mr. Bryant received an endorsement certificate in Elementary Education from the Joint Board of Teachers Education at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He also holds a degree in Sociology/Welfare from Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Mr. Bryant has worked in various capacities in education and has taught both at the elementary and secondary levels. He has served as both a teacher and a principal.
What is a favorite Bible verse of Mr. Bryant's?
"For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you, I have learned from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you." Psalm 71: 5-6
Why does Mr. Bryant love St. John's?
"Our dynamic principal, remarkable faculty and staff, and great students and parents make St. John's "numero uno". What a privilege it is to be a part of St. John's Lutheran School. I give God the glory for ushering my footsteps to this community of believers."
Mr. Bryant - Spanish
Iordana IIie - Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Aid