Principal – Julia Heinz
Mrs. Julia Heinz joined Saint Paul beginning in the 2019-2020 school year to serve as principal. She earned a BA from Valparaiso University and began her teaching career in special education before serving at Immanuel Dundee for 15 years. Her various roles in education have spanned preschool through university level as teacher, administrator, fundraiser and admissions director. She earned her MA in school leadership from Concordia University Chicago with additional graduate studies at North Central College and Northern Illinois University. In recent years she has served on the LEA Leadership Committee and has presented locally and nationally for Lutheran educators and administrators. Mrs. Heinz and her husband, Joe, have three children. She is thrilled to be serving at Saint Paul.
5th Grade/Assistant Principal/Athletic Director – Eric Young
Mr. Young began teaching at Saint Paul in the fall of 1997. Originally from Bay City, Michigan, Mr. Young attended Concordia University, Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with an Elementary Teaching Certificate. In 2003, he was awarded the Northern Illinois District Timothy Award – Outstanding Educator with less than Ten Years Experience. In addition to teaching, he serves as the school’s Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. Mr. Young is the chairman of the Northwest Suburban Lutheran Athletic Conference and the chairman of the Lutheran Sports Association Boys’ Basketball State Tournament.
7th Grade Homeroom/Curriculum Director/6-8 Language Arts – Crystine DeCant
Since 2000, Mrs. DeCant has been teaching at Saint Paul. She has a BA in Elementary Education with a music endorsement from Concordia University, Chicago. She holds certifications as a Director of Christian Education and a Director of Parish Music. She also has a Master’s Degree in Technology in Education from National-Louis University.
Mrs. DeCant incorporates technology skills and enrichment projects to curricular subjects from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She also teaches Web Design, Claymation, Robotics, Photography, Yearbook, and Foods electives to Jr. High students and administrates reading clubs for Intermediate and Jr High levels at Saint Paul. Mrs. DeCant enjoys facilitating and coaching the Lego League Robotics program for Saint Paul and has been an Illinois Regional Tournament Coordinator for 6 years. She enjoys geocaching in her spare time and started a geocaching club after school for interested students in 2009. Mrs. DeCant has also been a presenter at Illinois Computing Educators Conferences.
Kindergarten and SPECK Director – Stephanie Blackfeather
Mrs. Stephanie Blackfeather came to Saint Paul in 2002. She teaches full day Kindergarten and is the Extended Day/Summer program Coordinator. In 1994, she received her BA in Early Childhood Education at Concordia University,River Forest, IL. Before coming to Saint Paul she was an Extended Day coordinator and taught PreK and Kindergarten at Hope Lutheran (Pompano Beach) and St. John Lutheran (Ocala) in Florida, and was the Director of The Ark: Early Christian School in Highland Park, IL. Mrs. Blackfeather received the NID Early Childhood Teacher of the Year award in 2011. Some of Mrs. Blackfeather’s favorite things to do are camping, baking and crafting and spending time with her husband, Shannon and son, Christian. Mrs. Blackfeather feels truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful ministry here at Saint Paul and enjoys every minute of her time with her kindergarten little’s!
Pre-Kindergarten & Director of Admissions and Development – Amy Cimarusti
Amy Cimarusti has been at Saint Paul since 2002. Mrs. Cimarusti has a BA and MA in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University in Chicago, IL. She is currently a graduate student at National Louis University, studying Early Childhood Administration. Mrs. Cimarusti was the recipient of the Distinguished Lutheran Early Childhood Teacher award in 2009. She has worked with future teachers as a college instructor and student teacher supervisor.
Mrs. Cimarusti’s experiences include teaching toddlers through third graders as well as administrative experience at the early childhood level. Mrs. Cimarusti currently teaches a full day class and works part time in admissions and development for the school.
Mrs. Cimarusti loves singing and dancing with her students and takes every opportunity to have fun while she works.
Pre-Kindergarten – JoAnn Morris
Mrs. Morris graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Elementary Education. She began her teaching career as a second grade teacher in Michigan. Mrs. Morris is currently beginning her 27th year as a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher and Department Head at Saint Paul.
Pre-Kindergarten – Angela Young
Kindergarten – Sarah Wegner
Miss Wegener began teaching Kindergarten at Saint Paul in 2012. She is an alumna of Saint Paul and is overjoyed to be a Comet once again. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education at Concordia University Chicago, in River Forest, IL. Before coming to Saint Paul she was a Pre-K teacher at Early Days Preschool and Childcare. Some of Miss Wegener’s favorite things are singing, dancing, and Disney! In addition to teaching, she also coaches the 7/8 cheerleading squad and is co-coordinator of Vacation Bible School. Miss Wegener is looking forward to seeing God’s awesome power at work this year at Saint Paul.
1st Grade – Kelly Lonergan
Mrs. Lonergan joined the staff at St. Paul in the winter of 2015. She graduated, in December 2015, from Concordia University Chicago with a BA in Early Childhood. Her degree also includes an ESL endorsement and Special Education minor. Mrs. Lonergan loves volleyball and she is an assistant coach at Harper College. Mrs. Lonergan is excited at the opportunity to grow in God’s love and learn with her first graders this year.
