Meet Our New Elmwood Faculty

Meet Our New Elmwood Faculty

PHOTO: Our new Elmwood Elementary faculty members for 2017-18 are, from left, Michele Sohl, Ashley Heck, Daniella Wolff and Melissa Windisch.

With the school year in full swing, you've probably noticed a few new faces among the Elmwood Elementary School faculty.

We have two faculty members, in fact, who are new Elmwood employees — Ms. Ashley Heck and Ms. Melissa Windisch. Two others — Ms. Michele Sohl and Ms. Daniella Wolff — are veterans of District 401, but now they will have their part-time positions entirely at our school.

In case you haven't met them yet, here's an introduction to our new faculty in alphabetical order. Welcome to Elmwood!

Ashley Heck, Special Education Teacher

Hometown & high school? Park Ridge, Ill.; Loyola Academy.

Colleges & degrees? Marquette University, bachelor's degree; Loyola University, master's degree.

Years working in education? Twelve.

Previous education jobs? I've worked in private and public schools throughout Chicagoland, most recently at a small clinic for children with autism.

Your Elmwood job? As a special education teacher I work with small groups of students and give academic support in language arts and math.

Why education as a career? Growing up I had a school in my basement over the summers and forced my younger brother and sister to be my students. I loved decorating my classroom, creating worksheets and teaching the two of them to read.

Impressions of Elmwood so far? It's a wonderful community. The school has a very caring and dedicated staff that truly puts students first — friendly and helpful!

Your goals for the year? Watching my students grow academically and socially, helping students see their potential, and providing a safe environment where students feel comfortable taking risks.

Michele Sohl, Speech-Language Pathologist

Hometown & high school? Elmwood Park, Ill.; Elmwood Park High School.

Colleges & degrees? University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, bachelor's in speech and hearing science;  Northern University, master's in speech pathology.

Years working in education? Thirteen years in Elmwood Park.

Your Elmwood job? As a speech-language pathologist I work with students who exhibit the full range of communication disorders, including those involving language, articulation (speech sound disorders), fluency, voice/resonance and pragmatics.

Why education as a career? I love to work with kids.

Impressions of Elmwood so far? Although I have worked in the District for 13 years, I am very excited to be at Elmwood School for my entire part-time schedule.

Your goals for the year? I have 7-year-old twins and a 2-year-old.

Melissa Windisch, 2nd-Grade Teacher

Hometown & high school? Chicago; Resurrection High School.

Colleges & degrees? Columbia College, bachelor's in management; National Louis University, master's in teaching.

Years working in education? Technically this is my first year. I did some subbing last year, but this is my first official teaching position.

Previous education jobs? I subbed within the District last year, but that's all the education related experience I have.

Your Elmwood job? I am a 2nd-grade teacher, nourishing the minds of our amazing children!

Why education as a career? I love the idea of making a difference for children and helping them see their potential and believe in themselves.  

Why teach at Elmwood? Because Elmwood Park has been my community for the last 15 years, and I believe in this community and its youth. If I'm going to help children learn and grow, I would love to do it right here in my backyard. I love that I not only see my students in the classroom but also out and about in the community, and I feel that gives me an extra connection to each of them!

Impressions of Elmwood so far? I love Elmwood. I student-taught here in the winter and spring of the 2015-16 school year and knew it was where I belonged. The community within its walls is strong and very supportive and feels like a family.

Your goals for the year? My biggest goal for the year is to become the best teacher I can be. I want to make a difference in each of my students' lives and help them realize what they are capable of!

Daniella Wolff, Social Worker

Hometown & high school? Deerfield, Ill.; Deerfield High School.

Colleges & degrees? Bradley University, undergraduate; Loyola University, graduate.

Years working in education? I have been working in Elmwood Park since 2003.

Previous education jobs? Prior to working part time at Elmwood I have also worked at Elm Middle School and Elmwood Park High School.

Your Elmwood job? As a school social worker I help students navigate social-emotional issues in order to work toward becoming positive community members.

Why education as a career? I wanted to help children with emotional and social struggles. The education setting lets me be a part of their daily triumphs and challenges.  

Impressions of Elmwood so far? I love working at Elmwood. The staff couldn't be more warm, welcoming and dedicated to students. Elmwood has been a wonderful place to work for the last few years, and I'm excited to have my time increased here this year. 

Your goals for the year? I'm excited to work on improving my technology skills.

Miscellaneous information about yourself? I have three young kids.

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