Illinois Lutheran Schools Administration

Executive Director – Mr. Duane Vance was born into an Air Force/Naval family in Peru, Indiana. Through his early childhood, the family moved several times until settling in Jacksonville, Florida. Duane would become a graduate of Orange Park High School in Orange Park, Florida and then begin his studies at the University of North Florida during his college years. Here, he would meet his wife, Rebecca Ford Vance, and graduate with a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Social Studies in 2001. Duane and Rebecca would marry that same year. Rebecca has been an RN since 2001 and now serves as the healthcare coordinator for the La Grange Special Education School District.

Mr. Vance began his educational career at Ridgeview High School in Orange Park, Florida as the school’s lead Economics teacher in December 2001. He also taught Geography and Civics/American Government. Duane also coached men’s golf and baseball during his time at the high school. He was also very active in lay leadership in a new mission start on the east side of Jacksonville. There, he served as a council member for Victory Lutheran Church for three years. In the summer of 2005, he and Rebecca made the decision to move to the north side of Chicago to join family in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Shortly after his arrival and after joining Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Morton Grove, Mr. Vance was called on an emergency basis to teach grades 3-5 at Jerusalem Lutheran School and accepted. In 2007, he attained WELS Synod certification through Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. He taught grades 3-5 for 5 years before transitioning to grades 6-8. In 2013, Mr. Vance became the principal of the school. In 2016, he received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Martin Luther College. After 15 years of service to Jerusalem, he joined Illinois Lutheran Schools as the Executive Director in the summer of 2020. Mr. Vance also serves the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in a few different roles. He is a captain for the Synod’s accreditation body, known as WELSSA, where he makes usually three visits to schools a year throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan to evaluate ministries and help drive efforts toward school improvement. He also serves on the nomination committee for the Southeastern Wisconsin District for the synod.

Duane and Rebecca have two children. Sarah was born in 2003, and Nathan was born in 2006. The Vance’s feel tremendously privileged and blessed to be in service to ILS and the local congregations who support this educational ministry.

Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 126 – Email: dvance@ilhs.org


Senior Administrator, Junior High & High School Principal – Mr. Joe E. Archer is the Principal of Illinois Lutheran Junior High and High School. He has over 40 years of administration and teaching experience and began his current position at Illinois Lutheran High School in 1995. He has served as school system administrator and currently serves as Senior Administrator, as well as principal of the high school and junior high. Mr. Archer provides spiritual leadership and works closely with boards and committees to develop and implement programs and policies that are in keeping with the school’s strong Biblical foundations, goals, and objectives.

Mr. Archer says, “Our school provides a unique educational opportunity. We offer an academically challenging Pre-K through 12th grade curricula firmly founded in God’s Word. We strive to provide a family atmosphere where parents, teachers, and students work together as a community of learners to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities and grow in our faith. We stand ready to provide any additional information you may need about our program. Please feel free to contact us at any time.”

Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 105 – Email: jearcher@ilhs.org

Grade School Principal – Mr. Jeffrey Falck grew up in Tomah, WI and is the son of retired Pastor Daniel and Judy Falck. After attending Lutheran Elementary schools through 8th grade, he attended Luther High School in Onalaska, WI 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 over 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.

Mr. Falck teaches 5th & 6th Grade Social Studies and 6th Grade Religion
Phone: 708.672.5850, ext. 225 – Email: jfalck@illinoislutheran.org


Elementary School Vice-Principal – Mr. Scott Sievert is a 1983 graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. He has been a principal for over 30 years. As a servant-leader, he encourages the faculty members to grow in their educational techniques and professionalism while also growing their faith and service to the Lord.

Mr. Sievert says, “I am honored to serve here. As we share God’s Word with our students and families, I am inspired by God’s grace. I am amazed how each of us grows in our personal faith as we hear and learn God’s Word.”

