New Staff for 2019-20

New Staff Approved June 25, 2019

 Michelle Jackson

Michelle Jackson - Director of Learning

An educational leader with a background in curriculum development and gifted education has been appointed as the Director of Learning.

Michelle Jackson comes to Northbrook from Deerfield, where she was a principal at Walden Elementary School. She began her administrative experience as an assistant principal and coordinator of the talented and gifted program for grades k-8 at Oak Grove School. She started her career at Grove Avenue School in Barrington, where she taught in grades three, four, and five for eight years. She has experience leading curriculum review cycles and designing professional development for teachers, as well as having a strong understanding of differentiation. She also led the implementation of the “Leader in Me” program to support school-wide social-emotional learning.

Ms. Jackson received a master’s degree in educational organization and leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in curriculum and instruction from National-Louis University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, also from the University of Illinois.

She is replacing Stephanie Smith, who is returning to the classroom to teach sixth-grade language arts at Northbrook Junior High.


Sydney Berg – 7th grade special education

Sydney Berg began working at Northbrook Junior High as a substitute special education teacher for a three-month maternity leave in 2018. She stayed on as an instructional assistant for the remainder of the year. She will take the position of seventh-grade special education teacher in August. Ms. Berg has experience serving as both a camp director in Glenview and an inclusion companion at North Suburban Special Recreation Association. She has a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.


Mollie King – Social Worker

Mollie King brings four years of experience to her social work position, which will be split between Greenbriar and Westmoor Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Indiana University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked in Schaumburg District 54 and Mount Prospect District 57.


Susan Nordberg – 4th Grade Meadowbrook

Meadowbrook School is thrilled to welcome back Susan Nordberg to District 28. Ms. Nordberg taught fourth grade at Greenbriar before moving to Texas with her family in 2017.  While in Texas, she taught sixth-grade social studies. She recently returned to the area with her family. Ms. Nordberg holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a master’s degree in teaching from National Louis University.


Nicole Penherski – NBJH Math Instructional Specialist

Ms. Penherski has two years of experience as a math instructional coach and two years of experience as a junior high math teacher. She has worked with learning teams to analyze data and develop action plans for school improvement. She has supported teachers through coaching cycles and provided professional development. Ms. Penherski is described as having a strong work ethic and a solid understanding of effective classroom instructional strategies. She earned a master’s degree in school leadership from Concordia University and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Illinois.


Lauren Schonberg – Physical Therapist

Lauren Schonberg will join the student services team as a physical therapist. She has a variety of experience in hospital, clinic and school settings. She has a strong knowledge of best practices and care for students. Ms. Schonberg has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Northwestern University.


Karee Schwartz – 7th-grade math 

Northbrook Junior High is excited to welcome back veteran math teacher Karee Schwartz after a one-year absence. She taught sixth- and seventh-grade math at NBJH for 11 years before resigning to spend time with her family in 2018. She has taught both core and advanced math classes and is extremely familiar with the units of study and is eager to participate in the math review process. She received her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University and her bachelor’s degree in middle school math from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.


Stephanie Smith - 6th Grade English Language Arts

Stephanie Smith is returning to the classroom after serving three years as the Director of Learning. She was also the Gifted and Talented Coordinator at Northbrook Junior High for three years before taking an administrative opportunity in Arlington Heights District 25 for one year. Mrs. Smith is excited to be returning to the classroom and working more directly with students.

New Staff Approved May 21, 2019

Joel Gallegos

Joel Gallegos – Director of Buildings and Grounds

Joel comes to Northbrook from Barrington District 220, where for two years he was Coordinator of Operations, Custodial and Grounds and managed the day-to-day operations for 12 schools. He also served on the Facilities Committee, which plans for and completes an average of $2.5 million in summer projects annually.

Prior to Barrington, Joel managed custodial operations at College of DuPage for four years and was a facilities manager at Mundelein High School for four years. He began his career as a district manager overseeing corporate facilities.


Jennifer Zhao – 8th Grade Special Education Teacher

Mrs. Jennifer Zhao earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Illinois and received a master’s degree in teaching and leadership from Saint Xavier University. She has served as a Foundational Life Skills Teacher in Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) for five years. Following NSSED she moved to Greenwich, Connecticut and worked as a special education teacher for five years in sixth grade in both the general education and special education settings. Most recently she worked for Chicago Public Schools with third- through sixth-grade special education students. Jennifer’s range of experiences, strong collaboration skills, and dedication to students will be tremendous assets to NBJH and the Student Services Department. We are happy to welcome Mrs. Jennifer Zhao to District 28 and Northbrook Junior High as an 8th grade special education teacher.

Dr. Kelly Sculles 

Dr. Kelly Sculles - Director of Student Services

An elementary school principal who began her career as a special education teacher will be the new Director of Student Services effective July 1. Dr. Kelly Sculles was appointed to the position by the Board of Education at its Feb. 26 meeting.

Dr. Sculles currently works at St. Charles District 303 where she been an elementary principal for the past seven years. In that capacity she has been serving as a district-wide leader in a student support initiative and for the district’s Emerging Leaders Academy.

Dr. Sculles began her career in St. Charles as an elementary special education teacher. She expanded her experience of supporting students as an Inclusion Facilitator focusing on students with autism, learning disabilities, emotional disorders and cerebral palsy.

Before becoming a principal in St. Charles, Dr. Sculles worked as a Regional Intervention Coordinator and Program Supervisor overseeing students services for seven districts and parochial schools at the Proviso Area for Exceptional Children special education cooperative. 

She will replace Dr. Rosanne Dwyer, who is retiring after 25 years at District 28. Dr. Dwyer has been Director of Student Services since 2011.

“Kelly’s experience, leadership and student-centered philosophy make her a great fit for our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt.

Upon being appointed, Dr. Sculles said, “As I build an understanding of the current continuum of services within the district through conversation and observation, I look forward to working collaboratively with staff and parents to enhance our practice and enrich the learning experience for our students.”