Pastor

Richard A Heinz

The Rev. Rich Heinz has completed 21 years in the Office of the Holy Ministry, seven of which have been here at St. John’s. He graduated with a B.A. from Concordia University—River Forest (Chicago), majoring in theology and minoring in communication/theatre. After earning his M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1995, he served Mt. Greenwood Ev. Lutheran in Chicago and St. John’s Lutheran in Lanesville, Indiana. His continuing education interests are in the areas of liturgics (worship) and catechesis (teaching the faith.) Pastor Heinz is also involved with Higher Things, a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod that serves youth. He has served as site chaplain for five years, and is in his sixth year as Worship Coordinator for the annual conferences. Pastor is an avid Disney and Star Wars fan. He enjoys theatre, film, music, and tea.

Principal

Douglas Markworth

Mr.Markworth has completed 40 years in the Christian Ministry, 20 of which were here at St. John's. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska with an emphasis in Religion, Math and Science. He has earned a Masters Degree in Elementary Administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He has served as the Chair of Math & Science at Luther High School North (now Luther North College Prep), Teacher/Principal in Hannibal, Missouri and as a counselor at Lutheran Camps in Springfield, Illinois and Schyler, Nebraska.

 

Henry Knueppel, Teacher Emeritus

A native of Maywood Park, Illinois, Mr. Henry Knueppel attended high school at Concordia Teachers’ College in River Forest (now Concordia University – Chicago.)  He then earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from Concordia Teachers’ College (now Concordia University) in Seward, Nebraska.  During his tenure at St. John's, Mr. Knueppel also completed his Master of Arts at Concordia (Chicago.)

Mr. Knueppel accepted the call to teach at St. John’s in 1952.  Teacher, coach, referee, Walther League director, and mentor, Mr. Knueppel has touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives through St. John’s Lutheran Church and School.

Mr. Knueppel is married to Judy (nee Millies), who gave up teaching at Luther North to be a homemaker, and volunteer.  They have been blessed with a daughter (Rebecca), a son (Paul), and five grandchildren.

After a blessed tenure of 42 years as teacher at St. John’s, Mr. Knueppel continued to serve as our director of parish care.  Now, although officially retired, Mr. Knueppel stays active volunteering for St. John’s “behind the scenes.” In 2011, honoring this retired servant, St. John’s completed its plan of dedicating and renaming our gymnasium “The Henry P. Knueppel Gymnasium.”

 

Early Childhood

Pre-School (3 Year Olds)

JoAn Markworth

Mrs. Markworth has completed 32 years in the Christian teaching ministry, and this is her 9th year at St. John's. She is a graduate of Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, with emphasis on primary grades, music and math. She completed her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University, Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2013.

The focus of her teaching experience has been in the primary grades, but she has taught in all of the elementary grades, as well as preschool and kindergarten.

 

What is Mrs. Markworth’s favorite Bible verse?

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  – Philippians 4:13

Why does Mrs. Markworth love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because of the people - the families, the faculty, staff, and of course, the kids. St. John’s has become my 2nd home!”

What other roles does Mrs. Markworth have at St. John’s?

“At this time, I am a member of the church choir and chancel bell choir, and in the summer I help with Vacation Bible School. During the school year I assist in game club, help with basketball tournaments, and assist with many tasks around the building.”

Pre School News

 

 

 

Pre Kindergarten News

Christina Yerkes

Mrs. Christina Yerkes – Pre-Kindergarten (4-Year-Old) 2017-2018 School Year 

Mrs. Yerkes has over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages and abilities, and this is her 1st year at St. John's.  Prior to St. John’s she worked as a preschool teacher at Concordia University’s Chicago Early Childhood Center.  She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest, IL, and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood certification.

 

What is Mrs. Yerkes’s favorite Bible verse?

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  – Philippians 4:13

Why does Mrs. Yerkes love St. John’s?

 “I love that they are spreading the word of God, and that they are teaching with God's love throughout all aspects of learning.”

What other roles does Mrs. Yerkes have at St. John’s?

“Being new to the school, I don’t have any official roles yet, but I am eager to gain more roles throughout my time at St. John’s. I love sports and would be interested in coaching or helping in some way in the future. I also am a parent so I would like to be involved in PTL or any other parent groups.”

 

Kindergarten

Leslee Johnson

Mrs. Johnson has completed 40 years of Christian teaching, 39 of which have been at St. John’s. Most of her teaching career has been in the kindergarten classroom. She has also taught pre-kindergarten and third grade, and was the elementary reading teacher for two years.

Mrs. Johnson graduated from Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She specialized in English, Speech, and Drama, and has a minor in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Johnson is the lead teacher for the Early Childhood department and the 2001 recipient of the CLEF Good News Award for excellence in Early Childhood Education.

 

 What is Mrs. Johnson’s favorite Bible verse?

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  – Psalm 121:1-2

Why does Mrs. Johnson love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because over the years, St. John’s has become my home away from home — my second family. What a blessing it is to be a part of such a loving and supportive Christ-centered community!”