Mr. Sievert teaches 5th Grade, as well as 6th Grade Science
Phone: 708.672.5850, ext. 414 – Email: ssievert@illinoislutheran.org


Dean of Student Life – Mr. Phil Adickes 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.

Mr. Adickes and his wife, Anne, have three children: Leah, Levi, and Grace. 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.

Mr. Adickes teaches Religion, Health and Math
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 121 – Email: padickes@ilhs.org


Dean of Academics – Mr. Jeff Spiaser holds a BS from Dr. Martin Luther College, Graduate School Madonna University, Eastern Michigan University, Concordia University Seward, NE. He has served Illinois Lutheran since 1994.

Mr. Spiaser says, “Illinois Lutheran is a small school that offers a strong college-prep program to its students. My role as a teacher is to prepare students for university-level science classes. As guidance director, I guide them toward the college that will best fit their needs.”

Mr. Spiaser teaches Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 122 – Email: jspiaser@ilhs.org


Dean of Spiritual Life – Mr. Tim Rimpel is a 1978 Graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. He holds a Masters of Social Sciences from Governor’s State University and a Masters of Arts in Religion from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI. Mr. Rimpel has been teaching in Crete for over 35 years. He currently teaches Junior and Senior Religion. As Dean of Spiritual Life, Mr. Rimpel is responsible for all aspects of spiritual life and oversees all worship opportunities for our students.

Mr. Rimpel says, “Illinois Lutheran provides a Christ-centered education that promotes a Biblical mindset to live out what has been learned.”

Mr. Rimpel teaches Religion
teaches Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 107 – Email: trimpel@ilhs.org


Activities Director – Mr. Nathan Hinz is from Wisconsin and graduated from Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. Mr. Hinz has been teaching at ILS since 2001. Currently he teaches 8th grade Language Arts and physical education for grades 7-12. He serves as the schools’ Activities Director. He also is the high school assistant soccer coach and the head coach of the boys varsity basketball program.

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, both graduates of ILHS.

Mr. Hinz teaches Language Arts and Physical Education
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 113 – Email: nhinz@ilhs.org


Technology Director – 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 four ILHS graduates.

Mr. Dorn teaches Science, Computers, Technology and 7th Grade Homeroom
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 115 – Email: jdorn@ilhs.org


Junior High & High School Faculty

Mrs. Anne Adickes is married to Phil, the Dean of Students, and moved to Crete with her family in 2018. She’s taught grades 6-8 English Language Arts in several classrooms, in both private and public schools, over the last 22 years.  Along with teaching Language Arts and Religion here, she’s also the Children’s Ministry Director at Amazing Love Lutheran Church in Frankfort.

Anne grew up in Green Bay, WI, just two blocks from Lambeau Field. She’s a die-hard Packer fan who definitely enjoys the ribbing between Packers and Bears fans around here. She’s pretty much a sports fanatic and admits that she gets way too invested emotionally during almost all sporting events. Anne and Phil have three children – Leah, Levi, and Grace.  The family loves hanging out with their dogs, Lulu and Millie, and going to movies.

Mrs. Anne Adickes teaches Religion and Language Arts

Phone: 708.672.3262 – Email: aadickes@ilhs.org

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, Jim, and they are blessed to raise their two children: Eliza and Ethan. She then took a break from teaching to focus more on her family, during which time she worked in sales and marketing. She is excited to return to full time teaching.

Mrs. Jahns teaches English and Drama
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 118 – Email: rjahns@ilhs.org


Mr. Jacob Lash was born and lived his whole life in Racine, WI. 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, MN 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.

Mr. Lash teaches Math
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 103 – Email: jlash@ilhs.org


Miss Katty Van Alstine grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Martin Luther College in 2018 with a degree in Elementary Education and Secondary Mathematics Education. Miss Van Alstine teaches different levels of math classes in the high school. Before coming to ILHS, she taught math and was a dorm supervisor at Michigan Lutheran Seminary.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Miss Van Alstine said, “I really enjoy creating relationships with students and connecting with their lives outside the classroom. It’s a cool opportunity to relate to students and show how you can live out your faith in daily life.”

