(708) 598-8200
9000 S. 86th Ave Hickory Hills, IL 60457

Meet Our Teachers

Meet Our Teachers

Mrs. Jamie Nowinski

Mrs. Jamie Nowinski is thrilled to be the principal at St. Patricia School.  She is a veteran educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with a type 75 license, and is an Archdiocese Leadership Academy graduate. She taught Jr. high English /language arts and reading for 18 years before being called to go into Administration. Married for 37 years to her wonderful husband, Joe, together they have parented two accomplished adults and have two amazing grandchildren. She is passionate about leading in an atmosphere where faith and creative teaching creates a community of active learners.  Positive and up-beat, Mrs. Nowinski strives to encourage others to reach their highest capabilities and accomplish their goals.

Colleen Lusk – Pre – Kindergarten

Ms. Laughran grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago, graduating from St Christina’s Elementary School and Mother McAuley High School. She then obtained her bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from St Xavier University. The education of young children is something she is very passionate about. Ms. Laughran’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her children. All three of her children are now very successful adults. The older two are married while the youngest is living at home. Their family loves to travel, play games, and binge watch their favorite movies and television shows. By far the trip to Ireland is their all-time favorite vacation.

Susan Lang  – Kindergarten

Mrs. Lang has been a teacher for 31 years. She began her career in the public school system. She left to raise her children. During that time she substitute taught at St. Patricia’s. In 1994, she became a full time faculty member. Mrs. Lang has taught all of the primary grades, but is currently in her 12th year with the kindergartners.

Mrs. Lang has two grown sons, both St. Patricia graduates.  In addition, she is blessed with four beautiful grandchildren.  Her real enjoyment in earlier days (translation, more energetic) came from playing volleyball, water skiing, and dancing. Now, she’ll read a good book or entertain her granddaughters. Her summer getaway is northern Wisconsin where she can relax and enjoy the lake and outdoors. The entire autumn is spent in the stands at Notre Dame with family and friends cheering on the Irish!

Kendra Oprondek – 1st Grade

My name is Mrs. Kendra Oprondek.    This is my first year at St. Patricia School. I spent last year teaching 2nd grade in downtown Chicago, and I spent the previous twelve years teaching 1st graders in Chicago Heights. I am very excited to share this year with YOU!  I have many new and exciting things planned for us to try and to explore together.  It is going to be a special adventure!

I live in Alsip, IL with my husband of 30 years.  We have 3 sons who are all adults now.  I have been a hockey mom, soccer mom, band mom, served on PTF, a room parent and much, more.  I went back to school to become a teacher when my youngest son entered 1st grade.  I hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in elementary education.

I love, love, love to read, enjoy my morning cup of coffee, adore the color purple, and am crazy about shoes. I am super grateful to be able serve and share my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every day at St. Patricia’s with you! Go Bobcats!

Lionora Bentivenga-Rodriguez –  2nd Grade

Mrs. Bentivenga-Rodriguez is the youngest of three children, and a proud mother of two beautiful boys.   She moved from Mt. Greenwood in 1992 to Palos Hills and still resides there with her family.  Mrs. Bentivenga-Rodriguez received an Associate of Science degree from Moraine Valley Community College, and later graduated from Saint Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.  

Mrs. Bentivenga-Rodriguez was introduced to the St. Patricia staff as she completed her student teaching in first grade with Mrs. Strauch.  After graduation, Mrs. Bentivenga-Rodriguez substituted for St. Patricia School.  Mrs. Rodriguez had been teaching at Saint Patricia School since 2010. 

Her teaching goal is to be an inspiring teacher and to impact a child’s life by making a difference in their learning experience.

Kim Bennett – 3rd Grade

Mrs. Bennett is currently the third grade teacher at St. Patricia School. She received her Bachelor’s of Education Degree from Illinois State University in 1991 with Endorsements in Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Language Arts.

She began her career in the public schools teaching kindergarten through third grade.  After relocating, she accepted a position with the Archdiocese of Chicago.  She has been employed for 24 years with the Archdiocese of Chicago teaching grades 6-8 with a focus on Mathematics and Social Studies. She has taught at St. Patricia School for 17 years.  This is her first year teaching third grade at St. Patricia School.

