Christian Liberty Academy

Faculty & Staff

Every Student Matters to Christian Liberty Academy Faculty and Staff 

The faculty and staff are committed to providing an academic atmosphere enabling students to recognize and desire excellence. Christian Liberty Academy’s teachers, staff, and administrators work hard to make sure each student knows they are valued. Our teachers hold themselves accountable to Jesus Christ and to the standards the school has set as they seek to teach as Jesus did - by word and by example. The school’s standards are high, but involved faculty and a low student-to-faculty ratio allow for the individual attention that helps students reach their full potential.

CLA Administration

CalvinL

Rev. Calvin Lindstrom
Pastor of Christian Liberty Church and Schools

Professional Profile
After graduating from CLA, I started my studies in mechanical engineering first at Harper College and then at the University of Illinois, completing a B.S. (1995) and M.S. (1997). During the summer of 1995, I spent 6 weeks in South Africa. I traveled to several key cities in South Africa to spend time with different ministries. I also was able to speak on the importance of Christian education and homeschooling. In 1995, homeschooling was only getting a start in South Africa. I had opportunity to encourage those who were developing material and programs for use in South Africa. This visit was used by God to encourage me to focus on working in Christian education rather than pursuing a career in engineering. I decided to spend two more years at the University of Illinois, but after completing my studies, I started teaching at CLA in the fall of 1997. I taught from 1997 through 2006. I returned to Africa for further ministry in Zambia in 1999. During January 2006, I received a call to be the pastor of the Church of Christian Liberty. I continued my theological studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Whitefield Seminary.

Statement of Faith
By God’s grace I was born to parents who knew and loved Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Being born into a Christian family is no automatic pass to salvation, of course. It was through God’s grace that I came to an understanding of my sin and worthless state apart from Jesus Christ. At a young age I came to understand and believe the message of the gospel. The ministry of Mr. Sherman was used by God in many ways in my life as a child. It increasingly is clear that my salvation is only because of God’s sovereign choice and matchless grace.


ThadBennett

Mr. Thad Bennett
Headmaster

BS Education, Liberty U, Trinity Int.Univ., Harper College, & SIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. My emphasis was in athletic training. After graduation I spent over four years in a Physical therapy clinic, helping rehabilitate patients with a wide variety of needs. In 1997 I took a job as PE instructor, soccer coach and athletic director at CLA. I worked in this position for 10 years until 2007, when I was given the opportunity to become the assistant Headmaster. Four years later, in 2011, I became the Headmaster.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a wonderful Christian home. At a very early age I understood the reality that I was a sinner, and that only Christ’s triumph over death could save me from eternal separation from God. This however did not remove my doubts that I may not in fact be saved. I struggled with the idea that I didn’t willingly do all of the “Christian things” like going to church, studying God’s word and even praying. The process of Christian maturity was long and slow for me. God has used many life experiences to reaffirm my need for his grace every day. I praise the Lord for his patience with me, and ultimately his mercy for saving an unworthy sinner like me.


Baldwin Doug

Mr. Doug Baldwin
School Board

Professional Profile
I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Statement of Faith
Amongst many personal influences have been Kermit Welty who introduced me to the teachings of both RJ Rushdoony in my early teens and Francis Schaeffer a few years later. Both Dr Glenn R. Martin (1935-2004; Indiana Wesleyan University) and Dr Steven A. Sampson (also at IWU but now for many years at Liberty University in Lynchburg) were of profound influence in solidifying, expanding, and applying a Biblically based world and life view.


Morrison Donna

Mrs. Donna Morrison
School Board, Guidance Counselor

BS Electrical Engineering, U of I @ Urbana-Champaign

Professional Profile
After receiving my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I worked for Motorola Cellular developing signaling software for their cellular switches. I was able to leave Motorola to stay home with my children while they were young, even home schooling them a few years. In 2005 I joined the staff at Christian Liberty teaching high school math and science. In addition to teaching, I now work in the guidance office as well.

Statement of Faith
During my sophomore year in high school, my neighbor brought me to the Mount Prospect Bible Church youth group. It was there, in response to hearing Titus 3:5 for the first time, that I was saved by the grace of God. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Praise the Lord for this blessed assurance of salvation! May the Lord be pleased to use me in the lives of my students as He used my neighbor in mine.


Ruta Dan

Mr. Dan Ruta
Dean of Academics

BS & IL Sci Teaching Certification, U of IL Urbana-Cham & National Lewis University

Professional Profile
I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2008. While at U of I, I held an active role in undergraduate research in a genetic laboratory, and was also a Teachers Aid for a sophomore level molecular genetics class. It was during this course that the exposure to teaching really propelled my desire to teach science. Upon graduation from U of I, I received my teaching certification from National Louis University in Biological Sciences, and am currently continuing my Masters work in Education. I began teaching at CLA in the fall of 2010. As of 2012, my current roles include: Dean of Academics, Teaching Instructor for Biology as well as Anatomy & Physiology, and I also coach Boys Varsity Soccer.

Statement of Faith
Having been a graduate of CLA class of 2004 (attended K-12), I was immersed in hearing about the Gospel, so I identified myself in Christ at a young age. However, it was during late high school and early college that His Truth permeated deeper to the core of my being, and challenged me to spend myself for the sake of His Kingdom. I am blessed and humbled to partner with the Mission of God and the work of restoration and redemption in the lives of our students.


Benz John

Mr. John Benz
School Chaplain

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a home that was sympathetic towards Christianity but attended church with my best friend for ten years. When I was 15, I was invited by a friend to go to his youth group in the next town. I went to the youth group because I loved to play sports and they had a gym, but it was the worship that held me there. I had always thought of Christianity as something that good adults do, but when I saw people my own age passionately in love with Jesus, I began to think of it as something for me. I asked the youth pastor for advice about what to do next and he encouraged me to start reading my Bible, particularly the book of Romans. I began to read my Bible every night before I went to bed. One night I was exhausted and prayed for God to wake me up so I could read. I then washed my face and was wide awake. This was the proof I needed that God exists. So I gave my life to Him and have been following Him ever since. I can say that I fell in love with Christ in college. When wrestling with my faith, my roommate encouraged me to go on a prayer walk and talk to God as I would a friend. He kicked me out of the room at 12:00 at night and I want on an hour prayer walk. This became a daily occurrence for over three months and has been the foundation of my relationship with Christ ever since.


Kostelny Paul

Mr. Paul Kostelny
School Board

BA US History-Carthage College; MA-UWM European History

Professional Profile
My name is Paul Kostelny. I have been teaching at CLA since 1997. I received my B.A. from Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin. Majoring in U.S. History and my M.A. from U.W. - Milwaukee specializing in Modern European History.

Statement of Faith
I BELIEVE in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired by God, inerrant in the original writing, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
I BELIEVE in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and is fully God and fully man.
I BELIEVE that man was created by a direct act of God in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. The result of which is that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, live in a lost condition and are in need of salvation.
I BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our own sins as a substitutionary sacrifice by shedding His blood on the cross as actual payment for those sins and that all those who believe and trust in His payment for their sins are justified, once forever, by the Grace of God.
I BELIEVE in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and His present life there for us as our High Priest and Advocate.
I BELIEVE in the personal and imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as the Blessed Hope of all believers.
I BELIEVE in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting punishment of the lost.


Bennett Philip

Dr. Philip Bennett
Superintendent of Schools

B.S. Mechanical Engineering; M.S., Phd, Theoretical & Applied Mechanics, U of I

Professional Profile
I did materials research for Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh for 4 years. For the next two years, I was head of the math and science department at Shelton College in Cape May, N.J. In 1969, I came to CLA and have been here since. I have worked in various capacities as teacher, headmaster, superintendent as well as serving as an elder in the Church of Christian Liberty.

Statement of Faith
The Lord gave me the gifts of faith and repentance at an early age and as long as I can remember I have trusted in Christ’s finished work at Calvary for my salvation. The righteousness that I have to stand in God’s presence is Christ’s imputed righteousness; I have none of my own.  The easiest way to describe what I believe would be to refer to the Westminster Confession of Faith which gives an excellent summary of where I stand.

 

Preschool

Kurz Sherry

Mrs. Sherry Kurz
Director

Bachelor Spec. Ed/Elem. Ed, Bradley University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Bradley University in 1978 and went on to teach handicapped adults. I served as the Family Services Coordinator for Lake County and Northern Cook County at Countryside Association in Palatine where I worked for 8 years until I got married and moved to Pennsylvania to serve as a pastor’s wife. In PA I worked with disabled young adults who were also mentally ill, many of whom had been in the prison system. I later home schooled my children, Alex and Aubrie, for 6 years. When they came to CLA to high school, I started in the preschool. I have been a camp counselor, flute teacher, Ladies’ Bible teacher, water safety instructor, and have taught Sunday school classes since 1988… teaching is my passion!

Statement of Faith
Around 1981, I trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, who shed his blood and saved me by grace through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9) I have served him ever since in the capacity of pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, and Christian school teacher. I love being able to teach Bible to young children and see the love they have for the Lord and His Word! My life verse: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 KJV


Bentz Dina

Mrs. Dina Bentz
Teacher

Cosmotology Cert., Cosmotology School and ECC

Professional Profile
I attended Elgin Community college and also received my Cosmetology License in 1989. I have served children and their families specifically in a teaching role since 1994 through various church related ministries. I have served alongside my husband at the church he pastors since 1996. I stepped in as a substitute in the preschool department at Christian Liberty Academy in 2004. I have been teaching as a preschool teacher at Christian Liberty Academy since 2005. I consider it a huge joy and privilege to be used by the Lord to train the children both academically and spiritually. Realizing that any CLA teacher’s role in each child’s life is to be the supplement and partnership to the grand calling that the Lord has placed on each parent in the training and admonition of the Lord; I take this position with great humility and strong responsibility.

Statement of Faith
I was raised in a God fearing home, but the Lord used strong trials and difficult circumstances to draw me into my own personal relationship with Him. It was through these trials that I came receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I have desired ever since to point as many as will hear the truth to our Loving Savior Jesus Christ. I have followed the path the Lord has led me on and have been blessed by His provision of the gifts, talents, and training needed and necessary for the ministries and positions He has called me to.


DeLaPena Daisy

Mrs. Daisy de la Pena
Teacher

Professional Profile
I graduated from the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1986 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. I immediately worked in my country’ s Department of State for nine years and got assigned to the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago in 1995. After my six-year term at the Consulate, it was time to change career. I worked part-time at the Children’s Ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel. Shortly after that I was blessed to have been offered a job at the Kids’ World Department of Arlington Heights Memorial Library until 2008. While still working at the Library, I was offered a Teacher’s Assistant position at the Christian Liberty Academy Preschool in 2004 and became a lead teacher in 2008. My teaching endeavor has been both a great blessing and a big responsibility for me.

