The PTO is happy to offer WISE (Whittier IS Enriched), which is a 100% volunteer-run, fee-based, after-school enrichment program available to all Whittier students. We provide experiences in the arts, academics, STEM and athletics.
WILLIAM ARAMIL (Dynamic Chess)
William Aramil is a U.S. National Master and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chess Openings. William was the 2002 and 2003 Illinois High School Champion and also the 2003 Denker National High School Champion. In 2004, he won the collegiate section of the K-12/ Collegiate Championship. William is the trainer of the 2011 and 2013 Whitney Young Magnet High School State Champions. He has also coached the Kindergarten State Champion and several other top players at the elementary level in the state. William is the current Head Coach of the OPRF High School Chess Team. (www.dynamicchessinc.com)
CAROLINE BAKER (Jr. Engineers, The Science Lab)
Mrs. Baker has taught kindergarten and first grade at Whittier for over ten years. She also taught first grade at Irving school in Oak Park before joining Whittier. Mrs. Baker has lived in Oak Park for more than 20 years and has three children. She is looking forward to another year of offering hands on learning at Whittier through the WISE program.
HANNAH CONNELL (Clay with Miss Connell)
Miss Connell recently graduated from Michigan State, is a Whittier alum and coaches the OPRF girls swim team! She could not be happier to be back at the place where her love for art began. As an artist, she has worked with many art forms and is most passionate about passion, no matter what that passion may be. She hopes to help guide our awesome Whittier Wildcats in finding and expressing their own passion through art making.
KERRI DRUCKMILLER (Kitchen Wizards)
Whittier’s own Kerri Druckmiller, M.S., currently teaches second grade and is a former Whittier parent. Past recipient of the Illinois Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching, she looks forward to cooking up a storm!
ALEX FRISCH (Actor’s Garden: A Play a Day)
Alex Frisch has enjoyed working with the Actor’s Garden for the last decade, first as a student, then as a counselor, and for past two summers as Summer Camp Assistant Director. She has a degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and is currently working as an Assistant Speech Team Coach at OPRFHS while completing a secondary concentration in History from Northwestern. Her career as a Chicago Actor and Teaching Artist has been, and will continue to be, driven by her passion for story-based, interactive learning and education.
JODY GERUT (Toyology (MAPP Sports – Director))
Jody Gerut retired from Major League Baseball in 2011 after 11 professional seasons. A Stanford University graduate, Jody is a Residential Mortgage Professional who lives with his wife Mary, sons Mario and Troy, and daughter Alessandra here in Oak Park. His company MAPP Sports works with teams, leagues, and individual players across the country on a variety of activities including team training, general skills clinics, and confidence building. His website is www.mappsports.com. Jody is the Director of this program and is responsible for ensuring a positive experience for every child.
NANCY HOEHNE (Let’s Get Crafty Basic Sewing and Crafts)
Nancy Hoehne is a third grade teacher at Whittier School. She minored in Art and knows that the importance of creating and making things teaches you about self-expression and finding your hidden talents. She is looking forward to teaching Let’s Get Crafty and making projects with a group of enthusiastic Whittier kids!!
DAN KANE & LEGACY SPORTS (Floor Hockey/Dodgeball and Multi-Sport Madness)
Dan is the owner of Legacy Sports Camp. Dan coached boys’ and girls’ junior high basketball for four years at St. Giles and has run basketball camps and programs for over 10 years.
ANJALI KARIA (Wildcat Ensemble)
Anjali Karia is the K-5 music teacher at Whittier. She has been in the district since 2004 and has also taught music at Holmes and Beye. Previous to teaching, Ms. Karia was a professional actress, performing in musicals and plays in the Chicago and New York areas.
CHERYL RAUSCH (Colored Pencil Kids)
Cheryl Rausch is a professional illustrator & photographer with with two great passions: art and nature. Combining the two has been her biggest goal over her 30 year art career, and has provided much creative inspiration over the years. One of her favorite mediums is the amazing colored pencil, which can provide the lush richness and value you might see in other mediums, and the product is easily accessible and affordable to just about everyone.
TERRY MUELLER (Experiential Painting)
Terry Mueller has been teaching Experiential Painting with kids since 2009, when she opened her studio, Creative Changes. She has taught kids’ summer camps sponsored by the Oak Park Arts District and the Oak Park Art League for several years. She’s been offering her creative painting class in after school programs in Oak Park since 2013 and is continually fascinated by the creative nature of children. Since 2001, Terry has painted with Michele Cassou, who is the developer of Process Painting (aka Experiential and/or Point Zero Painting).
SONDRA NELSON (Kitchen Wizards)
Sondra Nelson, M.A., is a former Whittier parent, a Whittier first grade teacher and a veteran WISE instructor. She is excited, once again, to share her enthusiasm for cooking with a great group of kids.
CESAR RAMIREZ (Chicago Edge Soccer)
Cesar holds a National D License coaching license from US Soccer and has been a professional soccer coach with the Chicago Edge for three years. Cesar has also been coaching bilingual soccer classes with Montessori schools in the community for a number of years.
PAULA SPRING (Clay Play)
Paula Spring is the Instructional Coach at Whittier. A former classroom teacher, she loves computer science and has taught many programming classes for kids. She is very excited to be teaching the Coding for Kids class this winter.
SUGAR BEET SCHOOLHOUSE (Homesteading)
Sugar Beet Schoolhouse is a non profit that provides positive, hands-on learning experiences that connect people with good food. Started by Whittier mom Cheryl Munoz, Sugar Beet Schoolhouse offers cooking, gardening and wellness workshops out of their kitchen and greenhouse in River Forest. The Schoolhouse also partners with area schools and community organizations to ensure that everyone has access to fun and engaging experience that inspire a new generation of Good Food Advocates.
GEORGINA SWANSON (Let’s Get Crafty Basic Sewing and Crafts, Learn to Knit)
Georgina Swanson is a third grade teacher at Whittier School. She loves sewing, quilting and making many different kinds of things. She is looking forward to teaching Let’s Get Crafty and Learn to Knit and making projects with enthusiastic Whittier kids!!
KATHY VILLASIN (Jr. Engineers, The Science Lab)
Kathy Villasin is a kindergarten teacher and former Whittier parent. She has degrees in Teaching, Child Development, and Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Villasin is excited to explore and experiment with the students in the Science Lab class.
VINSON VILLENA (Flying V Martial Arts)
Master Vinson Villena has over twenty-five years of experience practicing the martial art of Taekwondo and has taught across Asia and the United States. Some of his accomplishments in this sport include being a Sixth Degree Black Belt, an NCAA Taekwondo MVP, a Certified International Instructor, and former Philippine Taekwondo Team Player. Additionally, he has competed and won in several local and international tournaments. He opened Flying V Martial Arts in 2013 in Oak Park because he loved what he was doing and wanted to share the true meaning of marital arts – respect, discipline, focus, confidence, self-esteem – with his students. Focusing on the true meaning along with character development helps his students reach their full potential. Classes are taught with genuine care to enhance students’ spirit and life through training their body and mind.
KIM VULINOVIC (YogaKids)
Kim Vulinovic is a Whittier alum and the director and teacher of the YogaKids classes at Oak Park Yoga. She has studied a variety of yoga styles for over 20 years. She is a Certified YogaKids Teacher (CYKT) and a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Kim has found that both boys and girls enjoy the active, calming and fun parts that comprise each YogaKids