Primrose School of South Elgin

Our Staff

  • Ellen Kulbeda, School Director

    Ellen Kulbeda

    School Director

    Mrs. Ellen Kulbeda leads our school's day to day operations as our School Director. Mrs. Kulbeda is a veteran of our industry, with over 25 years experience in both teaching and directing in an early childhood setting. In addition to her strong experience, Ellen holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University.

  • Sarah Friebus, Education Coach

    Sarah Friebus

    Education Coach

    Mrs. Sarah Friebus joins us as Lead Infant Teacher in November, 2011. Mrs. Friebus has her B.S. in Child Development from Northern Illinois University where she specialized in Parent/Infant relationships. Her career includes over six years teaching infant and preschool classes prior to joining our school.

    In June 2018, Mrs. Friebus became our Education Coach, overseeing curriculum implementation in our classrooms and faculty support to ensure our Primrose Balanced Learning program is implemented with fidelity.

  • Theresa McDuffie, School Office Manager

    Theresa McDuffie

    School Office Manager

    Mrs. Theresa McDuffie is our Office Manager She joined our school in November, 2021. She has an extensive background in early education. Prior to joining our school, she worked at another child care program for 18 years, serving in teaching and leadership roles. Mrs. McDuffie holds her B.A. in Education from Northern Illinois University.

  • Karen Faircloth, Infant Teacher

    Karen Faircloth

    Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Karen Faircloth joins our faculty in August, 2013. Mrs. Faircloth holds her A.A in Child Development and has over 19 years experience working with young students in a child care/early learning setting.

  • Rachel Dossey, Infant Teacher

    Rachel Dossey

    Infant Teacher

    Ms. Rachel Dossey joined our faculty in April 2016 to teach in our Older Infant classroom. Ms. Dossey completed her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and prior to joining our school, she completed six years of service at another child care center teaching and caring for young children.

  • Sandra Garcia, Assistant Infant Teacher

    Sandra Garcia

    Assistant Infant Teacher

    Ms. Garcia joined our school in December of 2022 as an Assistant Teacher in our Young Infant classroom.  Ms. Garcia will be attending Elgin Community College to obtain her degree in Early Childhood Education.

  • Diane Shorter, Infant Assistant Teacher

    Diane Shorter

    Infant Assistant Teacher

    Ms. Diana Shorter joins our faculty in March, 2014 to teach in our infant classroom. She has over 13 years experience in another child care program and attended school at Elgin Community College.

  • Desi Rinaldi, Infant Teacher

    Desi Rinaldi

    Infant Teacher

    Mrs. Desi Rinaldi joined our school in September 2021. Mrs. Rinaldi studied early childhood education at Elgin Community College. She has previous experience with children as a Toddler teacher at another childcare center.

  • Jackie Smith, Toddler Teacher

    Jackie Smith

    Toddler Teacher

    Mrs. Jackie Smith is our Toddler Teacher, joining our school in April, 2012. Mrs. Smith completed her Associates Degree from Elgin Community College, studying child development. Prior to joining our school, she had over 12 years experience working in another child care program.

  • Teri O'Connor, Toddler Teacher

    Teri O'Connor

    Toddler Teacher

    Mrs. Teri O'Connor joined our team in December 2016 as a Toddler teacher. Mrs. O'Connor has an Associates Degree in Child Development and comes to us with over 25 years of experience working with children in another child care setting and through her church.

  • Amanda Seibert, Assistant Toddler Teacher

    Amanda Seibert

    Assistant Toddler Teacher

    Mrs. Amanda Seibert joins our school in December of 2021 as an Assistant Teacher in the Early Preschool classroom. Prior to joining our school, she has experience as a Nanny and also is a Certified Nursing Assistant.

  • Emily Maldonaldo, Assistant Toddler Teacher

    Emily Maldonaldo

    Assistant Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Maldonaldo joined our school in April of 2022 as an Assistant Teacher.  She is currently attending classes at Elgin Community College working towards her Associates Degree.

  • Brooke Walter, Early Preschool Teacher

    Brooke Walter

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Brooke Walter joined our faculty in August 2017 to team teach in Early Preschool. Mrs. Walter completed her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has previous experience working with children as a summer camp counselor and summer camp director.

