Jesus is the most recent edition to the Willow Room team! Jesus joined OPFS back in the fall of 2019 helping start up the creative enrichment team for the afterschool program. Since then they have helped lead the summer camp program and have gone on to running the 345-eLearning classroom. Jesus has their bachelor’s in psychology and has a background in school social work and trauma informed care. They are a self-taught artist aiming to work in story boarding for an animation studio. Jesus likes to describe their hobbies as that of a ten-year-old; they like watching cartoons, reading comic books, and playing trading card games. 

Talley has worked with kids since she can remember.  First babysitting, then teaching everything from early childhood through university.  Talley has lived in Oak Park since 1998, and Chicago since 1991, moving here from the East Coast to attend Northwestern and then never leaving.  She lives with her supportive Husband Rob, and three sons Greg, Elliot, and Thomas just up the street from OP Friends. Her biggest joy at OPFS is working with the parents as they navigate the craziness of parenthood.

2345 Pod

Ms.Jackie has been with OPFS since Spring 2018. She started off with our After School Crew and a Summer Camp Counselor. After taking interest in teaching, Ms.Jackie became a teacher in the Oak Room up until February 2021. She transferred into Seedling Room after a short break, and is incredibly happy to be teaching this age group! She loves the energy, the fast pace environment, and the new adventures everyday. Ms.Jackie received a BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, and will soon pursue her MA in School Counseling! She enjoys being creative and having FUN with her team and classroom. Her ultimate goal in life is to open a an extra- curriculum center for the youth in a low income community.

Greg is a sophomore attending Triton College. He is majoring in Computer Science. Greg enjoys playing rugby, reading, and playing video games in his free time. He loves helping kids with their homework and making them laugh.

Justine has had the pleasure to work in the Oak Room since March of 2016. She started off as a teacher assistant in a preschool setting in the beginning of her career. She then continued her career as a preschool teacher and eventually became a lead teacher over the past five years. Ms. Justine has a Degree in Arts with a Concentration in Child Development. She also received her Certification in Preschool and continues to further her degree in Early Childhood Education. Miss Justine enjoys working with children and being part of their learning adventure. She has been in the field for 9 years and discovered her passion for children at a very young age. Ms. Justine continues to pursue her love of teaching and hopes to make a difference in the lives of children. She is looking forward in being part of your child’s learning experience!

​Alissa grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She has a BA from Tufts University and a MSW from Boston University School of Social Work. She and her husband moved to Oak Park in 1993 and have two sons (22 and 19) and a daughter (16) . Alissa worked as a Family Support Specialist at Parc Early Intervention Program serving children ages 0-3 years with developmental delays/disabilities and their families. She was lead teacher for 6 years in the 2-year-old classroom at Pilgrim Community Nursery School. She joined OP Friends School in 2017.  Alissa has also interned/volunteered in a variety of settings with children including a music therapy program, Sunday school, a Waldorfschule in Germany, Tufts University's Educational Day Care Center, a children's rehabilitation hospital, and a therapeutic day school. In her free time, Alissa loves to read, knit, sew, play piano and travel the world.

Administration

Tara & Jazmin coming soon

Seedling Room

Joel has been with OPFS since 2015.  He served as a teacher in the Willow room after starting at the home daycare with Talley and Chloe. Mr. Joel has over 30 years of experience working with children from birth to 12 years old. Mr. Joel has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. Truly an invaluable jack of all trades, Mr. Joel teams up with DCFS to keep us safe, the Collaboration for Early Childhood to keep us educated and supported, with teachers to help children feel seen and loved and with our kids to help them navigate challenges. He has a strong passion for being a part of making a difference in children’s lives. Mr. Joel is a proud grandfather of five and always enjoys being with family. 

​​​Program Director of School Age Programming, Jessie, is currently a student at Lewis University working towards a degree in Education and Special Education and has been working with children in and out of the classroom for three years. He was a senior counselor at a summer sports camp at DePaul University and served as a Registered Behavior Therapist for children with autism. His hobbies include listening to and finding new music and being active with friends.

Elliot, Owen, Fi, Maya, Remick, Sam, Jasmine and Emily K BIOS coming soon 

Afterschool Crew

Ms. Ashley has been with OPFS as a lead teacher at OPFS since August 2020. She has been in childcare for 7 years. She studied childhood education at Harold Washington College. She enjoys doing art projects with her 4 year old daughter, Angel. Her philosophy for the kids in the classroom is that each child goes at their own pace. Children are curious and learn through asking questions. Ms. Ashley believes that over communication is better than no communication at all. If you have a question , comment or concern, don’t hesitate to reach out.
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Mariko graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2019. She taught English in Japan for 1 year to elementary school students. Since October 2020, she has been working with the 3, 4, 5 Pod. She enjoys dancing and traveling.  