Miss Van Alstine enjoys most every activity outside including hiking, running, hammocking, camping, rollerblading, etc. She also likes playing board games, traveling to new places, and practicing guitar.

Miss Van Alstine teaches Math
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 110 – Email: kvanalstine@ilhs.org


Mr. Jeff Rick grew up in La Valle, WI, and he graduated from Martin Luther College in 2017 with a degree in Elementary Education and Secondary Social Studies Education. Mr. Rick teaches different levels of Social Studies classes at the junior high and high school, and he is the Public Relations Director at ILS. He also coaches seventh and eighth grade boys’ basketball at Illinois Lutheran Schools.

When asked what he enjoys most about teaching, Mr. Rick said, “I love seeing the ‘aha’ moments when students understand difficult topics and questions.”

Mr. Rick was married to his wife in July 2017. Mrs. Lisa Rick is a preschool teacher at Illinois Lutheran Elementary School. Mr. Rick enjoys playing and watching sports (mostly football and basketball). He also enjoys hiking and traveling with his family.

Mr. Rick teaches Social Studies, Computers and 8th Grade Homeroom
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 110 – Email: jrick@illinoislutheran.org


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, Crusader.

Miss Schuppe teaches History and Government
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 106 – Email: bschuppe@ilhs.org


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. Spiaser teaches English, English Electives and Junior High Art
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 109 – Email: lspiaser@ilhs.org


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.

Mrs. Ventura teaches Spanish
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 102 – Email: aventura@ilhs.org


Mr. Josiah Willitz is Wisconsin born, but grew up in Florida. He attended both Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) and Martin Luther College (New Ulm, MN), and holds degrees from both institutions. Mr. Willitz teaches Freshman and Sophomore Music, Study Skills, Junior High Music, and directs the Junior High Band, High School Band, and Concert Choir. He also directs Micahtam and Junior High Drama outside of the school day. Mr. Willitz has been teaching since 2012 and has taught at Illinois Lutheran since 2015.

When asked what he enjoys the most about teaching, he said, “I love helping my students to grow in the knowledge of their Savior, and in the many talents which their God has given to them. It’s a wonderful privilege to witness their development in both capacities.”

When Mr. Willitz is not at school he enjoys playing board games, watching movies, reading Shakespeare plays, and making music. Mr. Willitz and his wife, Anita, are the proud parents of a daughter named Hope.

Mr. Willitz teaches Music, Concert Choir and Band
Phone: 708.672.3262, ext. 108 – Email: jwillitz@ilhs.org


Grade School Faculty

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 children, including one ILHS graduate.

Mrs. Biesterfeld teaches Fifth & Sixth Grade Math
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: lbiesterfeld@illinoislutheran.org


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 four ILHS graduates.

Mrs. Dorn teaches Kindergarten
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: mdorn@illinoislutheran.org


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.
Mrs. Falck teaches Fourth Grade
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: kfalck@illinoislutheran.org


Miss Megan Koester grew up in Watertown, WI, where she attended Lutheran grade schools and went on to graduate from Luther Preparatory School in 2015. She came from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin where her mom is a teacher.

In May 2019, she graduated from Martin Luther College with a degree in Elementary Education and a Social Studies emphasis. From there she was assigned to teach 2nd grade at ILS.

Miss Koester is the oldest of four children. In her free time, she enjoys attending her siblings sporting events, playing soccer, reading, and playing with her puppy, Daisy. She also loves to road trip with her friends and family.

Miss Koester teaches Second Grade
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: mkoester@illinoislutheran.org


Mrs. Laura Cook grew up in Brownsville, WI and attended school at St. Paul’s Lutheran. She attended Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, WI. She went to Martin Lutheran College in New Ulm, MN and graduated in 2012.