Statement of Faith
I was born and grew up in a Catholic religion knowing that the way to go to heaven is following the 10 commandments and being a good person all my life. I always thank God for giving me the privilege to know His Son, Jesus Christ, personally. What a relief when I came to know that I cannot do anything to be able to save myself and gain a place in heaven on my own other than accepting Jesus Christ as my own personal LORD and SAVIOUR . I am a Christian but not a perfect one but I have a perfect God who is faithfully molding me to be the person HE wants me to be.


Im SunHee

Mrs. Sun Hee Im
Teacher

Professional Profile
My name is SunHee Im. I graduated from Sejong University in Korea. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in History (Major)/ Education (Minor). I have obtained a teaching certification for 6th - 12th grades in 1992. Also, I have obtained a certification for the Intensive English Program at UIC in 1993. Currently, I have been teaching at CLA since 2007 and I am teaching Sunday school at the Church of Bethlehem in Mt. Prospect. Also, since 2003, I have been teaching at the First United Church. I want to thank the Lord for this opportunity for me to serve and teach children because it seems like this is what God has called me to do. I love teaching them the word of God and spending time with them because it gives me joy and gratification.

Statement of Faith
I was invited to a revival at The Hebron Presbyterian Church. The speaker was a young paralyzed girl who couldn’t speak very well and was giving a message with her mom by her side translating for her since she was the only one who could understand her. The main point she was talking about was that our Father God is fair and just. Even though, she was paralyzed and not able to talk well. I couldn’t believe what she was saying how God is fair and yet she was thankful. I started to think that I am so blessed with everything. I asked God to forgive all my sins and come into my heart, and ever since then, Jesus became my Lord and Savior. After this experience, I wanted to get closer with God by reading and meditating on His word. My two sons have gone to CLA because I want them to start their life knowing God, and to learn how to serve the Lord. I would like to make them one of God’s people. Furthermore, God has given me an opportunity to guide and teach children the word of God. I believe this is God’s plan for my life and I am very happy to be here.


Velazquez Darley

Mrs. Darley Velazquez
Teacher

Harper College

Professional Profile
After graduating from Christian Liberty Academy in 2005, I attended Harper College for two years. I received an Associate in Arts Degree in 2007, graduating in the Honor’s Program. I have been working with Christian Liberty Preschool since my senior year of high school. I have been a substitute for several years, helping with each of the different classes as needed. Working with various preschool teachers has given me experience in different teaching methods and classroom discipline. In February 2012, I took charge of my own class of incoming students, and I am excited to continue with a new class this year, giving children a strong start in their academic studies. I want to instill a love of learning that will continue with them as they move forward in school.

Statement of Faith
I was taught the Word of God both at home, school, and church from a very young age. I believe that faith should affect your life more than simply the time you spend in church or in prayer. I try to make my students see how they are to treat each other with love and forgiveness, just as Christ loves them. Patience, kindness, self-control are some Fruits of the Spirit that I want to teach my students along with the alphabet, numbers, and colors.


Lee Joyce

Mrs. Joyce Lee
Teacher's Aide

Associates Degree Accounting, Oakton Community College

Professional Profile
My name is Joyce Lee. I am a Teacher Assistant in CLA Preschool since 2005. I graduated from Oakton Community College with an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Accounting in 1989. After graduation, I worked in Marvin Hershman, CPA firm for five years. I worked alongside the owner and one of the other CPA with computer based accounting work. Prior to CLA, I was working as a part-time staff in Morton Grove Park District Community Center for three years. I assisted and supported adults and children with disabilities to participate in the “Special Recreational and Inclusion Programs.

Statement of Faith
One of my best friends brought me to church, and I had been in a new believer class for seven times. I still had not committed my faith to Christ at that time. On a Sunday worship service in Hong Kong, I was sitting nicely and comfortably in the Church Balcony Level. When the pastor was calling for people to accept Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit urged and worked in my heart. I was struggling, my heart was pounding, and my hands were sweating. Finally, I surrendered to the Lord and proclaimed and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior in front of over two thousand people. Praise to our God!


Aguirre Patrice

Mrs. Patrice Aguirre
Teacher's Aide

BFA Fine Arts, Harper College & Judson University

Professional Profile
After graduating from Judson University, I was given the opportunity to return to Christian Liberty, where I attended high school, as a substitute in the preschool. Although I graduated with a Bachelors in Visual Fine Arts, I fell in love with the preschool and teaching. After a couple years as a substitute Teacher's Aid, I was blessed to be placed permanently in a class. Now I hope to continue at Christian Liberty for many years to come, and wish to, someday soon, return to school to earn an education degree.

Statement of Faith
I was blessed to have been raised in a Godly family. My parents and church have been faithful in teaching me and my siblings the love of God and the truth of His word. Throughout high school the faculty and staff at Christian Liberty continued to encourage me in my walk with God, and I am now truly blessed to be part of the school and it's ministry.


Mindak Michelle

Mrs. Michelle Mindak
Teacher's Aide

Professional Profile
I worked in the computer industry as a Managing Consultant for 12 years. I had the great pleasure of working with clients all over the United States. I was responsible for redesigning computer acquisition, distribution, and tracking processes utilizing our proprietary software within a variety of organizations. I was also responsible for training the clients on how to utilize and implement this software – in conjunction with the new processes that were developed – within their organization. My role required me to travel 5 days a week, every week, for months at a time. After marrying my husband in 2000, I decided to hang up my traveling shoes in order to start our family. My experience with CLA began as a parent with a preschooler in 2005. I was so impressed by the love, care, and biblical teachings given to the children that I wanted to be a part of it. Through God’s blessing, I joined the Preschool staff in 2008 as a Teacher’s Aide to Mrs. Dina Bentz. I am honored and extremely blessed to be working with God’s little ones and sharing the love of Jesus with them. God continues to richly bless me through this ministry.

Statement of Faith
While working with a wonderful, Christian client in Dallas, TX, I was introduced to and accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my savior in February, 1999. Several months later I met a Christian man, whom I would later marry. I am blessed to witness God’s faithfulness in my life every day. I strive to live a life worthy of Him. I have several Bible verses that I cling to, however, Philippians 4:13 is the one I refer to most often: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Kramer Gretchen

Mrs. Gretchen Kramer
Teacher

Professional Profile
Mrs. Gretchen Kramer is a Christian Liberty Academy graduate and the mother of two, she has been teaching since 2007. Children have always been a large part of her life as she comes from a family of ten! Her past job experiences as a nanny and a hostess of activities for children at a resort have helped her in her current job and given her many ideas for helping children learn in a group setting.

Her passion for her job and love of watching children grow every year and her flexibility and compassion when dealing with parents, children and staff have made her a very popular choice amongst preschool parents at CLA.

Gretchen’s goal is to work with you and your child to help them advance seamlessly into kindergarten and to help introduce a Godly spirit and a good work ethic into a young child’s life.


Salomonson Debbie

Mrs. Debbie Salomonson
Teacher

Professional Profile
Hi, my name is Debbi Salomonson. I attended college at Moody Bible Institute, Northern Illinois University and Wright Jr. College. My major was in education at all three schools.

I have been teaching since1986. I have taught 2 year olds, 3 year olds, Pre-K, and kindergarten. For 11 years I also home-educated my own children. I have always loved teaching. To watch each new class of children learn and grow academically, socially and spiritually is very fulfilling to me.

Since 1979 I have served at my church in many capacities. From being a nursery worker with babies to teaching Sunday school for many ages - 2 year olds through college age. I have taught and coordinated: children’s youth groups, Jr. High and Sr. High clubs, children’s choirs and musicals, vacation Bible school and children’s church.


Gonzalez Veronica

Mrs. Veronica Gonzalez
Teacher

Professional Profile
I graduated from Palatine High School and I attended Harper College for two years. I have past experience from working in the public school districts for 6 years. I had worked with preschool graders to third graders. I also have been working as Children’s Ministry Director and Vacation Bible School Director at church since 2005. I love what I do, I am very passionate about children and teaching God’s word to kids. My goal is to see children grow in a Godly spirit as well in academics.
I am a proud mom of three wonderful kids, two boys and a girl. I decided to leave the public school districts to be a stay home mom for six years. When my kids were ready to start school, so was I. I started looking and praying for a new job and God gave me the great opportunity to be a part of Christian Liberty as a teacher assistant in preschool. I have been working at Christian Liberty since 2007.

Statement of Faith
I was blessed to have been raised in a Godly family, I accepted the Lord at the age of 11. I believe that Jesus is the only Savior and the only way to eternal life. I thank Him for being in my life and I see His grace and faithfulness every day in my life. I serve God with all my hearth and I try to do everything that I do to His Glory.


Wouters Kathy

Mrs. Kathhy Wouters
Teacher's Aide

John Hersey High School

Professional Profile:
Before I began my family I worked at an insurance company in the word processing department, I then was a secretary for a small pharmaceutical company. For a number of years I worked for an appraisal firm as a secretary for the real estate department. I was a homemaker for 17 years and then began my career at Christian Liberty Academy beginning as a substitute teacher and helping with the lunch services part time. An opening presented itself in the KAP program of which I was apart of for three years. I am currently a teachers aid in the pre-school and have had the joy of working with Sherry Kurz since 2008.

Statement of Faith:
When I was a young girl, I understood that I was a sinner and in need of a Saviour. I simply placed my trust in the finished work of the cross personally for my salvation from sin. My Grandmother, who was my Sunday School teacher, had the privilege of teaching me about God's wonderful gift of salvation and was there when I placed my trust in God's Son Jesus Christ.


Miss Aubrie Kurz, Teacher's Aide

I graduated from CLA in 2008, and am currently a senior in college pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

Professional Profile
I have been working with children for 10 years as a nanny, AWANA teacher, and an assistant in preschool. I have almost completed my degree in Psychology and then plan to pursue a Master’s degree shortly after.

Statement of Faith
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”. (I Cor. 12:13) I believe that as part of our earthly ministry we should work together as the Body of Christ to serve the Lord in humility and love.


Miss Christiana Burnap, Teacher's Aide

Elgin Community College

Professional Profile
I was home schooled till my sophomore year of high school then I attended Griffin Christian School and graduated in 2010. Since then I have been taking classes at a community college and also classes online. I am looking to get a degree in the field of social work. I am certified in CPR and First Aid. In my younger years I worked as a Mothers helper and have babysat since I was about 10. I have in past years enjoyed volunteering at a nursing home and my local library.

