Jessy Dinkelman

Director


 I am Ms. Jessy Dinkelman.  I have been here at Open Arms for seven years.  I started as an assistant in the Baby Rosebud classroom and then a few years later became the lead teacher in our Tiger Lily 2s Classroom. Two short years later I moved up to the Director position and have been using all my experience and knowledge of this school to direct it in all future endeavors.  The children are my first priority and I love spending time getting to know each of them and their family members.  Here at Open Arms we are a big family, supporting each other in our parenting journeys because "it takes a village".  My husband, Adam, and I are excited to have our own growing family, welcoming our first child, Ambellina, in August of 2021.  I look forward to the growth of the school, our community, and my own family. If you ever need anything please do not hesitate to ask, I always keep an open door!

 


Hannah Dunn

Assistant Director

 I am Mrs. Dunn, the new assistant director! This year will be my 7th year here at Open Arms. I started at Open Arms in the 3’s room and then worked my way up to the assistant director position. I have my degree from Concordia University Chicago. My daughter, Caylee, is an Open Arms graduate and is now entering 7th grade. You may find me moving and grooving to different music as you walk into the office.

 

Natalie Kryjanovskaia

Lead Teacher, Baby Rosebuds

I love working with our littlest Open Arms children. I find great joy in helping the little babies and their families as they begin their journey at Open Arms. I love to play, rock, sing and love on our little ones. I also appreciate being able to help our new moms and dads as they navigate the waters of being first time parents, or second, third or fourth. You are all a blessing to me and I am so happy to be here caring for your little ones!

Ms. Natalie is married and is the mom of Tanya. Ms. Natalie has been with Open Arms since the very first day! She looks forward to meeting all our newest little ones and their families.

 

Debbie Johnson

lead teacher, baby begonias

has been working at Open Arms since August of 2012. I started in the Toddler Tulips and then moved into the Begonia room where I am now the leader of the Begonia team. Prior to coming to Open Arms I was an elementary teacher in a Lutheran school. I am a product of Lutheran education and have always taught in Lutheran schools, graduating with my teaching credentials in 1985 from Concordia Chicago. I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, where my sister still lives. I also have two brothers, one lives in Maryland and the other in Georgia. Three of us are Lutheran trained educators. At times you might find me directing the choir or playing the organ at Immanuel, Glenview. My husband, Eric, and I live in Des Plaines. We have three children and two grandchildren. Rachel and her husband live in Washington, D.C., Nathan is in Chicago, and Hannah and her family are in Wheeling. When I do have free time I enjoy relaxing in front of the T.V with my cats Cali, Oreo, and Monti. I also enjoy counted cross stitch projects and sewing. It is my prayer that I share the love of Jesus with the children and their families here at Open Arms through my words and actions.


  

Carol Endres

lead teacher, Toddler Tulips

I am Ms. Carol, the Toddler Tulips teacher!   This is my fifteenth year here at Open Arms, and I have adored and appreciated every day that I have been here in this amazing community.  God has blessed me with so many opportunities to grow close to such wonderful children and parents! I graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and have taken many courses at OCC.  Before Open Arms, I taught third grade, and later I substituted at several schools. In my spare time I love to work in my garden, read everything and anything, swim and visit with my friends.  I have three incredible grown children, so spending my weekends with them and the rest of my family makes me the happiest.  The "topping on the cake" is seeing my seven year old grandson, Alex on the weekends.  We all love to swim, go to the zoo, go to the museums, and just play together!

 

Adriana Zagal

Lead teacher, tiger lily twos

Hello I’m Ms. Adriana,

I have always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl. I took an ECE class during my senior year where I got to experience working with children and have lesson plans ready. I have been working for Open Arms for almost 5 years where I worked closely with Teacher Leads and helped with lessons they have planned. I have gained so much knowledge and experience working in the 2’s room. This is my second year as the lead teacher in the 2’s. My plan for the future is returning to school and getting my degree for ECE. I currently have my CDA.

Destiny Williams

Lead teacher, daisy threes

Hello, My name is Ms. Destiny and I am the lead teacher of the Daisy 3's room at Open Arms. I have been at Open Arms for about 5 years now (4 years as a teaching assistant and 1 year as a lead). This will be my 2nd year as a lead teacher. I have a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Illinois State University. I want to pursue a Master's degree in teaching English as a second language so I can teach English in non-English speaking countries. I love working with young children and watching them learn and grow.

 

Megan Gerken

lead teacher, Sunflower fours

Ms. Gerken will be going into her 7th year of teaching in the Sunflower 4s room. She studied elementary education at Illinois State University. Even though she went to school for elementary school she has used her knowledge and experience to develop a play based curriculum. Each year she goes over the alphabet a letter a week. Activities and art projects are all based on the letter of the week.  In addition to many hands-on engaging activities she is a huge fan of LEGO! She enjoys sharing the love of LEGO with others, but most importantly she shares the love of Christ through her Jesus times with singing and the retelling of Bible stories.  

Leslie Christiansen

Lead teacher, Wildflower kindergarten

Ms. Leslie has a bachelors degree in Lutheran Early Education from Concordia University, Wisconsin. She is actively pursuing her masters in literacy to become a reading specialist. This is her third year teaching and her second year with Kindergarten. She loves seeing how much students grow and learn in Kindergarten and planning fun and engaging lessons for them.