Our Teachers and Staff
Miss Kathleen Baumann
Miss Baumann has worked in the Early Childhood area for over 18 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in guiding our youngest learners. After attending Columbia University and working as a preschool aide, Kathleen worked for Hull House as an early childhood coordinator, setting up Head Start programs though out the city’s North and Northwest communities. The children under her care learn through play and imaginative themed-activities. Miss Baumann’s room sets the stage for our youngest students to form a life-long love of learning through exploration, creative play, educational games and interactive materials. Miss Baumann says that seeing young children blossom and grow is a joy!
Mrs. Judith Acosta
Mrs. Acosta comes to Bethesda as a parent of a currant student and as the former director of her own Day Care Center. With over 15 years of experience in a preschool setting Mrs. Acosta opens up the world of learning through play, exploration and hands on activities. The children in her care become curious, imaginative and knowledgeable young learners.
Preschool aide/Extended Care Provider
Mrs. Dorothea Young has been working along side early childhood instructors for 15 years. Working with children has been a dream come true for Mrs. Young after having raised her own son. She brings enthusiasm and a caring and nurturing quality to her interaction with children. Dorothea loves to do arts and crafts with the youngest of our students and story time and dance parties are her specialty!
Ms. Mariana Soulakian
Ms. Soulakian brings a vibrancy and youthful exuberance to her class! She uses cutting edge technology and the latest academic practices, as well as creativity and fun to inspire her students to master their pre-reading, math and writing skills. Creating a warm and inviting environment for her young learners is a high priority, as is making sure that each of her students receives the individual attention they require. Learning and laughing go hand-in-hand in Mariana’s Kindergarten class!
Ms. Elyse Pinka
1st / 2nd Grade Instructor
Ms. Pinka earned her degree in Early Childhood Instruction from Northeastern Illinois University. Ms. Pinkais a dedicated teacher who expects excellence from herself and from her students. Ms. Pinka is very familiar with the curriculum, learning styles and mind set of our primary grade students. As she has completed her student teaching at Bethesda in the first and second grade classroom under the mentorship of Principal Patricia Grunde. Ms. Pinka uses various educational techniques and best practices to motivate and excite her students. She knows that a solid academic foundations is key to academic success, and she looks forward to providing it to those students in her care.
Mrs. Rhonda Petersen
3rd / 4th grade Homeroom
Mrs. Petersen comes to Bethesda after working in Chicago Public Schools. She is an English major who received her Masters Degree in Education from Hollins University. Rhonda’s Passion is reading. She has worked with struggling readers, as well as gifted readers and everyone in between working with our 3rd – 8th graders as they explore literature of every genre. Mrs. Petersen brings creative and inspired, brain-based lessons to the classroom in order to engage and challenge her students. We are so proud to welcome Rhonda into the BIA family.
Mrs. Patricia Grunde
5th / 6th Grade Instructor
Mrs. Grunde brings over 25 years of experience to the classroom setting. Having received her Master’s degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities, Patricia knows how important individualizing instruction can be her students. She tailors her instruction to the child’s learning style and puts best practices and differentiated learning ideas into her instruction of math, reading, science, social studies and language arts. Mrs. Grunde sets high goals and expectations for her students and then gives them the tools and instruction to meet those goals and expectations. Fun, movement, group work, interactive activities and creative learning takes place in her bright, cheery and eclectic classroom!
Mr. Joseph Dembowski
7th /8th Grade Instructor
Mr. Dembowski brings his dynamic teaching style to the seventh and eighth grade classroom. With innovative methods, technology and command of the core standards, Mr. Dembowski guides our upper grade students through the academically challenging curriculum needed to succeed in high school. Students work on interesting and relevant projects individually and collaboratively under Mr. Dembowski’s guidance as he uses best practices to ensure that our older learners can take their place as our global leaders for the 21st century.
Ms. Linda Estevez