OUR TEAM

OUR DIRECTOR

Ellen Knight
Ellen KnightDirector

“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 completing her M.Ed. in ECE Administration at National Louis University.

Ellen is also the founder of Summer Stuff Day Camps in Evanston and Growth Spurts play space right here in Wilmette. Her children are alumni of WCNS where she also served on WCNS parent-led Executive Board.

Ellen resides in Northfield with her husband Robert, sons Nolan (11), Aiden (8) and step sons Alex (10) and Thomas (7).

READY TO PLAY & JUNIOR TEAM

Becky Wall
Becky Wall
With an Undergraduate and Masters degree in both Elementary and Special education, Becky brings over 17 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 thirteen 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 raising 3 children of her own, she decided to return to work. It was Julie’s true love of being with young children that made her decide to become a preschool teacher.

Julie has enjoyed working with the Ready to Play, Juniors and Kindergarten Enrichment classes over the past 5 years. It has been amazing for her to welcome the children into the Ready to play program and witness so many milestones through the KEE program. Julie feels privileged to be part of the early development of the children’s lives.

Cindy Ulrich
Cindy Ulrich
Cindy has an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education. She brings to WCNS 25 years of experience in teaching young children. Cindy’s background of special education inspired her to use music, movement, imagination to assist in connecting young minds with early language development which blends naturally with early childhood development. Cindy believes in a play based approach to early learning. Cindy trusts in a learning process that begins with curiosity leading to exploration which ultimately leads to discovery. Cindy is thrilled to be the on the Junior Team.

“Every single time that I walk through the doors at Wilmette Community Nursery School, I feel like I am home. The nurturing and warm environment allows WCNS to be a place of welcome and belonging.”

Molly Sullivan
Molly Sullivan
Molly is a graduate of Western Michigan University. She is the mother of 3 kiddos and calls Wilmette home.

“My favorite part of the day is greeting the children at the door. They are always filled with curiosity and an eagerness to learn. I also love to see them start to make new
friends.”

SENIOR TEAM

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.

Sarah Condry
Sarah Condry
Sarah has a degree in Elementary Education and is working towards a Masters in Gifted Education. She has taught in both public and private elementary schools in the area but her heart has found a home at WCNS. She has been a teacher in the Parent/Tot classes as well as working with both Junior and Seniors.

“I love returning to the school that my own two kids attended. Learning through play at WCNS set them up to be creative problem solvers and collaborative learners all the way through their high school years. They met some of their best friends on the wood chips at WCNS!”

Nicole Solomon
This is Nicole’s first year as a teacher’s assistant at WCNS! She is excited to meet and get to know all the kiddos, as well as watch them grow. She has even babysat some of our friends outside of school, and loves how excited they get to show her their lives at home. Nicole loves interacting with the kids and watching them learn by interacting with each other. Her favorite part of the day is when there is a guest reader who comes as a surprise! She loves watching the kids light up and feel so special as their special guest reads to the class. Nicole lives in Wilmette and is currently a college student.