New Teachers

Aaron Hoof

Subject: Counselor

Education: Graduated from DePaul in June with Master’s Degree in Education

Previous jobs: First counseling job at Lane

First impression of Lane: “It is awesome. I was in awe and the students are respectful and impressive.”

Interests: Likes running, and is currently training for The New York Marathon. Enjoys spending time with dog Harvey and reading anything that is suggested by friends.

Sara Franzen

Subject: Biology and Chemistry.

Education: Undergrad at Northern Illinois University and received her Master’s Degree in education at National Louis University.

Previous jobs: London Middle school in Wheeling, IL.

First impression of Lane: “ It’s big, and I really like the campus.”

Interests: Just got engaged and likes to figure skate. She used to be a paramedic.

Austin Flygt

Subject: Concert Band, Percussion, Music Harmony, Beginning Band, and Music Appreciation.

Education: Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Previous jobs: Substitute, taught at CPS for a year. Taught music at Lindbloom Math & Science Academy.

First impression of Lane: “I thought it was huge. It looked like something from Harry Potter.”

Interests: Has been to Africa twice and Brazil once.

Amanda Nemshick

Subject: Survey of Literature, Honors Survey of Literature, and Alpha Survey of Literature.

Education: Undergraduate degree from UCLA in 2005; Master’s in Secondary Education at DePaul in 2009.

Previous jobs: Taught 7th and 8th grade Language Arts and Literature at Gemini Junior High in Niles. Also worked in advertising and event planning.

First impression of Lane: “I’m impressed with how much pride the students and staff take in their school.”

Interests: Sponsoring the Vietnamese club and the 7th grade Drama club. Enjoys running, yoga, and watching football.


Santo Barr

Subject: Drafting

Education: Associate’s Degree from Triton College; Bachelor’s Degree from Chicago State University, currently working on his Master’s Degree in architecture at SIU.

Previous jobs: Taught architectural, manual, and computer drafting for eight years at Kennedy High School. Worked for interior designers, architects, and engineers.

First impression of Lane: “ It’s huge. I got lost twice.”

Interests: Collects comic books. His favorites are Richie Rich, Casper, and mystery comics.

Benjamin Durham

Subject: Physics

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from University of Wisconsin Madison; Master’s in education from National Louis University

Previous jobs: Physics teacher at Marine Math and Science Academy, Auto mechanic.

First impression of Lane: “I saw all the science banners. I immediately thought science was a strong component here.”

Interests: He likes running; his goal is to train for the Ironman in two years.

Jaclyn Welstein

Subject: Counselor

Education: Undergraduate at Indiana University, Masters degree at Northeastern University. Before becoming a counselor, she worked at an advertising agency for three years.

Previous jobs: Worked at Walter Payton.

First impression of Lane: “It’s a great place.”

Interests: Obsessed with her dog Gypsy, a rescued mutt. She also likes to run and cook.

Daniel Spedale

Subject: Geometry and Algebra/Trigonometry

Education: Graduated from Northwestern

Previous jobs: Math teacher at Evanston Township High School

First impression of Lane: “Awesome! Great Kids! Everybody is a winner because they all work hard and are committed to something, which is rare.”

Interest: Likes to golf and play basketball.

Nicholas Lang

Subjects: AP Biology, Honors Biology

Education: Undergraduate at University of Illinois, went to University of Alabama for a year. PhD at St. Louis University and teacher certificate classes at National Louis University.

Previous jobs: This is his first high school. He has taught at Daley College and Saint Louis University.

First impression of Lane: “Big, active, the students are really good.”

Interests: Plays hockey (goalie). Lived in both Tokyo and Madagascar for three months.

Grace Navarrete

Subject: French 2, Spanish 1

Education: Bachelor’s degree at Loyola University, Master’s degree at Middlebury College. Studied in France for two years.

Previous jobs: Larkin High School in Elgin for a year. Worked at Northside College Prep for two years, and Walter Payton for one year.

First impression of Lane: “Such a big school, like a palace.” Interests: Travels to Europe every year. Enjoys cooking and language classes.

Emily Finchum

Subject: Physics, Biology, Scientific Concepts

Education: Undergraduate at UIC, master’s degree at National Louis University, and currently getting a second Master’s at DePaul.

Previous jobs: South Shore High School

First Impression of Lane: “Very quiet and organized compared to my previous school.”

Interests: Loves her dog Sebastian, a miniature pincher. She also enjoys reading and writing.

Lindsay Ronkoske

Subject: Special education / autism teacher

Education: Indiana University in Bloomington, and taking classes at National Louis.

Previous jobs: Chicago Math and Science Academy, a charter school, for three years. This is her second job.

First impression of Lane: “I’ll never find my way around the building. This school is gigantic.”

Interests: Her favorite book is The Help. She went to Lollapalooza for the first time this summer.

Elizabeth Blanchfield

Subject: Physics.

