OUR TEAM

OUR DIRECTOR

Ellen McCue
Ellen McCueDirector

“WCNS is a special place where children become life long learners, make lasting friendships and develop the confidence and skill set they need to make a successful transition to Kindergarten.”

Ellen began her journey at WCNS in 2002 with a BA in ECE and Psychology from National Louis University. During her time as a teacher she taught in the Parent/Tot, Junior, Senior and Kindergarten Enrichment programs. She also consulted to Special Gifts Theatre and implemented a comprehensive educational program, combining Individual Education Plan (IEP) and students’ personal goals. Through these experiences she learned that each child is unique and education is an on-going process, which is enhanced when the child, teacher and family work together.

Ellen is also the owner and director of Summer Stuff Day Camps and founder of Growth Spurts play space right here in Wilmette. Her children Aiden (5) and Nolan (8) are both alumni of WCNS where she also served on WCNS parent-led Executive Board.

JUNIOR TEACHERS

Becky Wall
Becky Wall
With an Undergraduate and Masters degree in both Elementary and Special education, Becky brings over 15 years of experience and excitement to WCNS. “There is something so satisfying in seeing the joy and curiosity in a young person’s eyes as they discover and learn.”

Having experienced the joy of sending her three daughters to WCNS as pre-schoolers, Becky was thrilled to join the WCNS staff eleven years ago.

Pam Solomon
Pam Solomon
Pam is excited to be back in the classroom and brings over 7 years of teaching with her! She is a former 1st and 2nd grade teacher, with an Undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Masters degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities. She is also a mom of 3! “Seeing the importance of letting children play and experience the wonders of childhood, is what makes me want to work with young children again.”

“As I continue to watch my own children grow up, and I see how quickly that happens, my eyes have been opened to the importance of a play based curriculum. While teaching and guiding children as they grow is essential, the most important thing is to let them explore and make discoveries on their own.”

Julie Cummins
Julie Cummins
Julie earned a degree in Psychology and Business from Eastern Illinois University. After having 3 children of her own Julie decided to become a preschool teacher.

A beloved part of her WCNS day is spending time with the KEE class on the playground and having lunch with them. “This was a special time as the children have so much to talk about and share with one another. They are filled with excitement from their morning at school and anticipation for their afternoon at WCNS.” Julie looks forward to co-teaching in KEE and sharing sweet moments with the preschoolers.

SENIOR TEACHERS

Margie Guidarelli
Margie Guidarelli
Margie has a degree in Elementary Education/Art and previously taught First and Third grade in Barrington. She was drawn to WCNS after raising her five children because of the warm, caring and nurturing environment she found here.

“WCNS engages the child through play, while developing their critical thinking, problem solving and social skills. The excitement that a child displays on their face during our elephant toothpaste experiment is PRICELESS! Play and learning go together at WCNS.”

Kim Degand
Kim Degand
Kim has a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University and has been teaching young children for the past 27 years. “I love teaching at WCNS because of the close knit community and how teachers and parents work together to ensure a successful school experience.”

Kim has always supported play-based learning and believes play is child’s work. She believes that play and learning go hand-in-hand, they are not separate activities, they are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.

Shannon Callinan
Shannon Callinan
Shannon received her degree in Elementary Education from Purdue University in 2013 and taught 4th and 5th grade in New Buffalo, MI for two years. Shannon also coaches regional girls lacrosse in Evanston in addition to children kindergarten-8th grade.

Shannon is passionate about making learning FUN and is a firm believer that children learn best through experience and play. She believes that every child learns in a different way and it is important to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom.

MUSIC

Cindy Ulrich
Cindy Ulrich
“Musical Connections” is a unique music enrichment program for young children facilitated by creator Cindy Ulrich. Through “Musical Connections” children grow developmentally and educationally by using music to enhance what they are learning in the classroom.

WCNS is fortunate to have Cindy as an extension of the team, bringing music to the classrooms bi-weekly throughout the school year.