Currently, Mrs. Bennett resides in Tinley Park with her husband, son, and two dogs. Some of her hobbies are bowling, gardening, traveling, and attending Notre Dame Games. Her favorite past time is any activity with her family, including her three step children and six grandchildren.

Kayla Glogowski – 4th Grade

Miss Glogowski has been walking the halls of Saint Patricia School since she was five years old as a Kindergarten student.  Upon graduating from Saint Patricia School, she continued to show her faith to the school community by helping with the annual school plays.  Throughout college, she continued to help out at Saint Patricia as an after care assistant.  After graduating from Saint Xavier University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, she began subbing at Saint Patricia, when needed.  After working as an aide in Evergreen Park for two years, she has returned to her Saint Patricia home, working as a second grade teacher and now as our fourth grade teacher.  

Miss G grew up in Palos Hills where she continues to live with her mom, dad and brother.  She is an avid Chicago Blackhawks fan.  Her spare time is spent going to Hawks games, listening to music, or watching movies.

Holly Oszakiewski – 5th Grade

Mrs. Holly Oszakiewski teaches the fifth grade homeroom and 4th grade Reading and English. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from DePaul University and a Masters of Arts in Reading from Saint Xavier University. 

Mrs. O is a member of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the International Reading Association, the Illinois Reading Council, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Catholic Educators Association, the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the Graduate Reading Advisory Council at Saint Xavier University.

Mrs. Oszakiewski has worked as a consultant with the faculty and students of St. Mary of Scotland School in Chicago as part of The Big Shoulders Program with the Archdiocese of Chicago.  In spring (2010) she presented her classroom research “The Reading /Writing Workshop: Impact on Student Literacy Attitudes and Achievement” at the 2010 ACEI conference in Phoenix, Arizona.  In spring of 2011, the results of the research were published in the Illinois Reading Council Journal.  

She is the founder of Grammar Gurus (a peer tutoring after school program).

Two of her favorite class projects are Project Sunshine (a letter writing activity for soldiers and seniors) and Partners in Prayer (class visits with St. Pat’s seniors).

Renee M. Bartley-Bogard  – 6th Grade

Mrs. Bartley-Bogard received an Associate of Science from Moraine Valley Community College in 1986, majoring in Biology and Psychology. She completed her Bachelor of Arts from National College of Education in 1986 majoring in Science and Education. In 2006 she received a Master of Education from National Louis University. She has two teaching certificates a K-9 & 6-12; endorsements in Physical and General Science, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Language Arts and Social Sciences. 

She began her career as a full-time substitute for the Midlothian School District teaching at all grade levels and then taught second grade. As a teacher in the Archdiocese her main teaching content areas has been science in the middle and upper grades. Mrs. Bartley-Bogard is currently teaching sixth, seventh and eighth grade science, seventh and eighth grade Reading; sixth grade religion.  She is in her twenty-ninth year of teaching and has been at Saint Patricia School for twenty-five years.

She enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter as often as possible and has a passion for reading and researching different subject areas. She is a plant lover surrounding herself with plants at home and at school, and planting flowers and vegetables in her yard. She also has many pets, currently one dog, three geckos, and fish. 

Tracey Williams – 7th Grade

Ms. Williams teaches the 7th grade homeroom and 6, 7th & 8th grade Math. She holds a Bachelor Degree from Saint Xavier University and a middle school Math endorsement.  She began her career at Saint Patricia during her student teaching with Mrs. Bennett.  She has been teaching at Saint Patricia since 2014.  Prior to teaching, she worked as a police officer with the City of Chicago.

Ms. Williams resides in Itasca and is the mother of three children.  Ms. Williams is a proud grandmother and enjoys playing and spending time with her granddaughter.

In her spare time she enjoys staying active with her kid’s activities, reading and coaching.  She also enjoys running and training for long distance events.  She has completed many half marathons and has completed the Chicago marathon three times.

Ray Fischer – 8th Grade

Mr. Fischer is very happy to part of St. Patricia School. He is very excited to be in a school where he can teach and preach God’s message to the students. Mr. Fischer has been married since 2012 to his lovely wife Tina. Together they have a five-year-old daughter Mary. Mr. Fischer grew up on a farm near Hampshire IL. There he attended St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church where he was confirmed in 1997. From the farm, Ray headed to Northern Illinois University, and graduated with a degree in Education with a minor in Theatre. God then lead him to Northern Seminary where he graduated with his master in Worship and Spirituality in 2006. 