Amy has been in with OPFS since last year in November. She has a bachelor’s degree from Kendal College in early childhood education with a minor in special education. Amy has been married to her husband Mike for eighteen years and they have one son named Ryan who is eleven. When Ms. Amy is at home with her family they enjoy camping, gardening, reading and going to museums. Ms. Amy has a love for science in the classroom and believes that children are born scientists. They love to explore, ask questions, and be independent. Her philosophy on teaching little ones is that it needs to be hands-on and is more fun when it’s messy! Every child has the ability to learn and grow, not with adults explain to them “the right way” but instead being a guide for learning!

Willow Preschool Room (3 - 4 yr)

Mr. Chris joined the OPFS team in the summer of 2015 as a part of the Orange Room team, and he is very excited to work with your children this year! After seeing how his own two children were being cared for at OPFS, Chris decided to teach here because of OPFS’s play-based approach and community atmosphere. He comes from a background in music, performance, and composition. His hobbies are playing and listening to music and reading.

 

Kelly moved from the UK to Chicago in 2012 and lives here with her husband and two children.
Kelly’s background is in training and development and she obtained her Bachelors degree from
Cardiff University, in Broadcast Media and Culture. Kelly is currently obtaining her Masters
degree at Erikson Institute in Early Childhood Education with a focus on Social Emotional
Learning. Kelly is passionate about helping children manage their feelings and loves engaging
with children through mindfulness practices and art projects. In her free time Kelly
enjoys spending time with her husband and their two children, traveling, writing and exploring
new places.

Monce joined the OPFS team in July of 2018, spending a year teaching in Seedlings, followed by Willow and is moving up with her students to the Oak Room this year. Ms. Monce has been working with children for over 5 years. She’s worked with all ages and is Montessori Certified. Ms. Monce enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family. Ms. Monce has a passion for working with children and looks forward to this year!

 

Vivian is a senior at OPRF. She has been working with kids since she was 12 years old and started with the OPFS after school program in 2020. Vivian loves to cook and read new books as much as she can! She enjoys working at OPFS because she can have dance parties with the kids!

Grace Bio Coming Soon


Olivia is currently a junior at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She has worked at OPFS for about 2 years. She loves doing color gaurd in the OPRF marching band. She is currently learning ASL and Japanese. She is excited to continue to work with and get to know more kids at OPFS.

Acorn (Infant )

Mr. Morgan has been with OPFS since Sept 2016. He lives in Berwyn, IL with his wife and three kids, where he also has his own business dealing in antique and vintage furniture. Morgan loves playing and taking care of babies and toddlers.

Hello, my name is Crystal. I’ve worked in Early Childhood for a year now and I’ve
enjoyed every second of it! I’m a full time student at Morton College majoring in Early Childhood Education. I plan on finishing up my courses and graduate by this summer.
Interests include coffee, baking, watching movies/tv shows, listening to Korean pop music and
Japanese city pop, reading, learning new languages and traveling. I’m currently trying to learn
Korean and I hope to visit South Korea in the future.

Danielle has been with OPFS since 2015 as a teacher in the Maple room and, as of 2021, the newly expanded school's Administrative Assistant. She earned her bachelor's in fine art and brings experience as a nanny and a foster parent. She gained an indelible appreciation for teamwork + curiosity here. 

I am Ursula and I recently graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. I worked at the campus children’s center there for three years and am very excited to be working with children again at Friends School, after moving back to Oak Park. I am planning on eventually pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology in order to work in preventative mental health care with children in the future. Outside of work and academics, I enjoy creating art in my free time— especially oil paintings and scratchboard pieces— and love spending time in nature.

I'm Ms Estrella and I joined the OPFS team as an assistant teacher in 2021. I’m a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Elementary Education. I’ve had the pleasure to work with children ranging from 2-11 years old through my student teaching and work experiences. I enjoy every aspect of teaching and the opportunity to watch the students grow and flourish. During my free time, I like to run, read, and watch movies. I love to travel and experience new cultures. It allows me to experience something unfamiliar and leave with new skills and knowledge.

