Teacher Biographies

Mr. Phil Adickes is the youngest of 8, and was born in Fort Atkinson, WI. His family moved to Arizona in the late 70s when his dad was Called to Arizona Lutheran Academy. Mr. Adickes attended Phoenix College and also worked with a professional photographer during those years until he decided it was time for a change. He enrolled in Martin Luther College in 1993.

In 1997, Mr. Adickes was assigned to California Lutheran HS as a dorm supervisor for one year. Then in 1998 he was assigned as grades 6-8 teacher, Athletic Director, and Principal to Faith LS in Tacoma, WA. They spent 16 years there until 2014 when he accepted a Call to Zion in Denver.

The Adickes have three children. Leah is 19 and just finished her first year at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ where she studied geology. Levi is 18 and attends Concordia University Mequon to study Secondary Music Education. Grace is a freshman at ILHS.

In his free time, he loves listening to music, being outside, working in the yard, riding his bike, skateboarding, playing basketball, and working on his 1978 Convertible Volkswagen Super Beetle. His favorite pastime is cheering on the Packers.


Mrs. Laura Biesterfeld is from Minnesota and graduated from Doctor Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mrs. Biesterfeld began teaching at Illinois Lutheran in 1998.  She teaches 5th grade math and  is the 6th grade homeroom teacher.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said, ” I love seeing the ‘lightbulb’ when kids understand something they’ve been working towards.”

When not at school she enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.

Mrs. Biesterfeld and her husband have four kids at ILS.


Mr. John Dorn grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mr. Dorn serves as our Technology Coordinator and teaches 8th Grade Science, 9th Grade Biology, and Computer Applications. He also coaches girls’ basketball and assists with the baseball team. He has been here since 2008.

When asked what he most enjoys about teaching here, he said, “I love getting to know all these students with such different personalities. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. God has given me such a great opportunity to share His love with the teaching ministry. Watching these young souls grow in faith is my greatest joy.”

When not at school Mr. Dorn enjoys taking pictures (even though his kids hate it).

Mr. Dorn and his wife, Mary, have five children, including three ILHS graduates.


Mrs. Mary Dorn is from St. Joseph, MI and graduated from Doctor Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mrs. Dorn teaches kindergarten and coaches junior high volleyball and has been at ILS since 2008.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said, “I love the simple faith the children have in their Savior. Also, all the inquisitive questions they have. It often gets us off on a tangent, but they in turn learn so much more that way than what is just in the lesson plan.”

When not at school she enjoys riding bikes and spending time with her family.

Mr. and Mrs. Dorn have five children, including three ILHS graduates.


Mr. Jeffrey Falck grew up in Tomah, Wisconsin and is the son of retired Pastor Daniel and Judy Falck. He is one of four children – 2 sisters and one brother. After attending Lutheran Elementary schools through 8th grade, he attended Luther High School in Onalaska, Wisconsin before finishing at Martin Luther Prep School in Prairie du Chien. Mr. Falck received his undergraduate degree in education and Social Studies from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. He has also earned a Masters degree in educational leadership from Martin Luther College.

Mr. Falck has taught a variety of grade combinations in grades 4-8 at schools in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Colorado. He brings 18 years of teaching experience and 12 years of administrative experience to Illinois Lutheran and is excited to work with the families of Illinois Lutheran.

Mr. Falck is married to Karena and has four children: Ava, Brady, Ida, and Max. He enjoys music (especially playing the organ for worship) and college football. He also enjoys traveling the country with his family and exploring new places.


Mrs. Karena Falck grew up in Lansing, MI and attended school at Emanuel First Lutheran. She attended high school at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, MI. Mrs. Falck attended one year of college at Eastern Michigan University to study Interior Design. Her sophomore year she transferred to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. She graduated in 2000 with a degree in Elementary Education. She was not assigned a teaching position and found work as an optician and substitute teacher in the Cedar Rapids, IA school district. Her first WELS teaching position was K-3 at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Cedar Rapids, IA. Mrs. Falck has also taught in Wisconsin and Colorado, and she has teaching experience in the daycare setting up through 8th grade.  
Mrs. Falck is married to Jeffrey Falck and they have four children: Ida, Maxwell, Bradford , and Ava. In their spare time they love to travel to National Parks and Monuments. Jeff and Karena were both history majors in college, so they love to take their kids to historic places of interest! Fun fact – she worked as a teen zoo keeper at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI. Her hobbies are CU football, gardening, animals, and art. Their family is excited to be here!  

