Meet the Staff

The staff at Chicago Park School is made up of caring, open-minded, and committed individuals. We have a long history, shaped by dedicated people enriching the minds of future generations.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”
– Benjamin Franklin

A Word From Our Principal

“I have always dreamed of being part of a small school with a strong sense of community. I guess dreams do come true.”
– Katie Kohler

Learning is Fun.

So is Teaching!

Katie Kohler

image of principal

Email: Mrs. Kohler 
Phone: Ext. 202

Why Chicago Park: I think Chicago Park is the best! It makes me happy to come to work everyday!

Where you grew up: Grass Valley

Hobbies/Activities outside of work: Camping, gardening, traveling, and cooking

Favorite food: Pizza

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Lake Tahoe because it is so beautiful and there is so much to do up there

Ashley Stanis

1st Grade Teacher

Email: Mrs. Stanis 
Phone: Ext. 205

I’m looking forward to being a part of the Chicago Park School community! I love that it is a sweet, smaller school setting, nestled in such a beautiful location.  Having my children on campus is a special bonus as well. 
I’ve lived in CA my entire life- I was raised in Northern California, attended college in Southern California, and finally settled back in this area with my husband and our 4 children.
I graduated with my BA from Bethany University, my Multi-Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Best Teaching Practices from National University, and have a history in Pre-School education.  I have been teaching off and on (taking time to raise my babies) for the past 16 years.  I absolutely love teaching and consider it an honor to guide children in their growth and understanding of our world.
In my free time I enjoy reading, shopping, drinking a good chai latte, being outdoors, and traveling to places I’ve never been before.  I love Italian food, Mexican food, Sushi- honestly I’m really not that picky.  Except for olives, I can’t do those 🙂
If I could go anywhere in the world, I would love to go to Europe- specifically Ireland and France.  

Kari Larsen

4th Grade Teacher

Email: Mrs. Larsen
Phone: Ext. 214

I am native to Nevada city. Grew up here and went through the Nevada city School Districts. I graduated from Forest Lake. I have three kids that now get to experience the amazing Chicago Park school.
Why Chicago Park: We love the Nature aspect. We are huge Garden lovers and love the garden program. We also love the small size and close community
Where you grew up: Nevada city, CA
Hobbies/Activities outside of work: We love all things involving getting outside. We snowboard, hike, bike, Garden, Kayak, horseback riding and much more. I love a good puzzle and book in the colder season.
Favorite food: Fresh food, simple and pure.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: I have always wanted to travel to Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Ireland. Pretty much anywhere. I love to travel and can never get enough of the world.

Bonnie Bellefontaine

2nd Grade Teacher

Email: Mrs. Bellefontaine 
Phone Ext: 208

Why Chicago Park: I love Chicago Park School’s strong sense of community and that it is located in the beautiful countryside!  

Where you grew up: Colfax, CA

Hobbies/Activities outside of work: In my free time I enjoy anything outdoorsy! Skiing/snowboarding, hiking, boating, biking and traveling are among my favorite activities.

Favorite food: Any type of seafood!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Alaska’s amazing scenery and wildlife definitely make it a place that I would love to visit someday.

Dana Winquest

Administrative Secretary
Homeless Liaison

Email: Mrs. Winquest 
Phone: Ext. 215

Why Chicago Park: I love kids and the Chicago Park School Community

Where you grew up: Chicago Park. Yep, I attended Chicago Park School

Hobbies/Activities outside of work: Hiking, reading, spending time with family, roller coasters, volunteer work

Favorite food: Indian and other spicy foods

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Africa. To volunteer and they have really cool animals!

Kelli Auld

Email: Mrs. Auld 

I am Arizona bred, Southern California raised, and now a happy Grass Valley resident for the past three years.  The lakes and mountains were calling my family as we decided to return to my husband’s hometown and raise our two girls (Breckyn 11 and Austyn 8) in the beauty of the forest surrounded by boatloads of family and friends.  Our whole family is so excited about joining the Chicago Park Community!


I graduated from the USC (Fight on!) with my BS in Education, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Masters in Education-Instructional Leadership from Pepperdine University, and my Early Childhood Teaching Certification. This is my 24th year in teaching which has brought me through adventures with 3 year olds up to 5th grade.  However, it has been my years spent within these powerful early childhood years where I found my ultimate love and calling. There is no better job than one that lets you see the beauty and wonder of the world through a child’s lens everyday!