Education: Undergrad at Michigan State University and received Masters Degree at National Louis University.

Previous jobs: Taught Forensics and Earth Science at Chicago Academy and Orr, and worked with medical devices.

First impression of Lane: “I think the school is gorgeous and huge.”

Interest: Likes to go to concerts for all types of music.

Terence Khuu

Subject: Music Appreciation and Beginning Orchestra

Education: He went to Kelly High School and then Vandercook School of Music.

Previous Jobs: Student-taught at Lane and taught orchestra lessons at Kelly High School.

First Impression of Lane: “It’s an elite school.”

Interests: He likes to coach basketball.

Dana Huang

Subject: Chinese 1,2 and Algebra 1

Education: She went to UIC.

Previous Jobs: Teaching was her first job after college.

First impression of Lane: “I love the beautiful school building, professional and friendly staff, and the smart students.”

Interest: She knows how to plant and harvest rice and corn.

Kristen Turgeon

Subject: Chemistry

Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Iowa; Master’s degree from National Louis University.

Previous jobs: Chemistry teacher at Wells High School.

First impression of Lane: “It’s big with a lot of positive energy.”

Interests: Enjoys spending time with her children. Likes to travel. She has been to Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

Andrew Fine

Subject: English; Assistant Debate Coach

Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin Madison; Teaching degree from National Louis University

Previous jobs: Student Teacher at Lane; Restaurant Manager; Dance instructor; National Trainer for P.F Chang’s.

First impression of Lane: “My dream school! I love it! I thought I was Harry Potter in Hogwarts. It is warm, diverse, the students are kind, and the administration is supportive and helpful.”

Interests: Teaches Hip Hop, Jazz dances, and glee camp during the summer. Loves movies and his dog Sally.

Marisa Grimaldi

Subject: Italian

Education: She went to Dominican University when it was called Rosary College.

Previous Jobs: Foreign language teacher at a suburban public school.

First Impression of Lane: “It’s huge! I feel comfortable here, like I’ve been here before. I’m sure I’ll be happy here for many years to come.”

Interests: She likes to cook and paint with acrylic paints.

Jessica Coonley

Subject: Honors Biology, Anatomy, & Evolutionary Biology

Education: She went to Whitney Young and then to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the rest of her education.

Previous Jobs: She worked for the Shedd Aquarium, was a cave guide in Alaska, and worked in a lab doing research on evolution in fish.

First impression of Lane: “I was going to get lost all the time and never find my classroom.”

Interests: She likes to knit blankets and watch Antiques Roadshow.

Emily Michaelson

Subject: French

Education: Graduated high school six months early, and then went to study in France. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from DePaul.

Previous Jobs: She was a French interpreter for a non-profit organization in Rogers Park.

First impression of Lane: “I’m happy to be here.”

Interests: After work she spends time with her 13 month old baby. She goes to mommy groups, and sings French songs to her daughter.

David Doll

Subject: World Studies; U.S History

Education: Undergraduate from Indiana University; Master’s Degree from DePaul

Previous jobs: Teacher at Perspectives Charter school for three years; Worked at an education center for four years.

First impression of Lane: “I love it! I was impressed by the students and how they welcomed me. I did not understand the whole odd and even thing.”

Interests: Plays the guitar, and the piano. Bikes a lot and loves football. Enjoys going to see Northwestern games and watching the NFL.

Ricardo Torres

Subject: JROTC instructor

Education: Went to Kelvyn Park High School. Went to Northeastern and received his Bachelors in history.

Previous Jobs: Joined the Army and retired in 1998. After retirement, worked for two years at Lane as a JROTC instructor. He has been teaching JROTC for 13 years.

First impression of Lane: “Since I’ve been here before, I know that standards are high.”

Interest: He was stationed in West Berlin, Germany. Saw Hitler’s bunker and Bergenbelsen Concentration Camp where Anne Frank died.

Marie Benas

Subject: Alpha Biology and Genetics for juniors and seniors.

Education: University of Iowa.

Previous jobs: Worked at a wildlife foundation and taught environmental science.

First impression of Lane: “I thought it was massive and all the students were really fun and well behaved. It is a place I want to be.”

Interest: Drives a stick shift.

Noah Ochsenhaut

Subject: World Studies

Education: Columbia University in New York

Previous jobs: Worked in Special Ed. This is his first year teaching.

First impression of Lane: “I feel very lucky to be a part of the faculty, though it’s huge, and I’m still not sure where everything is.”

Interest: An expectant father, loves zombie movies, and thinks the original Dawn of the Dead is better than the Godfather.

Yifang Chang

Subject: Chinese 1, 3, and 4.

Education: Received her degree at National Louis University for teaching.

Previous jobs: Sold real estate for about 20 years.

First impression of Lane: “The students are very proud to be at Lane and they are well mannered.”

Interesting Info: Was a farm girl in Taiwan and both of her parents were farmers.