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Creative Root

Theatre Arts

Creative Root is excited to provide theatre arts programming during the 2022/23 school year! We are an auxiliary program of The Theatre School at DePaul University that launched in February of 2019. Creative Root provides in-school residencies, after school programs, classes, and summer camps for young people throughout Chicago. We also offer classes in Teaching Artistry for DePaul students who are interested in pursuing careers in arts education. We’ll hopefully have a few students supporting classrooms at Pilgrim Lutheran School this year. Teaching Artist Elizabeth Dowling will lead the first and second quarter theatre arts classes with the 4th-6th graders. Read a little bit about Elizabeth and her teaching philosophy here.

Pilgrim preschool teacher, Mrs. Conway, showing a student how to hold a marker

Joanne Conway

Preschool Teacher

The 2021/22 school year was Mrs. Conway’s first year as Pilgrim’s preschool teacher and she is happy to be part of the Pilgrim teaching staff!

Mrs. Conway holds a BA and a MA in Education, plus 11 years of teaching experience. She is licensed to teach special education and early childhood. During the 2020/21 school year she worked as a behavioral therapist, providing therapy and other services to diverse learners. From 2011-2020, she was a lead teacher, assistant director, and interim director of Total Child Preschool in Evanston, IL, where she worked with former Pilgrim principal and PreK teacher, Beth Ruppe.

Mrs. Conway lives in Evanston with her husband Chris, their kids, Atticus and Corinne, and their two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and having dance parties while cooking dinner with her family.

1st & 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Stephens, reading to her students

Amy Stephens

1st/2nd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Stephens loves being the first/second grade teacher at Pilgrim Lutheran School. Previously, she served as the part-time preschool teacher at Pilgrim during the 2019/20 school year. 

Mrs. Stephens received her B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Pennsylvania State University and later received her Masters of Education from DePaul University. Before joining the Pilgrim staff, she was the preschool teacher at Saint Luke Academy in Chicago. 

In regards to teaching, Mrs. Stephens is especially passionate about utilizing technology to create an interactive and enhanced learning environment for students. She also wants to pass along her love of reading books to her students in her classroom.

When she is not serving as Pilgrim’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Stephens enjoys leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, participating in worship and activities at her church, hiking and fishing with her family, and relaxing at the beach in the summer. 

Pilgrim 2nd & 3rd grade teacher, Paige Reeh, teaching a student

Paige Barclay

2nd/3rd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Barclay loves serving as the second/third grade teacher at Pilgrim. Before joining Pilgrim, Mrs. Barclay served as a first grade teacher in the Indianapolis Public School District.

Mrs. Barclay received her B.S. in Elementary Education with a concentration in English Language Arts from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Mrs. Barclay’s goal is to encourage her students and help them unleash their full potential. She uses varied learning methods and teaching strategies to facilitate the learning of all students.

In her free time, Mrs. Barclay loves baking, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with her family.

Pilgrim's 4th & 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Doerfler, giving a lesson

Samantha Doerfler

4th/5th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Doerfler is excited to serve as Pilgrim’s fourth and fifth grade teacher!

Mrs. Doerfler has been involved with Pilgrim Lutheran School in a variety of ways since 2010. Mrs. Doerfler completed student teaching for her masters degree with Kathy Tighe (a former Pilgrim teacher), served as a substitute teacher, coordinated auction fundraising, provided in-class support, tutored and worked one-on-one with students, and started teaching 3rd grade in the fall of 2020. Both of her children have attended Pilgrim Lutheran School since they were three-years-old, and her family loves being a part of the Pilgrim community.

When she is not teaching, Mrs. Doerfler enjoys reading, canning, and spending time outdoors with her family.

Angela Cardo

5th/6th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Cardo is proud to serve as the 5th and 6th grade teacher at Pilgrim Lutheran School. Her first role at Pilgrim was as a lunchroom volunteer 19 years ago. Since then, she has worn many hats at Pilgrim including the Lunchroom Supervisor and the Operations Manager. After receiving her degree in education, Mrs. Cardo became the 5th and 6th grade teacher.

Mrs. Cardo was first drawn to Pilgrim because her husband attended the school and his parents were members of Pilgrim Lutheran Church. She is proud to be part of two generations of her own Pilgrim family as all three of her children are graduates of Pilgrim as well. Mrs. Cardo is excited to share the gift of a Pilgrim education with the current generation of students.

Shannon Andreen

7th and 8th Grade ELA and Social Science Teacher/Advisor for High School

Mrs. Andreen loves her role as the 7th and 8th grade teacher at Pilgrim Lutheran School. She especially enjoys guiding the students to become independent thinkers who love to learn. She seeks to help her students build strong relationships with the wider community. In addition to her role as the 7th and 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Andreen has also taught 5th and 6th grade at Pilgrim.

Before coming to Pilgrim, Mrs. Andreen taught at schools in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Houston. During three of her years teaching in Houston, she was the English Department Chair and had the honor of winning Paul Revere’s “Teacher of the Year.”

Mrs. Andreen attended Louisiana State University, where she earned her B.A. in Literature and later obtained her Secondary Education certification. She is married and has two children, Riley and Connor. Both attend and love Pilgrim. She enjoys entertaining, cooking, crafting, reading, and most of all, spending time with family and friends.

Polly Smith

Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Smith loves serving as Pilgrim Lutheran School’s Kindergarten teacher in the mornings as well as working with Extended Learning in both pre-k and kindergarten in the afternoons.

Mrs. Smith received her B.A. in Youth Ministry from Moody Bible Institute and her M.A. in Education from North Park University. Since graduating, she has been involved in early childhood education for over ten years. Before arriving at Pilgrim, she taught pre-k at Salem Christian School in Humboldt Park/Logan Square for seven years. She is excited to be a part of Pilgrim’s play-based program and to see students grow and explore while having fun in the classroom. She especially has a passion for teaching young students and inspiring a life-long love of learning.

When not serving as Pilgrim’s Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Smith enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with friends and her husband, Tom.

Math Teacher

Paula Raabe

Upper Grade Math Teacher

Mrs. Raabe considers her position as a faith nurturer and assistant in faith development, while serving as Pilgrim’s math teacher, a true vocation. She has taught in Lutheran schools for more than 25 years. Though Mrs. Raabe has taught in a range of grade levels and a variety of subjects, math has always been a central focus of her teaching and learning. She believes that everyone can learn the ideas of math. Everyone may not like math, and that is okay, but everyone can learn about numbers and how they work in our lives and world. Mrs. Raabe enjoys helping middle school students see the beauty and patterns of math, as well as make connections to other areas of life in general. In addition to her role at Pilgrim Lutheran School, she also works as an adjunct in the math education department at National Louis University.

Mrs. Raabe is married to another church professional, and a math teacher at that! She is the mother of three independent Christian women. In her spare time (a rarity during the school year), she enjoys walking, working outside, and reading fiction.

Andrew Yearick

Spanish and Upper Grade Science/Music Teacher

Mr. Yearick serves as Pilgrim’s Lutheran School’s Pre-K through 8th grade Spanish teacher, the 4th, 7th, and 8th grade science teacher, and the 4th-8th grade music teacher.

Mr. Yearick graduated with a degree in Education from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in Spanish and German. In the classroom, Mr. Yearick is a strong proponent of creativity and adaptability: “Each class has a wide range of abilities and learning styles, so I try to vary the presentation of the material to reach all students. If they’re having fun, my job is easy.”

When not serving as the Spanish, science and music teacher at Pilgrim, Mr. Yearick performs as a folk rock musician and is the frontman for a progressive rock band.