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.

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.