Get to know the individuals that make Peterson Elementary great!

Kate Kane - Principal - 2012 - Edwardsville, IL -

Kate started her career in public education in Belize City, Belize, as a counselor at an all girls' high school.  As a result of this transformative experience, Kate learned that she wanted to work with kids and support them to make a difference in their lives through education.  Since returning from Belize, Kate has worked in public education in both Washington D.C. and in Chicago since 2002.  Kate graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College in 2000 with a major in English Language Arts, a concentration in Spanish, and a minor in Faith, Peace, and Justice.  She earned her Masters in Education from The George Washington University Graduate School of Education in 2003 with concentrations in English as a Second Language and Special Education. 

3 Kate.JPG

After receiving her Masters in Education, she participated in the Cross City Literacy Collaborative, a group of educators from across D.C. who were committed to exploring and implementing best practices in literacy instruction from 2005 to 2007, and she earned a Certificate in Professional Teaching Standards as well as her National Board Certification in English Language Arts in 2008.  

In 2010, after teaching high school for a year in Chicago, Kate was accepted to New Leaders for New Schools, a selective principal preparation program.  She served as a Resident Principal at Social Justice High School, as an a Assistant Principal at Mary Gage Peterson Elementary School, as Acting Principal at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, and now is the very proud Principal of Mary Gage Peterson Elementary.

Kate loves working at Peterson!!  The students are some of the most caring and compassionate students she has known, and she is so grateful for the extraordinary group of educators and committed group of parents who make up the Peterson community.

Kate loves to spend time with her husband Dan Berg who works as a physician at Stroger Hospital of Cook County and with her boisterous two year-old and four year-old niece and nephew.

Yalil Nieves - Assistant Principal - 2017 - Panama -


I was born in Panama and lived there until I was 12 years old. In 1994, I moved to Chicago, and I have lived here ever since.

I completed my elementary schooling in Panama. By the time I arrived in Chicago, I was enrolled at Logandale Middle School. I completed my high school years at Lane Technical High School and graduated in 2001. I pursued my bachelor's degree in Education at Northeastern Illinois University, a master's degree in history at Loyola University, and a master's in literacy education at Northeastern Illinois University. I am currently completing my principal preparation program with New Leaders for New Schools.

I first visited Peterson during the summer when students were on vacation. Even though there were no students in the building, their presence was everywhere. I immediately felt in love with students' art work and creations all throughout the building. It showed me how much students love Peterson and their dreams and aspirations for the future.

"My favorite thing about Peterson is the strong sense of community and the many opportunities students have to develop strong leadership skills and become active participants in the school community. "

Outside of Peterson, I love gardening, playing boardgames with my children, and visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden.


          Select Your Language