Richard A Heinz

The Rev. Rich Heinz has completed 19 years in the Office of the Holy Ministry, five 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 two years, and is in his second year as Worship Coordinator for the annual conferences.

Pastor is an avid Disney and Star Wars fan.  He enjoys theatre, film, music, and tea.



Douglas Markworth

Mr. Markworth's  "Welcome back to school, 2014/15" letter

Mr.Markworth has completed 35 years in the Christian Ministry, 15 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 28 years in the Christian teaching ministry, and this is her 5th 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. The focus of her teaching experience has been in the primary grades, but JoAn has taught in all of the elementary grades as well as preschool and kindergarten. She now teaches pre school children and is the grades 1-5 computer instructor at St. John's.  In July, 2013, Mrs. Markworth completed her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Pre School News


Pre Kindergarten (4-year-olds)

Kristi Heinz

Mrs. Kristi Heinz has completed 19 years of teaching in Lutheran education. She graduated from Concordia University in River Forest in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with concentrations in reading and music. She began work on her Master's Degree at Indiana University Southeast. She has spent time in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms at St. John's, Algonquin, Illinois, and St. John's, Lanesville, Indiana. While teaching in mainstream classrooms, she has also taught music from preschool through senior high school. After teaching music to the entire student body of St. John's in recent years, she is thrilled to return to the classroom full-time!  In her free time she plays in the Handbell Choir and sings in the Adult Choir at St. John's.

Pre Kindergarten News



Leslee Johnson

Mrs. Johnson has completed 36 years of Christian teaching, 35 of which have been at St. John's. 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. In addition to teaching Kindergarten, Mrs. Johnson is the coordinator for chapel families, the school yearbook, reading day, and the LWML Angel Tree. She is also a member of the church picnic committee and the Board of Christian Education. Mrs. Johnson was the 2001 recipient of the CLEF Good News Teacher Award in Early Childhood Education.

Kindergarten News

Early Childhood aides: 

Laura Puenner, Kim Nowakowski, Emily Bahr, Caitlyn Wheeler


Elementary School

1st Grade

Matthew Pahnke

Mr. Pahnke has completed two years of teaching serving as 1st grade teacher here at St. John’s. He graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, IL with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.  In addition to teaching 1st grade, Mr. Pahnke serves on the Marketing Committee and National Junior Honor Society.

1st Grade News


2nd Grade

Debra Mackie

Mrs. Mackie has completed 31 years of Christian teaching 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 reading teacher. In addition to teaching duties, she serves as: Athletic Director, Coach, Cheerleading Advisor, LSL (Lutheran School League) 7th & 8th grade Basketball 3 Point Contest, Bowling Tournament & Awards Coordinator, Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart Coordinator, Clothing Co-Coordinator, Church Coffee Hour and Soup & Sandwich Coordinator.


2nd Grade News

3rd Grade

Bonnie Mayrens

Mrs. Mayrens has completed 27 years in the Lutheran teaching ministry, 8 of which have been at St. John's.  She is a graduate of St. John's and Luther North.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with concentrations in psychology and English literature, and Master's Degree in reading instruction from Concordia University, Chicago.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Mrs. Mayrens serves as art fair director and spelling team coordinator, and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society Committee.
3rd Grade News


4th Grade

Deborah Callaghan

Mrs. Callaghan has completed 16 years of teaching, 10 of which were 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 have been members here for 29 years. Mrs. Callaghan is excited about implementing strategies she learned in workshops she has taken throughout the year and this summer that were sponsored by CLEF.  She looks forward to using her new SMARTboard.  Mrs. Callaghan also teaches in the Title I program after school.


4th Grade News

 5th Grade

Robin Rocans

Mrs. Rocans has been teaching in Lutheran schools for the past nineteen years. She has taught combined 3rd & 4th grade, 5th grade, and junior high physical education. In addition, she coached various sports and served as the athletic director. She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Rocans has been married for thirty six years and is blessed to have a daughter, son-in-law, and twin grandchildren.

5th Grade News


High School Preparatory Program


Social Studies (6th, 7th),  Religion (6th),  and Science (6th, 7th, 8th), Art (6th & 7th), 6th, 7th, 8th Technology

Rachael Kretschmar (6th Grade Homeroom)

Miss Rachael Kretschmar has completed three years of teaching in Danville, IL and is beginning her first year here at St. John's.  She graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.  She is currently working on her Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Concordia University Wisconsin


6th Grade News


English (6th, 7th, 8th), Reading (7th, 8th), Computer (6th, 7th, 8th girls), Religion (7th), Geography (6th), Creative Writing (6th, 7th, 8th)

Tana Uffenbeck (7th Grade Homeroom)

Mrs. Tana Uffenbeck has taught 6th Grade in Collinsville, IL, and Readlyn, IA and is beginning her first year here at St. John’s. She graduated from Concordia University Mequon with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English/Language Arts. Mrs. Uffenbeck lives in Schaumburg with her husband, William.


