Message from the Principal

Week of August 9, 2021

Big picture

Message from the Principal



Dear Virginia Lake Families,


We have ten short days until your children return to school! We can’t wait to see you during our Meet the Teacher Event on Tuesday, August 17th from 8:30-9:30 a.m.


Teacher assignments are available in Infinite Campus. We have hired several new staff members to join our team. We set the bar high and looked for exceptional candidates with several years of experience, outstanding credentials, and stellar references. I am thrilled to have these talented teachers join our team.


In addition to our new staff, some of our Virginia Lake Staff will have the pleasure of working with a new grade level or a new teaching position.


Judy Burke- Bilingual Kindergarten

Brenna Williams- 3rd Grade

Deb McRorie- 3rd Grade

Susan Major- Academic Interventionist

Kelly DeRosa- Bilingual Interventionist


Our team is eager to begin the school year, and support all of our students!


A friendly reminder, we are hosting our Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teddy Bear Picnics this week. Please see the information below.


We hope you have a great week!


With Kindest Regards,


Patti Van Winkle, Principal

Mrs. Lisa Young, Kindergarten Teacher

Lisa Young will be joining the Virginia Lake Kindergarten team. Lisa most recently served as the Kindergarten teacher at St. Stanislaus Kostka, where she guided students to grow both inside and outside of the classroom to become flourishing kindergarten students and well prepared for first grade and beyond. Lisa was also a part of the school’s leadership team working collaboratively to support the school and students to be most successful students. Prior to that, Lisa Young served as a school counselor working with students both academically and social emotionally. She is known for her ability to connect with her students and their families to understand each student’s unique needs to ensure that each student is successful. Her classroom environment is full of structured learning, welcoming of all students as well as full of laughter and excitement.

Ms. Leanna Gemkow, 1st Grade Teacher

Leanna Gemkow will be joining the 1st-grade team. Leanna most recently served as a 1st-grade teacher at Frank C Whiteley, where she was taught virtually. Prior to that, Leanna served as a 1st grade, Kindergarten, 4th grade, and math interventionist long-term substitute. She is known for building strong relationships with her students and creating a foundation for learning and growing together from the first day of the school year.

Mrs. Kelly Rokosz, 1st Grade Teacher

Kelly Rokosz will be joining the first grade team. Kelly most recently served as a Site Coordinator with the Center for Talent Development, where she focused on mentoring teachers to create and implement rigorous, engaging, inquiry based lessons for gifted and talented students. Prior to that, Kelly served as a first and second grade teacher in Chicago. She loves creating a strong, loving classroom community and helping some of our littlest learners fall in love with reading.

Ms. Colleen Peterson, 1st Grade Teacher

Colleen will be joining the first grade team. Colleen most recently served as the virtual kindergarten teacher at VL, where she worked with students from 7 different schools in the district. Prior to that, she student taught in a 2nd grade classroom in Iowa and graduated from Augustana College. She is known for always having a smile on her face and staying positive.

Mrs. McKenna Wilson, 2nd Grade Teacher

McKenna Wilson will be joining the second grade team. Mrs. Wilson most recently served as the first grade teacher at Cottonwood Point Elementary in Overland Park, Kansas, where she was selected to serve on the school's technology team to help educate her colleagues on the importance of Blended Learning. Prior to that, Mrs. Wilson served as a paraprofessional. She is known for providing a positive classroom environment that allows all students to feel successful.

Ms. Tatyana Aguirre, 3rd Grade Bilingual Teacher

Tatiana Aguirre will be joining the 3rd-grade team. Tatiana most recently served as the bilingual second-grade teacher at Horizontes School, Colombia, where she developed an amazing travel journal with her students finding creative ways to learn about culture and languages. Prior to that, Tatiana served as a speech therapist and ESL teacher for more than 15 years and has worked on a variety of projects related to child development and active methodologies to strengthen second language learning. She is known for her leadership in the classroom and her enthusiasm to make everyone feel autonomous and empowered.

Ms. Katelyn Menas, 4th Grade Bilingual Teacher

Katelyn Menas will be joining the 4th grade team. Katelyn most recently served as a student teacher at Gray M Sanborn where she was working with bilingual students in second grade. Prior to that, Katelyn was attending Illinois State University and received a degree in bilingual/bicultural elementary education. She is a Golden Apple Scholar of Illinois.

Mr. Mike Mauro, 6th Grade Teacher

Mike Mauro will be joining the 6th grade team. Mike most recently served as the assistant principal in Lake Zurich CUSD 95, where he worked closely with staff, students and families in order to help navigate through a unique 2020 school year. Prior to that, Mike served as the assistant principal at Central Road School in District 15. Mike's experience as a junior high reading/writing teacher, as well as a 5th grade classroom teacher in Grayslake's District 46 helped to provide him with the necessary tools to serve as a building administrator for the last several years. He is very excited to be returning back to the classroom, as he is passionate about working with and building positive and meaningful relationships with his students.

