Kim serves as the school’s Academic Director, and she also teaches our morning half-day preschool class. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has her degree in Early Childhood Education. Kim started at Mulberry in 2002 and taught for nine years, then she took a year off to be with her son. She also taught at Westview Elementary for two years but is now happy to be back home at Mulberry.
Kim enjoys spending time with her two sons (Cameron and Tayden) and her husband Wayne. She also likes scrapbooking and crafting.
Awards: 2008 Golden Apple Award Nominee & 2005 Girl Scout Educators’ Recognition Award
Ms. Colette, 4K Teacher
Colette has been with Mulberry School since 2000. She teaches 4K preschool and enjoys getting her students ready for Kindergarten. In 2002, Colette was a Girl Scout Teacher of the Year Nominee. Colette is a graduate of Illinois State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. After school and during the summer Colette works at Dr. Burgess’ Dental Office. She is a big sports fan, loving the Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Cardinals.
In her spare time, Colette enjoys spending time with her family and friends, riding her bike, working around the house, Zumba, and traveling.
Ms. Zarina, First/Second Grade Teacher
Zarina joined the Mulberry School family in 2016. She holds a degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State, with endorsements in two sciences, language arts, and social studies. Before earning her education degree, Zarina received an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing, also from ISU, and spent several years teaching at Illinois Wesleyan. Since becoming a licensed teacher, she has worked in local school districts as a special education paraprofessional, a substitute teacher, and a long-term leave replacement teacher. She is also an award-winning writer, with two honors from the Illinois Arts Council, and is a children’s media reviewer for Parents’ Choice Foundation.
Outside of school, Zarina enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering for her children’s music and dance activities. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and cooking, but nurturing children brings her the greatest joy.
Ms. Brandi, Preschool Teacher
Brandi has been a part of Mulberry School since 2016. She believes in the importance of fostering a love for school in a nurturing environment for early learners. She earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from Eastern Illinois University. She taught Pre-Kindergarten for four years and Kindergarten for two years. For the past two years, she has provided support to children with special needs in Unit 5.
In her free time, Brandi loves spending time with her family: son Max, daughter Quincy, and youngest son Satchel. Her husband travels for work so they spend most of their free time together as a family. She also enjoys reading and shopping.
Ms. Teresa Klaege, Kindergarten Teacher
Teresa joined the Mulberry family in 2017. She teaches our full-day Kindergarten class and values the opportunity to help the children develop a love of learning. Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Aurora University and graduated with honors. In the past, Teresa taught 4th grade for a year, 1st grade for four years, kindergarten for 8 years and 3rd grade for two years. Teresa loves to spend time with her family -husband, Bill, son Adam, and daughter-in-law Sammi, son Justin, and daughter Emily. She is looking forward to becoming a first-time grandmother this fall. Her fur-family includes Frederick, her cat and Toby and Bailey, her dogs. She loves to travel, enjoys the outdoors and values working with young children. Teresa has been a Pampered Chef Kitchen Consultant and Team Leader since 1990. Teresa enjoys working with her K-Team kids, staff, and families at Mulberry.
Ms. Kathy, Preschool Teacher
Kathy joined the Mulberry family in 2016. She teaches the Tuesday-Thursday PM preschool class. Kathy has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Elms College in MA. In her spare time, Kathy loves to spend time with her family (husband Paul and daughters Makayla and Teresa), take walks and read. She grew up in NH so she is a big New England fan. She is looking forward to working with the children, staff, and families at Mulberry.
Ms. Sharon, Preschool Teacher
Sharon joined the Mulberry family in 2017. This year she teaches the 3 full day a week preschool class. Sharon has a degree in Elementary Education from Illinois Benedictine University. She enjoys spending time with her family (husband: Brian and 2 children, Austin and Emma). In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, hiking, gardening, and hanging out with family and friends. Sharon loves to travel and is a life long Cubs fan!
Ms. Carolina, Spanish Teacher
Ms. Carolina is our Spanish teacher. She is from Costa Rica and has lived in Illinois for six years. She studied Fine Arts at the University of Costa Rica and taught at a number of schools there. She has shown her artwork in the United States and Costa Rica. She loves teaching children and believes it is very important to study a second language, especially in a fun way. She uses music and creative activities in her language classes. She also teaches at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Language School for Kids.
Ms. Karen, Art Teacher
Karen joined the Mulberry team in 2018. She is thrilled to be teaching art on Wednesdays to all Mulberry students! She has been teaching art for 9 years, including time with Unit 5 Schools and Chicago Public Schools. She received her Bachelors in Art Education from Illinois State, and Masters from University of Florida. She loves how art teaches and celebrates creativity, individuality, appreciation for others and appreciation for beauty. She is also active with the Illinois Art Education Association and frequently presents at the state-wide conferences. Karen lives with her two young boys, one of which is a Mulberry student, and her husband, who is also an artist. She enjoys riding her bike, knitting, reading, music, and of course making art!
Ms. Angella Riddle, Mini Meerkats Teacher
I am excited to be the new Mini-Meerkats teacher! I have 10 years of teaching experience in Unit 5, primarily in Kindergarten and 1st Grade. This year, I’ve had an opportunity to stay home with my daughters who are 1 and 3. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for teaching while helping our Mini-Meerkats learn and grow.
Ms. Shawna, Administrative Assistant & Book Keeper
Shawna works part-time at Mulberry School. She lives with her husband David and their two beautiful daughters, Tycee (11yrs) and Sabree (9yrs). On the sidelines, David and Shawna are owners and operators of a local construction business. Her favorite color is red, and they are die-hard Dallas Cowboy and Illini fans! Her hobbies are spending time with family and friends, photography, swimming, traveling, and playing with their dog, Harmonee.