  • Lexie Mandoza, Early Preschool Teacher

    Lexie Mandoza

    Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Lexie Mandoza joined our team in May 2021 after graduating from University of Kentucky.

  • Itzel Pena, Assistant Early Preschool Teacher

    Itzel Pena

    Assistant Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Itzel Pena joined our school in January 2023.  Ms. Pena is currently studying at Elgin Community College where she is working on her degree in Buisness.  She has previous experience taking care of a Kindergartener through e-learning and a six month old.

  • Jamie Gajewski, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Jamie Gajewski

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Mrs. Jamie Gajewski joined our school in the Fall of 2012 to team teach in our early preschool classroom. Mrs. Gajewski has studied Early Childhood Education at Elgin Community College and then at Trinity International University. She has been teaching in a preschool setting for three years prior to joining our school, teaching students from infants through pre-kindergarten age.

  • Lorie Bloomquist, Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Lorie Bloomquist

    Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Lorie Bloomquist joins our faculty in the Fall of 2014 as one of our Preschool Pathways Teachers. She has completed the Early Childhood Certificate of Teaching through Concordia University and has worked in the preschool field for over four years before joining our school.

  • Hailey Hall, Assistant Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Hailey Hall

    Assistant Preschool Pathways Teacher

    Ms. Hailey Hall joined our school in August 2021. Ms. Hall is currently studying at Elgin Community College where she is working on her degree to become an Ultrasound Tech. She has previous experience with children at a daycare center and through softball clinics.

  • Lisa Arcos, Preschool Teacher

    Lisa Arcos

    Preschool Teacher
    Apple of Our Eye

    Ms. Lisa Arcos joins our faculty in February, 2016, originally at our Algonquin School, then transferring to our South Elgin School. She has over 15 years experience in the early childhood education field and completed her undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders and Information Technology.

  • Christine Klopcic, Preschool Teacher

    Christine Klopcic

    Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Christine Klopcic is a Teacher at our school who joined our faculty in April, 2015. She has her B.A in Education and has taught preschool for over 10 years.

  • Wendy Westlund, Preschool Teacher

    Wendy Westlund

    Preschool Teacher

    Ms.Wendy Westlund is our Preschool Teacher. Ms. Westlund has her in Education from Judson College and over 18 years experience prior to joining our school. Ms. Westlund joined our school when we opened in July, 2011.

    Ms. Westlund is also the winner of the 2016 Master Teacher Award, for her outstanding contributions to our student's success at Primrose School of South Elgin.

  • Christina Foreman, Preschool Teacher

    Christina Foreman

    Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Christina Foreman joins our school in February 2012 as our Toddler Teacher. Mrs. Foreman has her Infant/Toddler Certification from Waubonsee College and received her Associates Degree in Early Childhood in December 2016. She began her career in the Early Childhood field in 2003. Beginning in the Fall of 2016, Mrs. Foreman began teaching in our Preschool II classroom.

  • Leanne Zshornack, Assistant Preschool Teacher

    Leanne Zshornack

    Assistant Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Leanne Zshornack joined our school in October 2021 to assist in the afternoons in our Preschool 2 program. She is currently working on her Associates Degree at Elgin Community College.

  • Joyce Aquino, Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Joyce Aquino

    Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Joyce Aquino joins our faculty in November 2018 as a Private Pre-Kindergarten I Teacher. Mrs. Aquino completed her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and also has her Masters Degree in Education. Prior to joining our school, Mrs. Aquino worked in another child care organization and as a Sunday School teacher.

  • Pam Randazzo, Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Pam Randazzo

    Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Pam Randazzo joined our school in the summer of 2019 as a PreKindergarten teacher. She has two years prior experience teaching preschool students in another early childhood program.

  • Isabella Maes, Assistant Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Isabella Maes

    Assistant Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Isabella Maes joined our school in December of 2022.  Ms. Maes is studying Education at Elgin Community College.

  • Kathryn Vickrey, Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Kathryn Vickrey

    Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs.Kathryn Vickrey joined our school in the summer of 2012 as our Pre-Kindergarten Teacher. She completed her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and has six years prior experience teaching preschool students in another early childhood program.

