Our Amazing Staff

Administrators

Tom Creighton

Tom Creighton

Co-Director

Tom served as Head of School for Armitage Academy, a K-8 independent school in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for five years and formerly was Head of School for DaVinci Academy, a private school for K-8 gifted children in Elgin, Illinois.

Prior to these roles he was Director of Youth and Social Services for the Village of Deerfield for 25 years.

Tom received a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from National-Louis University. He has served on Barbereux’s Board of Directors for the past two years, and two of his children attended Barbereux School.

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Cathy Kurtz

Co-Director

Cathy holds Bachelor’s Degrees from Iowa State University in Elementary Education and Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from National-Louis University. She started at Barbereux in 1992, teaching preschool and kindergarten for ten years and serving as Director of Barbereux for four years. She is also Director of Curriculum.

It was Cathy’s work that led to the initial and continued renewal of NAEYC accreditation for The Barbereux School. She is the parent of two former Barbereux students.

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Oksana Creighton

Director of Admissions

Assistant to the Directors

Oksana joined the Barbereux staff in the spring of 2010. She is the former editor and Director of Marketing for KidzClix.net, an online magazine for children. Prior to that, she was Director of Admissions for DaVinci Academy, a school for gifted children in Elgin.

Oksana is a trained facilitator of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and has presented leadership workshops for middle school students, businesses and organizations. She is the parent of two former Barbereux students.

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Julie Conant

Admissions and Finance Coordinator

Julie joined the Administrative team in July 2016. She has extensive financial experience working in small business and non-profit environments. She also worked for eight years in the Admissions office for an independent school in St. Louis.

Julie is originally from the Chicago area, received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, and is happy to be living in Evanston with her teen-age daughter, Grace. In her spare time she loves to read and knit.

Preschool Teachers

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Cindy Lortie

Preschool Teacher

Cindy joined Barbereux in the fall of 2016. She has taught for 12 years in Montessori and progressive educational schools. Before relocating to her hometown of Chicago in 2013, she was particularly inspired by her experience at The Circle School in San Antonio, Texas, where Reggio Emilia, Waldorf and Montessori philosophies were used to create a play-based curriculum. For the last three years, Cindy has taught in the Infant-Toddler program she began at a Glenview Montessori school.

Cindy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and worked for 10 years as a social worker. She has Montessori Certification for infants and toddlers.

Cindy enjoys reading, singing, cooking, dancing, exploring nature, creating and learning with children. She is excited to join the Barbereux family.

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Sabrina Schmidt

Preschool Teacher

Sabrina began working at Barbereux in the fall of 2015. She taught preschool and kindergarten children for three years prior to coming to Barbereux. Sabrina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College Chicago in 2012.

She also studied in Italy where she learned the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching little children, which emphasizes hands-on learning and integrating the arts throughout the curriculum. She was excited to find that this approach is embraced at Barbereux as well.

“Our classroom is a place where children’s interests are valued and their curiosity is respected. I feel fortunate that each day I am able to touch the lives of children and foster their love for learning.”

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Leslie Troogstad

Preschool Teacher

Leslie joined the Barbereux School in the fall of 1995. Since that time she has served as classroom teacher, Assistant Director, Curriculum Director, Camp Director and educational consultant. Currently, she is happy to be back in the classroom helping to create a child-centered environment for our youngest students.

Leslie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University with an emphasis in Child Development. She also holds a Preschool-8th Grade Elementary Teaching Certificate.

Leslie enjoys singing, reading, creating and learning with our preschoolers and is the mother of two children.

Junior Kindergarten Teachers

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Aliza Neumann

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Aliza Neumann, lead teacher, joined The Barbereux School in 2010 after having spent the past six years teaching a mixed-age preschool class at The Baker Demonstration School in Evanston. She has also spent several years teaching in the gifted programs offered for children through National-Louis University.

Aliza is a life-long resident of Evanston and comes from a family of educators. She earned her degree in Early Childhood Education at National-Louis University and will be working towards her Master’s Degree through the Erikson Institute in Chicago.

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Christy Heredia

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Christy joined Barbereux in January of 2011. Christy began her Early Childhood career in 2003 as an infant and toddler teacher in Winnetka’s Harkness House. She later moved up to a lead teacher position for 2-year-olds in a Glenview program, and taught 3- and 4-year olds at the Skokie Park District’s Tot Learning Center. Fluent in Spanish, Christy provides our Junior K and Primary classrooms weekly Spanish enrichment.

She is currently attending National-Louis University and finishing her bachelor’s degree, in Early Childhood Education and Psychology.

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Jenny Noojibail

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Jenny joined Barbereux in the fall of 2014. Prior to coming here, she was an elementary classroom teacher in San Antonio, Texas, for 13 years. Jenny received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Illinois State University.

She went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas, and has worked as a Reading Specialist. She also holds an Early Childhood teaching certificate. Jenny is the parent of two former Barbereux students.

Primary Teachers

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Patrick Blades

Primary Teacher

Patrick Blades, lead teacher, was born and raised in Evanston. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in psychology and taught English in South Korea for three years. He went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Education and received an Elementary Teaching certificate from DePaul University.

Prior to starting at Barbereux in 2008, he taught for two years at Middleton Elementary School in Skokie as a Special Educational associate teacher. He currently resides in Skokie with his wife, Sung Min, and his son, Max.

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Cathy Kurtz

Primary Teacher

Cathy holds Bachelor’s Degrees from Iowa State University in Elementary Education and Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from National-Louis University. She started at Barbereux in 1992, teaching preschool and kindergarten for ten years and serving as Director of Barbereux for four years. She is also Director of Curriculum.

It was Cathy’s work that led to the initial and continued renewal of NAEYC accreditation for The Barbereux School. She is the parent of two former Barbereux students.

Music Teacher

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Joan Freeman

Joan is an accomplished pianist whose career began with a degree from Oberlin Conservatory followed by a Ford Foundation grant to study Music Education in Hungary. Joan taught music for the Halifax, Nova Scotia, public schools for several years, working with children from Kindergarten to 6th grade.

She came to The Barbereux School in August 2003, and while teaching, earned her Early Childhood certificate from Oakton Community College. “I love working with little children because of their receptiveness to beauty and art, and their eagerness to learn.”

Assistant Teachers

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Lindsey Karlin

Lindsey joined Barbereux in the fall of 2014. She is currently in college majoring in Early Childhood education.

Lindsey has several years of experience working with young children in her role as a figure skating instructor at the Skokie Skatium Ice Arena.

She has also worked as a camp counselor at the Skatium and spent two summers teaching English as a second language to young children.

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Donna McCluskey

Donna McCluskey, Afternoon Teacher, joined Barbereux School in 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Studio Arts degree from Arizona State University and a certificate for Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College.

Barbereux is a natural outlet for Donna to share her talents and love of art and music. She is a member of a local choral group and resides in Wilmette.

“Children make me a more knowledgeable person: they are so curious. With all the questions they ask, I am often looking up answers in books and on the Internet.”