Testimony of faith
I was born and raised in a strong Christian family but would have to say I gave my life to my loving Savior when I was 6 years old. Since then I have tried to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Around the age of 10 my dad became a pastor and I think that has helped me to really examine my decisions and choices in life. In 2008 my fire for the Lord and desire to help others led me on a mission’s trip to New Orleans where I not only helped rebuild people’s homes but was encouraged in my faith and was taught to be really thankful for what I have. I was baptized in 2009. In the midst of all of this I was a helper in children’s church, Awana and VBS.  I love the Lord for all He has done and look forward to what He has in store for me in the future.


Mrs. Melissa Irwin, Teacher's Aide

Master of Education, DePaul University, BS Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

Professional Profile
Melissa worked as Insurance Underwriter in Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company from 1992 till 1996. In 1997 she started working as English Teacher in Maine Township High School District 207, and she stayed there till 2000. Then she worked as a home school literature teacher in Truth in Action Academy, from 2000 till 2007. She started working in CLA in 2006 as preschool teachers' aide.

Statement of Faith
The Lord, Jesus Christ, opened my eyes to His Truth through the preaching and teaching of His Word to me, and I accepted Him, alone, as my personal Savior in 2002.  Since then, I seek to honor and serve Him daily in my life.

 

Kindergarten

Junior Kindergarten

Baer Rebecca

Mrs. Rebecca Baer

BA Elementary Education, Wheaton College, Wheaton IL

Professional Profile
My Illinois teaching certificate is for K – 9 with endorsements in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Early Childhood. I earned tenure in the Buffalo Grove Public School Dist. 102, teaching kindergarten and 1st grade. I enjoyed serving on the math committee and teaching dance and art in the afterschool programs and summer school. In 1997, I left to have my first of four children. In 2006, my search for the best school for my children led me to Christian Liberty Academy. The musician in me is thrilled to sing and dance with this exuberant age, but story time is really my favorite time of the day with my precious kindergartenters.

Member NCTM, Director of KinderStrings - Suzuki style violin troup for grades K-6 at CLA.

Statement of Faith
I remember praying with my father to receive Jesus as Savior when I was almost five. I want all children to know that same joy and confidence in our redeemer and friend, Jesus Christ. I believe God has a special plan for each of us, and it is a privilege to work with children and teach them how much God loves them. My husband and I are members of the Trinity Community Church in Libertyville, IL. It is super fun playing violin in the worship band at my church.


Sherwell Josie

Mrs. Josie Sherwell

Professional Profile
Following a decade-long career in the corporate "world," I discovered my true passion - educating young children. After continuing my education I was blessed to be hired as a Junior Kindergarten teacher at Christian Liberty, and have been teaching Junior Kindergarten since 1995. I love what I do and am so blessed to have a career I find so rewarding! I believe that a good teacher is one who continues to learn and I strive to continually improve with professional classes, publications, etc.

Statement of Faith
I came to faith in Jesus Christ as a young adult. I pray that each day I can show our Lord's love in my words and actions. I especially pray that I can show God's love in a very meaningful way to my students. "Whosever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me." Matthew 18:4-5.


Kim Sunny

Mrs. Sunny Kim

Early Childhood Ed., Harold Washington College, International Christian Education College

Professional Profile
I graduated from International Christian Education College with an Early Childhood Education in 1997 and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I also taught at Niles Korean School from 1997 - 2006. I started teaching pre-school at Christian Liberty Academy in 2005 and since 2006 I started teaching Junior Kindergarten. I have also been a Sunday school teacher since 1995.

Statement of Faith
My husband, Peter, is a Youth Pastor. Peter and I both attended Christian Reformed Church in Chicago and got married in 1991. We had Bible study group together and were both on the worship team. During the time we were serving at our church, we both believed that Jesus Christ is God and Savior. And after Peter graduated from Moody Bible Institute, he became a pastor. Since then, my faith in God has been growing and I have lived as a faithful pastor’s wife.


Gafrick Cindy

Mrs. Cindy Gafrick

BA Christian Education, Grove City College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Christian Liberty in 1988. I Graduated from Grove City College in 1992 with a BA degree in Christian Education.

Statement of Faith
I believe in Jesus Christ God's Son who died on the cross to save me and bring me to Himself.
I believe in proclaiming the Word of God without apology and with boldness. II Timothy 2:15 says that a workman needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

 


Senior Kindergarten

Ruta Char

Mrs. Charlene Ruta

BA Elem Ed; Masters classes – Spec Ed/Learning Disabilities, Northeastern IL University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Education, and a minor in Early Childhood Education. Course work was completed at Northeastern for a Master’s Degree in Special Education: Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities. I am certified in the state of Illinois, and taught in the inner-city of Chicago since 2003. I resigned when our first son was born, and was blessed to have been able to stay home with our children for 10 years. I resumed my teaching career at CLA when our youngest son began kindergarten.

Statement of Faith
I have taught senior kindergarten at CLA since 1991. It has been rewarding, and humbling, to be a small part of many students’ spiritual and academic growth. It is a privilege to partner with parents to “train their children in the way that they should go.” I was blessed to have been raised in a solid, Bible believing Christian family, and from my earliest years was taught to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) It is this Truth that I strive to teach my students. My husband, Joe, and I have made this our verse, also, as we raised our 3 sons. Our sons received their elementary and secondary education at CLA and moved on to advanced degrees based on a solid spiritual and academic foundations received at CLA.


Flores Maria

Mrs. Maria Flores

B.S. Teaching, NIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BS in Elementary K-8 and Special Education K-12. I began my career teaching Special Education at Grove School, Lake Forest, IL. I worked with autistic students ages 9-18. I then taught at Jesse Spalding School, Chicago, IL as a handicapped / Bilingual teacher. I taught primary age bilingual special needs students. I've been teaching kindergarten at Christian Liberty Academy since 1998.

Statement of Faith
I heard the "Good News" before going to college. While attending a bible teaching church as a visitor I heard the testimony of a godly woman. I accepted the Lord that day. I’ve been a member of Good News Bible Church since 1983 and I passionately serve in women's ministry.


Pittman Lena

Mrs. Lena Pittman

Professional Profile
I graduated in 1996 from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in Biology/ PreMed; however, having just begun my walk with the Lord, I felt the Lord leading me in another direction. I began studies at Trinity International University in order to satisfy my increased
hunger for God’s Word and interest in counseling. Once my first child was born, I began my destined career as a Mother and teacher. When our oldest was ready, I started homeschooling and taught my children for five years at home and in the various cooperative programs, in which
we were involved. In 2006, an opportunity to teach at Christian Liberty and enroll my children there arose. I started teaching in the preschool and then, the next year, began teaching Senior Kindergarten I, where I have been teaching ever since.

Statement of Faith
I grew up going to church because I was brought there and understood that we were “supposed” to go there. I had little knowledge of what it meant to be saved or know Jesus as my personal savior. I did often feel a “tugging” in my heart and a strong desire to know God more personally, as other seemed to know him, but I just did not know how. I was lost and sought love in many places having lost my strong source of loving care in my mother when I was young. When I went to college, I learned of a Bible study ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ) and; when I visited, I met young people who were “on fire“ for God and knew Him personally. Their relationship with Him was what I craved and they took time to explain to me how to obtain one. It was then, in 1994, that I began walking with God and made Him the Lord of my life. It was then that I found the love He gave and I realized that I needed to no longer seek it in other places or things.

 

Elementary School

First Grade

Kleinke Tina

Mrs. Tina Kleinke

BA in Early Childhood Ed., & IL certified, Concordia University and Triton College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Concordia University with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and I am a Certified Illinois Teacher. I have been teaching first grade at Christian Liberty Academy since the fall of 1999 and JSK Summer School since the summer of 2000.

Statement of Faith
I was born into a Christian home, and I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 12 years old at a youth retreat. I get excited when one of my students tell me they want to ask Jesus into their heart. Sharing who Jesus is to my students is one of the joys of teaching.

 


Edmonds Chris

Mrs. Chris Edmonds

Bachelor’s in Elementary Ed., Southeastern Bible College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Southeastern Bible College in 1982 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and Bible. Upon graduation, I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where I taught first grade for one year. After teaching in New Orleans, I moved to Chicago to work with an inner city mission where I coordinated a children's outreach ministry and wrote Bible curriculum until 1988. From 1994 through 2007, I served as a teacher's assistant in a Christian elementary school in downtown Chicago. During this time, I tutored children in reading, taught math, and physical education classes. In 2007, I accepted a first grade teaching position at CLA. This is my sixth year teaching first grade at CLA.

Statement of Faith
I trusted Christ as my Savior when I was twelve years old but did not mature in my faith until I attended Southeastern Bible College. There I learned God's Word and how to apply it to my daily life. Over the years, I have sought to know God more and make Him known to others. I can truly say there is no greater joy than knowing Christ and serving Him.


Second Grade

Wolke Lissette

Mrs. Lissette Wolke

BS in Biology, Northeastern IL University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While attending college, I taught Math and English for four years at a private school in Chicago called Language and Math Academy. After graduating, I worked at Baxter Healthcare Corporation for three years where I was a Department Coordinator for their IV Division. After the birth of my first daughter, my husband and I decided that it would be best for our family to have me stay home to raise our children. I have four daughters who all attend CLA. When my youngest daughter turned two, I began to pursue employment at Christian Liberty. I have been working at Christian Liberty Academy since 2009. I worked in after-care my first year. My second year, I was a teacher in the preschool. Then I worked full-time in the KAP program and also functioned as a Kindergarten Teacher’s Aide. In 2012 I also began to pursue a degree in Education. I am currently enrolled and working on my degree in Christian Education. When I graduate, I will have a degree with a double major in Biology and Christian Education. I am very excited and look forward to teaching second grade.

Statement of Faith
I came to know Christ as my Saviour when I was a child and went to a Bible church called Lakeview Bible Church in Chicago. I attended Sunday School and Awana there for many years. It was there that I put my faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for my sins. I believed that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and rose again to give me new life. In college, I met my husband who was also a Christian and attended a Bible church in Chicago. I began to attend church with him and continue to go there today. We are raising our four children in the faith and have shared the gospel of salvation with them so that they may have eternal security. I feel very blessed to be able to teach at a Christian school and share the gospel with my students in the classroom. In a world that is so Godless, I am thankful to be able teach my students to love the Lord.