 What other roles does Mrs. Johnson have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as Chapel Family Coordinator, School Yearbook Coordinator, a member of LWML, a member of the Church Picnic Committee, and the Angel Tree Coordinator.”


Kindergarten News

Early Childhood aides: 

 

Elementary School

Kristi Heinz

1st Grade

 kheinz@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Kristi Heinz has completed 20 years of teaching in Lutheran education. She graduated in 1989 from Concordia University – River Forest with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with concentrations in reading and music.  She has also taken Master's level courses as a Reading Specialist at Indiana University -- Southeast.  Prior to St. John’s, she taught 2nd grade and 3rd grade at St. John's, Algonquin, IL, and St. John's, Lanesville, IN.

Kristi has been fortunate to share her love of music with others through teaching.  She has taught music to a wide range of students (preschoolers to senior high school), in addition to her mainstream teaching duties. Before becoming the full-time teacher at St. John’s, she spent years teaching music to the entire student body.  Although she misses this role, she was thrilled to return to the classroom full-time!

 

What is Mrs. Heinz’s favorite Bible verse?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

Why does Mrs. Heinz love St. John’s?

“I love St. John's because it fosters a family relationship amongst the students.  The students really look out for each other and care about each other with Christian love and concern.”

What other roles does Mrs. Heinz have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the Pastor’s wife, attend weekly bible studies, and assist as a member of the Dorcas Society.”

1st Grade News

 

Debra Mackie

Mrs. Debra Mackie – 2nd Grade

dmackie@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Mackie has completed 35 years of full-time Christian teaching, all here at St. John’s. She graduated from Concordia Teacher’s College, River Forest, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. She taught 1st grade for eight years and served as the part- time special reading teacher for one year.  This is her 28th year as a 2nd grade teacher.

 

What is Mrs. Mackie’s favorite Bible verse?

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God.”  – Ephesians 2:8

Why does Mrs. Mackie love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s, because 39 years ago, the school welcomed me into its family as a teacher. Since then, my own family has become a part of the extended church family. Many wonderful, heart-warming memories, from both my classroom, and my family, echo through these halls. St. John’s has become a part of my life and my family.”

What other roles does Mrs. Mackie have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the Athletic Director, Bowling Coach, Cheerleader Advisor, Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart School Coordinator, Clothing Coordinator, After-School Bowling Club Instructor, Lutheran School League (LSL) Secretary, Volleyball Liaison, 7th & 8th grade Basketball 3 point contest Coordinator, Bowling Tournament & League Awards Coordinator, Church LAA Liaison, Ladies Volleyball Team Manager, and Rummage Sale Coordinator.”

2nd Grade News

Bonnie Mayrens

Mrs. Bonnie Mayrens – Third Grade

bmayrens@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Mayrens has completed 32 years in the Lutheran teaching ministry, 13 of which have been at St. John's.  She is a graduate of both St. John's and Luther North.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with concentrations in psychology and English literature, and, holds a Master's Degree in reading instruction from Concordia University, Chicago.

What is Mrs. Mayrens’ favorite Bible verse?

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31

Why does Mrs. Mayrens love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because it’s my home away from home.  I attended St. John’s as a student from 1968-1977.  I was blessed to attend school in a place where I was reminded daily of God’s care for me. Now, as a teacher here, I have the joy of sharing that faith with others. I love that this is not only a school, but a community.”

What other roles does Mrs. Mayrens have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the art fair director and as a member of the National Junior Honor Society Committee.”

3rd Grade News

 

Deborah Callaghan

Mrs. Deborah Callaghan – Fourth Grade

bmayrens@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Callaghan has completed 21 years of teaching, 15 of which have been here at St. John's. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Education. Mrs. Callaghan's family has been members here for 33 years.  

 

 What is Mrs. Callaghan’s favorite Bible verse?

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God.”  – Ephesians 2:8

 

Why does Mrs. Callaghan love St. John’s?

“I love St. John's because I am in an environment that is anchored by Christianity.  I am uplifted each day by being here, and can pass that onto my students.  I am able to teach about God's wondrous creation, His love for all of us, and that He sees us as individuals who are His special children.  I love to see the look on my class's face when I tell them God has a special plan for them.

I have had four daughters pass through St. John's who have had Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Mackie and Mrs. Mayrens, and they are wonderful, successful girls.  I attribute that to the foundations they received at St. John's.”

 

What other roles does Mrs. Callaghan have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s by recognizing and celebrating Baptismal Birthdays of students, faculty, and staff once a month.  I also teach in the Title 1 program during and after school.  Every third year, I am the chairperson of the Cultural Day event which enriches our church and school.”

4th Grade News

 

 

 

Robin Rocans

Mrs. Robin Rocans – Fifth Grade

bmayrens@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Rocans has taught for 24 years in Lutheran Schools, with the last six being here at St. John’s. She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and has endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies. Prior to St. John’s, she taught 7th Grade, 5th Grade, and combined 3rd & 4th Grade, and, was an Athletic Director and coach.

