Bonjour. Je m'appelle Alicia Gonzalez et je suis prof de français 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 Université 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).
Phone: 773.534.0034 Ext. 24978
Teacher, Chair of Global Connections
Having studied abroad in Granada, Spain as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I earned my BA in English and Spanish, I have since earned an MA in Education and achieved National Board Certification. I joined the Payton family in 2008 as a Chicago Teaching Fellow. In addition to teaching Spanish at Payton I also serve as the Chair of Global Connections, a highly innovative program for global teaching and learning. I have co-led Spanish immersion trips and exchanges for Payton Spanish students to Mexico, Spain, Costa Rica, and Argentina. In addition to language learning and travel, some of my other hobbies include making music, hiking the various routes of the Camino de Santiago, and practicing Pilates. I'm excited to work with Payton students and share with them the splendor of the Spanish-speaking world!
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.
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!
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!
¡Hola! Me llamo Oscar Najera. I am part of the World Language Department here at Payton. I discovered my passion for teaching during my senior year of high school where I partook in my school´s Senior Teach Day. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014 with a B.A. in the Teaching of Spanish. I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Granada, Spain at the Centro Granadí de Español (CEGRÍ). Upon graduating, I taught at Antioch Community High School before ecstatically joining the Payton family in the 17/18 school year. I am currently teaching levels 2 and 3 of Spanish, and I sponsor the MEChA and Spanish Honors Society enrichments.
Hola ¿Qué tal! Me llamo Alicia Quintero, and I am thrilled to share my love of learning with our distinguished Grizzlies. I have been teaching Spanish as a second language for approximately 15 years. I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Master's in Latin American Literature and Educational Leadership. Soon after graduating, I worked both as a middle school IB Spanish teacher and adjunct professor at St. Augustine College in Chicago. The experience with the IB organization was completely transformative and still informs my current practice. As an IB educator, I became a strong advocate of combining challenged-based learning with acquisition principles in the world language classroom. After years at the middle school level, I felt ready to make the “jump” to high school; and, I landed here at Payton. Since joining this family 2014, I have definitely found my "tribe." I sponsor several enrichments that focus on student political action, mentoring, and spirituality. I also co-lead international trips that offer students multiple perspectives and limitless possibilities. In terms of hobbies, I play soccer- I learned it as an adult- ¡sí se puede! I love to write and have published two" Language Learner" Spanish novels that model Krashen's theory on Comprehensible Input. And last, but not least, my guilty pleasure is binge watching "Telenovlas."
¡Hola! During my time at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I studied in Granada, Spain at the intensive language and cultural institute, CEGRI. I also spent one year studying at the University of Barcelona. In Barcelona, I held an internship at a local elementary school teaching English and American culture. I also worked as a private English tutor for families. I graduated from UIUC in 2014 and began working teaching in Champaign, IL. With a thirst to learn and explore more, I applied for a Fulbright grant and was awarded an English Teaching Assistant position in Brazil. In 2016, I moved to Porto Alegre, Brazil and I worked at the federal university with the program Idiomas sem Fronteiras (Languages Without Borders) teaching English classes to university students and employees. Coming back to Chicago, I found a new home at Payton. Currently I teach Spanish 2, 4, and AP Spanish Literature and sponsor Spanish Honor Society and mindFULL. During seminar days, I offer a Brazilian Culture and Portuguese Seminar.
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.
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.