Jalandoon Melody

Miss Melody Valdez

Elementary Ed, Moody Bible Institute

Professional Profile
I graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Elementary Education in 2011. During my years at Moody, I had the opportunity to apply what I was learning in various settings that challenged and stretched me in different ways. In 2009, I became a Sunday school teacher and taught 1st through 2nd graders for three years. In 2010, I tutored Reading to elementary students at Salem Christian School in Chicago. Later that year, I volunteered at By the Hands Ministry in the south side of Chicago, which is an after-school program and Ministry to inner-city kids. There, I was a Math and Reading tutor and a teacher’s assistant for a junior high class. During the spring break of my junior year at Moody, I student-taught in Mrs. Adam’s third grade class here. The following year, I became a student teacher at Midwest Christian Academy. I observed 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes then took on the responsibility of full-time teaching. Upon graduating from Moody, I was blessed to take up a position as a second grade teacher at CLA.

Statement of Faith
As I grew up in a Christian home, went to church and attended a Christian school, I had knowledge of the Gospel and who Christ was. But it was not until middle school when I learned more about what the Gospel means and how it affected me. I went to a camp through a youth group I attended and made a decision to live for Christ. In high school and through my college years, my commitment to Christ was challenged. However, those situations only brought me closer to Christ and allowed me to experience in a deeper way His great love and mercy. The journey of the testimony of my faith continues to this day, as I continue to encounter difficulties and hard times. But I have full confidence in God’s faithfulness and his guidance over my life.


Third Grade

Adams Jennifer

Mrs. Jennifer Adams

Elementary Ed. B.A. and Reading M.A., College: NEIU

Professional Profile
I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University in June of 1999 with a B.A. in elementary education (K-9), middle school endorsement, and psychology minor - type 03 certification. I began teaching Jr. Kindergarten at Christian Liberty Academy in September of the same year. I continued my professional development at NEIU and received my M.A. degree in reading in 2008 – K-12, type 10 certification. I taught 2nd grade for several years and then 3rd grade.

Statement of Faith
I was born and raised in a Christian home and turned my life over to Jesus at a young age. I believe that the Bible is God’s Holy Word and that we have a purpose here on earth to do His Will and be obedient to His Word. I believe that God gives us the ability to do the work He calls us to do for His kingdom. I am privileged to teach at Christian Liberty Academy.


Jindoyan Nevair

Miss Nevair Jindoyan

BA in English Literature, Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University in 2002 with a BA in English Literature. I began my teaching career at Christian Liberty Academy in the Fall 2003 as a 2nd grade teacher. In October 2007, the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to purchase a small business, so I continued to teach at CLA through June 2008 while running Newport Coffee House. While I enjoyed and was challenged in running a small business, the Lord provided a buyer early 2012 and I knew in my heart that it was the Lord's will for me to sell the store. I always knew that my passion was to teach and am very thankful to be back at CLA in 2013as a 3rd grade teacher.

Statement of Faith
Growing up in a Christian home, I was involved in the church through Awana Clubs and attending Camp Awana. I heard the Gospel at an early age and placed my faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ on my behalf. Because of my faith in Christ, I strive to live my life for the glory of God through the Holy Spirit who's at work in me.


Fourth Grade

Manahan Margaret

Mrs. Margaret Manahan

BAS Elementary Ed, Harper, Biola, Northern University

Professional Profile
I graduated from CLA in 1997, and attended Harper College for two years. After getting my associates I flew to sunny Los Angeles, California and attended Biola University. I took Christian Education Classes and Bible classes connected with Talbot Seminary. After an expensive year of college, I flew back to Chilly Chicago and finished up my Elementary Education Degree at Northern Illinois University. I began teaching 4th grade in 2003. I am a certified elementary teacher who believes learning should be fun and meaningful to students. I also love the Lord and want my students to not only learn more about Jesus, but to have a personal relationship with him. I encourage my students to do their best on tests, quizzes, and homework, because it will glorify God.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian family with a dad, Pastor Cole, who taught me early on to love Jesus. When I was seven I was at Vacation Bible School listening to the salvation message. I went home and prayed for Jesus to forgive my sins and let me go to Heaven. As I grew older I got a lot of head knowledge at school and church, but had not experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit. At a youth retreat in high school I finally felt truly close to the Lord and experienced his presence through worship. I rededicated my life to God and have been trying to serve him since. At Christian Liberty Academy I feel used by God to impact student’s lives for Jesus. I lead 1st through 3rd graders in worship at chapel, and I love teaching Bible class and helping my students to not only know more about God, but to have a personal relationship with My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Schustek Dan

Mr. Dan Schustek

MA Theological Studies, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School, Lynchburg, VA; BS Behavioral Science, National Lewis University, Evanston, IL; Association of Christian Schools International Educator Certificate; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America; New Tribe Bible Institute, Waukesha, WI

Professional Profile
I served in the United States Army, I am a Vietnam Veteran. I was a missionary with New Tribes Mission. I am a Staff member of Armitage Baptist church. I work as a 4th grade teacher at Christian Liberty Academy.

Statement of Faith
I was raised in a home where my mother took my siblings and me to church every Sunday. In the church I went to I often heard about Jesus and many other stories from the Bible. The problem was however, nobody ever took the teachings of the Bible and made them relevant to my everyday life.

Finally, one night in an Army barrack I came to understand what it truly meant to be a Christian. It was not anything that I could promise God or to do for Him. It was only by putting my complete trust in what His Son, Jesus, did for me on the cross. By taking the punishment for my sins I could now have a right relationship with God.


Fifth Grade

Meyers Jennifer

Mrs. Jennifer Meyers

BA Elementary Education, Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University in 2005 with a B.A. in Elementary Education and endorsements in Social Studies and Language Arts. I began working at Elk Grove Community Daycare Center and was the lead teacher in the school-aged room. Afterward, I began to follow a different passion of mine and got a job at a photography studio. However, teaching was truly what I wanted to do. In 2007, I began teaching 5th grade at Christian Liberty and have loved every moment of it.

Statement of Faith
My family went to church all the time. One day, the Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart during the hymn, “Just As I Am,” and it was then that I knew what I needed to do. I was around twelve years old when I accepted Christ as my Savior. He has been directing my path ever since from participating on worship teams to leading vacation bible school and now, to CLA. He is a huge part of my life, and I continually rely on Him day after day.


Beal Barbara

Mrs. Barbara Beal

Early Childhood Certification, BA Elementary Ed. Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I have been with CLA since 2001 where I started working as a substitute for all grade levels then began teaching three year olds with their new preschool program. I am a graduate of Trinity International University located in Deerfield, IL and have received Illinois teaching certification. I have Early Childhood Certification where I have been blessed to teach the preschool age since 1988. Some of my many experiences have been through owning my own daycare home, working on a military base childcare center in the state of Washington where I also received early childhood training, teaching and running game time in the Awana club program with the Chum/Guard girls (now renamed) since 2001, camp counselor for 3rd – 6th grade girls and teaching fifth grade at CLA since 2010.

Statement of Faith
I became a Christian at the age of ten through the Awana Club program at our church. My parents at the time were not saved but through the faithfulness of our neighbors my sister and I were driven to church every Wednesday for club. Though I had made a profession of faith at that time, I really did not understand God's unfailing love for me until I went to camp Timberlee at age thirteen. Since then, my life has been committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus to be God-man sent to atone for our sins so we may have eternal life and that we can experience a personal relationship with him. He is my Lord and salvation and I surrender my life to him every day so that I am found to be a faithful servant. My heart's desire is to be his hands and feet so students can know and understand how great God's love is for them. That they can see His plan in every subject being presented to them.

Middle School

Sixth Grade

Hessler Audrey

Mrs. Audrey Hessler

Language Arts/English, Elementary Education and Fine Arts, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

Professional Profile
As a graduate from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I pursued three areas of education: Language Arts/English, Elementary Education and Fine Arts. I use all of my educational background to share my faith in Christ Jesus. I am a teacher, speaker, author, occasional artist, and a poet. I have taught for many years and in other schools, but I have spent the greatest period of time at CLA where I love teaching and the strong Christian environment. My first year at CLA I worked part time with the founder of Christian Liberty Academy, Rev. Paul Lindstrom, and I helped on the 1995-1996 yearbook. The following year I became a full time teacher in the high school/junior high program and the full time yearbook teacher. At one point I was asked to teach sixth grade; I did so reluctantly. To my surprise I enjoyed the age group tremendously and still do after many wonderful years. Beyond my teaching, I am also a public speaker and a member of Christian Women Speakers. I speak at women’s teas, luncheons and retreats. I am a published author. I have written They Call Immanuel God With Us, A Christian Poetry Devotional. I am also a contributor to the book Daily Devotions for Writers and a book series Refined by Fire. Recently, I compiled the new version of the sixth grade literature book for Christian Liberty Press. One short story of mine and two poems are in the book to be published next year, Discovering New Worlds Through Literature.

Statement of Faith
During my youth, I knew Christ as my Savior. Being raised in a family of one parent a believer, one not, I fell away from the faith in my teens. After the death of my mother at the end of my college years the Lord brought me back to Him, and since then I am a fully dedicated follower of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I choose to live my life to the best of my ability, with the Holy Spirit’s help, as a “thank you” to the Lord. I believe I am called to be a teacher and now serve the Lord with my talents, knowledge, and gifts at Christian Liberty Academy. I love Scripture, but as a writer and a poet I especially like Acts 17:26-28: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said.


Stack Robert

6th - 8th Grade

Science: Mr. Robert Stack

BA, MBA, University of IL – Champaign-Urbana; Northern IL University

Professional Profile
I started teaching at CLA in 2000. I am very thankful to be here teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade science. My experience prior to teaching at CLA was 25 years in industry where I worked for IBM Global Services and Digital Equipment Corporation. I have a BA from the University of Illinois at Champaign and a Masters degree from Northern Illinois University and have been certified to teach by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In industry I was a certified IBM Project Management Executive and Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Professional.

Statement of Faith
I believe the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is the Word of Truth and the final authority in all areas of faith and practice. It is, in fact, the only truly reliable thing we have in the world in which we live. I am a Christian. I believe what the Bible declares to be true; that I am justified in God’s sight, unto eternal life, and saved from the debt and penalty of sin by God’s grace through faith, and that alone, in the finished work of Christ our Saviour, apart from works of any kind or at any time.


Groshek Jennifer

Science: Jennifer Groshek

BS in Clinical Laboratory Science, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP)

Professional Profile
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) in 2009 with a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science. I worked as a licensed medical technologist at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin for a year after I graduated. After about 6 months of working I decided to go back to school for teaching because I loved working with children and couldn’t see myself working in a lab for the rest of my life. I moved back to Stevens Point and worked in a clinic as a medical technologist while getting my BS in Natural Science with a teaching emphasis. I graduated from UWSP for the second time in 2012 with my BS in Natural Science, and was offered my first teaching job at Christian Liberty Academy. 2013 will be my first year teaching and I’m very excited to work with the students and staff at Christian Liberty Academy.

