Our Amazing Staff



Cathy Kurtz

Program Director

Cathy holds Bachelor’s Degrees from Iowa State University in Elementary Education and Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from National-Louis University. She started at Barbereux in 1992, teaching preschool and kindergarten for ten years and serving as Director of Barbereux for four years. She is also Director of Curriculum.

It was Cathy’s work that led to the initial and continued renewal of NAEYC accreditation for The Barbereux School. She is the parent of two former Barbereux students.


Julie Conant

Administrative Director

Julie joined the Administrative team in July 2016. She has extensive financial experience working in small business and non-profit environments. She also worked for eight years in the Admissions office for an independent school in St. Louis.

Julie is originally from the Chicago area, received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, and is happy to be living in Evanston with her teen-age daughter, Grace. In her spare time she loves to read and knit.

Preschool Teachers


Leslie Troogstad

Preschool Teacher

Leslie joined the Barbereux School in the fall of 1995. Since that time she has served as classroom teacher, Assistant Director, Curriculum Director, Camp Director and educational consultant. Currently, she is happy to be back in the classroom helping to create a child-centered environment for our youngest students.

Leslie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University with an emphasis in Child Development. She also holds a Preschool-8th Grade Elementary Teaching Certificate.

Leslie enjoys singing, reading, creating and learning with our preschoolers and is the mother of two children.


Carole Preti

Preschool Teacher

Carole started as a substitute teacher at Barbereux in 2013 and as a Preschool Summer Camp teacher in 2016.  She has more than two decades of Early Childhood teaching experience in San Francisco and locally. She became interested in teaching when her daughter was in preschool in San Francisco.  Carole received her A.A. degree from City College of San Francisco in Art History and earned an Early Childhood Education Teaching Certificate from San Francisco State University. She has taught in parent co-ops and private preschools in San Francisco, at the JCYS George W. Lutz in Highland Park, and at private preschools in Glencoe and Evanston.

Carole also earned a Master Gardener Certificate through the University of Illinois Extension and has volunteered at the Chicago Botanic Garden for more than five years.  She was born and raised in Highland Park, attended local schools and currently resides in Winnetka, about five miles from where she grew up. Carole has three adult children and five lively grandchildren.  Her hobbies include genealogy, reading, gardening, and attending her grandchildren’s school and sports events.


Cynthia Johnson

Preschool Teacher

Cynthia joined the Barbereux School teaching staff in 2018 as a Preschool teacher.  Cynthia earned her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Riverside Community College. She has taught preschool in Seattle Washington and most recently in Evanston Illinois at the McGaw YMCA Children’s Center. Prior to teaching at Barbereux, Cynthia developed curriculum for a creative studio in Glenview that focused on nurturing creativity in young children.  Cynthia resides in Skokie with her husband and son and enjoys gardening.

Junior Kindergarten Teachers


Gail Stein

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Gail joined The Barbereux School in June of 2017.  She taught Preschool for 17 years in prekindergarten and Head Start programs in DuPage county and the City of Chicago.  She also taught at the San Francisco State University Associated Students Children’s Center for two years. While working at San Francisco State she supervised student teachers who were working toward a degree in Early Childhood Education.  Gail received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Northeastern Illinois University and a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and a teaching certificate at Erikson Institute. Gail resides in Des Plaines Illinois with her daughter, Sarah.


Sabrina Romero

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Sabrina began working at Barbereux in the fall of 2015. She taught preschool and kindergarten children for three years prior to coming to Barbereux. Sabrina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbia College Chicago in 2012.

She also studied in Italy where she learned the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching little children, which emphasizes hands-on learning and integrating the arts throughout the curriculum. She was excited to find that this approach is embraced at Barbereux as well.

“Our classroom is a place where children’s interests are valued and their curiosity is respected. I feel fortunate that each day I am able to touch the lives of children and foster their love for learning.”


Lindsey Karlin

Jr. Kindergarten Teacher

Lindsey joined Barbereux School in the fall of 2014.  She has worked in several of our classrooms along with our summer camp since that time.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to working at Barbereux she worked for several years with young children at the Skokie Skatium Ice Arena as a figure skating instructor. Lindsey also worked as a camp counselor at the Skatium and spent two summers teaching English as a second language to young children.

