Our Teachers

Ms. Mary

ms-mary-01I am Mary.  For over thirty years I have had the honor of being called “Ms. Mary” by many wonderful children and their families.  Every day when I enter the classroom under the sign, “Another Day in Paradise”, I am reminded of the riches in my life.  In the presence of children I am the me I like the most!  They bring out my youthful spirit and understand when I tell them that my favorite color is rainbow.

My husband Mark and I live in Grayslake with Lyla Kitty and Lucy Pugglestein.  Our happy and beautiful children, Beth and Thom, are all grown up and live with their beloveds in NYC and San Francisco.

Many years ago I had the pleasure of handing each of them a preschool diploma!

We became grandparents for the first time.  Life is really good.  Maybe someday I will hand my grandchild a preschool diploma. Never know.  Life goes on.

Ms. Karen

ms-karen-01Hi, I am Ms. Karen and my favorite color is orange.  I came to Mary’s Peppermint Stick Preschool because a neighbor recommended it.  After observing with my children and having a bonding experience about Mr. Rogers with Ms. Mary, I was hooked.  Both of my kids attended MPSPS and seeing what they learned and the fun they had, I wanted to go as well.  After they went to big school, Ms. Mary hired me!!  It didn’t hurt that I have a Master’s degree speech and language pathology.

Well, needless to say it has been quite a match; this is my 11th year with MPSPS.  I love working with preschoolers, they are a very refreshing bunch of little people.  I also love the yellow walls and seeing how the classroom comes alive during the school year.  I live in Grayslake with my husband, Leo, aka Mr. Karen, and we have 2 adult children, Eli and Ana, who still know the Continent Song.

Ms. Julie


Who has the best job? I do! My name is Ms. Julie and I get to color, paint and build with blocks everyday! In all seriousness I have degree in Elementary Education from ISU- but I learned early on in my career that I love the little ones.  I was lucky enough to find MPSPS 10 years ago. It is truly the happiest place on earth! I just wish I would of known about it when my three kids, now 26, 24 and 21, had been in preschool. My husband and I have been married almost 28 years. We currently live in Lake Villa.


Ms. Tina D.

ms-tinaHi!  My name is Ms. Tina and I love smelling new play-doh and singing off-key! I have a BS in Elementary Education from Illinois State University and a MA in Teaching and Leadership from St. Xavier University. Additionally, as part of my commitment to life-long learning, I participate in at least 15 hours of teacher-training each year. I have a wonderful husband, Tony, and three beautiful children: Jackie, Antonia, and Mario. Grayslake has been our home since 1996. All three of my children are MPSPS graduates, but after my youngest child graduated, I was too sad to say goodbye forever to MPSPS; luckily, I was able to come back as a teacher!

Ms. Jeanne

ms-jeanneMy name is Jeanne and I teach in the Owl classroom on M/W/F and fill in on T/Th if another teacher is absent. I learned about MPSPS in 2006 from my neighbor when I was looking at preschools for my son Aidan, who is now 13. When we walked in to visit, I felt at home. The classrooms were filled with books and shelves full of things for the children to learn from, and Ms Mary reminded me of a teacher that I worked with right out of college. Not only did Aidan attend MPSPS, but my daughter Reese, who is almost 12 did, too.  They both still have friends from preschool and have great memories of their teachers. I have been subbing at MPSPS, as well as CCSD46 for the past few years, but I am proud to say that I am here regularly now. As my husband said, “Who wouldn’t want to work at a place where you get hugs every day”!

Ms. Katelyn


ms-katelyn-01Hello, I am Ms. Katelyn. The first time I ever walked into Mary’s Peppermint Stick Preschool was when I was 3 years old. After graduating from MPSPS I eventually made my way to college where I studied Theatre/Acting. Then one day, after almost 20 years apart, Ms. Mary asked me to return to MPSPS as a substitute teacher. The rooms are a bit smaller than I remember but still full of the joy and love that was present when I was little. Working with the preschoolers has been a wonderful learning experience.  For fun, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and watching movies. My favorite animals are dogs, sea otters, and fennec foxes.  I live in Grayslake with my parents, my older brother (also a MPSPS graduate), and our dogs, Larry and Agnes.


Ms. LeighAnn


ms-leigh-anne-01I am a substitute teacher at MPSPS.  You don’t see me very often because your teachers prefer to spend the day with you rather than being home feeling yucky.  I feel so lucky to be a part of your school, to watch you sing, play and learn.  I’m also mesmerized by your teachers and how wonderful they are at what they do.  I have 3 boys that are MPSPS graduates, 2 are in college and 1 will start GMS next fall.

I grew up in the Quad Cities near the Mississippi River and finished my BS at SIU-C.  I’ve been involved in this beautiful community for 21 years as a parent, scout leader, volunteer and CCSD 46 substitute.

Things I love: the sound of rain, a full moon over the ocean, a good book, sun, big puffy clouds, sounds of a baseball game, salads, happy children, hugs, friends, dogs, food, adventures, spontaneity, mountains…

Ms. Tina L.


My name is Ms. Tina L. and I am so lucky to be beginning my new teaching journey at MPSPS.  I’ve worked as a middle school teacher for District #56 in Gurnee for the past 10 years, at the same middle school i graduated from many eons ago!  After my first daughter, Vivian, went through Ms. Mary’s Peppermint Preschool, I joked with Ms. Mary and staff about wanting to one day teach with all the wonderful ladies at MPSPS, and my dream is coming true this year!!!  This will be my 11th year teaching, but my first at Ms. Mary’s.  I am fortunate enough to be able to teach my youngest daughter Quincey during the school year.  I live in Gurnee with my husband Mr. Mark, two daughters, and fur babies Kramer and Rose the Bunny.  Life is good.  Walking through the preschool doors this year will truly be a thrill I won’t forget.  I can’t wait to get to know all the wonderful children and their loving families.

Ms. Carrie


Hi, I am Ms. Carrie and I am so happy to be part of Ms. Mary’s Peppermint Stick Preschool. I found this preschool for my son, Brandon, 5 years ago and fell in love immediately.  The positive environment, nurturing and knowledgeable teachers, and the child-driven classroom was something I knew was the best fit for my son and family.  A few years later my daughter, Carly, joined the preschool.  Now it is my turn!  I have a BS from Northern Illinois University.  After graduating I had the opportunity to teach in a preschool and knew that was the right spot for me.  After taking a few years off to be home with my 3 children, I am so excited to be back in a preschool environment full of stories, children’s laughter and music.