Welcome to the new members of our faculty and staff who have joined the MPA family for the 2019-2020 school year!


Apiphany Asberry, Lower & Middle School P.E.
Coach Asberry completed her B.S. at Mayville State University, where she was a scholarship member of the varsity basketball team. Passionate about fitness and sports, she started her career as a high school girls basketball coach and a fitness trainer before transitioning into education as a human anatomy and physiology teacher, also coaching young athletes in various sports during the summer, before becoming a physical education teacher. She is super excited to join the MPA family!

Archana Desai, Associate College Counselor
Mrs. Desai grew up in Bombay, India, before coming to Purdue University in 1987, where she earned a Ph.D. in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy. She began teaching pharmacy at Midwestern University in Downers Grove in 1993 and worked as a tenured associate professor until 2010 and as an adjunct professor since then. She has mentored students with Chicago Scholars and also worked as an independent college counselor with Innovative College Counseling since 2016. She enjoys reading, gardening, travelling, watching movies, and spending time with family.

Paula Etheridge, Upper School Social Studies
Ms. Etheridge has been teaching high school social studies for nearly four decades. She holds a B.A. in history from Northern Illinois University and an M.Ed. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has traveled multiple times with student groups to four continents. Her passion, besides history, is technology, which is why she was overjoyed to be able to meet both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at Comdex in Chicago years ago. She is excited to get to work with MPA students and share the many stories that make up our American history.

Ana Fernandez, Lower School & Middle School Administrative Assistant
Introduced to the MPA community as a substitute teacher and ABC staffer, Ms. Fernandez joins our full-time staff with more than 10 years of administrative experience at AIG retirement services. In her free time, she teaches bible studies, volunteers with the Mount Greenwood Park therapeutic program, and enjoys dancing and reading inspirational books.

Michelle Hicks, Second Grade
Mrs. Hicks received an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Purdue University and a Master of Education degree from National Louis University. She taught kindergarten, first grade, and second grade for Chicago Public Schools and also has served as a dean of culture for grades 3-5. Mrs. Hicks is passionate about building strong classroom community and developing independent, lifelong learners. Outside of the classroom, she finds joy spending time with her family.

Ronald Jackson, Sixth Grade Math & Science
Mr. Jackson became a teacher after working for several years in the pharmaceutical department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and developing an interest in chemistry and the biological sciences. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and is pursuing a Master’s degree at Chicago State University. His experience also includes teaching high school and college students. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking, playing video games, and spending time with family and friends.

Megan Morrison, PreK-4 Aide
Ms. Morrison returns to the Blue House after a year away. She previously was a member of our PreK faculty from 2015-2018.

Ashley Perisee, Middle & Upper School Spanish
Ms. Perisee taught Spanish the past eight years on the south and west sides of Chicago and in the south suburbs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Secondary Education from Saint Xavier University and is working toward a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Concordia University Chicago. Ms. Perisee has visited more than a dozen countries on four continents, including studying abroad at the University of Seville in Spain during college. In her free time, she likes to cook and travel.

Kathleen Tangel, Middle & Upper School French
Madame Tangel is pleased to return to the MPA faculty after teaching here from 2001-2011 and serving last year as a substitute teacher. In recent years, she taught junior high Spanish and pursued an ESL endorsement. Mme. Tangel holds a B.A. in French and Spanish and a graduate degree in French, both from Illinois State University. At home, she enjoys reading, knitting, and learning Portuguese so she can converse with her grandson. She also plays the accordion in a local band known as the Grace Notes!

April Williams, Third Grade
Ms. Williams graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education and Social Policy. From there, she spent over a decade in the business world before turning to what has become her true love, teaching elementary school. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Teaching with an endorsement in English Language Learning from Dominican University. She is a firm believer in the constructivist educational approach and focuses on creating creative learning experiences and project-based activities, and connecting learning to the cultures and the world around us. In her free time, she enjoys hosting and planning events, exploring new cultures and cuisines, exercising, and enjoying time with family.

Please also help us welcome to new roles this year:

Harriet Arnold, Fourth Grade

Joanne Barnicle, Technology Teacher & Integration Specialist

Heather Kurut, Lower & Middle School Principal

Kari Misulonas, Kindergarten Teacher and Lower School Assistant Principal

Vinson Williams, Lower & Middle School P.E. and Athletics Director