Get to know the individuals that make Peterson Elementary great!

Rob Reynolds - 6th and 7th Grade Math Teacher - 2002 - Hoffman Estates, IL -

"Diversity of people, variety of activities, wide range of opportunities."

Lakeview Elementary School
Helen Keller Junior High School
James B. Conant High School
Drake University - Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Minor in Mathematics
DePaul University - Masters of Curriculum and Instruction

Previously I taught middle school science at Nobel and middle school math at Drummond.  Peterson had posted an opening, I had heard great things from friends & neighbors so I applied.

We enjoy visiting & experiencing places near & far as a family.

Wendy MacWilliams - 7th Grade Science Teacher - 2003 - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -

Attended elementary school and high school in Edmonton
Toronto Dance Theatre in Toronto, Canada - Associate Degree in Modern Dance
Loyola University, Chicago - Undergraduate Degree in Education
Northeastern Illinois University - Learning Specialist Endorsement
North Park University - Masters in Education
University of Chicago - SESAME Program, Science Endorsement

I found Peterson through a friend and fellow teacher who served as Assistant Principal at Peterson, Debbie Reese.

"My favorite part of being at Peterson is being a member of such a diverse community! Everybody at Peterson is "somebody" from somewhere, with their own story unique and interesting to tell."

I love to spend time with family, make buildings out of legos, watch documentaries, collect things and travel when I can.

Christopher Christensen - 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher - Chicago, IL -


I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago.  My wife, Kimberly and I have been happily married for ten years, have a two-year-old son named Gunnar, and live in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on Chicago’s north side.

I chose teaching as a profession because I enjoy working with adolescents and young adults. Teaching allows me to make a valuable contribution to the community and positively impact the lives of my students.  In addition, I enjoy being a mentor to my middle school-age students, just as some of my better teachers were mentors to me. 

Over the last few years of my career, I’ve developed a good idea of what works and what doesn’t in regard to effective teaching.  I understand what it takes to retain the attention of the class, and how a good disposition and an understanding of the student mindset can make a difference.  For example, as a history teacher (a subject many students find boring), I have learned that the use of analogies and enthusiasm during class lectures, as well as the application of hands-on exercises, are strong tools in helping students understand and retain the information they learn every day in class.

Thomas Ruby - 7th Grade Diverse Learner Specialist Teacher - Chicago, IL - 1995 -


Daniel Boone Elementary School
Mather High School
North Park University –
Bachelor of Arts with Double Major of History and Elementary Education
Northeastern Illinois University –
Masters in Special Education (EBD)
Concordia University –
Masters in Educational Leadership

Prior to obtaining my teaching credentials, I worked for a number of years as the Director of Operations for a small distribution company in the northwest suburbs. After obtaining my Master’s degree I was lucky enough to secure a teaching position at Peterson. I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a variety of Middle School teaching capacities – Learning Specialist, 6th Grade Homeroom, Social Studies and Language Arts.

“I’m completing my 20th year at Peterson, and while much has changed, students still reflect an incredible variety of experiences, and there are a lot of chances to be reminded that, “It’s the dog that trots about that finds a bone.”

I love spending time in my neighborhood, and especially hope to someday catch a glimpse of Ms. Siemens walking her dog.

Claire Kinzer - 7th Grade Diverse Learner Teacher - 2018 - Port Washington, WI -

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Port Catholic Elementary School
Port Washington High School
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

I always knew I wanted to move to Chicago after graduating college because of the diversity and opportunities provided here. Peterson stuck out to me as an amazing school with a wonderful community!

"My favorite part about Peterson is how diverse the students and staff are. Everyone truly has their own perspective and story to tell. "

Outside of Peterson I like to hang out with my friends and family, work out, and play with my dogs!

Kiran Ionita - 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher- 2018 - Pakistan -

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University of Illinois at Chicago - Master of Education in ELMSA
Benedictine University - Master of Education in Reading and Literacy
Loyola University - Bachelor of Science in Education with Endorsement in Social Science

Growing up as a first generation immigrant from Pakistan in and around the Chicagoland area gave me a unique perspective on multiculturalism. My passion for teaching arose from my own struggles of being a child who was a non-native English speaker and the difference teachers made in my life. My hope is to use my skills and abilities to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the students and families at Peterson.

"The diversity among the student body combined with the passion and dedication brought by the staff make Peterson a truly special place."

I enjoy spending time with my husband and two daughters, watching Bollywood musicals, working out, cooking, and taking walking tours in foreign countries which in my experience is the best way to learn about new cities.