Before coming to St. Patricia Mr. Fischer worked as an instructor for disabled adults for nine years at Elim Christian Services. He has worked as a Worship Coordinator for New Song Church, as a theatre director/teacher for Christian Youth Theatre, and as a standup comedian.  He has performed at Riddles Comedy Club, LOL Theatre, Zanies, and various events across the Chicago suburbs. In his spare time he likes to perform in plays, spend time with his family, and hosts trivia and comedy shows. 

Mr. Walsh – Technology

Mr. Walsh has a bachelors degree in Criiminal/Social justice from Lewis university, earned in May of 1996.  He also has a Master degree in Police Psychology from Adler University, earned in July of 2009.  He graduated with highest honors form each program.  Mr. Walsh was a Chicago Police Officer for 34 years.  He retired as a Lieutenant in May of 2016.  He lived in Chicago his whole life until December of 2019, when he moved to a suburb of Chicago.  Mr. Walsh is so proud of his three children and three grandchildren.  

Mrs. Carey – Art

Hello St. Patricia School Community.  My name is Mrs. Carey and I am excited about teaching Art principles this year to all the amazing artists at St. Patricia School.  I grew up in Chicago and when I was in 4th grade, my father introduced me to the visual arts in a most ordinary way.  He gave me a “paint by number” picture as a gift.  It was my goal to complete it and when I saw my “work of art” I was hooked for life.

My passion for the arts was developed further by learning how to sew, crochet and use power tools for wood and metal.  As I’ve always had a desire to share my knowledge and further the arts, teaching these skills was a natural choice. With many years of volunteering at my church and mission outreaches including becoming an empty nester after raising two young men along with my husband, I enrolled in the Master’s Degree in Elementary Education program at Lewis University. I graduated with endorsements in Art, Math, English as a Second Language and Social Studies and started teaching as a substitute teacher. It is my joy and privilege to be a part of the St. Patricia School Community teaching the next generation of artists. I can’t wait to see their beautiful “works of art.

Jay McGowan- Physical Education/Athletic Director

Mr. McGowan grew up in Willowbrook, Illinois and is the oldest of three siblings. He is a die-hard Chicago sports fan, and yes, that includes being a CUBS fan. He spends his free time working out at the health club, watching sporting events, and being with friends and family.   Mr. McGowan is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Champaign.  He graduated with a degree in Kinesiology with a focus in Physical Education and a Health Endorsement (K-12). He has a well-rounded background in athletics. He played football for 7 years including all four years of high school and played baseball since four years old until two years into college. Mr. McGowan has been with Saint Patricia since 2013 and is excited to share his ideas and expertise with all of your children.

His teaching goal is to not only inform students about living healthy lifestyles but to help them find at least one activity, whether it be a team or individual sport/activity, that students love and can see themselves doing for the rest of their life to practice lifelong fitness. 

Mrs. Sarah May – Music Teacher

Mrs. May is excited to continue teaching general music at St. Patricia School! She previously taught general music for several years at Deerfield Public Schools. Mrs. May has a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in music education from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She participated in both the Women’s Glee Club and Concert Choirs while at U of I, and has played the piano since she was a child.  She also sang and was an accompanist for the Children’s Choir at St. Isidore Parish where she grew up. Her philosophy is to instill a love and appreciation of music in her students, and to discover how significant music is to our human nature. 

Besides a love of music, Mrs. May loves watching football, hockey, and baseball. She is a big Cubs and Blackhawks fan. She also enjoys being outside, singing, playing the piano, and spending time with friends and family. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. May is busy being a mom to her 3 children.

Ernesto Tapia – Spanish Teacher 

Mr. Tapia is originally from Mexico and began his career teaching Spanish as a second language in the private school system in Mexico.  He has taught Spanish as a foreign Language in private, public, and parochial schools in Illinois for over fifteen years.  Mr. Tapia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University majoring in Spanish.  Mr. Tapia teaches Spanish at SSCM, SMI, St. Patricia, and St. Benedict School through Francenter, Inc.

Mr. Tapia has become acquainted with elementary, middle school, and high school environments through his teaching background in the US and Mexico.  His outstanding rapport with students enables him to develop an atmosphere conducive to exploring and learning.