The School of the Art Institute of Chicago drew me to the Midwest from Long Island, New York. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree I worked in the exhibits department at the Field Museum of Natural History. It was filled with artists and all sorts of creative people. It was the perfect place for me to bring together my interests in art and nature. I had some great experiences there, and even got to travel to Hawaii and the Marshal Islands where I made molds of lava flows and tropical plants. Back in Chicago I worked with a crew recreating the environments in diorama form. After some time I ventured out on my own. I had many fascinating experiences like making dioramas of Minnesota Wild Rice ponds, painting fake rocks in the Alaska Sea Life Center, and simulating cypress swamps at the Shedd Aquarium. But eventually I started to crave experiences that involved more interaction with other people, and that's how I got into teaching. I taught programs for Gallery 37,and classes at SAIC, and was offered a full time teaching position in 2000. I received National Board Certification in 2004. In 2005 I joined the Payton Art Department where I have enjoyed teaching Survey Art and Sculpture classes. Last year I became the chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department,and have enjoyed collaborating with creative colleagues and students in the visual arts, music, and drama programs.
Currently I teach 2 sections of AP Photography and also serve as the school scheduler at Payton. I have a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Illinois at Chicago. I earned a Liberal Arts degree with Distinction in Photography and Cinema from Ohio State University. Following a brief career as a freelance fashion/portrait photographer, I went on to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and then a Master's degree in Art Education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was honored to be a Golden Apple Finalist while teaching at Bell Elementary prior to being chosen as a member of Payton's founding faculty. Student art projects I initiated have been featured on WTTW's Art Beat Chicago, highlighted in The Chicago Tribune, and included in several professional journals and texts. I have taught education research and methods courses at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, National-Louis University, Northeastern Illinois University, and most recently at DePaul University.
This is my sixth year at Payton. I studied Theatre and English at Northwestern University. After college, I worked as an actor, director, and writer in Chicago. I have worked with Lookingglass Theatre Company, Next Theatre Company, Chapel Perilous Theatre Ensemble, Actors Gymnasium, etc. After teaching acting and theatre for a number of years, I decided to make a career change. I earned my teacher certification and M.Ed from DePaul University and began teaching full time. I began my career at Farragut Career Academy. I next taught at Von Steuben Metro Science Academy. After the birth of my two daughters, I took an extended family leave. I was thrilled to return to work in such a dynamic, challenging, and nurturing community. At Payton, I currently teach AP Language and Composition and Drama. I sponsor Payton Players, our drama club. We currently produce two mainstage productions per year as well as smaller student-directed projects in our new Blackbox Theatre. I chair the English Department and have sponsored three of our Humananities Festivals. I have traveled with our students to London and Paris. I am a Nationally Board Certified Teacher.
Kate Johnston is the Director of Choirs at Walter Payton. She conducts three Beginning Choirs, the auditioned Intermediate and Concert Choir. In addition, she conducts the extra-curricular male a Capella ensemble, "Sounds of Sweetness" and is musical director for the all-female a Capella ensemble "Pieces of Perfection". Johnston partners with Payton's drama team to produce a main stage musical theater production every other year. In 2014-2015 Payton presented "Into the Woods" as its inaugural show. She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University (B.A.) and Boston University (M.Mus.) where she earned degrees in piano. Most recently, she was founding music director at UIC College Prep High School where she created a program in which all high school students study music all four years of their high school career. Prior to that, she was Director of Secondary Choirs at the American International School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently engaged in a longitudinal study with Northwestern University where the neuroscience lab is monitoring the cognitive development of teenagers who study music in school versus teenagers who do not. Other recent posts have included the Music Institute of Chicago as Director of the Children's Choir and the Chicago Waldorf School where she taught 2nd - 12th grade and assisted with theatrical productions. Johnston has founded ongoing concert series and festivals in the U.S. and South America and continues to perform as pianist and singer. She is passionate about the difference that arts make on human development and is truly delighted to be a part of the Payton community. Visit the Payton Choirs website at: paytonchoirs.weebly.com
Phone: 773.534.0034 Ext. 25003
Ms. Marnice Lewis, a native of Elgin, IL, has been speaking French and dancing since childhood and hasn't been able to stop! She attended Larkin High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy for Dance and she majored in both Dance and French at Northwestern University. She then moved to Spain where she received her Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate. After a few years back in Chicago, she accepted a government-sponsored position to teach English in Paris, France. She's traveled extensively around the world and is especially proud to have made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Upon her return to Chicago, Ms. Lewis knew she had to teach! While pursuing a Master of Education in French at DePaul University, she became a founding member and performer of Chicago Verge Dance Theatre. She's now thrilled to be at Payton, dancing and speaking French with the grizzlies!