Statement of Faith
I became a Christian during my sophomore year of college after a friend had shared the gospel with me and taken me to church a few times. Making the decision to follow Christ has been the best decision I have ever made. The person I am today is because of my salvation. When I accepted Christ as my Savior I became a new person and began living my life to honor and glorify Him. There are times when I stumble, but I know that Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins; past, present, and future. This doesn’t give me free reign to sin whenever I want, but it is a comfort knowing that when I do fall short and repent that I will be forgiven. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6


Houdek Lisa

Math, Algebra 1: Mrs. Lisa Houdek

BA Elementary Education, College of Lake County; Roosevelt University

Professional Profile
A graduate from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2009, Lisa taught first grade at CLA for two years and transferred to teach math for grades 7-10. She has an endorsement in mathematics through graduate courses taken at Roosevelt University. During the 2011-12 school year Lisa taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Geometry. She will currently teach 7th grade math, Algebra 1 and Geometry. Lisa has also been CLA’s junior high volleyball Coach since 2009.

Statement of Faith
Lisa became a Christian as a child after hearing the gospel from her parents. She was raised in the church and an alumnus of Christian Liberty Academy. Lisa and her husband are members at Golf Road Baptist Church in Des Plaines, IL where her father-in-law is the pastor. Lisa knows that God wants her at CLA and her goal is to serve the students and guide them in their faith.


Kramer Wendy

History/UTT: Mrs. Wendy Kramer

Literature, Grove City College PA

Professional Profile
My name is Wendy Kramer. I have been a part of CLA since Jr. Kindergarten (Mr. Sherman was my Bible teacher!), graduating in 1983. I attended Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and received my degree in literature. I worked in the grading department of CLASS for many years. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first fifteen years of marriage, and have taught grammar, literature, world view, government and geography at CLA since 2003.

Statement of Faith
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and the fact that Jesus Christ is my Creator, Sustainer and Savior is the most important motivator to every part of my life and the center of all my teaching.

  


Spenner Amanda

Literature: Miss Amanda Spenner

BS Communications - Oral Roberts University, MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching), Oral Roberts University, Trinity International University

Professional Profile
Miss Spenner is a CLA graduate and she returned to CLA in the fall of 2003 where she began teaching first grade and was overcome with the joy of teaching and the desire to become a certified educator. In the fall of 2010, Miss Spenner began her master’s degree while teaching full-time. In May of 2012, Miss Spenner graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching, with high honors, from Trinity International University. She is also a certified teacher in the state of Illinois, with endorsements in Language Arts and Social Sciences.

Statement of Faith
Miss Spenner feels very blessed to have been raised in a Christian family. She has always attended Christian schools and universities, which is probably why she feels so strongly about the importance of Christian education. She is very involved at her church including singing on the worship team and in the choir, participating in a small group, attending services, and serving in various ministries when needed.

One of her favorite Bible verses is Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” This is a favorite verse because she feels closest to the Lord when she worships Him, and while she cannot fully comprehend what it will be like to spend eternity with the Lord, she cannot wait to gaze upon His beauty! Another favorite is Romans 12 because of how well it encourages the diversity of the body of Christ. Miss Spenner likes to read this chapter any time she works with students because it is an excellent reminder of how God has gifted each person with different skills and talents in order to do exactly what He has created him or her to do!

 

High School

Bible / Philosophy

Baldwin Doug

Mr. Doug Baldwin: 10th, 11th & 12th Grade

Professional Profile
I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Statement of Faith
Amongst many personal influences have been Kermit Welty who introduced me to the teachings of both RJ Rushdoony in my early teens and Francis Schaeffer a few years later. Both Dr Glenn R. Martin (1935-2004; Indiana Wesleyan University) and Dr Steven A. Sampson (also at IWU but now for many years at Liberty University in Lynchburg) were of profound influence in solidifying, expanding, and applying a Biblically based world and life view.


Benz John

Mr. John Benz: 9th Grade

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a home that was sympathetic towards Christianity but attended church with my best friend for ten years. When I was 15, I was invited by a friend to go to his youth group in the next town. I went to the youth group because I loved to play sports and they had a gym, but it was the worship that held me there. I had always thought of Christianity as something that good adults do, but when I saw people my own age passionately in love with Jesus, I began to think of it as something for me. I asked the youth pastor for advice about what to do next and he encouraged me to start reading my Bible, particularly the book of Romans. I began to read my Bible every night before I went to bed. One night I was exhausted and prayed for God to wake me up so I could read. I then washed my face and was wide awake. This was the proof I needed that God exists. So I gave my life to Him and have been following Him ever since. I can say that I fell in love with Christ in college. When wrestling with my faith, my roommate encouraged me to go on a prayer walk and talk to God as I would a friend. He kicked me out of the room at 12:00 at night and I want on an hour prayer walk. This became a daily occurrence for over three months and has been the foundation of my relationship with Christ ever since.


Constitution / Economics

Bennett Kurt

Mr. Kurt Bennett: 11th Grade Economics; 12th Grade Constitution

Professional Profile
I attended CLA during its early years and upon graduating in 1978 began my life as a carpenter. I went to Grove City College and studied history, politics and economics, continuing my education and maintaining these interests through reading. When CLA bought the Arlington building in 1985, they needed a carpenter, a locksmith, a glazier and later an Economics and Constitution teacher. I have been grateful to be able to serve the Lord at CLA in these positions and also in others that I was called upon to fill as were needed in a growing school. I continue to study the train wreck that is politics in our ever changing nation, and am able to include current events in both the economics and constitution classes. I still have the privilege of running the woodshop, teaching woods and more recently woodturning.

Statement of Faith
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…” Faith is a precious gift. Jesus Christ is both Creator and Lord of all things. He came to save sinners. I believe that. I cannot pinpoint the moment of my salvation, but thank God for His work in my life. I plead the precious promises of God as found in His Word.


English / Government

Kramer Wendy

Mrs. Wendy Kramer: 12th Grade World Literature; 9th Grade Government

Literature, Grove City College PA

Professional Profile
My name is Wendy Kramer. I have been a part of CLA since Jr. Kindergarten (Mr. Sherman was my Bible teacher!), graduating in 1983. I attended Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and received my degree in literature. I worked in the grading department of CLASS for many years. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first fifteen years of marriage, and have taught grammar, literature, world view, government and geography at CLA since 2003.

Statement of Faith
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and the fact that Jesus Christ is my Creator, Sustainer and Savior is the most important motivator to every part of my life and the center of all my teaching.

 


Spenner Amanda

Miss Amanda Spenner: Jr. High & High School Literature

BS Communications - Oral Roberts University, MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching), Oral Roberts University, Trinity International University

Professional Profile
Miss Spenner is a CLA graduate and she returned to CLA in the fall of 2003 where she began teaching first grade and was overcome with the joy of teaching and the desire to become a certified educator. In the fall of 2010, Miss Spenner began her master’s degree while teaching full-time. In May of 2012, Miss Spenner graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching, with high honors, from Trinity International University. She is also a certified teacher in the state of Illinois, with endorsements in Language Arts and Social Sciences.

Statement of Faith
Miss Spenner feels very blessed to have been raised in a Christian family. She has always attended Christian schools and universities, which is probably why she feels so strongly about the importance of Christian education. She is very involved at her church including singing on the worship team and in the choir, participating in a small group, attending services, and serving in various ministries when needed.

One of her favorite Bible verses is Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” This is a favorite verse because she feels closest to the Lord when she worships Him, and while she cannot fully comprehend what it will be like to spend eternity with the Lord, she cannot wait to gaze upon His beauty! Another favorite is Romans 12 because of how well it encourages the diversity of the body of Christ. Miss Spenner likes to read this chapter any time she works with students because it is an excellent reminder of how God has gifted each person with different skills and talents in order to do exactly what He has created him or her to do!


History

Kostelny Paul

Mr. Paul Kostelny: 10th Grade Ancient History; 11th Grade European History; 12th Grade U.S. History

BA US History-Carthage College; MA-UWM European History

Professional Profile
My name is Paul Kostelny. I have been teaching at CLA since 1997. I received my B.A. from Carthage College in Kenosha Wisconsin. Majoring in U.S. History and my M.A. from U.W. - Milwaukee specializing in Modern European History.

Statement of Faith
I BELIEVE in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired by God, inerrant in the original writing, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
I BELIEVE in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and is fully God and fully man.
I BELIEVE that man was created by a direct act of God in the image of God, that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. The result of which is that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, live in a lost condition and are in need of salvation.
I BELIEVE that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our own sins as a substitutionary sacrifice by shedding His blood on the cross as actual payment for those sins and that all those who believe and trust in His payment for their sins are justified, once forever, by the Grace of God.
I BELIEVE in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and His present life there for us as our High Priest and Advocate.
I BELIEVE in the personal and imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as the Blessed Hope of all believers.
I BELIEVE in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting punishment of the lost.


Mathematics

Houdek Lisa

Mrs. Lisa Houdek: Geometry

BA Elementary Education, College of Lake County; Roosevelt University

Professional Profile
A graduate from Roosevelt University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2009, Lisa taught first grade at CLA for two years and transferred to teach math for grades 7-10. She has an endorsement in mathematics through graduate courses taken at Roosevelt University. During the 2011-12 school year Lisa taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Geometry. She will currently teach 7th grade math, Algebra 1 and Geometry. Lisa has also been CLA’s junior high volleyball Coach since 2009.

Statement of Faith
Lisa became a Christian as a child after hearing the gospel from her parents. She was raised in the church and an alumnus of Christian Liberty Academy. Lisa and her husband are members at Golf Road Baptist Church in Des Plaines, IL where her father-in-law is the pastor. Lisa knows that God wants her at CLA and her goal is to serve the students and guide them in their faith.


Morrison Donna

Mrs. Donna Morrison: Algebra 1

BS Electrical Engineering, U of I @ Urbana-Champaign

Professional Profile
After receiving my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I worked for Motorola Cellular developing signaling software for their cellular switches. I was able to leave Motorola to stay home with my children while they were young, even home schooling them a few years. In 2005 I joined the staff at Christian Liberty teaching high school math and science. In addition to teaching, I now work in the guidance office as well.

Statement of Faith
During my sophomore year in high school, my neighbor brought me to the Mount Prospect Bible Church youth group. It was there, in response to hearing Titus 3:5 for the first time, that I was saved by the grace of God. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Praise the Lord for this blessed assurance of salvation! May the Lord be pleased to use me in the lives of my students as He used my neighbor in mine.


