Bridget Heppeler

Ms. Heppeler holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from The University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. She joined the Dodge Renaissance Academy in August of 2008, after completing a year of teaching in Ohio. She currently teaches kindergarten. Ms. Heppeler is also continuing her education by working on her masters degree in Special Education. Outside of work she enjoys training for marathons and traveling.

Renee Varghese

Ms. Varghese holds a B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.A. in Elementary Education from Loyola University Chicago. She began her teaching career at the Avalon Campus of the Chicago International Charter Schools in 2005. Ms. Varghese currently teaches fifth grade at Dodge. Her outside interests include international travel, playing the guitar, and reading.

Deborah Thompson

Ms. Thompson graduated from Indiana University in 2002 with a B.S in Elementary Education. She began her teaching career on the south side of Chicago at Holmes Elementary School in Englewood, and then joined the staff at Dodge Renaissance Academy in the fall of 2004. She has been a mentor teacher for the AUSL urban residency program while at Dodge. She is currently approaching completion of a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies from DePaul University, as well as participating the National Board Certification process during the 2008-09 school year. Her outside interests include spending time with her family in Michigan, traveling and cooking.

Maureen Fernandez

Mrs. Fernandez graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1996 with a B.S. in education and an endorsement in Mathematics. She began teaching in Chicago Public Schools in the fall of 1996 on the East side of Chicago. In the fall of 1999, Mrs. Fernandez transferred to the Gage Park community. While there, she taught 8th grade math, reading and writing. Throughout the years in this area, she was part of many extra curricular activities such as Student Council, Majorettes and many before and after school educational programs. In the late summer of 2008, Mrs. Fernandez joined the staff at Dodge Renaissance Academy as an 8th grade teacher of Mathematics, Science, and Writing. Mrs. Fernandez’s outside interests include spending time with her family, crafts, shopping and decorating.

Chelsea Hay

Ms. Hay graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a B.A. in Political Science in June 2004. She completed the Academy for Urban School Leadership residency program at Dodge Renaissance Academy in 2006 receiving a Masters Degree in Education. Ms. Hay has since been teaching 6th grade Reading, Writing, and Social Studies at Dodge Renaissance Academy. Some of her favorite things to do are reading nonfiction History texts, going to the movies, and visiting with her family in Indiana! She is very passionate, motivated, and committed to educating Chicago’s youth.

Robert Welch

Mr. Welch graduated from the University of Chicago in 2007 with a B.A. in English Literature. He completed the Urban Teacher Education Program in 2008, receiving a M.A.T. in teaching. During this program he taught at schools in the Englewood and Hyde Park communities. He currently teaches 4th grade. His outside interests include playing basketball, reading graphic novels, and photography.

Michelle Casey

Ms. Casey graduated from Illinois State University in 2001 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education. She began her career in the Englewood neighborhood and came to Dodge Renaissance Academy in 2004. Since that time, she has taught primary inclusion, a 4th/5th grade split, and is currently teaching the special education instructional class. This is her first year as a mentor and she is excited to be working with Ms. Laura Gangichiodo, a resident teacher. She has facilitated the Winston and Strawn Mentoring and Tutoring Program for the past 4 years. This year, she will be working on obtaining National Board Certification.

Lee Young

Mrs. Young holds a B.A. in Spanish, Latin American Studies from Scripps College and a M.A.T. in Teaching from National Louis University. She completed the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) residency program in 2004 before beginning her teaching career at Dodge Renaissance Academy. She is currently teaching 1st grade. She is a mentor teacher with AUSL. Her outside interests include having fun with her family, traveling, and reading!

Beverly Jackson

Ms. Jackson holds a B.A. degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University in 1973. She completed her first master’s degree from Chicago State University, 1993, in special education. She is currently working on her next master’s degree anticipated from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois in Educational Leadership in August, 2009. Ms. Jackson currently is a specialized services teacher at Dodge. Ms. Jackson has taught at CPS schools for more than twenty years and was a parochial school teacher for more than ten years. Current outside interests are travel, taking care of her family and reading.

Kapria Daniels

Ms. Daniels graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2000 with a B.S. in Psychology and Biology. She participated in and completed the Academy for Urban School Leadership residency program in 2004 and received her Masters of Arts in Teaching. In 2006 she then received her M.S. in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms. Daniels began her teaching career in Cabrini Green, where she taught Kindergarten for 4 years. Currently she is pursuing her Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Leadership at Concordia University and is a mentor teacher at Dodge Renaissance Academy. Her outside interests include reading and traveling.

Brenda Adams

Ms. Adams holds a B.A. in communication from the University of Memphis and she is currently pursuing her MA from National Louis University. Brenda joined the Chicago Public Schools after completing the Chicago Teaching Fellows Program in 2006. Since that time she has been a staff member at Dodge Renaissance Academy, where she currently teaches 6th grade Math & Science. She enjoys teaching math and watching her students find that same joy in numbers, systems and the many methods by which they can be used. Her outside interests include: theatre, commerical production and bike riding.

