Welcome to Our New Faculty & Staff

Welcome to the new members of our faculty and staff who have joined the MPA family this year!

Lynsey Bochenek-Robertson '06, Upper School Science
Ms. Bochenek is a proud MPA graduate who is overjoyed to return as a teacher. She attended Murray State University on a full tennis scholarship, earning an undergraduate degree in pre-med biology and chemistry and a graduate degree in biochemistry while conducting research in renal physiology. After teaching human anatomy and human physiology as a grad student, she entered the profession by teaching chemistry at Butler College Prep. She will coach the MPA varsity in girls tennis and girls soccer.

Allie Bowles, Advancement Associate
A Beverly native, Mrs. Bowles earned her B.A. from Northern Michigan University before returning to Chicago to begin a career in hotel and restaurant management and event planning. She is passionate about non-profit fundraising, having worked with great organizations such as the Beverly Arts Center and Smile Train before coming to MPA. In her free time, she loves to bake, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with her family, which includes an MPA first-grader and a preschooler.

Paula Cuadros '87, Kindergarten
After graduating from MPA, Mrs. Cuadros earned an undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies at Carleton College, an M.A. in social science at the University of Chicago, and an M.S. in Elementary Education at Northwestern University. She taught kindergarten for nine years in the Chicago Public Schools before working as a stay-at-home parent. Since resuming her career in education, she recently worked as a school librarian and taught 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds at Fourth Presbyterian Day School.

Shahrzad Etessami, Business Office Assistant
Ms. Etessami attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she earned her B.A. in Business Administration. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School and passed the California Bar. She has worked and volunteered in law and business administration and child care. She started as a substitute teacher at MPA when she moved to Chicago and now has proudly joined our business office team. In her free time, she enjoys video games, reading, sewing, and crochet.

James Goehmann, Upper School Math
Mr. Goehmann is a veteran high school math teacher with more than four decades of teaching experience, including nearly three decades as math department chair. He taught math and computer programming at Hales Franciscan High School for 13 years, taught math at Maria High School for 28 years, and taught math at Queen of Peace High School for 3.5 years. He also is the author of three (obscure) published books on Sherlock Holmes.

Tara Gorry, Upper School Spanish
Mrs. Gorry has been teaching Spanish for three years at the high school and university levels. She comes to MPA from Montrose School in the Boston area, where she taught Spanish 2 and 3 and managed the international student experience. She has a Master of Arts in Hispanic Studies from Boston College, where she taught Elementary Spanish to undergraduates as a Teaching Fellow. While completing her B.A. at Colgate University, she spent a semester studying foreign language education in Seville, Spain. In the classroom, Mrs. Gorry encourages her students to take risks and be curious about the Spanish-speaking world.

Aileen Halvorsen, Second Grade
Mrs. Halvorsen completed her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at National Louis University. She has been teaching for 17 years in Urbana, Evanston, Burbank, and Chicago, including several years at Keller Regional Gifted Center. She has taught kindergarten through fourth grade, including multi-age classes. Along with teaching second grade at Keller last year, Mrs. Halvorsen was selected as a Learning Leader through the CPS Office of Early Childhood Education and also served on their Instructional Leadership Team. She loves reading, yoga, cooking … and eating!

Mike Jesewitz, Physical Education
Coach J has more than 10 years of experience teaching P.E. at the elementary and middle school levels. He holds an undergraduate degree from DePaul University and a Master's in Elementary Education and Teaching from Dominican University.

Lesley Jorge, Middle & Upper School French
Mme. Jorge began her teaching career 16 years ago at Wichita North High School in Wichita, Kansas, a large, diverse, urban public school. She fell in love with teaching from the first day, knowing this was her calling. She earned her B.A. at Butler University and her Master's at Wichita State University, then returned back home to the Chicago area, where she spent 13 years teaching at Roycemore School in Evanston. There she taught middle school and high school French and also was a student advisor, club sponsor, and yearbook teacher. She is so excited to join the MPA family as both a teacher and a mother to an MPA preschooler.

Erin McDuffie, Kindergarten
Ms. McDuffie holds a B.A. in sociology and political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in elementary education from Boston College. She has worked as a student teacher in a Boston public school, as an ESL teacher in a public charter school for refugee and immigrant children in Columbus, Ohio, and as an early childhood teacher in two Chicago public schools. In 2011, she received the Rochelle Lee Boundless Readers Individual Award, and the following year, she participated in the Fulbright Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Sustainable Development. Outside of school, she serves on the Community Advisory Board for Chicago Public Media, the Education Committee for the Beverly Area Planning Association, and as a Volunteer Board Member for the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative.

Mary O'Malley, Director of Admission
A native of Morgan Park and graduate of Latin School of Chicago, Knox College, and Northwestern University, Ms. O’Malley has spent the majority of her career in independent schools, working to help students find the next phase of their education. As Director of Admission and Financial Aid at La Lumiere School, she built enrollment strategically across three diverse populations: day students, boarding students, and international students. She also worked as the Assistant Director of College Counseling at Latin School of Chicago and most recently served as a College-Persistence Counselor at Chicago Jesuit Academy, a full scholarship school for African-American young men on Chicago’s west side. For more information, read her Q&A.

Jeanne Pagliaro, Middle School Science
Ms. Pagliaro holds a B.S. in secondary education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education degree from the University of St. Francis. She taught high school courses for many years in both public and private schools, but began her career in middle school. She taught subjects such as anatomy, bioethics, earth science, environmental science, physical science, health, psychology -- and even AP classes in world history and U.S. history. Most recently, she was the STEM division chair and AP biology and biomedical sciences teacher at Queen of Peace High School, where she collaborated with other high schools, universities, professional organizations and alumnae, working with them to inspire more students to pursue engineering fields after high school.

Tanuja Rathi, Director of College Counseling
Mrs. Rathi combines the business skills developed in her previous career as a management consultant with her experience as a college counselor for Chicago Scholars, where she helped underserved students with the college application process. A member of the Illinois Association of College Counselors, the American College Counseling Association, and the National Association of College Counselors, she holds an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned her college counseling certificate, with distinction, from UCLA. For more information, read her Q&A.

Jessica Stephens, Middle School Math & Science
Ms. Stephens holds a B.A. from Princeton University, where she majored in psychology and pre-medicine. She has taught at both the middle school and high school level, teaching algebra, chemistry, biology, and seventh- and eighth-grade science.

Sara Tesmond, Fourth Grade
Ms. Tesmond lives in Beverly and is a lifelong South Sider, leaving only to attend the University of Dayton in Ohio, where she earned a B.S. in education. After teaching middle school math her first year in the classroom, she has taught fourth grade the past few years. She taught second- and third-grade academic enrichment classes at MPA for the past four summers.
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