Our Teachers and Staff
Mira Weber – Principal
Michele McNally – Assistant Principal
David Rench – MYP Coordinator
Freeda Pirillis – PYP Coordinator Designate
Melissa Swanson – National Board Certified
Myriah Brown-Rivera– National Board Certified
Esther Velazquez – ESL Endorsed
Rebecca Rosenberg – ESL Endorsed
Julie Hines-Lyman – National Board Certified, Reading Specialist
Nicholas Hall – Reading Specialist
Marilyn Rosario-Caro – Clerk
Martha Maldonado – Main Office Support
Charles Harris – Security
Julie Moore – Counselor
Ellen Ryan– Psychologist
Dana McNicholas – Speech Pathologist
Jenelle Harden – Social Worker
Thomas Liberto – Occupational Therapist
Rodney Weir – Physical Therapist
Visit our classrooms page for a listing of classroom websites.
Meet Our Principal
Mira Weber, Principal
Mira first became interested in education very early in life. Her father was an avid reader and read to her daily. He spent hours with her at libraries and would ensure that no matter what the day held there was time for a good book. When Mira was three, her twin siblings were born three months premature and Mira watched both of her parents advocate fiercely for the special education services they both received. Throughout life her father, instilled in her the firm belief that education is the key to success, it should be available to all students and it should be designed to fit their individual needs.
Mira began her career with CPS as a special education teacher. She has had the rare but special opportunity to teach in the same school that she is now principal. At Agassiz Mira has taught special education for middle school and general education for primary age students. She has proudly served as the Agassiz principal for the past nine years and is honored to call herself an Agassiz parent of two boys.
Entering her tenth year in this role, Agassiz is in a completely different place than it was when she started. Today it is among the top performing schools within CPS and an International Baccalaureate candidate school. Mira credits the collaboration between staff, parents and community for the gains made over her administrative tenure. Mira’s vision includes fostering team cohesion amongst staff and parents to help students grow. To her, the true measurement of student growth is whether the school has fulfilled its promise to develop students into life long learners by cultivating their positive distinctions whether they be academics, arts, or athletics.
Meet Our Assistant Principal
Michele McNally, Assistant Principal
Michele has worked as an elementary school teacher since 1989, and the last 25 of those years have been at Agassiz School. She has taught in several different capacities: primary grades, low incidence program (students diagnosed with autism), media center and as IB coordinator. Michele has thoroughly enjoyed all her roles at Agassiz and is committed to all the students and families.
Meet Our New Staff
Erin Szarnych, Kindergarten (room 204)
I am very excited to introduce myself to the Agassiz community! I am originally from Evanston, IL and graduated from Purdue University. I completed my student teaching in the fall of 2013 in CPS and won Indiana's Outstanding Future Educator Award for my achievements as a student teacher. After graduating, I spent a semester as a Special Education Classroom Assistant in the same Kindergarten classroom in which I student taught. This year will be my fifth year in CPS; I spent three years in Kindergarten and one year in 4th grade. I strive to establish strong relationships with my students and create a strong home-school connection with families. Some of my favorite things to do include: watching Purdue Boilermaker basketball, trying new restaurants, playing beach volleyball, and curling up on my couch with a good book. I'm eager to get to know and work with Agassiz students and families this year!
Emily Hulbert, 1st Grade (room 203)
I am excited to join the Agassiz community as a new first grade teacher!
Prior to Agassiz, I taught kindergarten at Funston Elementary in the Logan Square neighborhood and student taught second grade at Coonley Elementary in North Center. I have also observed and assisted in a variety of classrooms in Chicago Public Schools across the city during my graduate studies at DePaul University, which I completed in 2016. I have a Master of Education (M.Ed) in Teaching & Learning and a Professional Educator License (PEL) with certification in grades K-9. I also have a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Dayton (Ohio).
My vast experience working with youth and the time that I have spent in CPS so far have helped me to quickly establish rapport with students and families, develop an appreciation of diversity, and hone my classroom management skills. I look forward to expanding on these things in the coming year. I know that my pedagogy will constantly evolve as I grow in the field of education. However, I feel it will always be my responsibility to create an environment in which the ideal behaviors of a life-long learner are modeled. Igniting students’ desire for leaning begins with an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher, and that is exactly what I am and always aspire to be.
On a personal note, I live nearby in Lakeview with my new husband, Jeff, (we were just married in early August!) and enjoy reading, running on the lakefront path, and spending time with my family – including my two nieces and two nephews.
I look forward to getting to know all of you in the coming weeks!
Ms. Brown-Rivera, 5th Grade (room 301)
I am so excited to be starting my 16th year of teaching and first year at Agassiz! I was previously a 5th grade ELA and Social Studies teacher at Disney II, where I also served as the founding 3rd grade teacher and interventionist. I began my teaching career at the Walt Disney Magnet school teaching 3rd grade. I grew up in northern Indiana and earned my BA in Psychology from Notre Dame in 1999, where I was also a four time All-American fencer. Go IRISH! I earned my MsEd in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern and am also a National Board Certified teacher that has had the pleasure of mentoring over a dozen first and second year teachers over my career.
I am very goal driven and use this personal expertise to teach students about what good goals are, how to set goals, and how to achieve them. I am also an avid reader and this is what I attempt to pass along to each and every student. One of my main goals is to not to let a single student leave my class each year without finding a genre, author or topic that lights their reading fire.
Finally, I came to Agassiz with my 5 year old daughter. She begins Kindergarten this September as a Bulldog! It was amazing for me to learn so many faculty and administrators believe enough in this school to send their children here and that made the decision to come aboard an easy one!
Allie Bucon, Special Education
My name is Allie Bucon and I am so excited to join the Agassiz team! I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and come from a Polish-speaking family. I student taught at Agassiz this past winter and I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible community. I am a recent graduate of DePaul University, where I received my B.S. in Special Education. I’ve always dreamt of becoming a teacher, but found my passion specifically in special education after volunteering at an art studio for adults with disabilities. Aside from volunteering at the studio for 3 years, I also held a role as an after-school aide and a tutor in reading and math at the elementary level. I am looking forward to a wonderful school year!
Laura Medaglia, Special Education
Welcome back families! My name is Laura Medaglia and I'm returning to Agassiz for my third year after taking some time off to stay home with my two sons. I am so excited to be back! This will be my tenth year teaching special education in CPS and I have worked in resource, inclusion, and low incidence classrooms during those years. Most recently, I've been enjoying time at home on an extended leave with my four year old and 18 month old!
I'm looking forward to starting this school year and joining the Agassiz family once again!
Rachel Swanson, Special Education
My name is Rachel Swanson and I am so happy to be joining the team at Agassiz this year. I have a Master's Degree from DePaul University in both elementary education as well as special education. I have been teaching in CPS for 13 years, mostly in grades 1-4. I have taught in both special and general education classrooms over the years.
I grew up in Ohio in the Cleveland area, but have been in Chicago for over 16 years. Now my family is all over the country. I am always traveling to Florida to see my mom or to Denver to see my brother and my 3 adorable nieces and nephews.
I am looking forward to an exciting year and learning and growing with the students and staff!