Ms. Elise Husak, 6th Grade Teacher

Elise Husak will be joining the 6th-grade team. Elise most recently served as a virtual 6th-grade teacher at Central Road Elementary, where she connected and built strong relationships with students. Prior to that, Elise served as a 5th-grade teacher at Spring Grove Elementary. Ms. Husak develops lessons that are creative and engaging. She provides learning experiences based on each individual student's strengths.

Mr. Garret Glaviano, P.E. Teacher

Garret Glaviano will be joining the Virginia Lake team as the Physical Education teacher. Garret most recently served as the Physical Education teacher at Sanborn Elementary, where he taught both in-person and virtual learners throughout the school. Prior to that, Garret served as an itinerant P.E. teacher and taught at Paddock, Hunting Ridge, Thomas Jefferson, and Lake Louise. He is known for his ability to make quick connections and relationships with not only with his students but with the staff as well. Garret is also going into his fourth year as the assistant wrestling coach at Fremd High School.

Mr. Joe Dudycha, P.E. Teacher

Joe Dudycha will be joining the PE department. Mr. Dudycha most recently served as the P.E. teacher at Whiteley Elementary School, where he kept his students active and had fun in the process. Prior to that, Mr. Dudycha has served as a P. E. teacher for the last 22 years. Four in Plainfield and 18 in Palatine. He is looking forward to keeping his students engaged and give them the skills to want to be lifelong learners when it comes to being active.

Ms. Savanna Murphy, Social Worker

Savanna Murphy will be joining the Virginia Lake team as one of the new school social workers. Savanna most recently served as the school social worker at Americana Elementary School in District 16 Glendale Heights. Prior to her most recent position at D16, Savanna completed two years of clinical experience working as an intern for Chicago Public Schools, leading mindfulness and emotional well-being courses to the English Language Learning Departments. Savanna's passion for social work surrounds her admiration for student's strengths at every level, and building strong relationships to create a safe learning environment for all students and families.

Ms. Maria Majewska, Social Worker

Maria Majewska will be joining the Student Service Team. She most recently served as the School Social Worker in District 59 where she supported the entire student body within the elementary school. Prior to that, Maria attended Aurora University for her Master’s degree in Social Work while completing her internships. Maria adapts well to the individual needs of her students and strives to provide the necessary tools for their success.

Mr. Niko Bubaris, Library Coordinator

Niko Bubaris will be the new Library Coordinator for Virginia Lake Elementary School. Mr. Bubaris most recently served as the 3/4 Gifted teacher at Pleasant Hill Elementary School for the past four years, and prior to that, was a 4th grade teacher for over 10 years. With a love for technology and reading, Mr. Bubaris has helped students strive for academic excellence in his prior positions and hopes to continue that here at Virginia Lake.

Mrs. Ryann Skipworth, Instructional Coach

Ryann Skipworth will be joining Virginia Lake as the building’s instructional coach. Ryann most recently served as a virtual 4th grade dual one way teacher for Central Road, Kimball Hill, Lake Louise, and Virginia Lake students. Prior to that, Ryann served as a 4th grade bilingual classroom teacher at Winston Campus Elementary. She is known as a reflective practitioner and dedicated school leader focused on creating a collaborative learning environment. Ryann is excited to partner with Virginia Lake teachers to positively impact student success through continuous learning.

Ms. Jihye Han, Art Teacher

Jihye (pronounced "Gee-Heh") Han will be joining the specials team as a traveling art teacher. Jihye most recently served as the art teacher at Hope Academy in Decatur, where she was able to share her passion for art with the community. Prior to that, Jihye graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's in Fine Arts Education. She is passionate about guiding the younger generations to become creative learners and individuals.

Ms. Alexis Fontanetta, Permanent Substitute

Alexis Fontanetta will be joining the team as a permanent substitute. She most recently served as a 1st grade student teacher at Central Road, where she had the most memorable experience. She felt supported by everyone and loved seeing her classroom grow academically and emotionally in such a crazy year. Prior to that, she attended Illinois State University where she studied Elementary Education. Alexis has always had a love for children so it was inevitable that her career path would lead her to teaching. She is known to be dedicated, organized, collaborative and a leader.

Ms. Sara Ferrazzuolo, Permanent Substitute

Sara Ferrazzuolo will be joining the Virginia Lake permanent substitute team. This will be Sara's first year of teaching, after serving as a student teacher at Central Road Elementary, which is also part of District 15. Prior to that, she has always worked with children of all ages, whether that included E-learning for multiple children, during the last year, or holding "mock classroom" lessons for her many young cousins. Sara is known for her creative and engaging lessons for all subjects, has great organizational skills, and motivates her students to do their best.

