Teachers

Pre-K/Kindergarten

Ms.Lisa

Lisa Rademacher has been teaching for over 20 years in Rome, New York, and all sides of Chicago. She has taught in non-profits working with refugee communities, private schools, and at Chicago Public Schools. She has taught 3-year-olds to adults and has loved it all, although her niche is early childhood. She has a B.S. in Religious Studies and Music from Edgewood College in Madison, WI. She received an MA in Theological Studies with a concentration in Peace and Justice from the Maryknoll School of Theology in New York. She has an MA in Teaching in Early Childhood from National Louis University. She founded and lives in the Sophia Community in Hyde Park with her husband, two daughters, and many others. She is passionate about co-creating a joyful community of learners in which inquiry and creativity are fostered.

Ms.DeeAnnDeeAnn Reed was born and raised on the sunny coast of California, and enjoyed running bare foot through the redwood forest and diving head first into the giant saltwater waves of the Pacific Ocean. She says the earth was her teacher and she was an enthusiastic student. She has held on to this joy for learning and brings it into the classroom. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied Art and Early Childhood Education. She has traveled to the colorful land of Guatemala and eaten fresh sushi on a little island in Japan. She is also the mother of two very unique young ladies who are both Free School students. They inspire creativity and patience. DeeAnn is honored to serve the children of Chicago at Chicago Free School.

1st/2nd/3rd grade homeroom

Ms.WaewSaengjun (Waew) Luse, grew up in a rural community in Thailand about five hours northeast of Bangkok. During her childhood she recalls collecting rain water in jars, living under grass roofed houses, and hand-making many of their household items – like beds, tools, and furniture. Waew received her B.E. in the teaching of Chemistry from Nakon Sawan Rajabhat University in Thailand. After graduating, she worked at an elementary school in Sumut Prakarn province near Bangkok for 3 years. She then participated in a Cultural Exchange Program in the US for two years, having had the opportunity to improve her English skills, make friends with other students from around the world, and learn about their cultures. She recalls it as one of the greatest experiences she has ever had in her life! After the exchange program, Waew learned extensively about child development and how children learn through play during her time working for Baby Ph.D. and operating her own daycare. It was, however, the birth of her own daughter which made her truly question the purpose of education and the available models which best suit an individual’s needs and development. Waew believes that Free School allows children the space necessary to develop their own interests and abilities – and hence a love for learning – a community, versus an isolated teaching space, and a humane system of discipline that treats children like people. She is thrilled to be the parent of a student at CFS and now also a teacher!

4th/5th grade homeroom

Ms.LaurenLauren Beitler taught middle-school math for six years in the Woodlawn, North Lawndale, and Englewood neighborhoods of Chicago before leaving traditional school teaching to work on founding Chicago Free School.  Before becoming a teacher she got her B.A. in Mathematics and her M.A.T. from the Urban Teacher Education Program at the University of Chicago.  She spent the 2012-13 school year teaching at the Free School in Albany, NY, a democratic free school that has been serving a diverse group of learners in downtown Albany since 1969.  Because she attended a democratic school as a child, she knows firsthand the joy in learning that students can experience when given responsibility and freedom. She advises the 4th/5th grade homeroom and facilitates newspaper club, social studies group, and science group with grades 3-8.

6th/7th/8th grade homeroom

Mr.EphranEphran Ramirez’ teaching background is based in informal and alternative STEM education and mentoring. He taught science, technology, and social justice at an out-of-school program for the last five years and studied Math and Science Education at Northeastern Illinois University. Besides this, he has been involved in various community organizing and social justice movements since he was in high school. It was through this work that he discovered the free school model and chose to work in education. Though a lifelong Chicagoan, Ephran visits his family in Puerto Rico often and has visited the Middle East and Scandinavia to participate in environmental and social justice work. He is dedicated to youth empowerment, racial, LGBTQ, and environmental justice, feminism, and decolonization. He is excited to be a part of the CFS community!

Staff Support/Aftercare Team

 

Ms.DemiDemi White joined CFS as a substitute teacher’s aide in 2021 and is now a permanent part of the team. Demi says, “I was born and raised in Chicago and grew up in Hyde Park. As a child I loved to help people, I believe that’s what has drawn me to work at the Chicago Free School. I’m a person who loves to connect with people and talk. I’ve worked with children in the past and I’ve always had a good time in a work environment with children. I’m here to help my team members and students with whatever they need. I’m excited to connect with the children and really get to know them this school year.

 

School Administrator

Ms.BrendaBrenda Pious joined our after-care team in September 2019 after working at CFS during summer camp 2019 and in March of 2020 was hired as our Administrator. While supporting the school in Aftercare, Brenda stepped in as Interim Administrator when a need arose. She worked with the auditor, managed the day to day financial role and taught literacy in Englewood from November 2017 until February, 2020. She writes:

“While serving in the role of Interim Administrator, I realized I could best serve CFS in the Administrator role full-time because of my 25 plus years of experience in accounting, non-profit management, payroll and human resources management. Having worked as a substitute teacher, summer camp art instructor, aftercare support and interim administrator, I have familiarity with the needs of students, parents and the teachers and the capacity to affect positive change. I intend on enhancing the administrative practices and being a consistent resource for our families and staff. While I will miss interacting with our students regularly, I know I will get to see them from time to time. I am excited about the future of CFS!

Board of Directors

Parent Representatives

Ariel Swift, President
ariel.swift@chicagofreeschool.org

Ariel has been working with pregnant populations and new parents for 9 years as the owner of Doulas of Chicago, and is now the Outreach & Education Coordinator for the Birth Center of Chicago. Her family has a 3rd grader at CFS and a 3-year-old at home, and has been with the school for 2 years.

Katherine Hove, Treasurer
katherine.hove@chicagofreeschool.org

Katherine has been a CFS parent since the school was founded and served on the inaugural board.

Staff Representatives

Lauren Beitler (4th/5th grade homeroom)
lauren.beitler@chicagofreeschool.org

Lauren taught middle-school math for six years in the Woodlawn, North Lawndale, and Englewood neighborhoods of Chicago before leaving traditional school teaching to work on founding Chicago Free School. Before becoming a teacher she got her B.A. in Mathematics and her M.A.T. from the Urban Teacher Education Program at the University of Chicago. She spent the 2012-13 school year teaching at the Free School in Albany, NY, a democratic free school that has been serving a diverse group of learners in downtown Albany since 1969. Because she attended a democratic school as a child, she knows firsthand the joy in learning that students can experience when given responsibility and freedom. She advises the 4th/5th grade homeroom and facilitates newspaper club, social studies group, and science group with grades 3-8.

Ephran Ramirez (6th/7th/8th grade homeroom)
ephran.ramirez@chicagofreeschool.org

Ephran’s teaching background is based in informal and alternative STEM education and mentoring. He taught science, technology, and social justice at an out-of-school program for the last five years and studied Math and Science Education at Northeastern Illinois University. Besides this, he has been involved in various community organizing and social justice movements since he was in high school. It was through this work that he discovered the free school model and chose to work in education. Though a lifelong Chicagoan, Ephran visits his family in Puerto Rico often and has visited the Middle East and Scandinavia to participate in environmental and social justice work. He is dedicated to youth empowerment, racial, LGBTQ, and environmental justice, feminism, and decolonization. He is excited to be a part of the CFS community!