Mrs. Cook met Kendall Cook in college and they got married after she graduated in 2012. They moved to Milwaukee, WI where Kendall attended Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. They moved to College Station, TX for Kendall’s intern year and moved back to Milwaukee for his last year of seminary. Upon Kendall’s graduation in 2015, they moved to Norfolk, NE to serve a church. While in Norfolk, Mrs. Cook taught part time at St. Paul’s, Norfolk. They moved to Crete in 2019 where Kendall serves as Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Laura and Kendall have three children, Logan, Tristan, and Sawyer. Laura enjoys raising her boys, reading, running, watching football and baseball and spending time with her husband. She is very excited to have her own classroom and meet all of her students.

Mrs. Cook teaches First Grade
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: lcook@illinoislutheran.org


Mr. Joseph Keller grew up in McLean, VA just outside Washington D.C for most of his life. He comes from a family of four: Parents Karen, Ed, and younger sister, Lee who all spent most of their lives in the DC area.

Mr. Keller graduated from high school in 2013 and went to Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN the following Fall. After spending 5 ½ years there he graduated in December 2018 and received an assignment to teach 5th Grade in Grenada, West Indies. It was nice to have a beach 10 minutes away from wherever you went. He spent 1 ½ years in Grenada teaching and exploring the beautiful Caribbean island.

In his free time Mr. Keller enjoys hiking, biking, and skiing. You can often find him in the warmer months detailing cars in his driveway for his other hobby.

Mr. Keller teaches Third Grade
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: jkeller@illinoislutheran.org


Mrs. Lisa Rick grew up in Wisconsin, and she graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota in 2017. Mrs. Rick teaches preschool and coaches fifth and sixth grade girls basketball at Illinois Lutheran Schools.

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Mrs. Rick said, “I love seeing and hearing the children sing songs about our Savior.”

Mrs. Rick was married to her husband in July 2017. Mr. Jeffrey Rick teaches social studies at Illinois Lutheran Junior High/High School. Mrs. Rick enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Mrs. Rick teaches Preschool
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: lrick@illinoislutheran.org


Mrs. Stacey Sievert is a 1984 graduate of Dr. Martin Luther College, located in New Ulm, Minnesota. She earned an Early Childhood degree from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in 2007.

Besides teaching here at Illinois Lutheran Schools, Mrs. Sievert has taught in Freeport, Illinois; Ixonia, Wisconsin; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Wausau, Wisconsin. Her experience includes 3 year-old preschool to 6th grade.

She is married to Scott Sievert, assistant principal and 5th grade teacher at Illinois Lutheran Schools. The Sieverts have one daughter, who is a graduate of Illinois Lutheran Schools and a graduate of Martin Luther College. Their daughter currently teaches in Raleigh, North Carolina.
When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Mrs. Sievert says, “I love sharing God’s word with them; to see their faith grow. It is such a great joy and privilege.”

Mrs. Sievert teaches Three Year Preschool and is the Grade School Librarian
Phone: 708.672.5969 – Email: smsievert@illinoislutheran.org


Pastors

Rev. Frank Italiano
Trinity Lutheran Church
fitaliano@trinitycrete.org

 

 

Rev. Michael Schneider
Zion Lutheran Church
schneidermichael@gmail.com

 

 

Rev. Lon Kuether
Zion Lutheran Church
pastorkuether@zioncrete.org

 

 


Staff

Jessica Bushey
Administrative Assistant and Director of Publicity & Marketing
jbushey@ilhs.org
708.672.3262


 

 

Tonya Danielewicz
Financial Manager
financial@illinoislutheran.org
708.672.3262


 

 

Dawn Kernagis
Junior High & High School Secretary
dkernagis@ilhs.org
708.672.3262


 

 

Elizabeth Oestmann
Grade School Secretary
eoestmann@illinoislutheran.org
708.672.5850


 

 

Taryn Oldenburg
International Coordinator
Recruitment Director
toldenburg@illinoislutheran.org

708.672.3262