7th Grade News


Math (6th, 7th, 8th) Social Studies (8th), Reading (6th), Geography (7th, 8th), Physical Education (6th, 7th, 8th girls), Art (8th), Religion (8th)

Michelle Bahr (8th Grade Homeroom)

Miss Bahr has completed her 8th 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.

8th Grade News





Miss Megan Cooney

Ms. Cooney is the director of the Luther North College Prep Concert Band, Wildcat Pep Band, and Jazz Band. She also serves as the instrumental music teacher at Pilgrim Lutheran School, St. John’s Lutheran School, and Lutheran Unity West. She coaches solo and chamber ensembles (small music groups) and teaches individual/group music lessons before and after school.

Ms. Cooney received her Bachelor Degree in Music Education grades K-12 instrumental, choral, and general music from Rowan University, in New Jersey. In 2014 Ms. Cooney completed her Masters Degree in Wind Conducting at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also a trained classical percussionist and loves performing.

While at Rowan University she received the W. Clarke Pfleeger Award for Musical Excellence. During her time at UMass she was nominated for the UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award given at the university for teaching faculty or graduate students. She has held professional teaching and staff appointments with Cherokee High School, Marlton, NJ, Shawnee High School, Medford NJ, Pitman High School, Pitman, NJ, Washington Township High School, Washington Township, NJ, and has led numerous secondary, collegiate, youth, and community ensembles.

Ms. Cooney is new to Chicago and resides in Lincoln Square where she lives with her cat Clara Schumann. During her free time she loves to cook, watch sports (GO PATRIOTS!), play drums, read, study scores and goes into the city to watch live music, dance, theater and art.

Band News




Karin Fiedler, M.D.

I was born in Brazil.  My first language was German, second was Portuguese.  My school was founded by Germans and we would learn German in earnest starting in 5th grade.  We also studied English.  In high school, I tried French, for fun.

The degree I earned in high school is translation/interpretation of German and Portuguese, with an Abitur.  Abitur is the high school completion that meets German standards for admission to college.  I then earned a degree in Pediatrics.  

I came to the USA with only two suitcases.  For those who know me, you would guess right that one suitcase was full of books.  After validating my Brazilian studies, I repeated the Pediatric residency in Chicago, at which time I also took a six month conversation course and mastered conversational Spanish.  Languages run in my blood.

My mother lives in Germany and my father has passed away.  My brothers and nieces live in Brazil.  I am married with two daughters, one graduated St. John's and the other one is still here.  We have a frisky cat named Dusty.

Education is my passion, and I am innately curious.  Curiosity is what drives me.  I learn new things every day! 




Carol Cowie

Mrs. Carol Cowie has completed 21 years as the Librarian of St. John's. She graduated from the University of Illinois - Chicago Circle Campus with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. The Accelerated Reader program has been implemented and many new tests have been purchased this year. This program is a computer based reading program that the children and teachers use for part of their Reading classes. The entire library has been automated on the computer, and all library functions are handled by the computer system.




Jonathan Mueller

In his first year here at St. John's, Jonathan has been a music educator and director for over 20 years in Lutheran congregations and elementary schools in Texas, Michigan, and Illinois. He holds bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and sacred music from Concordia University – Nebraska and a master’s degree in organ performance from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has also been a clinician and presenter at a variety of music and church conferences at the local, state, national, and international levels. In addition to his duties at St. John's, Jonathan is the Director of Choral Activities, a teacher in the Fine Arts Academy, and Chapel Coordinator at Luther North College Prep, and is also the Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lombard, IL, where he plays the organ, directs the adult choir and handbell choir, and assists the pastor in the planning of worship services.  Jonathan and his wife, Dawn, are blessed with four children and reside in Wheaton.

Resource Teacher

Karen Buhler

Mrs. Karen Buhler has completed 37 years of teaching. She was graduated from Northeastern Illinois University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with an area of concentration in Psychology. She began teaching 4th grade and math lab. Having developed a strong interest in Special Education, she completed the coursework necessary for additional state certification in that area, serving students with disabilities for 8 years. After a maternity leave, she returned to teaching and taught 7th and 8th grade reading, language arts and social studies for 2 years. She then returned to teaching special needs students for 20 more years. She currently holds a Learning/Behavior Specialist teaching certificate in the State of Illinois. This is her third year as a resource teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School. This year she will continue to collaborate with the classroom teachers and will give extra support to students in need.