Bio Coming Soon
Kathleen Lynch has a Bachelor’s of Science (a dual degree in Elementary Education & Special Education, and a minor in Psychology), a Master’s of Science in Education in Special Education & Supervision and one in Curriculum & Administration. She began her career teaching 8th grade in South Dakota, in a small rural school district, with two one-room school houses. She also had the opportunity to coach volleyball and basketball at the high school level, with a state qualifying team in 1994. In 1995 she moved to Illinois and taught in, District 54: Schaumburg and District 200: Wheaton. After attaining her masters she coordinated a research project at NIU which concentrated on educating pre-service teachers (regular and special education students) in the areas of collaboration, assistive technology and special education in the inclusive environment. With this team, she presented both at state and national conferences and assisted with research for published educational research articles. She continues to work as an adjunct for NIU in their special education department teaching direct instruction and curriculum as her schedule permits.
Currently she is the Director of Student Services. She has been at PCCS since January 2004 and was previously the Director of Special Education, Special Education Supervisor and Administrative Consultant. She and her family are very athletic and can be found regularly participating in/or watching athletic events. Kathleen’s family is spread across the country so her vacations are spent traveling far and wide, and she enjoys traveling abroad with her husband when she has the chance.
Andrea Koeniger brings a unique skillset to the Dean of Faculty and Students position at Prairie Crossing Charter School. Having spent twelve years in the classroom, she is able to provide insight and leadership to both teachers and students. Her years in the classroom, from 1999 until June of 2012, allowed her to see the inherent benefit of constructivism and problem based learning within the classroom setting. Her goals as Dean are mirrored by her goals while in the classroom: to build a learning environment from the ground up which is exciting, engaging, and validating for students. Andrea’s commitment to fellow teachers has been no less intense; she served in multiple teacher-leader roles during her time at PCCS where she strove to be the voice for teaching staff, understand the goals of PCCS administration, follow the mission and values contained in the Charter, and all the while remembering that the students of Prairie Crossing Charter School were the essence of her work.
While Andrea has lived and worked in Nashville, Tennessee, camped in many National Parks across the U.S., and traveled throughout Europe, her heart is firmly grounded in Illinois and at Prairie Crossing Charter School. Years of learning with her students through solo-spots, 5th and 6th grade campouts, and countless outdoor activities has only served to intensify her love for the outdoors and all the lessons contained there. Her spare time is divided between spending time with her dad, her dog, Baxter, as well as reading, hiking, and paper crafting.
Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Elementary Education as well as a Master’s of Education Degree in Administration and Supervision. She has been a member of the PCCS staff since 2002.
Naomi Hershiser started working at Prairie Crossing Charter School as a part time contractor in 2003. She signed on as a full time environmental education teacher in 2005, and worked in that capacity for the next 7 years. In 2012, she transitioned to an administrative role. As the Dean of Environmental Programs and Integrated Curriculum, she oversees and coaches teachers as they implement PCCS' integrated environmental curriculum. She works towards helping the school live up to its values, focusing on Ecological Understanding and Environmental Stewardship. Over the years, Naomi has shared wonderful and memorable experiences with the students at PCCS - from owl prowls to campouts, getting sweaty on sunny days to shivering through winter storms. She is proud to be involved in such an important educational innovation.
Naomi received her BA from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. This experience taught her the value of learning to learn and the importance of life-long knowledge-seeking. She got a post-graduate certificate in Environmental Education from the University of MN Duluth and a Masters of the Arts in Teaching from Dominican University.
Before coming to Prairie Crossing, Naomi worked at the Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, IL, where she taught classes on field trips and directed the summer programs. She spent one adventurous year teaching at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN - which is WAY up north and just as cold and snowy as it sounds. Before that, she taught for a year at Driftwood Nature Center in Saint Simon's Island, GA. Through her years in high school and college, Naomi spent summers working camps at Heller Nature Center in Highland Park, IL, where she grew up. These experiences are where Naomi discovered her passion for teaching kids outdoors, and form the foundation of Naomi's career in environmental education.
When not working, Naomi and her husband (5th-6th grade teacher Mr. Hershiser) enjoy gardening; Naomi cooks and preserves local foods. She is an avid nature journaler and botanical artist. Naomi's most recently acquired hobby is running, which she tries to do 3-4 times a week. Her guilty pleasure is cat-napping with a good book and her two cats.
Dil Dybas began working at PCCS in August of 2007. She and her husband have one child, Rebecca, who attends the school. Dil divides her time at PCCS doing PR/Community Relations and working in the Special Education Office. Dil grew up in Libertyville and attended Lake Forest College, where she obtained a BA in Psychology. Prior to working at PCCS, Dil was employed for several years at a private social service agency, where she worked as a foster care and adoption case manager. In her free time, Dil enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, Charley, and loves reading, baking, and music.
Janette Siegel began working at PCCS in 2004. She has worked in many different classrooms, coordinated the After School program, and now serves the school as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director. Before working at PCCS, Janette worked for 12 years in the Stock Market. She has three children who graduated from PCCS and enjoyed a wonderful educational experience. Her passion and dedication to the school is something that has never wavered. She truly believes the education that the students receive here is far superior to other institutions in the surrounding areas.
Janette enjoys hiking, camping, and spends as much time outdoors as possible. Janette’s family (which includes her husband, three sons and one large dog) love the outdoors and make several trips a year to the upper peninsula of Michigan to spend time with friends and family.
Kathryn McDermott received her Associates in Arts degree from Columbia College. Before coming here to PCCS as the school secretary, she worked as an administrative assistant for about 15 years working at Hewitt Asssociates and other various financial firms. She lives in Gurnee with her family and has two daughters Katelyn and Olivia with whom she spends much of her free time. She also volunteers as a Daisy troop leader for her younger daughter and enjoys cooking and interior design.
Jim Coonan joined PCCS in August of 2009. He previously ran his own construction company building houses in downtown Chicago. Computers have always been a hobby and interest for him as well as a necessity for his business. In addition to computers and building houses, Jim is also a stay-at-home dad for his two daughters who attend the Charter School. He enjoys working at PCCS because of the great environment created there.
Bill was born and has always lived in Lake County. While attending the College of Lake County and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (BA ’99), he worked as an Industrial Mechanic, Painter, and for most of the past 25 years, an Interior Trim Carpenter on Chicago’s North Shore. In recent years, he became a Master Gardener and earned a Certificate in Sustainable Energy and Design.
Bill lives with his wife Cindy and two daughters Lisa and Amy in Gurnee. They chose PCCS in 2007 and hope to be part of the PCCS community for years to come.