2nd Grade – Karla Menze
Mrs. Karla Menze received her Bachelor of Arts degree with an Early Childhood Teaching License from Illinois State University. After graduating in December, 1993, God led her to fill a maternity leave in kindergarten and preschool at St. Paul Lutheran School, Norwood Park, now recognized as Lutheran Unity West. This evolved into a first grade teaching position where she was blessed to serve for ten years. During this time, Mrs. Menze completed the Colloquy program at Concordia University, Chicago and also received a Master’s degree in Reading Instruction through the University. After enjoying five years as an instructional aide here at St. Paul, Mrs. Menze is thrilled to be back in the classroom full time as our second grade teacher. Karla, her husband, and two daughters feel very blessed to be part of the St. Paul family.
3rd Grade – Deb Rittle
Deb Rittle, third grade teacher, received her BS in Education from Valparaiso University and completed her graduate work in Curriculum and Instruction to earn the designation MS Ed from Northern Illinois University. Deb began teaching at St. Paul in 1995. She previously taught preschool in Roselle. She coaches cheerleading and assists with track and is the Intermediate Level Coordinator.
In 2005, she was honored with the Middle Grades Teacher of the Year Award by the Northern Illinois District. She’s been nominated for several other awards, including the Golden Apple and Disney Awards. She’s been a presenter at the NID Conferences and LEA National Convocations. She has worked on the District’s curriculum writing project and has also been involved with CLEF (Chicago Lutheran Education Foundation) as a presenter and facilitator. Deb is on the Board of Directors of the Mount Prospect Historical Society, currently serving as its secretary, and a member of local and National writing organizations.
4th Grade – Jessica Dill
Miss Dill started teaching 4th grade at Saint Paul in the fall of 2016, after moving from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a 2015 graduate of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. There, she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Education degree, with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. After graduating in December, Miss Dill taught 4th-8th grade math in South Euclid, Ohio. Outside of school, she loves to run, bake, and watch her favorite sports teams play! She is an assistant coach of the 7th/8th Grade Girls Volleyball and 5th/6th Grade Girls Basketball teams. Miss Dill is excited to be a part of Christ’s mission here at Saint Paul!
6th Grade Homeroom, 6-8 Math, 6-8 Social Studies – Michelle Linke
Mrs. Linke graduated from Valparaiso University in 1999 with a BS in Elementary Education and endorsements for Middle School. She spent her first two years teaching at St. Paul’s San Diego before returning to the Midwest.
In the spring of 2001 Mrs. Linke accepted a job here at St. Paul, Mt. Prospect and has been here ever since! “I love my job and my students!” At St. Paul she teaches Religion, 6th grade Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Ancient Civilizations, Geography, and U.S. History to 6th-8th grade students. Her focus is on preparing each student for high school. She also has over 15 years coaching experience in both basketball and volleyball for boys and girls.
Mrs. Linke received her Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology in 2007 where she spent most of her studies on the moral development of children and adolescents. In the past, Mrs. Linke has presented at the LEA convention, CLEF, and the NID yearly conference. Recently, she received an award for “Outstanding Teacher of American History from the Daughters of the American Revolution.”
8th Grade Homeroom, 5-8 Science – Alexis Hahn
Alexis Hahn is a 2017 Graduate of Carthage College. Besides a love of science, Miss Hahn is also an accomplished sportswoman, having played basketball at the college level. Miss Hahn grew up in the Chicago area. She attended St. Luke, Itasca, IL for her elementary years.
P.E. Teacher K – 8
Mr. Matt Gutzler has a B.A. degree in Education from Concordia College in St. Paul, Minnesota. At his first job he was the 7th grade teacher and Athletic Director at St. John’s Lutheran School in Portage, Wisconsin. Starting in the fall of 1998, he began teaching at St. Paul as 4th grade teacher and Tournament director. In those years he has also coached the boys’ and girls’ volleyball teams, girls’ basketball, and coached 3-8 track. Mr. Gutzler will help out daily in morning SPECK as well as lead Motor Class for Kindergarten and gym classes for 1st-8th Grades.
Teacher, Technology Coordinator – Michael Heinze
Mr. Heinze graduated with a BA in Education in 1982 from Concordia University in Chicago, IL. He received his Masters in Education from Concordia in 1998. His first teaching position was at St. Paul Norwood Park, IL where he spent 25 years as a teacher and principal. He began working at Saint Paul in 2009. Mr. Heinze is in charge of the technology in the school and church, teaches pre-algebra, supervises MAP testing, teaches enrichment class in 1st – 8th grades. He coaches 5-6 girls basketball as well as 7-8 boys volleyball. Mr. Heinze is also one of the high school youth leaders in our church and plans and leads the youth summer mission trips and National Youth Gatherings.
Spanish – Andres Valencia
Currently our Director of Multicultural Ministries at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Senor Valencia teaches Spanish at Saint Paul School as well. A native of Chile, Andres and his wife Amy are back in the area, raising their young family.