Big picture

News from the Nurse

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! With the start of the new school year only a few weeks away, it is time to make sure your child’s health requirements are up to date.


  • All students new to District 15 will require a current physical exam with all immunizations up to date (Certificate of Child Health Examination), and students new to the State of Illinois will require an eye examination. This form is available in the school office, online, and here: State of Illinois Eye Examination Report.

  • All students should provide proof of immunizations by October 15, 2021, or the student will be excluded from school. The list of current immunizations can be found on the district website here: IDPH Health Requirements.

  • Students with health conditions such as asthma, epilepsy/seizures, severe allergies, and diabetes require the emergency action plan completed by their physician along with the Medication Administration Forms, signed by the physician and parent, for any medications required at school. Please bring these forms and medications on or before the first day of school. These forms are available in the school office, online, and here

  • Asthma Action Plan

  • Seizure Action Plan

  • Allergy Emergency Action Plan

  • Medication Administration Form

  • Diabetic Medical Management Plans must be brought in along with medication and supplies prior to or on the first day of school in order for the student to attend.


If your child requires any of these health documents and you have not done so already, please kindly make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding the above requirements, you may reach me at salibag@ccsd15.net. I will be back in the office the first week of August to answer any phone calls. At that time, we will also have more specific information to share related to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions for the upcoming school year. Thank you for your patience. Stay safe and enjoy the rest of your summer!


Gail Saliba, Virginia Lake Nurse
847-963-7102 salibag@ccsd15.net

Big picture

Back to School Picnic

Virginia Lake will be hosting a Back-to-School Picnic. Together as a school community, we will celebrate our new school year. Our PTA is sponsoring our event! We will have live music from one of our own teacher's family bands ( Thank you, Mrs. Early!). The Early Byrds Family Rock Band will be playing music and engaging families in the show. We will have giveaways, including spirit wear for all of the students. The Kona Ice Truck will be on site. Our Dolphin mascot will be greeting families and will provide your family a fun photo opportunity. We are also planning a few surprises.


Please save the date for Friday, August 20th from 4:30-6:30 p.m.


Please RSVP for the event, so we have an accurate count of student spirit wear.


All of our students will receive a Virginia Lake T-shirt. If you are not able to attend the event, please complete the survey and RSVP no to our picnic. We will have an option for transportation from Country Glen Apartments. We will provide families with additional information soon. Thank you!


We can’t wait to see your family at our school event!

Big picture

Kindergarten Teddy Bear Playdate

Please join us for our Kindergarten Teddy Bear Playdate. The event will provide your family with information about kindergarten. Students will have the opportunity to meet their teacher, participate in a fun activity, take a ride on a school bus in the community, and meet their new friends at the park for a playdate. Our PTA will provide all of the children with popsicles. During the presentation, I will cover scheduling, protocols and procedures at Virginia Lake, and required medical documentation for the upcoming school year.


Please have your child bring their favorite teddy bear. The event will be in-person at Virginia Lake School. We are following the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and all persons on school grounds are asked to wear a mask. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.



Wednesday, August 11th


5:30- 6:30 p.m.- AM Kindergarten

6:30- 7:30 p.m.- PM Kindergarten, Bilingual Kindergarten

Big picture

1st Grade Teddy Bear Playdate

Please join us for our 1st Grade Teddy Bear Playdate. The event will provide your family with information about 1st Grade. Students will have the opportunity to meet their teacher, participate in a fun activity, take a ride on a school bus in the community, and meet their new friends at the park for a playdate. Our PTA will provide all of the children with popsicles. During the presentation I will cover scheduling, protocols and procedures at Virginia Lake. If your child attended Virginia Lake last year, you are still welcome to attend.


Please have your child bring their favorite teddy bear. The event will be in-person at Virginia Lake School. We are following the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and all persons on school grounds are asked to wear a mask. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.


Tuesday, August 10th


6:00 -7:00 p.m.

Important Dates


Tuesday, August 10th- Better Together- Falcon Park- 4:00-6:00 p.m.

1st Grade Teddy Bear Playdate- 6:00-7:00 p.m.- In-Person

Wednesday, August 11th- Kindergarten Teddy Bear Playdate- 5:30 p.m.-AM Kindergarten/ 6:30 p.m.- PM Kindergarten & Bilingual Kindergarten- In-Person

Monday, August 16 & Tuesday, August 17th- No School- Teacher Institute

Tuesday, August 17th- Meet the Teacher- 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, August 18th- First Day of School- Grades 1-6

Thursday, August 19th- First Day of School- Kindergarten

Thursday, August 26th- Parent Orientation Night

District 15 Newsetter

Please click on this link for the latest District 15 newsletter.

District 15 Community eFlyers

Please click on this link for the District 15 Community eFlyers.