Mr. Nate Hinz is from Wisconsin and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mr. Hinz teaches Christ Light for 8th grade, Language Arts and Physical Education for 7th, 8th and 9th grade. He also is an assistant coach for high school soccer and softball and head coach for junior high boys’ basketball. He has taught here since 2002.

When asked what he enjoys the most about teaching, he said, “Bringing the Gospel to people who may be hearing it for the first time and watching them grow in their connection to Christ.”

When Mr. Hinz is not at school he enjoys camping with his family in the tri-state area and playing golf whenever possible.

Mr. Hinz and his wife, Ginger, have two children, Mollie, and Hannah, who is an ILHS graduate.


Mrs. Rebecca Jahns grew up in Watertown, WI, and attended a Lutheran grade school and high school. She received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mrs. Jahns worked in sales management for several years before turning to MLC and the public teaching ministry. Upon graduating, her short term assignments took her to Manitowoc Lutheran High School and St. Peter’s, Kekoskee, WI, before spending eleven years at Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, WI. During that time she met her husband, and they are blessed to raise Eliza, now in 6th grade, and Ethan, currently in 3rd. She then took a break from teaching to focus more on her family, during which time she worked in sales and marketing. The Jahns family moved here from Slinger, WI in June, and her husband, Jim, now works for Voss Equipment in Harvey, IL.  Thanks to so many people here, they have settled in quite easily. Mrs. Jahns is excited to return to the full-time ministry and serve Jesus’ lambs here at ILHS.


Mr. Mark Kjenstad is from South Dakota and graduated from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN  He also holds a Master’s Degree in Theology from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.

Mr. KJ teaches 9th Grade Old Testament and 10th Grade New Testament. He also serves as the Athletic Director at ILS and coaches varsity boys’ basketball and baseball. He has been at Illinois Lutheran since 1999.

When asked what he enjoys most about teaching, he said, “Sharing and discussing God’s Word, teaching my students lessons about life, and helping students enjoy Illinois Lutheran. “

When not at school Mr. KJ enjoys being with his family, playing golf, working in the yard, and following the world of sports.

Mr. Kjenstad and his wife, Jessica, have two children: Ryen and Reah.​


Mrs. Sandra Knoblock grew up in St. Charles, Michigan. She graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mrs. Knoblock teaches first grade. She has been teaching at Illinois Lutheran since 1998.  

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said “I love sharing God’s word with little people.  To be able to see the evidence of faith growing in a child is so amazing and such a privilege.”

When not at school Mrs. Knoblock enjoys baking, reading and spending time with her family.

Mrs. Knoblock and her husband Karl have two grown children: Ben (a 2006 graduate of Michigan Lutheran Seminary) and Malory (a 2007 graduate of Illinois Lutheran High School).


Miss Elizabeth Kuschel grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1998.  She then went on the graduate from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Miss Kuschel was assigned to ILS in 2001 where she taught 6-8 and Language Arts for 3 years before becoming the 3rd grade teacher.  She also coaches 5th-6th grade girl’s volleyball and junior high basketball.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said, “I love being able to share the stories of the Bible with children at an age when they can begin to apply it to their lives and understand the truths and teachings on a deeper level.  I also love watching students as they become more independent and responsible.”

You can often find Miss Kuschel in the gym cheering on the Chargers or helping out with the scorebook or clock.

When not at school Miss Kuschel enjoys walking, reading, and baking.


Mr. Jacob Lash was born and lived his whole live in Racine, Wisconsin. He is the oldest of three children of Brian and Kim Lash, who have both lived in the Racine/Kenosha area since childhood as well.

Mr. Lash graduated from Shoreland Lutheran High School in 2013 and immediately went to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota the following fall. After spending five years there, he graduated from Martin Luther College in the spring of 2018 with a double major in Secondary Mathematics Education and Elementary Education. Just a few hours after graduation, Mr. Lash received an assignment from the WELS assignment committee to teach high school and junior high math at ILS.