Hello! I was born in Canada in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and started life between there and a rural town called Temiscaming in the Province of Quebec. My parents' careers as chemical engineers moved our family to South Africa right before I entered first grade. Because of the tumultuous political climate of South Africa at the time, I was enrolled at St Mary's Diocesan School for girls as a boarding student in third grade. My family moved to the United States when I was 13 where I attended high school at Kents Hill College Preparatory School in south-central Maine. After high school I attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where I received my Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) with a concentration in Printmaking. I graduated from RISD in 2007, and moved to Chicago for a brief moment. I then found my way to Wisconsin where I was fortunate to engage my art making practice as an apprentice at a Tattoo shop. My secondary and tertiary jobs to support my passion for learning the craft of tattooing involved retail, construction work (OSHA credential stuff), and independent sales contracting in the door to door insurance industry. Needless to say, when the urge to travel became insistent, I moved to Taos, New Mexico where I helped curate and operate an Outsider Art collection and gallery space. Making the move to Taos to run an art gallery and to inspire my art making practice was second to my real reason for heading out west. At the time I was more interested in doing as much back-country skiing as possible. And I did. More recently, in 2012, I received my Master's of Art in Teaching (MAT) from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to teaching at Payton, I am proud to have taught at Bronzeville Military Academy, Kenwood Academy, as well as Nicholson STEM Elementary school........... I provide this quote to offer context regarding the ways in which I understand myself as a teacher for students in my classes........... We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts............................................................ -Henry David Thoreau
Mr. Rode is currently Director of Bands/Instrumental Music at Walter Payton College Prep High School and has recently retired as a faculty member of Moraine Valley College in Palos Hills Il. Mr. Rode received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University (Macomb, Il); his Master of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago) and has done post-graduate work in doctoral studies at Northwestern University (Evanston). He has studied trombone with Frank Crisafulli (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Francis Hunt (Orchestra of the Lyric Opera), and Bill Porter (WGN TV); and conducting with Roland Vamos, John Paynter and Frederick Ockwell. Previous positions have included Director of Bands at Lake Zurich High School (1979-83), District Orchestra Director of Cons. H.S. District 230 (1983-1989), music instructor at Belding and Murphy elementary schools (1992-1994) and Band Director at Mather High School (1994-2000). As one of the original faculty members of Payton, Mr. Rode established Payton's Concert Band which has received continuous Superior Ratings, instituted the Chamber Strings ensemble, and organized The Payton Jazz Orchestra, Payton's musical ambassadors who perform at many events in Chicago throughout the year. Mr. Rode is also a professional trombonist who has performed throughout the United States. He is active as a judge and clinician at various music contests and festivals and is a member of the National Band Association and the International Trombone Association.
Phone: 773.534.0034 Ext. 24984
Born and raised in Chicago, I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I received my B.F.A. degree in Theatre. More recently, I received my Master's Degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to my work at Payton, I worked at Bell Elementary School in Chicago and served as a company member at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Additionally, I work as a Teaching Artist for Lookingglass Theatre Company during my summers. At Payton, I could not be more thrilled to delve further into one of my first loves, theatre, by assisting the Payton Players. I also work to collaborate with the English and Fine Arts Departments while creating and recreating engaging and dynamic curricula for my Survey of Literature, World Literature, and Drama courses. Outside of Payton, I enjoy spending time in my Roscoe Village neighborhood with my wife and puppy, Alfred J. Pennyworth.