Erin O’Brien

Ms. O’Brien has been teaching for a total of 17 years, 15 of them in the Chicago Public Schools. She is currently a lead teacher for the TAP program at Dodge. She achieved National Board certification in 2001 as a Middle Childhood Generalist. She holds a B.A. in elementary education, and in 2007 completed her master’s degree in instructional leadership at the University of Illinois – Chicago. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in curriculum studies, also at UIC. She has worked for the past ten years as a freelance writer for several educational publishing companies. In addition to her work at Dodge, she is lead Middle Childhood Generalist facilitator for the Nurturing Teacher Leadership program for teachers pursuing National Board certification, and is working on a curriculum development project for UIC. She spends her free time with her husband and two young sons. She also enjoys traveling and scrapbooking.

Amy Versaw

Ms. Versaw graduated from Indiana University in 1997 and from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2002. She holds a B.S. in Applied Health Science and a masters degree in Instructional Leadership. Before Ms. Versaw came to Dodge, she taught 4th grade at National Teachers Academy. Ms. Versaw currently teaches 3rd grade, she is a mentor for AUSL and TAP, She is also working on her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her outside interests include playing music, spending time with family, and traveling.

Charletta Brown

Mrs. Brown is a proud product of Chicago Public Schools! She attended Lane Technical High School and graduated from Jones College Prep. Mrs. Brown holds a B.A. in Education from Aurora University, Aurora, IL and a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Olivet Nazarene University, Kankakee, IL. Mrs. Brown is a 14-year veteran teacher of Chicago Public Schools. In 2006, Mrs. Brown achieved her National Board Certification as a Master Teacher/Early Childhood Generalist. During the past five years, she had been a mentor teacher for the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Using cognitive coaching methods, Mrs. Brown currently is a Lead Teacher for the Teacher Advancement Program at the Dodge Renaissance Academy. She now coaches teachers to accurately reflect on the impact of their proactive teaching strategies to increase student achievement. She is an avid reader and enjoys traveling in her free time.

Kristie Morsher

Ms. Morsher graduated from Ohio Northern University located in Ada, Ohio in 2000 with a BFA in Art Education. She began her teaching career substitute teaching for one year and then went on to teach Art to KG-3rd grade students for 2 years at Elida Elementary in Elida, Ohio. After visiting Chicago one time she fell in love with all the possibilities that city life offers and moved to Chicago the summer of 2003. She began teaching Art at Dodge Renaissance Academy the first year it re-opened in 2003. She feels lucky that she gets to show every Dodge student KG-8th grade how creative and talented they are. Her outside interests include trying to travel somewhere new every year, spending time with her boyfriend, going to concerts and enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.

Verlinda Kincaid

Mrs. Kincaid has worked at Dodge Renaissance Academy for the past 5 years in the capacity of Counselor and Special Education Case Manager. Her experience as an educator includes 16.5 years as the Health and Physical Education Teacher for LaSalle Language Academy and Irving Park School. After receiving her M.A. in School Guidance and Counseling, she joined the staff at Washington Irving School where she taught Character Education, conducted group and one-on-one counseling, and worked as the Special Education Case Manager for 13.0 years.
Her interest include gardening, jogging, church work, and hopefully after this year, traveling.

Karin Becker

Mrs. Becker holds a B.A. degree in Applied Psychology from UIC, a MAT and an advanced degree as a Reading Specialist from National Louis University. Mrs. Becker also completed her National Boards during the 2006-2007 school year. After teaching several years of preschool and two years of kindergarten, she joined Dodge Academy two years ago and is in her third year teaching Head Start Preschool. Her interests include Yoga and taking long walks.

Elizabeth Martinez

Mrs. Martinez has taught Head Start preschool at Dodge since 2005. She graduated magna cum laude from De Paul University with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. She completed her student teaching experience in New Zealand, which is a pioneer in innovative literacy techniques. Before coming to Dodge, she taught for three years in the Uptown community. Mrs. Martinez is currently pursuing her masters degree from Erikson Institute as well as National Board certification. She is proud to have received professional development grants from Kohl Children’s Museum to implement Project Approach and Chicago Foundation for Education to implement the Reggio Emilia method. In her spare time, Mrs. Martinez relaxes through yoga, reading and playing with her dogs.

Alicia Wyche

Ms. Wyche graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2003 with a B.A. in Psychology. She completed the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s (AUSL) residency program and received her master’s in 2004. She taught in Englewood for 4 years before coming to Dodge in 2008. Alicia currently teaches an 8th grade Language Arts class as a mentor for AUSL and coordinates curriculum for Dodge. She is also working on her Ph.D. at The University of Illinois-Chicago. Her outside interests include running and traveling to see her family.

Christopher Bruggeman

Mr. Bruggeman holds a B. A. from Missouri University and a M. Ed. from Loyola University-Chicago. Mr. Bruggeman began teaching at Johns Academy in West Englewood through the Teachers for Chicago teacher induction program, and has also taught at the National Teachers Academy in the South Loop. Mr. Bruggeman achieved National Board Certification for Early Adolescent/English Language Arts in 2000 and earned a Fulbright Memorial Fund fellowship to visit Japan in 2002. Mr. Bruggeman has worked as a mentor at Dodge for three years and has also mentored candidates for National Board Certification since 2001. He currently serves as Dodge’s Mentor Resident Coach and teaches High School Algebra I for 8th Grade students. In his spare time, he enjoys fostering retired racing greyhounds to help them adjust to life outside of the racing circuit.