Soraya CastroPreK and Spanish Teacher
Soraya taught ESL to elementary and middle school students and has her B.A. Degree in Early Childhood Education from ENA in Ags. Mexico. In addition, she completed two years of ESL at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago. Soraya has credits reevaluated by ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.) from Milwaukee, WI. Soraya loves to share her love and passion for the Spanish language and Mexican culture with her students. Along with her co-teacher Ms. Noel, Soraya works hard to create an engaging and caring atmosphere for our youngest students.
Noel NapePreK Teacher
Noel has been teaching Pre-Kindergarten for most of her 20+ year career and has taught in a variety of places. One of her favorite teaching positions was in Panama where she assisted in the startup of a private English school in the Coclé Province not far from the Pacific Ocean. Noel, along with her co-teacher Ms. Soraya, loves playing and learning along side of her students.
Ms. Lesley SiegelPreK/K Teacher
Lesley received her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lesley has studied the constructivist approach and has both knowledge and experience of the Reggio-Emilia approach and its focus on the curiosity and creativity of each individual learner.
Anna ToufexisKindergarten/1st Grade Teacher
Anna graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor's of Science in Early Childhood Education. She loves animals and even has a golden retriever named Plato at home along with her rottweiler named Nala. Anna enjoys sharing books with her students and watching them emerge as readers, writers, mathematicians and scientists.
Chris Kruger, M.EdKindergarten/1st Grade Teacher
Chris is thrilled to be teaching at Plato Academy. He loves learning about space, science fiction stories, and bearded dragons, like his classroom pet, Godzilla. He grew up in central Wisconsin and moved to Chicago for graduate school. He received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Philosophy, a Master's Degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago and a Master's Degree in Education from National Louis University. Chris believes the purpose of education is to create whole people, citizens of the world ready to gather their own information and come to their own conclusions and looks forward to learning and growing together with his students.
Ms. Anna Wians1st/2nd Grade Teacher
Anna earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at National Louis University. Anna was the program coordinator at both Big Brothers Big Sisters and with the Belin Blank Center at the University of Iowa, where she worked with youth and volunteers, planned and executed children’s programs and supervised groups of gifted students. Anna is happy to be at Plato where she can learn and explore alongside such bright and eager students!
Ms. Bridget Grimaldi1st/2nd Grade Teacher
Bridget Grimaldi graduated from National Louis University with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education, majoring in Psychology. She spent several years teaching Head Start for CPS, and is happy to be part of the Plato Family. Her classroom community provides children with an environment in which they are encouraged to question, discover, explore, and create.
Bia Vergakis2nd/3rd Grade Teacher
Bia is excited to teach at Plato Academy this year. She has taught in Winnetka, where she was able to implement the Reggio-Emilia approach in the classroom. Bia looks forward to creating a constructivist learning environment for her students and putting their needs first.
Foti Gulino2nd/3rd Grade Teacher
Foti is happy to teach at Plato this year! Foti's bachelor’s degree is from DePaul University in English and Literary Studies. He is currently a graduate student also at DePaul with experience planning literacy and math curriculum for the Working in the Schools initiative, as well as being a program tutor for CPS. He is an outstanding student himself (Dean’s List at DePaul, National Society of Collegiate Scholars DePaul Honors Society) as well as multilingual (French, Modern Greek). In addition, he is an accomplished chess player and a classical pianist. Foti is excited to create an environment where students are challenged and intrigued each day!
Dionysia Panagiotopoulos, M.Ed.3rd-6th Grade Teacher
Dionysia received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from National Louis University with an endorsement in Psychology. She graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City and received her Master's Degree in Giftedness Education. Dionysia has 13+ years of teaching experience. She provides an exciting learning atmosphere for her students who thoroughly enjoy the integrated project explorations.
Alexandra Christopoulos, M.Ed.Middle School Teacher
Alexandra earned her Bachelor's degree in English from DePaul University and her Master's degree in Elementary Education from National-Louis University with an endorsement at the Middle School grade levels. Alexandra values the importance of individualizing each of her student's learning experiences and respects the developmental growth process of a young adult. She loves following the project approach and looks forward to sharing fun and adventuresome learning experiences with her students!
Despina ToufexisGreek Teacher
Despina has taught at Plato Academy since 2000. She loves being a part of our Plato family. She is a graduate of the Pedagogical Academy of Alexandroupolis and has been teaching at various Archdiocese of Chicago and private schools in the Chicagoland area since 1985. Despina's goal is to inspire and guide students with love and respect while fostering their intellectual development through teaching of the Greek language. She believes that with continuous effort, patience, and dedication, the sky is the limit, and she is excited for another successful school year!
Efi TsartsalisGreek Dance/Physical Education Teacher
Efstathia Tsartsali was born and raised in Greece where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Science of Physical Education and Sports with a specialization in Greek Dances from Athens University. Efi was employed by the Greek Ministry of Education as a PE teacher and has 24+ years of teaching experience in Pre-K to 12th grade. Her PE games and activities enhance gross motor development. In addition, Efi does a wonderful job teaching students a variety of Greek dances from different parts of the country.
Oleg RudnytskyMusic Teacher
Oleg received a Bachelor's degree of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Glinka Academy of Music and a Master's degree in Science from the National Academy of Architecture in Ukraine. He also had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He creates an interactive musical learning environment for students with easy to understand instruction. We love his enthusiasm for music and the relationships he builds with his students.
Lindsay SkarbekYoga Teacher
Lindsay Skarbek is the co-owner of Twisted Tree Yoga studio, along with her sister, Marissa Anderson. Lindsay's extensive background in dance is what led her to yoga. She began taking yoga classes regularly during her time studying dance at Columbia College Chicago, and dove deeper into yoga during her recovery from a serious back injury. Lindsay received her 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training with Zen Fit House, and additional trainings with Global Family Yoga and YogaKids.
Zafeiris MakridisGreek Teacher
Bio coming soon!
Marianthi Kortisaris, M.Ed.Principal/ Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Marianthi has a Master's Degree from UIC in Instructional Leadership and postgraduate credits from National Louis University. As an alumna of Plato and a parent whose three children graduated from Plato, Marian has dedicated herself to a career in education and is the core of our school and curriculum. She has a keen understanding of constructivism, how kids acquire knowledge, and curriculum development. She is a mentor to all our teachers and assists them in the development of their own teaching style. Marian is a professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an adjunct faculty at Chicago City Colleges, Triton College and DePaul University. She also mentors student teachers in the Chicago Public School system. She has served as assessor for the National Board of Professional Teaching standards and is an educational consultant. “Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.” -Jean Piaget
Maria Bolos, M.Ed.Director of School Operations
Maria obtained her Type 03 teaching certificate in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University. She also received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. She has 10 years of teaching experience in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. Maria has been on several curriculum committees throughout her teaching career and has been a mentor teacher in a variety of settings. She also has over 15 years of experience working for an educational consulting firm supporting dozens of school districts in the Chicagoland area. Maria keeps a positive outlook and thoroughly enjoys the time she spends at Plato. She was impressed the moment she stepped foot in the door and continues to be amazed by the teachers and their ability to implement the Project Approach effortlessly and seamlessly in their classrooms. She considers it a “dream school” for her own children who currently attend Plato Academy. She is grateful that they have the opportunity to learn in a true constructivist environment that supports the ways we know children learn best.