Our Staff

The people who make us who we are

LPP hires Bachelor and Master Degreed Educators who are nurturing, experienced, and who also possess strong personal commitments to the education of young children. Our multi-step interview process helps to ensure that the best possible teachers join our team.

On a daily basis, teachers create opportunities for discovery and learning in engaging environments where children feel safe, secure, and confident. LPP requires that all teachers possess a Bachelor or Masters Degree in Education or closely related field. Our goal is to provide an environment where teachers are valued and provided for in a way that echoes the value we place on their education and expertise. We are proud of the fact that many of our teachers have been with LPP upwards of 5 years. At LPP, all teachers receive additional hours of professional development training each year. Teachers attend professional workshops, conferences, and seminars designed to further early childhood education knowledge and skills, and to keep connected and current with best practices and research in the field.

LPP takes pride in the consistency of our staffing as well as in the environment as a whole. Children thrive in our program where teachers and children are not moved about from room to room. Having three teachers in every classroom allows for transitions to be conducted as smoothly as possible throughout the day, and ensures that all children’s needs are met both individually and as members of the group. Teachers are hired specifically for their expertise with various age groups and strong commitments are made to provide the best possible resources for teachers and the classrooms.
Directors and Education Directors at each location are actively engaged and connected to the day-to-day happenings in the classroom. Directors and Education directors work in partnership to uphold the schools philosophy, maintain NAEYC learning standards, and ensure that all aspects of the program run smoothly. All members of the administrative team are hired from within, as we feel strongly that this enables us to have a focused and intimate understanding of all aspects of LPP.

Ashley Gagnon

Director, LPP Belden

M.S. Early Childhood Education / Bilingual ESL Certification, Erikson Institute
B.S. Elementary Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison
LPP since 2016

Gabrielle Houska

Education Director, LPP Belden

B.A. Elementary Education, Language Arts Minor, University of Michigan
LPP since 2017

Alison Burkhart

Community Resource Director

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Bowling Green State University
LPP since 2010

Megan Barrymore

Education Director, LPP Germania

M.A. Education; Special Education Specialization, Ashford University
LPP since 2006

Laura Bailey

Director, LPP Webster

B.S. Education Studies, Simpson College
National Director Credential, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
LPP since 2002

Amanda Jensen

Education Director, LPP Webster

B.S. Elementary Education, Reading & Literacy Minor, Cardinal Stritch University
LPP since 2011

Sharon Hickey-Kozek

Founder & Owner, LPP Belden, Germania & Webster

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Bowling Green State University
Founder of LPP 1994

Lucy Mann

Toddler Lead Teacher

B.A. Speech, Language and Hearing Science, Hofstra University
M.S. Child and Adolescent Development, University of La Verne

Erin Peisert

Toddler Lead Teacher

MFA Art Practice, School of Visual Arts
B.A. Theatre, Columbia College Chicago

Veronica Van

Toddler Full-Time Assistant

B.A. Psychology (concentration in human services), DePaul University

Maricruz Alfaro Esquivel

Toddler Part-Time Assistant

B.A. Teaching English as a Second Language, Universidad Fidelitas

Sydney Johnson

Twos Lead Teacher

B.S. Human Development and Family Science, Illinois State University

June Fenske

Twos Lead Teacher

B.A. Early Childhood Education, Harry S Truman College Expected 2024

Angelica Quiles

Twos Assistant Teacher

A.A. General Education Core Curriculum Wilbur Wright College
B.A. Early Childhood Education, Minor Teaching English as a Second Language, Northeastern Illinois University Expected 2023

Kaleen Kortz

Threes Lead Teacher

B.S. Elementary Education, Marquette University
B.A. Communication Studies, Marquette University

Rachel Flaig

Threes Lead Teacher

B.S. Early Childhood & Special Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Cynthia Almazan

Threes Assistant Teacher

B.A. Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sean Kirwan

Pre-K Lead Teacher

B.S. Psychology, Illinois State University
Registered Behavior Technician

Carrie Rich

Pre-K Lead Teacher

Professional Educator License with Learning Behavior Specialist & Early Childhood Education Endorsements, Erikson Institute
B.A. Biopsychology, University of Michigan

Celia Shmyr

Pre-K Assistant Teacher

B.A. Communications, Michigan State University

Rachel Frields

2’s Lead Teacher

M.Ed. Early Childhood Education, DePaul University
LPP since 2018

Jillian Wagner

2’s Lead Teacher

B.A. Child Development & Elementary Education, Michigan State University
LPP since 2017

Jessica Hoyos

2’s Assistant Teacher

M.S. Marriage Family Therapy-In Progress, Northeastern Illinois University
LPP since 2020

Kelly Dicken

3’s Lead Teacher

B.S. Speech Language and Hearing Pathology, Southern Illinois University
LPP since 2014

Ali Jung

3’s Lead Teacher

M.S. Early Childhood Education, DePaul University
LPP since 2016

Josefina Olivares

3′s & 4’s Lead Teacher

M.Ed. Early Childhood Education (In Progress), DePaul University
LPP since 2019

Natalie Kuligowski

3’s & 4’s Assistant Teacher

B.S. Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Missouri
LPP since 2018

Monique Gambino

Pre-K Lead Teacher

MSEd Early Childhood Education
LPP since 2016

Jill Hill

Pre-K Lead Teacher

MEd Early Childhood Administration, National Louis University
LPP since 2014

Tory Wolver

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

B.S. Elementary Education, University of Iowa
LPP since 2017

Liz Cho

Kindergarten Teacher

B.S. Elementary Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
LPP since 2020

Rachel Krupsky

3’s & 4’s Lead Teacher

M.Ed. Early Childhood Education, Lesley University
LPP since 2013

Sarah Gerali

Toddler Lead Teacher

M.A. Child Development, Infancy, Erikson Institute
LPP since 2020

Danielle Dietrich

Toddler Lead Teacher

B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies Human and Educational Resources, Illinois State University
LPP since 2020

Barbara Galan

Toddler Assistant Teacher

B.S. Psychology, Universidad Iberoamericana de Santo Domingo, DR
LPP since 2019

Morgan Steffler

2’s Lead Teacher

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Western Michigan University
LPP since 2021

Josh Rosen

2’s Lead Teacher

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Rasmussen College
LPP since 2020

Abraham Chavaez

2’s Assistant Teacher

B.A. Early Childhood Education, National Lous University
LPP since 2021

Rebecca Cerotti

2’s & 3’s Lead Teacher

B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Missouri
LPP since 2021

Cassidy Durand

2’s & 3’s Lead Teacher

B.A. Psychology and Applied Behavioral Analysis, University of Rhode Island
LPP since 2019

Morgan Cutler

2’s & 3’s Assistant Teacher

B.S. Fine Arts and Dance
LPP since 2019

Monique Gambino

3’s & 4’s Lead Teacher

B.S. Social Work, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
LPP since 2016

Ashley Bailey

3’s & 4’s Lead Teacher

M.Ed. Elementary and Special Education, DePaul University
LPP since 2012

Wendy Jimenez

3’s & 4’s Assistant Teacher

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Universidad Federada de Costa Rica
LPP since 2017

Josh Rosen

Pre-K Lead Teacher

B.S. Early Childhood Education, Rasmussen College
LPP since 2020

Simone Platt

Pre-K Lead Teacher

MEd. Early Education, National Louis University
LPP since 2013