Chang Young

Mr. Young Chang: Algebra 2; Pre-Calculus (trigonometry) & AP Calculus

BA Secondary Mathematical Education, University of Iowa

Professional Profile
In 2008, I completed my studies at the University of Iowa with a BA in Secondary Mathematical Education. My first teaching post was as a part-time teacher at Waukegan High School. Soon after, I moved to Peoria to a full-time position at Manual Academy, where I taught for the next couple of years. In the spring of 2012 I was hired as a new math teacher at Christian Liberty Academy.

Statement of Faith
I am a follower of Christ who is called to be a teacher. My walk with Christ and my passion to educate did not begin from a particular moment but rather developed from a lifelong process. I was born into a Christian family in Bangladesh; my father is a missionary there and is still serving in that country. The value of helping others and sharing the love of God was not only taught, but lived out by my father. I live my life to glorify God; my true home and identity is in Jesus Christ.


Science

Ruta Dan

Mr. Dan Ruta: Biology and Anatomy & Physiology

BS & IL Sci Teaching Certification, U of IL Urbana-Cham & National Lewis University

Professional Profile
I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2008. While at U of I, I held an active role in undergraduate research in a genetic laboratory, and was also a Teachers Aid for a sophomore level molecular genetics class. It was during this course that the exposure to teaching really propelled my desire to teach science. Upon graduation from U of I, I received my teaching certification from National Louis University in Biological Sciences, and am currently continuing my Masters work in Education. I began teaching at CLA in the fall of 2010. As of 2012, my current roles include: Dean of Academics, Teaching Instructor for Biology as well as Anatomy & Physiology, and I also coach Boys Varsity Soccer.

Statement of Faith
Having been a graduate of CLA class of 2004 (attended K-12), I was immersed in hearing about the Gospel, so I identified myself in Christ at a young age. However, it was during late high school and early college that His Truth permeated deeper to the core of my being, and challenged me to spend myself for the sake of His Kingdom. I am blessed and humbled to partner with the Mission of God and the work of restoration and redemption in the lives of our students.


Groshek Jennifer

Jennifer Groshek: Physical Science and Chemistry

BS in Clinical Laboratory Science, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP)

Professional Profile
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) in 2009 with a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science. I worked as a licensed medical technologist at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin for a year after I graduated. After about 6 months of working I decided to go back to school for teaching because I loved working with children and couldn’t see myself working in a lab for the rest of my life. I moved back to Stevens Point and worked in a clinic as a medical technologist while getting my BS in Natural Science with a teaching emphasis. I graduated from UWSP for the second time in 2012 with my BS in Natural Science, and was offered my first teaching job at Christian Liberty Academy. 2013 will be my first year teaching and I’m very excited to work with the students and staff at Christian Liberty Academy.

Statement of Faith
I became a Christian during my sophomore year of college after a friend had shared the gospel with me and taken me to church a few times. Making the decision to follow Christ has been the best decision I have ever made. The person I am today is because of my salvation. When I accepted Christ as my Savior I became a new person and began living my life to honor and glorify Him. There are times when I stumble, but I know that Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins; past, present, and future. This doesn’t give me free reign to sin whenever I want, but it is a comfort knowing that when I do fall short and repent that I will be forgiven. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6


Speech

Bennett Amber

Miss Amber Bennett

BA English, Dordt College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Christian Liberty Academy in 2007 and moved from there to Dordt College where I earned my BA in English with an emphasis in writing in 2011. I spent 2012 working as a live-in nanny. During that time I became aware of a new position opening up in the CLASS program as an editor for high school essays and research papers beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. I applied and was accepted. Soon it became apparent that the day school also needed a speech teacher for their high school students. With a background in literature, speech, and theater, I offered to teach the course. Along with beginning an essay service and teaching a high school speech course, I am also beginning graduate school in the fall 2012. I will be studying with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a part of their information sciences program, emphasizing in library science.

Statement of Faith
I was born and raised in the Church of Christian Liberty. However, it became clear to me early on that my parents’ faith could not save me. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior around the age of fourteen. I have since then been seeking the Lord’s will and leading for my life. At this point, he has led me back to CLA where I trust he will use me as he sees fit.


 

Study Halls 9th Period by core subject:

  • MATH: M, W, F - Mr. Young Chang
  • HISTORY: Mr. Paul Kostelny
  • PHILOSOPHY: Mr. Doug Baldwin
  • SCIENCE: Mrs. Jennifer Groshek

 

Specialty

Student Activities Director

Bennett Jed

Mr. Jed Bennett

BS Political Science, Dordt College

Professional Profile
I graduated from CLA in 2004, and went to Dordt College in NW Iowa. I received a BS in political science. I originally thought I would go into police work and spent a year driving an armored truck. I was asked to come back to coach and found I had a real passion for it. I filled the rest of my hours as the evening security guard and have coached three varsity sports in 2009-2012. In 2013 I am dropping security and transitioning into director of student activities where I will be in charge of student council and service hours as well as speaking in chapel.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in the Church of Christian Liberty and was taught the Bible my whole life in my home, church, and school. I had a lot of knowledge at a very young age, but around the age of 11 I realized that even with all the knowledge I had I was still a sinner. I found a lot of comfort in the Psalms for the next few weeks and finally felt the peace of Jesus as my savior. I thank God for the Christian parents and grandparents He gave me in my life. Romans 8: 28 "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Christ, to those who are called according to His Spirit."


Art

Smith Judy

Mrs. Judy Smith

Professional Profile
Having grown up in an artistic home with the smells of oil paint and turpentine pervading, it was extremely likely that I'd have an interest in and desire for artistic expression. My mother had an Art Supply store and began a studio business, "BRINKERHOFF ART STUDIO", which I now own and operate. Teaching children at home, and admittedly, my unorthodox upbringing works to my advantage with my Afterschool Art Classes for 1st and 2nd grades. Sometimes, I wonder who's having more fun? The children, or me?
I've always believed in and had an interest for natural medicine, God's gift of plant-based materials for our well-being and healing. From this I was interested in beginning a course with Clayton College of Natural Medicine. But I quickly found that I had to decide between medicine or art as a career, which left me with the one that came more naturally. I've enjoyed my years teaching Art at CLA and hope that students will find that soft place within, where their real voice resides.
I recall having an abundance of art supplies to use any time the creative mood struck any one of us (which was daily). We had giant tablets to lie on and draw around our forms, clown make-up, pastels, watercolors, spray paints, clay of all sorts, dress-up wigs...and an unconventional set of 'rules' to go along with it all.

Statement of Faith
For several years, I sang with "The Rod Buzzard Band", while my new husband, a professional musician of 20 yrs. became their drummer. As our traveling/touring schedule filled up, my husband and I felt led to allow for his study in the ministry, with an eye for a pastoral position, and left the band.
After his attendance in, and ordination from Tulsa Seminary of Biblical Languages, we found ourselves as Pastor (and wife) of Church of the Living Bible, in Clarissa Minnesota. It was there that we were put in contact with Dr. Paul D. Lindstrom, and an invitation was issued to come and view the operations in the Chicago area. We fell in love with everyone we met and felt so 'at home' because of the like-mindedness in schooling and home-schooling goals, from a Christian perspective.


Morello Jeff

Mr. Jeff Morello

Professional Profile
I started doing art at the age of 4, and have never stopped since! I was in the art club in H.S. and won a few awards for my artwork. In college, I majored in ceramics and minored in graphic design at Western Michigan University. One of my first jobs was with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, in the promotion and advertising department. From there, I worked at Crown Center as a senior designer and from there I worked at a small advertising agency.

In 1971, I moved to Des Moines and took a job with Meredith Publishing in the special interests in book department. I worked at various places in Des Moines as a graphic designer and taught night classes in design and typeography at Iowa State University and Des Moines Community College. I came to Chicago in 1990 and worked at an advertising studio. I worked there to just before the studio closed its doors in 1993. I was informed about the possibility of an art teaching job at CLA. I interviewed, got the job, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Statement of Faith
I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that our only justification to God is through Christ's sacrifice for us. I love teaching and I am very glad to be at a school that puts God's Word first.


Bible

Baldwin Doug

Mr. Doug Baldwin: 10th, 11th & 12th Grade

Professional Profile
I have been teaching as CLA since the Fall of 1994 and have worked in the CLASS homestudy program since September of 1987. Primarily in the day school I have taught theology and philosophy from second through sixth grade and eighth grade through senior. In the home school program for the past sixteen years I have developed and graded various high school Bible courses. Also, I am a docent at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago; focusing on Biblically themed tours.

Statement of Faith
Amongst many personal influences have been Kermit Welty who introduced me to the teachings of both RJ Rushdoony in my early teens and Francis Schaeffer a few years later. Both Dr Glenn R. Martin (1935-2004; Indiana Wesleyan University) and Dr Steven A. Sampson (also at IWU but now for many years at Liberty University in Lynchburg) were of profound influence in solidifying, expanding, and applying a Biblically based world and life view.


Benz John

Mr. John Benz: 7th, 8th & 9th Grade

BA Biblical Studies; MDiv., Trinity International University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Trinity International University with a BA in Biblical Studies in 2004 and with an MDiv in 2008. I served for four years as a youth pastor at Fox Lake Community Church in Fox Lake, Illinois. In 2009, I started working for Christian Liberty Academy as the Chaplain and Bible teacher. I originally taught 6th, 8th and 9th grades but in 2010 I began to teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a home that was sympathetic towards Christianity but attended church with my best friend for ten years. When I was 15, I was invited by a friend to go to his youth group in the next town. I went to the youth group because I loved to play sports and they had a gym, but it was the worship that held me there. I had always thought of Christianity as something that good adults do, but when I saw people my own age passionately in love with Jesus, I began to think of it as something for me. I asked the youth pastor for advice about what to do next and he encouraged me to start reading my Bible, particularly the book of Romans. I began to read my Bible every night before I went to bed. One night I was exhausted and prayed for God to wake me up so I could read. I then washed my face and was wide awake. This was the proof I needed that God exists. So I gave my life to Him and have been following Him ever since. I can say that I fell in love with Christ in college. When wrestling with my faith, my roommate encouraged me to go on a prayer walk and talk to God as I would a friend. He kicked me out of the room at 12:00 at night and I want on an hour prayer walk. This became a daily occurrence for over three months and has been the foundation of my relationship with Christ ever since.


