Alicia Gonzalez
[Department Chair]
Bonjour. Je m'appelle Alicia Gonzalez et je suis prof de franšais depuis 20 ans. For those of you non-Francophones, that means I`ve been teaching French for 20 years, and have loved every minute of it. My love of language was sparked while I attended high school in my parents` home city of Monterrey, Mexico. As a native speaker of Spanish, however, I decided to spread my wings and major in French. I received my B.A. in French from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as my M.A. in French Literature. While pursuing my love of French, I spent three years, living in Paris and studying at the UniversitÚ de Paris (La Sorbonne), Paris III and Paris IV. I have taught French and Spanish at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Latin School of Chicago, Whitney Young High School and now, of course, at Walter Payton College Prep. It`s great to save the best for last! I am beginning my 8th year at Payton, having taught all levels of French, and a couple in Spanish. Along with Ms. Imrem, I am the co-sponsor for our French exchanges to France and Quebec. I am also the proud sponsor of ALAS (the Alliance of Latin American Students).

Email: agonzalez12@cps.edu
Phone: 773.534.0034 Ext. 24978
Website: http://wpcpfrancais.weebly.com/

Kathleen Gallegos
[Instructor]
Hola, soy la Srta. Gallegos. I joined the Payton family in 2008 as a Chicago Teaching Fellow, earning my teacher's certificate and Masters of Arts in Education. During undergrad at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain, finishing with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English. I have lived and traveled extensively throughout Spain, my family's native country. Along with my Payton colleagues I have led Spanish immersion trips and exchanges to Oaxaca, Mexico, Granada, Spain, San Jose, Costa Rica and Buenos Aires, Argentina. At Payton I also serve as the Senior Class Dean. In the spring of 2012 Ms. Long and I were awarded an educational grant through Fund for Teachers to carry out a curriculum plan which entailed traveling to Peru over the summer to research Peruvian culture and Inca civilization, as well as establish a sister-school connection. We are excited to bring our fresh ideas and global connections back into the classroom! In addition to language learning and travel, some of my other hobbies include making music with my band, hiking the different routes of the Camino de Santiago and practicing Pilates. I'm eager as ever to work with Payton students and share with them the splendor of the Spanish-speaking world!

Email: ktgallegos@cps.edu
Website: http://gallegoscentral.pbworks.com

Valerie Gemskie
[Instructor]
Salvete, mihi nomen est Magistra Gemskie. Ever since I was a young girl I have spent many summers visiting family in Mediterranean. I was exposed to many ancient cultures and those experiences really influenced my academic career. I attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where I studied Latin and Ancient History. Upon graduating, I taught in New Orleans before becoming a founding member of Walter Payton College Prep in 1999. I have coached the Boys Softball team for the last 13 years, winning a City Championship in 2004. I took two young ladies to Cuba to compete against the National Cuban Girls Softball Team through a state sponsored program. I also sponsor the Latin Club, which participates in city and state-wide competitions, such as Certamen and the CPS Latin Olympics. Lastly, I have traveled to Italy with my students, studying in Rome and at the Villa Vergiliana in southern Italy.

Email: vjgemskie@cps.edu

Abby Imrem
[Instructor]
Bonjour and Hola. I have been honored to be a member of the Payton family since 2001. I have worn many chapeaux and sombreros here at Payton, most currently sharing with students my indispensable expertise as a French teacher and sponsor of the French Club. Many, many years ago, I was once a student too; I completed my secondary teaching certificate and Master's in Education in French with an endorsement in Spanish at DePaul University and earned my bachelor's degree in French Language and Literature from Colgate University. Prior to joining Payton, I gained valuable experience as a fundraiser, event planner and copywriter in the non-profit and public relations fields. Throughout my illustrious educational, professional and personal life, I have worked, taught, traveled and studied in such rich settings as France, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. While at Payton, I have facilitated linguistic and cultural exchange programs for our fabulous French students with sister schools in Paris and Strasbourg, France; Quebec City, Canada; and Casablanca, Morocco. A bientot and hasta pronto!

Email: alimrem@cps.edu
Website: http://wpcpfrancais.weebly.com/

Marnice Lewis
[Instructor]
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.

Email: mlewis65@cps.edu
Website: http://wpcpfrancais.weebly.com/

Colleen Long-Vallin
[Instructor]
Saludos.I joined the Payton family in 2007 through the Chicago Teaching Fellow program. I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I majored in Spanish and International Relations. I continued my studies at the UW where I received a Master's Degree in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies. Before beginning my teaching career had the opportunity to live, study and work in such places as Mexico, Spain and Panama.In 2010 I received a Master's of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University. At Payton I am the sponsor of the International Club and the chair of the Global Connections Committee. Along with my fellow "maestras" I have led Spanish immersion trips and exchanges to Oaxaca, Mexico, Granada, Spain Buenos Aries, Argentina and San Jose, Costa Rica.

Email: cmlong@cps.edu
Website: www.senoravallin.weebly.com/

Alicia Quintero
[Instructor]


Email: alquintero@cps.edu

Louis Wu
[Instructor]
Nihao, this is Wu Laoshi. I am originally from Taiwan and moved here with my family when I was young. I have my B.A. degree from Columbia College and M.A.T. from National Louis University. Prior to Payton, I have taught music lessons and Chinese heritage schools. Here at Payton, I teach level 2, 3, 4, and AP Chinese. I have organized exchanges with our sister school in Taiwan to enrich students' learning of language and culture. I also find opportunities for our students to apply the language outside the classroom, such as Chinese speech contests or Confucius Institute's summer study program in China. I've sponsored clubs and seminars such as dance, school of rock, glee, and most recently, Model U.N, where we participate in many competitions. In the summer of 2011, along with a group of Payton students and faculty, I visited president Hu Jingtao in China on his invitation, and also visited various sites and schools. I am also the assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team. As you can see, I enjoy the school life and environment, so I am always finding ways and opportunities to expand student experiences at Payton.

Email: lwu4@cps.edu

Christina Xu
[Instructor]
你好!我是许老师! Hello, this is Xu Lao Shi. 2016-17 school year marks my first year here at Payton! Prior to Payton, I have worked at Andrew Jackson Language Academy for 10 years. I got my B.A in International Finance in Beijing, China and my Master's Degree in Information System from University of Toledo. I often heard people saying that I looked like a teacher, spoke like a teacher and acted like a teacher. I realized that teaching was my passion and I wanted to make teaching my career. In 2006, I went to National Louis University to study for my teaching certification. In 2009, I was chosen to be a presenter for Asian Society, and my Chinese class was videotaped and Published in a DVD named Learning Chinese in American Schools. In 2016, I was a presenter to the workshop titled Building Communicative Competency through Meaningful Activities at the National Chinese Language Conference. I believe high expectations bring high achievement.

Email: cxu@cps.edu