Corrina - BIO coming Soon

Jessica has been part of the Oak Park Friends community since 2013 - first as a parent and now as part of our staff. Jessica has a Masters in Elementary Education and a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from DePaul University. This job is a perfect fit for her love of children, Pinterest, and spreadsheets. Jessica lives up the street from OPFS with her husband, 3 kids, and their perfect dog, Perry the Perro. She enjoys spending time with her family and neighbors, yoga, and baking.

My name is Aaliyah and I am a born and raised Chicago native. I grew up on the
south-side and I’ve always been interested in the arts. I graduated from Columbia College
Chicago with a BFA in Fine Arts. I have been working with children for many years, starting very
young with babysitting and moving on to nannying and other childcare related employment. I
absolutely love children and I found that I especially love working with infants, watching them
grow and learn so quickly in such a short amount of time. I am very passionate about creativity
with children. Even when they’re young, it is always important to try to explore art and
creating, even if that only means finger painting for a while. I love reading and I find that it is so
fundamental to every child’s learning experience.

Ginkgo Room - AM/PM Preschool (3 to 5yr)

Ms. Allison has been with OPFS as a lead teacher in the Blue Room since July 2015. She has been in childcare for over 12 years and has a college background in early childhood education. She has two beautiful boys at home (Patrick and Mando) and loves spending her extra time with them. Her philosophy for the kids in the classroom is the same as the philosophy she has for her sons. She strives to help the children be independent and confident in everything they do. She believes in open communication so please feel free to stop in and chat with her whenever you need.

Birch Room

Ms. Michelle has always loved working with children; from babysitting to early childhood and preschool. She was born and raised in Chicago, but moved to Peoria in 2013 to attend Bradley University where she received her BS in Psychology and a minor in health. She’s able to apply her education to her current work with children! Outside of work and school, Michelle's hobby is singing (karaoke connoisseur) and it’s also one of her most favorite things to do with the children.  Watching the children she teaches learn and soak up what they are being taught brings her great joy.

1/2 Pod

Bria is a student at DePaul University where she studies psychology. She currently volunteers at her church every Sunday as a "Youth Small Group Leader." She loves working with children and families, walking alongside them, mentoring and learning from them. Her favorite color is pink and she is currently learning sign language. She is very laid back, introverted, and often time shy until she gets to know you. She enjoys hanging out with family/friends, watching movies, and pumpkin spice lattes

Ms. Kelly has been with OPFS since August 2015.  She has worked professionally in childcare since 2008, but began babysitting at an early age.  She lives on the northwest side of Chicago with her husband and daughter. She believes that working with children is a huge responsibility and a wonderful honor at the same time.  Guiding young minds to be confident, independent and fully believe they can accomplish anything is an amazing feeling!

My name is Olivia and I am currently a junior at Dominican University studying psychology with a concentration in child psychology. I have worked at Oak Park Friends for a little over a year now and currently work with the 1st and 2nd-grade E-learning pod. I am also the 1st-5th grade After School lead. I love getting to see the kids every day and help them navigate school and life through the pandemic. I love to draw, paint, read, listen to music and go thrift shopping in my free time!

​Kathy grew up right here in Oak Park! Her educational background is in Early Childhood Education and Therapeutic Recreation. She has over 20 years experience working in a variety of early childhood settings including Maryville’s Crisis Nursery, Parenthesis (now part of New Moms), and, most recently, for 8 years at Pilgrim Community Nursery School where she worked in a number of different classrooms with children ages 2-6 years. Kathy joined OP Friends in 2019. Her Early Childhood philosophy is to meet children where they are at cognitively, emotionally, and socially. She feels it is vital that each child and family sees themselves reflected in the classroom. Being part of a multi-racial family herself has made Kathy feel even more passionately about this. Kathy lives in Forest Park with her husband and 4 grown-ish children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crafts, and watching movies.

​Maple Room (2-3 yr)

OPFS Kindergarten


I am Joanna and I was born and raised in Oak Park.  I am the mother of five adult children, ages 21, 23, 26, 29 and 31.  Four sons and a daughter in the middle. I am grateful for the kind people they have grown to be and so enjoy spending time with them. I am also a true animal lover and rescuer and enjoy nature.  I so love children and truly appreciate the phrase “from the mouths of babes”.  Children amaze me.

Lupita is a queer chicana boriqua born and raised in Chicago. She is a poet, educator and organizer with Brown and Proud Press. BPP is a collective of creaters of color who independently publish zines and produce events to share stories from community and teach the art of zine making. Lupita has been teaching youth for 3 years but this is her first time having a class/pod of her own.