Music and Band -Brittany Rennels
Miss Rennels comes to us from MES–Music Education Services. She directs the band program for Grades 4-8.
Music – Lisa Janisch
Mrs. Janisch began teaching at Saint Paul in 2016. Mrs Janisch teaches classroom music in grades 1-5 as well as Strings, a FAB Ukulele class, and many other music experiences.
Art Education – Mirjana Dejkovic
Resource — Cheryl Tyrcha
Mrs Tyrcha earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Northern Illinois University, and her Master’s Degree in special education from Eastern Illinois University. She was awarded National Board Certification in Special Education in 2009, and is also a certified Wilson Reading Instructor. Mrs Tyrcha taught in the public school system for 28 years, working with students in grades PreK – 5. She has also privately tutored students in grades 6-8 in reading and math.
When not teaching or devising new curriculum and supports for her students, Mrs Tyrcha enjoys visiting her twin grandsons and traveling with her husband and family. She feels blessed to join the team at Saint Paul, and looks forward to helping students learn, and be excited about learning!
Resource Room and Instructional Aide – Tara Stone
I serve Saint Paul in two capacities — part time Resource Support, and part time classroom Aide.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the students of St. Paul. I am enjoying watching my own kids grow in God’s love at St. Paul and am excited to be a part of the education of all students. I received my B.S. in Elementary Education at Loyola University and I am currently seeking a Special Education endorsement. My interests include spending time with my family. We enjoy the outdoors. During the summer we often camp, fish, and swim at the beach or pool. I look forward to each new year, working with Saint Paul students!
Kindergarten Aide/SPECK Caregiver – Erin Turk
Mrs. Erin Turk has worked at St. Paul for 12 years. She will be working as a kindergarten aide, SPECK office assistant, and SPECK caregiver. Mrs. Turk is a St. Paul alum. She enjoys spending time with her family.
Kindergarten Aide/SPECK Caregiver – Rick Reeve
Mr. Rick Reeve has been working at St. Paul for 15 years now as both SPECK caregiver and kindergarten aide. Both of his children graduated from St. Paul. His son, Ricky is currently attending Northern Michigan University studying Biology. His daughter is teaching in Wildwood, NJ. His children have both been swimmers, so Mr. Reeve has been a swim coach and a swim official over the years, and has enthusiastically followed his kids in whatever sports and after-school activities they have participated in. Mr. Reeve will work as a morning and afternoon lead SPECK caregiver as well as aide in kindergarten..
Pre-Kindergarten – Sue Buchanan
Hi, I’m Sue Buchanan, and this year, you’ll be seeing me in both classrooms of kindergarten, and at Fun Days. I am a graduate of Concordia University in Chicago, and have been teaching/working at St. Paul since 1990. I started out as a jr. high music teacher, and have been a classroom aide, an instructional aide, an office manager, and a preschool teacher. My husband, David, and I have been members of the church since 1989, and both of our daughters went to school at St. Paul. In fact, they were both married by Pastor Kris! And my granddaughter Noella was baptized here in February. When I’m not at school, you can usually find me at home with my pets; two dogs, two cats, and two rabbits.
Mr. Aaron Boyer grew up in Marengo, Illinois. He graduated from Concordia University Chicago in 2016 with a BA in Spanish and a BS in Education Studies. He moved to Mount Prospect in 2017 and now lives in Arlington Heights. This will be his second year helping in classrooms and in SPECK at St. Paul. He also works as a writer/photographer at the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS. He enjoys reading, running, ultimate frisbee, making music (piano, singing, and bells), and theology. Fun fact: Mr. Boyer has five siblings: one in Luxembourg, one in Virginia, one in Texas, one in Illinois, and one in Nebraska, and his parents live in Tennessee, so getting the family together is quite a challenge.
Other SPECK and Pre-K Kindergarten Aides
Mrs. Riedl – I grew up in Peoria, IL and spent my college years at Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Ceramic Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. I moved to the Chicago area for work, after college. My husband, Jordan, and I have 3 kids – Jessica (14th grade), Jacob (12th grade), and Jaclyn (9th grade). We first came to St. Paul, in 2004, when Jessica started pre-kindergarten. All 3 of our kids have since graduated from St. Paul. I have been an aide at St. Paul for over 8 years. In my free time, I like to work out, bake, sing in the church choir, and attend our children’s various sports and school activities.
Mrs. Jennifer Moeller- I started aiding in pre-k, kindergarten and helping in speck in 2018. My husband Eric graduated from St. Paul. We were married at St. Paul and have two kids. Brady will be in 4th grade this year and Hailey will be in 2nd. In our free time we love to go to the zoo, fish and spend a lot of time outdoors! We are blessed to be a part of the St. Paul Family and are looking forward to another awesome school year!
High School Staff-
Hello! My name is Katie Beyer and this will be my second year as a SPECK helper. I am a senior at Prospect High school and participate in ultimate frisbee. The best part of my day is walking into St. Paul and being greeted with nothing but smiles from all my little friends!
Hello! My name is Gino Martorana and I started as a SPECK helper in December 2018. I like to swim and I am a senior at Elk Grove High School. I like working at SPECK because everyone is very friendly!