Rubel Sharon

Mrs. Sharon Rubel: Junior Kindergarten & Senior Kindergarten

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian home and made a confession of faith at an early age. God used a strong youth group, spending a summer telling Bible stories with CEF, camp counseling and other means to strengthen my early faith. My great love is seeing children excited about the Bible and understanding the truths written there.


Sicilian Laura

Mrs. Laura Sicilian: Junior Kindergarten; 2nd-6th Grades

Triton College

Professional Profile
From 1993-1997, I home schooled our three children, using CLA’s CLASS Curriculum.  I taught every subject, grades K – 8, including Bible. I taught Art classes at APPLETREE, a home school enrichment program in McHenry, for three years. I have been a teacher at Christian Liberty Academy since 1999. I have taught third grade science, spelling, American history and JK – 6th grade Bible. In 2012 I was a chapel speaker once a week, and I’m substituting in 2013. I’ve been a private tutor in McHenry, for several years.

Statement of Faith
In 1973, I attended a Billy Graham Crusade at McCormack Place, in Chicago. I heard the Gospel and responded. I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive my sins and fill me with His Spirit. Now I live by faith in the Son of God Who loves me, and gave Himself up for me!


Computer

Yang Victor

Mr. Victor Yang

BS Math Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

Professional Profile
Previous work experience includes working on the “Geek Squad” at Best Buy and on the Web Development Team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Shortly after graduating from UIC and just prior to coming to CLA, the Lord opened the door for me to be accepted into the JET Program, a language and cultural exchange program in Japan, where participants teach English and culture in public elementary, junior high, and/or high school. For 3 wonderful years I taught in 9 elementary schools and 2 junior high schools and fell in love with teaching along the way. Returning to the states, I had no idea whether to return to the computer industry or to pursue teaching. But the Lord knew where He wanted me to be. And by “coincidences” upon “coincidences” the Lord opened doors and provided this position for me here at CLA; which perfectly blends my background (computers) with my passion (teaching) and my faith (in Christ alone). God is good!

Statement of Faith:
In elementary school, I used to *love* going to church with my mom every Friday night for Bible Studies... because it was for adults only! Kids got to have fun running around all over church unsupervised. It was great! Nothing but unlimited free time to play every Friday night! That is, until one day when a missionary couple joined our church and noticed this ministry need. I still remember that night when I was playing hide and seek with my friends. In the middle of our game we were all suddenly rounded up like sheep and herded into a classroom for childrens Bible Study. I thought it was the saddest day of my life! A wonderful era had ended. But it was through this couple’s faithfulness and obedience to the Lord, that they began childrens Bible Study at my church and later led me to the Lord. And a wonderful new era had begun.


Languages

Kwiatkowski Ann

Mrs. Ann Kwiatkowski: French Instructor

BS. Secondary Education-S.V. Baptist Bible College

Professional Profile
I have been working at Christian Liberty Academy since 1997, serving the Lord as a third grade and French High School teacher. Along with teaching during school hours, I teach Taekwondo as an after school program. I met my husband at Moody Bible Institute where both of us have graduated in 1987. I worked with Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Illinois at Chicago for three years and was also a counselor at the Pacific Garden Mission until the birth of my first son in 1991. I received a B.S. in Secondary Education from S.V. Baptist Bible College in 1999. I have been involved with Greater Europe Mission. I was given the opportunity to teach English in France. I am currently taking classes from Louisiana State University. I am furthering my education toward my Master. I am also a 5th Dan Master in Taekwondo, certified from The World Taekwondo Federation in Korea where I took four different trips to train with the Korean Olympic team at Yong In University.

Statement of Faith
When I was eighteen years old, my brother told me about Christ. I was so excited to hear that Jesus could forgive my sins. Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”. I let Jesus Christ in and this was the beginning of a new life. I started reading God's Word and began my spiritual growth in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Savior!


Rosado Carmen

Mrs. Carmen Rosado: Spanish Instructor

Professional Profile
¡Saludos! My name is Mrs. Carmen Rosado, I am also called Senora. I have the pleasure of teaching Spanish I, II, III and AP. I have been teaching here at Christian Liberty Academy since 1993. I have a B.A. degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Growing up in a Spanish speaking home exposed me to the rich culture and language of the Spanish speaking people. Over the years I have been blessed to visit Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain. During each of these visits I was amazed at the vastness and wonderful difference of these lands and people.

Statement of Faith
I am a born again Christian. As a young mother I dedicated my life to the Lord and have been depending on His grace and mercy ever since. I share with you scripture that both led me to my decision to follow Christ and still live by today. Matthew 7: 24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who build his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”


Physical Education

Rowland Joseph

Mr. Joe Rowland: boys' P.E. all levels

BA Education, Judson University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Judson University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. Upon graduation I was hired on as head Physical Education instruction teacher at Fox Valley Christian School in McHenry IL for the following school year. While there I had the opportunity to teach in a coed environment to students ranging from elementary through high school. During the summer of 2007 I was offered a job to teach PE at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights IL. While there I have been able to work with a large number of students from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I have juggled class schedules which include students with daily PE classes and other students with alternating every other day class. Outside of the classroom I have been able to gain experience coaching 6th grade basketball, HS and Junior High baseball, and scorekeeping for all levels of girl’s volleyball. I currently teach and coach for the Christian Liberty Academy Chargers.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian household in the McHenry area. Like a lot of people having that foundation was great, but didn’t mean as much until I accepted Christ in my heart as my personal Savior at a youth group retreat at the Timber-Lee campgrounds during High School. I believe that life without the forgiveness and hope we have in Jesus is meaningless by comparison. I desire to put the abilities and skills God has given me to serve Him as I seek his guidance.


Schustek Dan

Mr. Dan Schustek: Dynamics of Fitness for High School

MA Theological Studies, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School, Lynchburg, VA; BS Behavioral Science, National Lewis University, Evanston, IL; Association of Christian Schools International Educator Certificate; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America; New Tribe Bible Institute, Waukesha, WI

Professional Profile
I served in the United States Army, I am a Vietnam Veteran. I was a missionary with New Tribes Mission. I am a Staff member of Armitage Baptist church. I work as a 4th grade teacher at Christian Liberty Academy.

Statement of Faith
I was raised in a home where my mother took my siblings and me to church every Sunday. In the church I went to I often heard about Jesus and many other stories from the Bible. The problem was however, nobody ever took the teachings of the Bible and made them relevant to my everyday life.

Finally, one night in an Army barrack I came to understand what it truly meant to be a Christian. It was not anything that I could promise God or to do for Him. It was only by putting my complete trust in what His Son, Jesus, did for me on the cross. By taking the punishment for my sins I could now have a right relationship with God.


Salsgiver Natalie

Mrs. Natalie Salsgiver: girls' P.E. all levels

BS in BA, Columbia College in Missouri

Professional Profile
I graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with a Bachlor of Science in Business Administration. I have been working at Christian Liberty Academy full time since 2000 but I have been coaching here since 1997.

Statement of Faith
I came to faith at a Christmas tea with Shirley Drazba. Though I always loved the Lord I had no idea I could have a personal relationship with Him. Since the Lord opened my eyes, I have not looked back!! One fall I first noticed a difference in my sister and brother-in-laws relationship and I was curious. I started to go with them to their church and Faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord! By Christmas I found my identity in Christ alone.

 


Auto Shop

Kramer Paul

Mr. Paul Kramer

Professional Profile
My name is Paul Kramer. I began attending CLA in seventh grade, and graduated in 1982. I began working with the CLASS program in 1982, and am currently the building engineer. I have gained much of my learning from experience working with my step father, who was a plumber and a builder, and from specific courses for various skills such as HVAC, welding, and asbestos abatement. I have taught auto shop at CLA since 1999.

Statement of Faith
I was convicted during daily chapel services by the preaching of our former pastor, Paul D. Lindstrom, when I began attending CLA. Before long, I was attending the Church of Christian Liberty as well as the academy. I am forever grateful for the ministry of Christian Liberty and so great a salvation through Jesus my Lord and seek to glorify God in all my duties at CLA.


Band, Music & Choir

Rubel Sharon

Mrs. Sharon Rubel: Elementary & Middle School Choir

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian home and made a confession of faith at an early age. God used a strong youth group, spending a summer telling Bible stories with CEF, camp counseling and other means to strengthen my early faith. My great love is seeing children excited about the Bible and understanding the truths written there.


Held Peter

Mr. Peter Held: Director of Band, Orchestra & Choir and Music for 3rd - 8th Grade

K-12 Teacher’s License Music Education, Wheaton College Conservatory of Music

Professional Profile
In May of 2011 I graduated from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Education and a K-12 Illinois Teaching License. As a student of the French Horn from the age of eleven, I had the opportunity to study under a number of respected teachers, and many opportunities to perform in a variety of venues ranging from small churches in across the country to the Symphony Center in Chicago. In my time at Wheaton College, the Lord called me into the teaching profession, and the last few years I had opportunity to hone that calling teaching both musical and non-musical subjects. I had the privilege to teach music at Naperville North High School, Peacock Middle School in Itasca, and private lessons at a local Chicago land music school. I also spent a year selling musical instruments for Sam Ash Music. The Lord used all of these experiences to prepare me for my first year teaching at CLA (2013).

Statement of Faith
I put my trust in Jesus Christ at a young age. I grew up in a home where God was worshipped and obeyed, and my parents brought me up in "the worship and admonition of the Lord." At the age of four I had a simple understanding that without Jesus, I was spiritually dead and deserving of eternal punishment. But God sent his son Jesus (fully God and fully Man) to die an undeserved death on the cross, paying for my sins so that I might be saved from condemnation. Following that understanding and commitment to him as my Lord and Savior, I have been in a long journey of sanctification and learning to trust God above all else. As God slowly reveals his plan for my life, I marvel at his masterful hand and creativity. I now joyfully give my life to point the next generation to their creator and savior.


