James Goehmann brought more than four decades of teaching experience, including nearly three decades as math department chair, when he joined the Upper School faculty at Morgan Park Academy this fall.
Mr. Goehmann teaches AP Calculus AB, honors pre-calculus, and honors geometry; leads an advisory group; sits on the Upper School’s Honor Council; and is a faculty moderator for our Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) competition team.
He studied at the University of Chicago, where he earned a B.A. in mathematics and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I enjoy it when students succeed in mathematics beyond the level they thought they could achieve. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that students get when they overcome difficult math topics, especially if they were anxious about their ability to handle those topics.
After graduating from Morgan Park Academy, kindergarten teacher Paula Cuadros ’87 earned an undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies at Carleton College, an M.A. in social science at the University of Chicago, and an M.S. in Elementary Education at Northwestern University.
Mrs. Cuadros taught kindergarten for nine years in the Chicago Public Schools before working as a stay-at-home parent. Upon resuming her teaching career, she taught 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds and worked as a school librarian before joining the MPA faculty this fall.
Why did you choose to return to MPA as a teacher?
Once my youngest child was settled in school and I was ready to return to teaching full-time, I knew that MPA would be a great place to do that. The small class sizes mean teachers have a better opportunity to connect to students. The ability to create a true relationship with students and families is essential to teaching and learning.
Fourth-grade teacher Sara Tesmond is a lifelong South Sider, leaving only to attend the University of Dayton in Ohio, where she earned a B.S. in education. After teaching middle school math her first year in the classroom, she has taught fourth grade the past few years.
She taught second- and third-grade academic enrichment classes at Morgan Park Academy for four summers before joining our full-time faculty this fall.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
I wanted to become a teacher because I find education to be an essential part of life. I have always loved learning and I want to show my passion to the future generation. When I was in school I was always the student trying to help others understand the material, and that led me to become a teacher. I had many influential teachers in my life that have inspired me. I love that with teaching, each day is different and each child is unique.
The college admissions process is constantly evolving. It is much different than it was 10 years ago, even a few years ago. Because of this, it is more important than ever to understand college admission trends, what influences them, and how best to prepare to apply to college.
This year at MPA, we have improved our college counseling curriculum to keep pace with the ongoing demands of the college admission process and keep our students competitive in the applicant pool.
We already have begun to implement some exciting new changes. In eighth grade, we are beginning early college awareness through the use of NextTier College Counseling software. Students will receive assignments that parents and the college counselor can monitor as they progress.
College 102 is now a year-long college counseling class for juniors, while we have added College 103 as a fall semester class to help seniors complete the college application process. We plan to add College 100 and College 101 classes for freshmen and sophomores next year.
Tara Gorry teaches Spanish in the Upper School and Middle School, having joined Morgan Park Academy this fall from Montrose School, an independent school in suburban Boston.
She holds a B.A. in Spanish and English from Colgate University and an M.A. in Hispanic Studies from Boston College.
Why did you choose to work at Morgan Park Academy?
In addition to being an excellent school with strong academics, MPA attracted me with its culture of inclusion, sense of community, and focus on thinking internationally. While it is important to celebrate where we come from and what ties us together, as a language teacher, it is so important to me that a school looks outside of itself to explore other countries, meet other people, and learn to respect different ways of life.
Jeanne Pagliaro teaches seventh-grade physical science and eighth-grade life science.
Ms. Pagliaro began her career in middle school, but she also taught high school courses for many years in both public and private schools. She joined Morgan Park Academy this fall after being the STEM division chair and AP biology and biomedical sciences teacher at Queen of Peace High School, where she collaborated with other high schools, universities, professional organizations and alumnae, working with them to inspire more students to pursue engineering fields after high school.
She holds a B.S. in secondary education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Education degree from the University of St. Francis.
How would you describe your ideal student?
This student has a sense of humor and is also willing to take risks; is not afraid to be wrong. I believe we learn a great deal from our mistakes, and I do my best to provide a classroom that encourages risk-taking and self-discovery along with laughter and joy. As a student, I was terrified to be wrong, and so I do not want my own students to have the same experience.
Morgan Park Academy students often cheer at the opportunity to use iPads or Chromebooks during class, although the assignment involves much more than simply play time. But don’t tell them that!
Technology is an alternative learning avenue for students. Educational apps and programs reinforce and enhance the curriculum. The students are so engaged in the activity — whether self-selecting their next book or solving 10 more math problems to reach a higher level — that they do not view their time on the device as working, but rather play. In addition to increased productivity, there are several other hidden benefits.