Lindsey is joining our Junior Kindergarten teaching team.  She currently lives in Skokie with her young son. She enjoys playing the guitar and piano in her spare time.

Kindergarten / 1st Grade Teachers


Patrick Blades

Kindergarten / 1st Grade Teacher

Patrick Blades, lead teacher, was born and raised in Evanston. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in psychology and taught English in South Korea for three years. He went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Education and received an Elementary Teaching certificate from DePaul University.

Prior to starting at Barbereux in 2008, he taught for two years at Middleton Elementary School in Skokie as a Special Educational associate teacher. He currently resides in Skokie with his wife, Sung Min, and his son, Max.


Cathy Kurtz

Kindergarten / 1st Grade Teacher

Cathy holds Bachelor’s Degrees from Iowa State University in Elementary Education and Child Development and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from National-Louis University. She started at Barbereux in 1992, teaching preschool and kindergarten for ten years and serving as Director of Barbereux for four years. She is also Director of Curriculum.

It was Cathy’s work that led to the initial and continued renewal of NAEYC accreditation for The Barbereux School. She is the parent of two former Barbereux students.

Music and Spanish Teachers


Joan Freeman

Joan is an accomplished pianist whose career began with a degree from Oberlin Conservatory followed by a Ford Foundation grant to study Music Education in Hungary. Joan taught music for the Halifax, Nova Scotia, public schools for several years, working with children from Kindergarten to 6th grade.

She came to The Barbereux School in August 2003, and while teaching, earned her Early Childhood certificate from Oakton Community College. “I love working with little children because of their receptiveness to beauty and art, and their eagerness to learn.”


Ana Jurado

Ana Jurado was born and raised in Mexico, where she was inspired to become a teacher at a very young age. She has a Psychology and Philosophy academic background. Ana is a current member of the Waldorf Spanish Teachers Association. She feels honored and blessed to be able to bring her love for the Spanish language and learning into the classroom. Ana resides in Evanston with her husband and two children. In her spare time, one may find Ana singing in a choir, reading, or making hand crafts.

Assistant Teachers


Donna McCluskey

Donna McCluskey, Afternoon Teacher, joined Barbereux School in 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Studio Arts degree from Arizona State University and a certificate for Early Childhood Education from Oakton Community College.

Barbereux is a natural outlet for Donna to share her talents and love of art and music. She is a member of a local choral group and resides in Wilmette.

“Children make me a more knowledgeable person: they are so curious. With all the questions they ask, I am often looking up answers in books and on the Internet.”


Liz McElhatton

Liz McElhatton joined The Barbereux School in 2014 as a substitute teacher. Since that time her role has expanded to include:  Administrative Office Assistant, Food Service Assistant, and Afternoon Assistant Teacher. Liz received her BA degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Accounting from Marywood University in Scranton, PA.

Both of her children are former Barbereux students. Liz’s hobbies include cooking, reading and trying new restaurants.  She resides in Evanston with her children, Rachel and Owen, and her husband, Gary.



Shelley Phillips

Shelley started working at Barbereux School in 2012 as a substitute teacher.  She has been with the school as a substitute and has also worked during our Summer Camp program since that time. Shelley has extensive experience working in Early Childhood in a number of different locations both in California and locally. Shelley loves working with young children and helping them develop their social skills.

Shelley has a degree in Business Administration from Rock Valley College. She lives in Glenview with her husband, Dave. She is the mother of two grown sons.



Joe Stillwell

Joe joined Barbereux School in summer 2016 as an afternoon aid and substitute teacher. In 2018 he earned a MS Ed degree from Northwestern University, with a specialty in elementary education. Joe joins the education field following a career in sports data management, where he compiled baseball and football statistics.

Joe is continuing at Barbereux as an afternoon teacher. His three children include two Barbereux alumni who often return to visit, and a daughter attending our Primary class.



Greg Wooten

Greg Wooten joined the Barbereux School in 2018 as our on-site chef. Greg has extensive experience as a cook in many different venues during his career. Greg started cooking with his father when he was 14 years old and has continued cooking ever since that time. Nothing makes Greg happier than knowing people enjoy the food he has prepared for them.