Culinary Arts / Lunch Program

Almy Tim

Mr. Tim Almy

Food Service Director, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts

Professional Profile
2000 Honor Graduate, Kendall College School of Culinary Arts
2000-2001 Catering Director, Marriott Corporation
2001-2004 Executive Chef, Marriott Corporation; Campus Dining at Trinity Int. & Northwestern Universities
2007-2011 Owner & Operator, Timmy’s Sandwiches and Ice Cream
2004-2012 Food Service & Facilities Director, Lydia Home Chicago

Testimony of Faith
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10
It is by His grace, that Christ revealed himself to a liar like me through His Word. Though I had knowledge of salvation and Scripture from an early age, it was by His working in my in my early teen years through trials that the Lord drew me to Himself. Though I had the knowledge of Scripture in my mind prior to my teen years, I was still a rebel and enemy of God lost without hope.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:6-8.
I continue daily, as a sinner saved by grace to seek His will and be faithful and obedient to Him. I praise the Lord that He sought me ought, not because of anything I have done, but solely by His grace that I have been saved. Christ’s perfect life, atoning death on the cross (blood sacrifice) and conquering death are why I do not stand condemned any longer. His perfect righteousness covers me.
So I can say with the hymn write, Hallelujah! What a Savior.
“ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9


Sewing

Rubel Sharon

Mrs. Sharon Rubel

BA Biology, Cornerstone & Calvin College

Professional Profile
I received my BA from Grand Rapids Baptist College (Now Cornerstone University) in Michigan with a major in Biology. I received a BS from Calvin College in Science Studies where I received my teaching degree. I taught one year in Michigan before getting married and moving to Illinois. I started teaching at Christian Liberty in 1986. I have been able to develop and pass on my deep love of the Bible and music throughout these many years. My music teaching began my second year as I worked with Kindergarten. I began directing the Christmas program in 1989, spring programs a few years later and Drama, Jr. in 2002. I am truly blessed to be at a school where I can use my God-given talents to glorify our great God.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian home and made a confession of faith at an early age. God used a strong youth group, spending a summer telling Bible stories with CEF, camp counseling and other means to strengthen my early faith. My great love is seeing children excited about the Bible and understanding the truths written there.


Woodshop

Bennett Kurt

Mr. Kurt Bennett: 11th Grade Economics; 12th Grade Constitution

Professional Profile
I attended CLA during its early years and upon graduating in 1978 began my life as a carpenter. I went to Grove City College and studied history, politics and economics, continuing my education and maintaining these interests through reading. When CLA bought the Arlington building in 1985, they needed a carpenter, a locksmith, a glazier and later an Economics and Constitution teacher. I have been grateful to be able to serve the Lord at CLA in these positions and also in others that I was called upon to fill as were needed in a growing school. I continue to study the train wreck that is politics in our ever changing nation, and am able to include current events in both the economics and constitution classes. I still have the privilege of running the woodshop, teaching woods and more recently woodturning.

Statement of Faith
Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it…” Faith is a precious gift. Jesus Christ is both Creator and Lord of all things. He came to save sinners. I believe that. I cannot pinpoint the moment of my salvation, but thank God for His work in my life. I plead the precious promises of God as found in His Word.


Yearbook

Hessler Audrey

Mrs. Audrey Hessler

Language Arts/English, Elementary Education and Fine Arts, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

Professional Profile
As a graduate from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, I pursued three areas of education: Language Arts/English, Elementary Education and Fine Arts. I use all of my educational background to share my faith in Christ Jesus. I am a teacher, speaker, author, occasional artist, and a poet. I have taught for many years and in other schools, but I have spent the greatest period of time at CLA where I love teaching and the strong Christian environment. My first year at CLA I worked part time with the founder of Christian Liberty Academy, Rev. Paul Lindstrom, and I helped on the 1995-1996 yearbook. The following year I became a full time teacher in the high school/junior high program and the full time yearbook teacher. At one point I was asked to teach sixth grade; I did so reluctantly. To my surprise I enjoyed the age group tremendously and still do after many wonderful years. Beyond my teaching, I am also a public speaker and a member of Christian Women Speakers. I speak at women’s teas, luncheons and retreats. I am a published author. I have written They Call Immanuel God With Us, A Christian Poetry Devotional. I am also a contributor to the book Daily Devotions for Writers and a book series Refined by Fire. Recently, I compiled the new version of the sixth grade literature book for Christian Liberty Press. One short story of mine and two poems are in the book to be published next year, Discovering New Worlds Through Literature.

Statement of Faith
During my youth, I knew Christ as my Savior. Being raised in a family of one parent a believer, one not, I fell away from the faith in my teens. After the death of my mother at the end of my college years the Lord brought me back to Him, and since then I am a fully dedicated follower of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I choose to live my life to the best of my ability, with the Holy Spirit’s help, as a “thank you” to the Lord. I believe I am called to be a teacher and now serve the Lord with my talents, knowledge, and gifts at Christian Liberty Academy. I love Scripture, but as a writer and a poet I especially like Acts 17:26-28: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said.

 

Support

Dayschool Office

Horstman Mary Beth

Mrs. Mary Beth Horstman, Secretary

Professional Profile
I started working at Christian Liberty Academy in 2003. I take care of the books, teacher substitutes, and daily office duties. I was a home school mom before working at Midwestern Christian Academy in Chicago.

Statement of Faith
In 1978 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior after years of thinking I was "good enough" to get to heaven. Because of His love and grace for me, I have a personal relationship with my Lord! He gives us the free gift of salvation, and all we have to do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

 

 

 


Kott Beth

Mrs. Beth Kott, Secretary

Professional Profile
Beth Kott is a secretary in the day school office. She started working at CLA in 2001 and she is the detention monitor and handles attendance.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Christian home where both parents took the time to open up the Bible and shared God’s plan of salvation with me. When I was a child I trusted that Jesus Christ had died for my sins and was saved. I’m thankful for God’s word and His abundant Grace that carries me through each day. “But God commendth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 

 


Kramer Nancy

Mrs. Nancy Kramer, RN, BSN - School Nurse / Weekly Emails

BS in Nursing, Bradley University

Professional Profile
I graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976 and began my nursing career at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago working as a Charge Nurse and then a Staff Nurse Specialist in Orthopedics until 1980. I moved on to work at the Cook County Dept. of Public Health as a Public Health Nurse until 1983 and then was offered the Head Nurse position in Pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago where I remained until my first son was born. While my children were growing up I worked as an agency nurse so that I could be home with my children as much as possible. In 1996 Pastor Paul Lindstrom and Dr. Philip Bennett asked me to be the first Christian Liberty Academy School Nurse, and the Lord has led me to make this my home since that time. I initially did nursing from the School Office and also shared secretarial duties with the School Office staff. I currently still do school emails.

Statement of Faith
My husband and I came to faith after hearing the Gospel from Pastor Paul Lindstrom at my brother-in-law’s wedding and we have been here at the Church of Christian Liberty ever since. My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ defines who I am, in and out of the Nurse’s Office and classroom. Through my faith, I know that I have been called to be here at CLA at this time. I pray and must have faith that the Lord will use me to lead and guide the students He puts in my life to develop and examine their own faith.


Pernal Arlene

Miss Arlene Pernal, Admissions Director - Registrar

Arlene Pernal is the CLA Registrar. She has worked in this position since 2006. All student records, grades, class placements and schedules are handled by her. She has led a Women’s Bible Study in her church since 2002.

 

 

 

 

 


Fortner Jeanette

Mrs. Jeanette Fortner, Registrar

Professional Profile
After 15 years of working in the Healthcare Software industry the good Lord led me, through the prayers of my daughter, to CLA, where in 2013 I started working in the Office as a Registrar.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Catholic home but didn’t give my life to Jesus until my late twenties with the help of Christian girlfriends.  After giving my life to the Lord I have been on an amazing journey and can’t imagine life any other way.  My life verse is Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and be constant in prayer”.

 

 


Librarians

Bennett Amber

Miss Amber Bennett

BA English, Dordt College

Professional Profile
I graduated from Christian Liberty Academy in 2007 and moved from there to Dordt College where I earned my BA in English with an emphasis in writing in 2011. I spent 2012 working as a live-in nanny. During that time I became aware of a new position opening up in the CLASS program as an editor for high school essays and research papers beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. I applied and was accepted. Soon it became apparent that the day school also needed a speech teacher for their high school students. With a background in literature, speech, and theater, I offered to teach the course. Along with beginning an essay service and teaching a high school speech course, I am also beginning graduate school in the fall 2012. I will be studying with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a part of their information sciences program, emphasizing in library science.

Statement of Faith
I was born and raised in the Church of Christian Liberty. However, it became clear to me early on that my parents’ faith could not save me. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior around the age of fourteen. I have since then been seeking the Lord’s will and leading for my life. At this point, he has led me back to CLA where I trust he will use me as he sees fit.


Forsythe Barbara

Mrs. Barbara Forsythe

Professional Profile
A graduate of East Leyden High School in 1977, I went to work full time the day after. Living in Schiller Park, IL I worked at a manufacturing company doing all of the computer work. This was just before the personal computers so I worked in a computer room with a large NCR computer before me. I left the company to get married in 1979.

I began helping in the small christian school that was there for the children of the church. I first did some substituting and then taught first grade for a while till our first child was born. I also attended Bible school in the evenings with my husband Roy.

I started working in the CLA library in 2000 and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here.

Statement of Faith
I grew up going to an Evangelical church. My grandmother saw to that. I did not always appreciate it but I did learn the Bible going to Awana and going to Sunday school. When I was 19 years old I realized that I was not saved and was quite miserable. An old friend of mine called me and told me he got saved. I knew I had to visit that church to see what was so special there. I went to visit one Sunday evening and it hit me that I did not have to live in misery. I knew that I needed to trust Christ to take away my sins and put me on a new path and he did.


KAP - Kindergarten Activity Program

Monasterio Melissa

Mrs. Melissa Monasterio, KAP Director

Professional Profile
In 1985, I graduated from William Fremd High School, where I took several classes on child care, child development, and parenting. Immediately following high school, I attended Arlington Academy of Beauty Culture and received my Cosmetology License. I worked in my family's hair salon business, in both Des Plaines and Park Ridge, from 1986‐2002. In 2002, I began working at Christian Liberty Academy in the K.A.P. (Kindergarten Activities Program.) department. Throughout my time here, I have also served as a teacher’s aide and reading coach. In 2011, I became the K.A.P. Director, and I am currently overseeing the kindergarten students in this program.

Statement of Faith
I grew up in a Catholic home and I attended church regularly. However, I never understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. Knowing about Christ was easy, but choosing to make him Lord of my life and committing to follow him was an entirely different matter. After hearing a powerful salvation message I made the decision on June 23, 1986 to accepted Christ as my Savior, and I have been blessed ever since. After this I got involved with my church and participated in a 2 ½ year Bible Study where I began to learn and study the Bible daily. I also attended several parenting Bible studies, as well as Leading an excellent wife Bible study. It was during this time that I was lead by God to serve in the Church’s child care where I volunteer for several years. After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I decided that I needed to make a career change. After spending 17 years doing hair and making people look good on the outside, I realized that God was calling me to work with children and to use the gifts He has given me to impact their hearts and lives. As a result, I began working at Christian Liberty Academy, and have been so blessed by the students and staff. God is faithful, and nothing makes me happier than knowing that I am doing God’s work.