Meet the Staff

Heather Burns

Heather Burns

Director

Heather Burns has been a part of the Early Childhood community since 1988 in various roles – as a preschool teacher, supervisor at Kohl Children’s Museum, and Parent Services Coordinator at the DuPage YWCA Childcare Resource and Referral Agency.  She has been the Director of Northfield Community Nursery School since 2012, having previously served as Early Childhood Program Manager for the Glencoe Park District.  In both settings she has been delighted to help establish a preschool garden for learning, food, and fun!  Heather holds a B.S in Speech and Language Pathology from Northwestern University and a M.Ed. from National-Louis University, and is a member of the planning committee for the Inspiring Nature Play conference held annually at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Jenn Bacon

Jenn Bacon

Teacher

Mrs. Bacon is a graduate of National-Louis University with a Master’s Degree in Education, and an undergraduate degree in Child Development from Northern Illinois University. Mrs. Bacon has preschool teaching experience, clinical experience through the Child Life Department of Lutheran General Children’s Hospital, and has been a nanny for over 10 years. Mrs. Bacon lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter Penny, and cat and when not in the classroom she can be found taking walks with her daughter, reading and working out.

Gail Coyle

Gail Coyle

Teacher

Mrs. Coyle directed and taught preschool programs for the Northfield Park District for many years.  She received a B.S. in Education from Northern Illinois University and followed with a Master’s Degree in Business from Loyola University.   She has been a resident and active member of the Northfield community more than twenty years, and enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.  She is often spotted in the neighborhood as she enjoys long walks with her dog, Walker.

Christine Kapusta

Christine Kapusta

Teacher

Christine Kapusta joined NFCNS in 2003 and teaches 2- and 4-year-olds. Mrs. Kapusta earned a B.A. in Speech Communications from Miami University.  She worked as a child care provider for the same North Shore Family for 17 years, and returned to school for additional coursework in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Kapusta resides in Skokie with her wife, Theresa, their daughter, Dorothy, and their dog, Tootsie.

Gina Pearlstein

Gina Pearlstein

Teacher

Mrs. Pearlstein graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities from Carthage College. She taught preschool in Highland Park and Deerfield for 12 years, before joining Northfield Community Nursery School team in 2013. Mrs. Pearlstein currently lives in Deerfield with her husband, the youngest of their three children, and with the newest member of the  family, a puppy.  In addition to her love of teaching, she enjoys baking, reading, and the outdoors.

Kristen Doyle

Kristen Doyle

Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Doyle earned her Psychology degree from Illinois State University and spent several years serving on the local PTO Board and actively involved in her children’s schools before joining NFCNS in 2009.  Mrs. Doyle lives in Northbrook where she enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.

Alison Mell

Alison Mell

Teacher Assistant

Alison Mell is a long time Northfield resident, and joined the NCNS team as our resident cooking instructor back in 2017. She is a certified mushroom specialist for the midwest and is passionate about incorporating nature based elements into her recipes as well as the classroom. She previously taught at Center on Deafness in Northbrook in American Sign Language (ASL) as well as Wildwood Nature Center in Park Ridge. When the school year comes to an end she can be found experimenting with her garden, trekking in different states in pursuit of new mushroom genera, or hanging with her grandma and two sons (her crew) at the Chicago Botanic Garden 

Margaret Wasikowski

Margaret Wasikowski

Teacher Assistant

Margaret Wasikowski earned her Elementary Education degree from DePaul University in 2004.  Margaret joined NFCNS in 2008 with her first daughter in the Parent and Tot class and continued her journey as a parent through 2012 when her second daughter graduated pre-k.  Margaret was employed by NFCNS in 2013 as the Cook ‘n’ Book instructor.  In the 2014 school year, Margaret joined the Cubs as an Assistant Teacher. Margaret is currently the Cubs Assistant and the Thursday/Friday Bears Assistant. She loves to spend time with her family outdoors and attending her daughters’ gymnastics meets.  Mrs. Wasikowski lives in Glenview with her husband, two daughters and dog.

Sheryl Horowitz-Rosenfeld

Sheryl Horowitz-Rosenfeld

Teacher Assitant

Sheryl Horowitz-Rosenfeld, Assistant Teacher in the 4-Day 3s class, joined NFCNS in 2020.  She is a life-long resident of Wilmette, where she raised her three children, and is a graduate of New Trier High School.  She began her preschool career as an Assistant Teacher for the Wilmette Park District preschool, and also worked as a classroom aide for the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association.  She combines teaching with a career as a CAbi Fashion Consultant, and loves to cook, craft and read

Alison Basofin

Alison Basofin

Music Specialist

Alison Basofin, Music Specialist, joined NFCNS in 2014. After earning a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan, Ms. Basofin began performing regularly as a singer/songwriter in New York City’s well-known venues. She then moved to Chicago to continue her musical pursuits while embarking on a career in arts administration. Since 2012, she has been singing and performing daily…for her daughter and son! Ms. Basofin’s goal is to bring the joy she feels playing music for her children to the students of NFCNS. She lives in Northfield and enjoys knitting and taking long walks around the neighborhood with her husband, children and dog.

Natalie Zawrazky

Natalie Zawrazky

Substitute

Mrs. Zawrazky joined NFCNS in 2017 as a Bears teacher.  She earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Dominican University.  Mrs. Zawrazky has previous preschool experience, therapeutic experience, as an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician),  years of experience at both of her children’s schools volunteering, and most recently, volunteering at her Parish, St. Joseph’s in Wilmette, for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. Mrs. Zawrazky currently lives in Glenview with her husband and two children, one of which is a former NFCNS student. In her spare time, she enjoys bike riding, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Carolyn Torres Kelly

Carolyn Torres Kelly

Substitute

Mrs. Kelley has a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Florida International University, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Notre Dame.  Mrs. Kelley previously worked as a preschool computer teacher and camp counselor in her hometown of Miami, Florida. She later had a career in marketing, and chose to take a break to focus on raising her children.  She became passionate about volunteering her time in her children’s classrooms and on the Board at NFCNS, including serving as President.  Mrs. Kelley is thrilled to join our team as an Assistant Pre-K Teacher, where she loves helping children grow in creativity, confidence and compassion.  Mrs. Kelley lives in Northfield with her husband and three daughters, all of whom attended NFCNS.