  • Michelle Salazar, Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Michelle Salazar

    Private Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Michelle Salazar joined our team in May 2018 as a Toddler teacher after working at the Algonquin school for 2 years in their Early Preschool classroom. Mrs. Salazar has achieved her Child Development Associate Credential and comes to us with over 15 years of experience working with children in another child care setting and as a nanny.

  • Lori Thermos, Private Kindergarten Teacher

    Lori Thermos

    Private Kindergarten Teacher

    Mrs. Lori Thermos leads our Explorer Class each afternoon and teaches the Pre-Kindergarten morning class during the school day. She has her B.A. in Early Childhood Education and over 14 years experience in our field prior to joining our school. Mrs. Thermos joined our school when we opened in July, 2011. Mrs. Thermos was also our Master Teacher award winner for 2014, due to her outstanding teaching accomplishments. For the 2021- 2022 school year, Mrs. Thermos was promoted to our Private Kindergarten teacher.

  • Nadia Perez, Assistant Explorer Teacher

    Nadia Perez

    Assistant Explorer Teacher

    Ms. Nadia Perez joined our school in August 2022 to assist in our Explorer's program.

  • Angie Stonecipher, Support Teacher

    Angie Stonecipher

    Support Teacher

    Mrs. Angie Stonecipher joins our school in January 2022 as a Support Teacher. She has been a long-time teacher in the early education field, since beginning her career in 1993. Mrs. Stonecipher has her education classes from Elgin Community College.

  • Krystal Webb, Support Teacher

    Krystal Webb

    Support Teacher

    Mrs. Krystal Webb joined our team as an Infant Teacher in May 2018. Mrs. Webb has her B.S. in Child Development from Northern Illinois University. Her career includes over four years teaching infant and preschool classes prior to joining our school.

  • Julita Guzman, Kitchen Helper

    Julita Guzman

    Kitchen Helper

    Mrs. Julita Guzman joined our team in March 2019 as a Kitchen Helper. Mrs. Guzman is a great asset in the kitchen as she prepares our snacks and meals and keeps our kitchen clean and tidy.

  • Kim English, Kitchen Helper

    Kim English

    Kitchen Helper

    Mrs. Kim English joined our team in the Fall of 2017 and provides our students with healthy meals throughout the day.

  • David Bloomquist, Support Staff

    David Bloomquist

    Support Staff

    Mr. Bloomquist has been a part of our Primrose support staff since Fall 2016. He can be found helping to ensure everything works and our day is ready for students and staff. You will find him making small repairs, helping in the kitchen, keeping the campus clean and orderly and ensuring the classrooms have everything they need.

  • Soha & Ali Gowani, Franchise Owner

    Soha & Ali Gowani

    Franchise Owners

    Welcome to Primrose Schools!

    My name is Soha Gowani. My husband Ali Gowani and I are the proud owners and operators of Primrose School of South Elgin. We have two beautiful school age children, Lia and Noah. As parents, we understand how difficult it can be to find both a safe and educational environment that provides the exceptional level of care we expect for our most precious gifts. We are beyond excited to be a part of the Primrose family and to share this amazing school with the South Elgin communities.

    I am a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center with 20 years of experience in the industry. I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Elmhurst College and my Master of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University with specialization in family practice. As a nurse practitioner, I have significant experience working in primary care and interventional pain medicine. I have also taught as an adjunct faculty member for both Rasmussen and DePaul University. Over the last few years, I have volunteered my time and served on the health board with a focus on non-communicable disease management for the Ismaili Health Professionals Association.

    My husband, Ali, is an executive and leadership expert, with over 15 plus years of experience leading diverse departments including support groups, field operations and engineering groups. Ali earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from DePaul University and his Master of Science in Communications from Northwestern University. In addition, he holds Microsoft certified technology specialist, Microsoft certified IT professional, lean six-sigma green belt, and project management professional certifications. He currently serves as the president of MitoTec, LLC, where he is responsible for revenue and expenses and leading the ongoing planning and implementation of information technologies that support the company’s core missions.

    Ali and I believe it takes a village to raise a child. Primrose is that village for parents with our Balanced Learning® approach, which balances purposeful play with nurturing guidance from teachers to encourage curiosity, creativity, confidence and compassion.  We deliver more than a curriculum; it’s a life-changing early learning experience for children and their families.

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