She has been married to her husband, Vik, for 40 years. They have one daughter and a son-in-law who blessed their lives six years ago with twins, Avery and Devin, and Skylar was born three years ago.

 

What is Mrs. Rocans’ favorite Bible verse?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

Why does Mrs. Rocans love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because we are all here for the same reason. As stated in our mission statement, we exist to pass our faith in Jesus to our students, and to help them fully develop their God-given gifts. My job as a teacher is to help the children in my class become the very best they can be, both as a student and as a Christian, by what I teach and by the example I set for them.”

What other roles does Mrs. Rocans have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the boys’ volleyball coach, and scoreboard operator/book keeper for the basketball season.”


5th Grade News

 

High School Preparatory Program

 

Rachael Franklin (6th Grade Homeroom)

RFranklin@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Franklin completed four years of teaching in Danville, IL before coming to St. John’s, and is in her fifth year here.  She graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education, and received a Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Concordia University, Wisconsin.  

 

 

 What is Mrs. Franklin’s favorite Bible verse?

“But so to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” - 2 Corinthians 12:7-12

Why does Mrs. Franklin love St. John’s?

“I love St. John's because the teachers, staff, congregation, and parents are all so supportive of the school. It is wonderful to be in a place where a good, Christian education is so valued by everyone.”

 

What other roles does Mrs. Franklin have at St. John’s?

 “I serve St. John’s as the girls’ volleyball coach, the 5th and 6th grade girls’ basketball coach, and I assist in coaching Track & Field.”

  

6th Grade News

 


 

Jeremy Benedict (7th Grade Homeroom)

JBenedict@stjohnschicago.org

Mr. Benedict has been teaching for 7 years, 4 of which have been at St. John’s.  Mr. Benedict graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin.

In addition to his own teaching, his wife works as the Extended Care coordinator, and is often seen around the school with their two children.

He teaches 6th-8th Grade English, 7th-8th Grade Reading, 6th-8th Grade Boys' Physical Education, and 7th Grade Religion.

 

What is Mr. Benedict’s favorite Bible verse?

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9

Why does Mr. Benedict love St. John’s?

“I love teaching at St. John's because of the family environment.  This environment spans not only the student/teacher relationship, but also the relationships I have with my teaching peers as well as the parents and the church congregation members.  It is a welcoming aspect that has my family excited to be back!"

What other roles does Mr. Benedict have at St. John’s?

“Mr. Benedict coaches cross country and basketball.”

7th Grade News

 

Michelle Runge (8th Grade Homeroom)

MRunge@stjohnschicago.org

Mrs. Runge is in her 14th year of Christian teaching here at St. John's. She graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Her area of concentration was Psychology. She has her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.

She is the lead teacher for the High School Prep program and teaches 6th-8th grade math, 6-8th grade physical education, 8th grade social studies, and 8th grade religion.

What is Mrs. Runge’s favorite Bible verse?

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” - 1 Corinthians 15:58

Why does Mrs. Runge love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because of the daily opportunity I get to share my faith with my students. I love being such a vital part of their lives as they prepare for the next step of God’s plan for them. It brings me such joy watching my students grow and mature as they become ready for high school and the world beyond St. John’s.”

What other roles does Mrs. Runge have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the Cross Country coach, the 7th & 8th grade Girls’ Basketball coach, the Track coach, and the Hot Lunch Coordinator. I also serve on our congregation’s Youth Board.”

 

8th Grade News

 

Enrichment

 

Band

Art

Music

Katrina Jurica

Katrina Jurica graduated from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She declared an emphasis in General Music and Choral Music. While at Concordia University, she had the chance to rehearse and conduct the Concordia University Kapelle, the premiere touring choir. She studied voice, piano, guitar, and percussion and participated in many student ensembles, including the Handbell Choir, Women’s Choir, Jazz Band, and University Band. She still participates in the University Band as a member of the percussion section.

 

Mrs. Jurica states that one of the main reasons why she chose Concordia University Chicago was because of the active and thriving faith community at the school. She believes that because of her peers and professors, her relationship with God and understanding of God’s Word grew. That is why she chooses to teach in the Lutheran schools of Chicago-because she wants to be able to freely proclaim the Gospel to her students, as well as instruct them in growing as musicians and as human beings.

 

Mrs. Jurica joined the faculty of St. John’s Lutheran School as the Music Teacher in August of 2016. She also teaches General Music and Choral Music at Grace English Lutheran School. She is looking forward to another year of singing God’s praises and teaching her students to do the same.


 

Spanish

George Bryant 

 

Library

Tana Uffenbeck

Mrs. Tana Uffenbeck has completed 4 years of teaching in Lutheran schools. She graduated from Concordia University Mequon with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English/Language Arts. She also holds a Master’s degree in Reading from Concordia University Portland. Mrs. Uffenbeck is thrilled to be sharing this expertise in the library and through her role as Literacy Coach for St. John’s.

 

 Library News