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 and cat and when not in the classroom, she can be found riding her bike along trails, 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 for 22 year, and enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.

Gina Pearlstein

Gina Pearlstein

Teacher

Mrs. Pearlstein graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities from Carthage College. She has taught preschool in Highland Park and Deerfield for the past 12 years. Mrs. Pearlstein currently lives in Deerfield with her husband, three children and dog. In addition to her love of teaching, she enjoys baking, reading and the outdoors.

Françoise Gougler

Françoise Gougler

Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Gougler has been working with NFCNS children since 1991.  Both of Mrs. Gougler’s (now grown) children attended NFCNS and she is a past board member of the school. A native of France, Mrs. Gougler received her education from Ussel College and enjoys teaching children French songs and finger plays.  Mrs. Gougler lives in Northfield with her husband and when not at school, you can find Mrs. Gougler among the many plants and flowers in her garden.

Christine Kapusta

Christine Kapusta

Teacher

Christine Kapusta, Cubs and Bears Teacher, joined NFCNS in 2003. Ms. 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 partner, Theresa, their daughter, Dorothy, and their dog, Charlie.

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.

Tricia Morrissey

Tricia Morrissey

Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Morrissey received a B.A. from Quincy University followed by a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before joining NFCNS in 2014, Mrs. Morrissey worked at a school in Wilmette in a Special Education room as a teacher’s aide. Prior to working in Wilmette, she worked as a long term substitute art teacher at her children’s school and taught art classes at a local art school in Park Ridge. Mrs. Morrissey lives in Park Ridge with her husband, two children and dog. In her spare time she loves to paint and enjoys baking with her daughter.

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 and continues to teach Cook ‘n’ Book.  She loves to spend time with her family outdoors and attending her daughter’s gymnastics meets.  Mrs. Wasikowski lives in Glenview with her husband, two daughters and dog.

Jessica Ortega

Jessica Ortega

Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Ortega earned her degree in English and Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. She has been teaching dance to children of all ages for 19 years in studios and schools all over Chicagoland.  Jessica lives in Northfield with her husband Ray and children Tyler and Mia.  She is excited to join NFCNS this year with her daughter, Mia, who is in the pre-k program.

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! Ms. Basofin’s goal is to bring the joy she feels playing music for her child to the students of NFCNS. She lives in Northfield and enjoys knitting and taking long walks around the neighborhood with her husband, daughter and dog.