Teacher Feature: Get to Know Mundelein’s New Teachers

Ashley Cline, Features Editor

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MHS welcomed twelve new staff members this year, including five teachers in the Wellness, English, Foreign Language, Social Studies and Science Departments. Get to know the newest teachers in their profiles below. Please note that the Wellness Teacher and Varsity Football Coach Vince DeFrancisco is featured in a separate article in the sports section of this issue.

 

Ken Mooney

 

What are three words that describe your personality?

Weird, Incredibly Weird

 

Ken Mooney is an English 2, English 3 and World Studies teacher, who lived in Santa Clarita, Calif., until the age of 11 and then lived in Vernon Hills thereafter. Mooney has a bachelor’s degree in theatre performance from Illinois State University and then went to National Louis University to become a Learning Behavior Specialist. Since then, Mooney has taught at Northwood Junior High School, East Elementary School and Lakes Community High School before coming to MHS. Mooney is an assistant varsity football coach and said he hopes to get involved in theatre and track and field in the future.

 

Why did you want to get into teaching?

I had an IEP from kindergarten up to high school graduation. During my time as a young student, I had some amazing experiences that have molded some of my practices. There were some pretty awful experiences, too– ones that I reflect on and ask, “What can I do differently?” My past aside, watching young people step out of their [comfort] zones, being a part of someone’s process toward discovery and seeing individuals transition through high school is incredibly cool.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

I enjoy playing video games. Cooking, grilling and smoking food, getting out on the lake, hanging out with my siblings, golfing…the list could go on. One of my new favorite hobbies is helping to prepare our football program for a winning season.

 

What sets Mundelein apart from other schools in your experience?

Culture. I started working here during the summer for football camp. The players quickly accepted me and made me feel like I am a part of something special. My mentor, Mr. [Rob] Bever, has been an awesome resource along with several other staff members who have given excellent information, content and advice as I take in my first year at MHS. The students are awesome; honestly, I am excited to enter the building each day. That feeling is a reflection of the incredible people who work for and attend MHS.

 

Emma Grochowski

 

What are three words that describe your personality?

Outgoing, Caring, Dedicated

 

Emma Grochowski is a Spanish 3 for Native Speakers Teacher. It is her first year teaching overall. Grochowski graduated from Illinois State University last May and grew up in Palatine, Ill. She will be co-sponsoring the Spanish Club as well as assistant coaching the varsity girls soccer team.

 

Why did you want to get into teaching?

I wanted to become a Spanish teacher because my Spanish teacher in high school was a wonderful role model and made Spanish class super engaging and fun. I wanted to implement her ways of teaching into my future classrooms and make my class engaging to other students. Since I am younger, I think I can understand and connect with the students really well. I know their interests and take a personal care for each of my students individually.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Some of my hobbies are playing soccer, listening to music, going to concerts and traveling. I love staying active, so when I travel places, I love to walk around and see all the places the world has to offer. Hiking and snowboarding are two passions of mine that I try to do in as many different places as I can.

 

What sets Mundelein apart from other schools in your experience?

It has a great community feel to the school. I went to Palatine High School, which I absolutely loved, and MHS reminds me a lot of my high school, and so far, it’s been a wonderful experience.

 

Yari Luna

 

What are three words that describe your personality?

Optimistic, Caring, Ambitious

 

Yari Luna is an English teacher as well as a Freshman Advisory and Freshman AVID adviser. Luna attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education. She student-taught at Bartlett High School. Additionally, Luna taught a freshman introductory course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Luna grew up in Schaumburg, Ill., and enjoys working out, playing with her dog as well as reading, writing and drawing.

 

Why did you want to get into teaching?

I wanted to get into teaching due to my passion for English and working with other people. I believe that students learn valuable skills in English that can be used in a variety of situations throughout their lives outside of the classroom, whether it’s learning how to effectively communicate, justifying one’s ideas, participating in discussions or thinking critically. Teaching is a job that I can wake up and look forward to doing each day since I am consistently surrounded by students and staff who never fail to put a smile on my face.

 

What are some of your goals for your time here at Mundelein?

My goals for my time at MHS include getting to know my students outside of the classroom, whether it’s through clubs, sports, tutoring or other extracurricular activities. I additionally would like to collaborate with my colleagues both in and out of the English Office so that I can continue to grow and reflect on myself as an instructor to provide my students with the best possible learning experience.

 

What sets Mundelein apart from other schools in your experience?

Mundelein is unlike any other school because of the heavy emphasis placed on equity and ensuring that any practices performed in the school are done so with consideration of how individuals of all backgrounds/identities will be affected.

 

Priyank Srivastava

 

What are three words that describe your personality?

Persistent, Passionate, Patient

 

Priyank Srivastava may be a new physics, credit recovery and guided study teacher at MHS, but he is not new to the Mundelein area. Srivastava grew up in Mundelein and has a bachelor’s of science in biology from University of Illinois at Chicago and a masters in teaching from the University of Chicago. Previously, Srivastava has taught at Urban Preparatory Academy for Young Men and Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. Srivastava said he hopes to help out with Science Olympiad.

 

Why did you want to get into teaching?

It’s the most rewarding job. I get to share the excitement of learning, knowledge and science with other people… YOU!

 

What are your favorite hobbies? 

Watching/playing basketball, watching movies, playing with my daughters, drawing, listening to crime podcasts.

 

What sets Mundelein apart from other schools in your experience?

I love Mundelein because it’s home for me but also the community and the diversity.

 

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

I have a twin, was born in Africa and am multilingual.

 

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