Mr. Lash loves all kinds of sports and is forever loyal to all of his Wisconsin sports teams. Outside of school Mr. Lash will find himself playing soccer or basketball, exploring the beautiful outdoors, or playing some disc golf at any courses he can find.


Mrs. Taryn Oldenburg and her husband, Peter, have two children, Langdon and Bronwynn. Both of their children attend Illinois Lutheran Elementary School. They also have an international student, Isaac, who is a Junior at the high school. Peter has his Doctorate in Physical Therapy and manages a clinic in Orland Park. Mrs. Oldenburg started out her career in television news as a reporter but eventually went into management and spent 12 years moving around the country helping run newsrooms. Peter and Taryn enjoy playing outside with the kids, watching and playing most sports, and going to the movies. They are very honored and blessed to be a part of the Illinois Lutheran community. They feel truly blessed that God put it on their hearts to host international students and teach these special teenagers about God’s love and grace, and also the precious freedom we can only experience in America.


Miss Beth Schuppe is from Memphis, TN and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Miss Schuppe teaches American History to 8th graders, World History to freshmen,  American History to juniors and Government/Economics to seniors. She also coaches the ILHS Scholastic bowl team and assists in the Jr. High Battle of the Books. She has been teaching at Illinois Lutheran since 1987.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said, “Being with the students. They bring such joy to my life. They are my family here in Crete. I love sharing with them how God directed history to further His plan of salvation because nobody explained that to me when I was younger.”

When away from school, she enjoys  visiting the older folks in nursing homes so they can pet Crusader with the Trinity group called Paws with a Purpose. She also enjoys playing her guitar for fun, and also in church for the blended services.

Miss Schuppe lives at home with her 4-legged, furry, 14-year old German Shepherd/Border Collie mix named Crusader.


Mrs. LuAnn Spiaser is from Minnesota and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN and later added a Master of Arts in English from Governors State University, University Park, IL.

Mrs. Spiaser teaches English 10, junior and senior English electives, and junior high art. She also coordinates Academic Intervention and leads a Bible Class for girls. She has been teaching at Illinois Lutheran since 1997.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Mrs. Spiaser said, “One of the many things that I enjoy about teaching is helping today’s youth make good, God-pleasing decisions.”

When away from school, Mrs. Spiaser enjoys reading novels, traveling the world with Mr. Spiaser, making jewelry, and watching the Cubs.

She and her husband, Mr. Jeff Spiaser, have two girls who are ILHS graduates: Allison and Katie.


Mrs. Tanya Tomfohrde is from Nebraska and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. She earned her Illinois State Teaching License in 2012.

Mrs. Tomfohrde teaches 7th Grade Math, Algebra 1B, Algebra 2, Geometry, Statistics, and Calculus She has been teaching at Illinois Lutheran since 2007.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Mrs. Tomfohrde said, “I like helping students develop and gain confidence in all the different talents and abilities that God has blessed them with, both in and out of the classroom.”

When away from school, Mrs. T enjoys spending time with her children, reading, watching movies, and traveling.

She and her husband, Matt, have three children: Kaylee, Aaron and Nathan.


Mrs. Amanda Ventura is from Wisconsin and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mrs. Ventura teaches all levels of Spanish which includes Honors Spanish and AP Spanish. She also supervises the yearbook staff. She has been teaching at Illinois Lutheran since 2009. She earned her Illinois State Teaching License in 2014.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she said, “Helping students to converse in a foreign language and helping them to become more culturally aware”.

When Mrs. Ventura is not at school she enjoys playing with her children, watching movies, and weeding her flower garden (which she learned to enjoy from her mother).

Mrs. Ventura and her husband, Luis, have three children: Luis Manuel, Angely and Mark.


Mr. Donovan Zastrow grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN.

Mr. Zastrow serves as the Assistant Activities Director, the Adopt-A-Highway coordinator and a faculty advisor for student council. He teaches Honors Pre-Calculus & Trigonometry, Algebra, Business and Personal Finance, and a junior high computer class. He has been at Illinois Lutheran since 2009.

When asked what he most enjoys about teaching here, he said, “the opportunity to share my faith with the students that I interact with on a daily basis as well as helping them to achieve a greater understanding in academics (especially mathematics)!”

When not at school Mr. Z enjoys watching good movies, reading, and from time to time he’s been known to chase a small white ball back and forth on the golf course.