Kindergarten Pod 

Mercedez has been in the childcare field since 2009 when during high school she worked at a Home Center. She sought out a Quality Education for Childcare management at Rust College. After graduation in 2018, She has been a lead teacher, and finally, in 2020, she continued her education with a Master in Early Childhood Education Administration. Mercedez has a son of her own who she spends a lot of time with. She likes to read and practice photography on her free time. She looks forward to working with you and your child(ren).
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Tara is an eccentric, part-time stay at home mom of 2 energetic and creative kiddos. She has a background in Theatre Arts and a passion for the dramatic. She loves playing with and hanging out with babies, children, kids, teens and beyond. Tara grew up on a rural farm in the middle of nowhere and dreamed of moving to the big city, a dream which she reached when she moved to New York City in 2006 and eventually Oak Park in 2010.  She is a volunteer facilitator and curriculum developer for Oak Park Our Whole Lives and is always taking on volunteer projects.  Her passions include travel, travel planning, listening to music and streaming TV of all kinds. 

Our Subs & Floaters

My name is Chelsea and I’m the Pod leader for our 1-2 Pod at OPFS. I am a furloughed senior at Northeastern Illinois University, and enrolled in their graphic arts program. I am also a singer-songwriter and guitarist in my band Sycophant, and play music on the weekends with friends when I can. While on furlough from university, I was excited to find the opportunity to work at Friends School and all the great support they offer to both parents and students during these difficult times. I have ample experience working with younger kids and hope to use those skills to help your students have the most rewarding experience possible this school year.

Ms. Maribel joined OPFS in the fall of 2016. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Maribel has been working with children from 3 months up to 12 years old for 11 years. She loves working with infants, and toddlers. She loves making crafts with the children, and playing with sensory activities! Maribel is an animal lover, she has two dogs, five birds, and a cat. Maribel believes that play is the highest form of research, and it gives children a chance to practice what they are learning!

Clarisse Bio & Pic Coming Soon

My name is De’ja, and I am excited to start my new journey as a first-time co-teacher here at Oak Park Friends School. I received my Associate in Arts from Triton College where I also took courses in early childhood education. My work experience with children range from 18 months to 15 years of age. I started as an English tutor for high school students, STEM facilitator for Kindergarten to Second graders, to my most recent job as a teacher assistant for toddlers at a Montessori center. Education is a passion of mine because every day there is something new to learn. During my leisure time, I enjoy reading books, practicing Italian and Spanish, doing yoga, and baking with my younger siblings.

Paige has been with OPFS since the summer of 2015. She worked for many years in the baby room and has transitioned as the kindergarten teacher. Paige is a yoga instructor and has her masters in early childhood education. She is a mama to her daughter Luna and a dog mom. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, exercising, reiki and all the good stuff! 

Chloe has raised her family in Oak Park (around the corner from OPFS) for the past 18 years. She began working with Talley in 2013 and together, they officially established OP Friends School in the Spring of 2014. Chloe has a background in fine art. She has three children-- Josie, Fiona, and Owen --one husband, one goldfish, and one scruffy dog named Gertie.  Chloe enjoys books, film, yoga, art, and travel. She used to play roller derby. She does not like balloons. 

School Age Programs

Ms. Jessica - BIO coming Soon

Ms. Marisol has been part of OPFS since the beginning. She has many years of experience working with all ages. She likes to help her own 3 year old daughter, Alicia, and other children explore their environment in fun and messy ways.  She is a big animal lover and always teaches the children about respecting all living creatures big and small. She is excited to be a part of each child’s journey and loves to see them grow. She and Alicia moved into the Cicero area in early 2020. 

Our Staff

Ms. Lauren has been working with OPFS since they were in Ms. Talley and Ms. Chloe’s house. She is going on her 8th year working with the Friends Community. Ms. Lauren has been working with kids since the age of 11 and has worked with young infants to young teens. She studied Education and Psychology at the Evergreen State College, and she loves the outdoors, art, music, dancing, and having fun!!!

Oak Room (4-5yr)

Matthew has been working at Oak Park Friends since the summer of 2017 in the afterschool program. He most recently has been working as a teacher with the OPFS Kindergarten. He enjoys playing basketball, hanging out with friends and family, as well as working out in his free time. He is currently working towards getting his Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education at Concordia University Chicago and will graduate in May of 2022.  

​Elm Room (2-3 yrs)