Summer Update

Dear Embers Parents,

We hope your summer is going well and you are enjoying some much deserved relaxation with your family!

With much optimism, we would like to provide you with an update and what to look forward to for the upcoming school year!

As we successfully completed a very challenging year making it possible for our Sparks to learn in-person, it is with the same tenacity and team spirit that we blaze forward to 2021-2022! It is due to you and your students partnering with the faculty and staff that made last year a triumph against the climate of uncertainty! Thank you, again, for this support!

COVID Guidelines Governor Pritzker held a press conference earlier today announcing an Executive Order affecting all public and non-public schools. Our team is reviewing the Executive Order and other guidance from the state and will take the information into account in developing our guidelines. We will provide detailed information as soon as our plan is finalized. 

Focusing On Normal This year, we are joyfully looking forward to restoring Embers and focus on embracing “normal”! We want to take the time to ensure the foundational aspects that Embers is known for are in place. Some very important areas include:

  • Rebuilding our school community

  • Joyful learning environment with full classrooms of students

  • Academic excellence 

  • After school extracurricular activities

  • Athletic teams and clubs

The authentic partnership between Embers and its families is the confidence and strength that will fulfill this goal.

Growing and Flourishing Despite the challenges of last year, Embers remains strong and resilient. Although 2020-21 enrollment was initially affected by these challenges as reflected in a decrease in enrollment –196 students (Spring 2020) to 150 (Fall 2020), we ended the year with 181 students!

While maintaining commitment  to the mission of Embers, our enrollment this coming year will be approximately 230 students — a record high! We will have two sections of almost every grade, with others almost to capacity. All the classrooms in both the West and North wings will be in use. We are very excited about our growth and are looking forward to a wonderful year!

Construction Project Our two-year old dream is about to become a reality! The project of creating the part of campus facing Greenwood Avenue to become the operational front entrance to Embers will begin sometime during the school year. Our Lady of Ransom parish has announced that they will also be participating in this endeavor. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Faculty Changes
We are regretfully losing a team member, and also want to announce some outstanding new teachers and staff joining us this year:

Jeanne Nowicki  Jeanne was a wonderful addition to our team as one of our Kindergarten teachers. Jeanne most definitely fostered in her classroom a bright and cheerful environment for her little Sparks to learn! She and her sons have moved quite a distance and are enjoying their new home and friends. We wish them all the best for the upcoming school year!

New Full-Time Faculty

Pablo de Andrés Boville Pablo is coming all the way from Spain to join our amazing team and will be the teacher of the second section of 5th grade. Pablo’s professional experience includes 13 years teaching in a school that shares a similar philosophy and mission as Embers. He brings to Embers his passion for nurturing students to excel not only in academics, but more importantly in human and spiritual aspects of their development. Pablo graduated from the University of Zaragoza earning a teaching degree in Primary Education and Bachelor of Humanity Science. He is eager to share his passion for teaching and his inspirational ways of transmitting the faith to his students.

Lili Mikan Lili comes to Embers as a well-seasoned teacher and will be Embers’ new Kindergarten teacher after teaching and leading in nearby Catholic schools. Lili has a degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in teaching English as a Second Language. She is very much looking forward to beginning a new chapter teaching at Embers and eager to meet all of her new students and their families! She brings with her Alena, rising 3rd grade daughter, as one of our newest Sparks! We look forward to Lili’s strong love for teaching young children and her innovative ways of inspiring the love of learning!

Mary Grace Noteman Mary Grace is joining our faculty team as one of our 1st Grade teachers. Mary Grace is a graduate of St. Mary’s College (Notre Dame) with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a licensure in Reading Intervention. Mary Grace brings to Embers her creative ways of differentiated teaching and individualized/small group instruction. Mary Grace’s recent  interests include her long-term commitments at St. Mary’s with the Student Activities Board and Education Club Member, as well as the Notre Dame Club Field Hockey rep! She is excited about partnering with Julie Donovan and fostering a love for reading in her young Sparks! 

Additional Faculty and Staff Roles

Angela Flood  Angela joins Embers as part-time Admissions Associate. She most recently served as Parent Coordinator liaison at Northridge Prep for the past three years. Angela and her husband, Joe, are parents of seven children and grandparents to seven grandchildren. Angela brings to Embers 10 years of professional experience as Administrative and Office Manager, as well as providing classroom resource support in her neighborhood public school. 

Jeanne Henschell  Jeanne and her husband, Scott, currently have a son at Northridge Prep and three Embers Sparks! Jeanne continues her career at Embers as a part-time Support Teacher for grades 3rd thru 5th. Last year, Jeanne provided Teacher Support to 3rd Grade lead teacher Sara Black. Jeanne earned a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Dallas. She taught elementary school for four years, and then went on to teach middle school Religion and high school Theology classes for another four years. She was thrilled to return to the classroom last year, and is looking forward to another exciting year with Embers Academy.

Jennifer Potempa  Jennifer returns to Embers this year as one of our 2nd Grade teachers. Jennifer came aboard last year as a 1st Grade Support Teacher to Julie Donovan. Jennifer and her husband Jeremy have two Sparks, a son at Northridge and eldest son at Maine East. Prior to joining Embers, Jennifer worked in a public school providing classroom resource support. We look forward to her joyful approach to learning  and transmitting the faith to her Embers 2nd Grade Sparks!

Denise Wasserman  Denise is no stranger to Embers! We are thrilled to announce that Denise will be returning to sharing her talent back in the Art room at Embers! Denise so thoughtfully put aside her paintbrushes and joined the 3rd Grade Foxes by assisting lead teacher, Sara Black, as Support Teacher. Denise and husband Dave have two daughters in college and will be adjusting to enjoying being empty-nesters. 

Christina Williams Christina, mom of three Embers Sparks: Emmett (4th grader); Rosie (2nd grade); and Peter (PK4) joins the office staff part-time as Parent Advisory Director. Christina brings her vast experience and love for Embers to oversee the newly modified Embers Parent Association. After graduating from Miami University, she joined Metro Achievement Center as a Program Director overseeing a mentoring and tutoring program serving at-risk girls in Chicago. Christina later earned a M.B.A. and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from North Park University. While completing her graduate studies, Christina served as an Admissions Associate at Willows Academy and later worked as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Montrose School in Medfield, MA. 

New Initiatives

Embers Parent Association  Embers Parent Association (EPA) has gotten a face lift! We are excited to share with you that our EPA is now more robust and has as its focus of rebuilding our close-knit family community. The four areas of concentration are as follows:

  • Parent Ambassadors for each class

  • Social Events

  • Hospitality

  • Parents First! – acknowledging the importance of the parents’ role in the development of their child/ren and providing resources to guide and support the role as primary educators

  • More detailed information to come!

We look forward to seeing you this Fall!


Lisa Hanretty            Therese Thursby
Head of School        Asst. Head of School

serving students in PK3 through 5th  grade

8340 N. Greenwood Avenue,  Niles, IL 60714
www.embersacademy.org    847.518.1185   info@embersacademy.org

Copyright © 2021 Embers Academy, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*

why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences