About – Meet the Staff


Clair Zaffaroni
Clair Zaffaroni

Position: Principal

Years at COP: 19

Years as Principal: 3

B.A. Education from National Louis University
Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from Loyola University

School Email: czaffaroni@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”

Arlene Redmond
Arlene Redmond

Position: Deaf/Hard of Hearing Consultant

Years at COP: 36

IPA- Illinois Principals Association
ASCD- School Curriculum Development
I.S.H.I.- Illinois Supervisor of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Rush S.A.M.E. Network- Board Member
R.T.I.-Response to Intervention Committee Member

M.A. Administration- Benedictine University
B.A. Special Education-Deaf and Hard of Hearing- Illinois State University
B.A. Elementary Education

School Email: aredmond@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Let each become all that he was created capable of” – Thomas Carlyle

Preschool and Montessori

Robin Fowler

Position: Montessori (3 – 5 year olds)

Years at COP: 5

American Montessori Society
Early Childhood Coordinator at Children of Peace

B.A. Purdue University
Early Childhood Montessori Certification

School Email: rfowler@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Our care of the children should be governed not by the desire to ’make them learn things’, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within them the light which is called intelligence.” – Maria Montessori

Cynthia Menella

Position: Early Childhood Montessori Assistant

Years at COP: 12

Teaching Children’s Liturgy at Notre Dame Parish

Sydney Technical College, Australia – Accounting and Finance
Seton Montessori Institute – Paraprofessional Course Certificate

Ronda Tolbert

Position: Montessori II (3 – 5 year olds)

Years at COP: 1

Early Childhood Montessori Certification

School Email:  rtolbert@childrenofpeaceschool.org


Bea Boyd

Position: Montessori III (6 – 8 year olds)

Years at COP: 4

Activities/Committees/Organizations: American Montessori Society Member

B.A. Degree Religious Studies and Philosophy from Mundelein College
Montessori PrePrimary Certificate
Wilson Language Instructor – Level I certificate

School Email: bboyd@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“See our children as they are – unique persons who have a song to sing, a dream to live, Children are endowed with an inner power that can guide is to a more luminous future.”

Catherine Escoto

Position: 3 – 4 Year Old Preschool

Years at COP: 12

Volleyball Coach
PBIS committee member

Education/Credentials: BS Early Childhood Education from St. Xavier University

School Email: cescoto@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Monica Gaurige

Position: 3 – 4 Year Old Preschool Assistant

Years at COP: 6

Deaf Parent Support Group
COP Volleyball Assistant

Education/Credentials: Columbia College

School Email: mgaurige@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Never Stop Learning, Because Life Never Stops Teaching.”

Kindergarten – 4th Grade

Sandra Salazar

Position: Kindergarten

Years at COP: 3

Literacy Night
Advance Ed

Education/Credentials: BA Early Childhood Education/ Psychology

School Email: ssalazar@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I might remember; involve me and I learn”

Janice Francis

Position: 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher

Years at COP: 3


School Email: jfrancis@childrenofpeaceschool.org

Ora Jacox

Position: 1 – 2 Grade Teacher Assistant

Years at COP: 5

BA in Elementary Education from Roosevelt University
MA Dominican University

School Email: ojacox@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Kerri Sullivan

Position: 3rd Grade

Years at COP: 5

Summer School Coordinator
Recycling Program Chair

Education/Credentials: Elementary Education Major

School Email: ksullivan@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Ginny Halisz

Position: 4th Grade

Years at COP: 31

Activities/Committees/Organizations: Animal rescue volunteer for Precious Pets Almost Home

Education/Credentials: K-9 Elementary Education minor in Lang.Arts from Northeastern Ill. University

School Email: ghalisz@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“All life is precious.”

Junior High

Pamela Helgerson

Position: Grade 5 Homeroom & Junior High Social Studies

Years at COP: 12

Activities/Committees/Organizations: Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Member

Education/Credentials: BA in Education from Concordia University

School Email: phelgerson@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Kimberly Foley

Position: Grade 5/6 Homeroom & Junior High Language Arts

Years at COP: 2

Activities/Committees/Organizations: Student Council Moderator

BS – English Education, Winona State University, Winona, MN
MA – Reading Specialist, Concordia University, River Forest, IL

School Email: kfoley@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” – Anne Frank

Anne Candioto

Position: Grade 7 Homeroom & Junior High Math Teacher

Years at COP: 3

Activities/Committees/Organizations: RTI committee member

B.S. in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Marquette University
M.A. in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin-Madison

School Email: acandioto@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” – FDR

Francesca Varela

Position: 8th Grade Homeroom & Junior High Science

Years at COP: 7

Catechetical Certification
Co-Author of “All About Earth: Inquiry-Based Science Unit for OCS Curriculum Project Great Lakes Science Certified” issued by Shedd Aquarium

BA in Elementary Education and Psychology from North Park College
Type 3 K-9 Illinois Teaching Certificate with Social Science and General Science Endorsements

School Email: fvarela@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“You are never too young nor too old to learn something new.”


Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Division

Kathleen Simon

Position: Deaf Division Pre-School/ Kindergarten Teacher

Years at COP: 1


BA in Early Childhood Education from Illinois State University.

MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Aurora University.

Endorsement and approval in special education and in ESL.

School Email: ksimon@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”  Alexandra K. Trenfor

Michael Gaurige

Position: Deaf Division Pre-School/ Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

Years at COP: 2



School Email: mjgaurige@childrenofpeaceschool.org


Class Website

Madeline Stoffels

Position: Primary Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher

Years at COP: 1


School Email: mstoffels@childrenofpeaceschool.org


Kristy Collins

Position: Intermediate Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher

Years at COP: 2

Education/Credentials: Bachelors in Deaf Education/ Elementary Education at the University of Tulsa

School Email: kcollins@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” – BB King

Sherise Garmon

Position: Junior High Deaf Division

Years at COP: 3

Education/Credentials: B.S. in Communicative Disorders

School Email: sgarmon@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind.” – Marlee Matlin

Diane Russell

Position: Sign Language Interpreter

Years at COP: 4

ICDA – International Catholic Deaf Association
NCOD – National Catholic Office of the Deaf
IEA/NEA – Illinois Teachers Association/National Education Association
Chairperson – Hawthorne Race Track Fundraiser

BS Elementary Education Illinois State University
MS – Special Education, UIC

School Email: drussell@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires.” – Pope Francis

Office Staff

Phyllis Winter

Position: Alumni Relations

Years at COP: 58

School Email: pwinter@childrenofpeaceschool.org

“Whatever is accomplished is only accomplished through and with God’s help.”

Maria Beltran

Position: Secretary

Years at COP: 20

Education: Elementary Education Degree, San Miguel Allende, Mexico

School Email: mbeltran@childrenofpeaceschool.org

Shannon Carsello

Position: Finance Manager

School Email: scarsello@childrenofpeaceschool.org

Ancillary Staff

Tanya Coleman

Position: Extended Day Director

Bertha Williams

Position: Lunchroom, Extended Day Staff

Fred Ruggier

Position: Extended Day Staff


Lena Brady

Position: Extended Day Staff

Years at COP: 6

Emilio Calderone

Position: Building Maintenance