I love being outdoors and active so our whole family can be found swimming, skiing, wake surfing, or having a good ol’ dance party.  However, you will have a piece of my heart with a good Mexican food meal- I could die happy eating cheese enchiladas everyday. I am always up for adventures between weekend trips to Tahoe or even some of our most memorable past adventures to Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia!  

Bob Schmitt


Email: Mr. Schmitt

Why Chicago Park: The kids, the grounds, the teachers and the administrators

Where you grew up: Marin County

Hobbies/Activities outside of work: Hiking, traveling with wife, and dogs.

Favorite food: Chips, hamburgers, banana ice cream

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: Australia because I want to pick up their accent mate!

Lindsay Martinez

3rd Grade Teacher

Email: Mrs. Martinez

I chose Chicago Park School because I went to a small school like CPS when I was younger and it is so nostalgic to me. I love the small class sizes and the beautiful setting. The fact that I live in this community and that my kids will be on campus make it extra special.  
I was born and raised in Napa, attended college in San Diego, and moved around quite a bit until my husband and I made the best decision to settle in Chicago Park with our two kids.  
In my free time, I love to camp, spend time outdoors, paddle board at Lake Rollins, garden, travel, read, cook/bake and do art projects with my daughter.  
My favorite type of food is definitely sushi, with Mexican food following closely behind. For dessert, give me anything lemony! 
If I could go anywhere in the world, Bali is high on my list. I’ve studied/lived in France and traveled the world quite a bit (19 countries!), but I’ve never been to Indonesia and it has always intrigued me. 

Phone Ext: 209

Jason Bower

Academy Teacher

Andy Brooding

5th Grade Teacher / Basketball Coach

Email: Mr. Brooding 

Phone: Ext. 213

Why Chicago Park: I love how connected the community is at Chicago Park. The students, families, and staff make this school amazing!

Where you grew up: My family moved to Grass Valley from Fairfield when I was just two years old. I have grown up in Grass Valley and I went through the Pleasant Ridge School District as a child. I can’t imagine myself leaving Nevada County.

Hobbies/Activities outside of work: I love playing bass in my band Elevation, playing basketball, and taking care of my tree frog.

Favorite food: Italian and Mexican food are my two favorites.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: I would like to visit Sweden. My family immigrated from Sweden and I would love to experience the country firsthand.


Robin Fields

Instructional Aide
robin fields

Jennifer Riccio

TK Teacher

Hello! My name is Jennifer Riccio, and I have taught in the field of early childhood education for about 10 years. I have a B.A. degree in early childhood education with a focus in elementary education from Pacific Oaks College and I hold a multiple subject teaching credential. I also have an A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology from Carrington College and am a Registered Veterinary Technician in California. I have a special place in my heart for children and my favorite thing to do is teach them how to be loving and respectful individuals with growth mindsets. I strive to develop strong bonds with my students and their families and honor their various cultures. The early years are a very magical time in childhood when a lot of growth and exploration happen, and I couldn’t be any more excited to witness it!

I was raised in the Bay Area and have been living in Colfax with my family for about 4 years. I am a wife and mom to two amazing boys who will be attending Chicago Park. We currently share our home with 3 dogs, 2 cats and one dwarf rabbit. Every other weekend and in the summer, I will be working at a veterinary clinic within the Grass Valley community. I love to stay busy working, gardening, hiking, and adventuring with my family. In my down time I enjoy reading a good book and learning new skills. My goal is to inspire a love for learning in each one of my students.

William Omer

Academy Teacher
Phone Ext: 211
 My name is William Omer, and I grew up in both New Jersey and Southern California. Outside of teaching, I love hockey, the wilderness, and going to the park with my wife Magee and our two boys. I enjoy a good coffee paired with a breakfast burrito. If I could go anywhere in the world, I would visit Canada to hang out with my grandmother. 

Robin Johnston

Special Education Director
Phone Ext: 220
Why Chicago Park: Chicago Park is my home. Since the day I started working here, I knew that I could never leave. We have the best staff, best parents, and the best community. Everyone is here for the kids and the kids are amazing!
Where you grew up: I grew up in a small town called Gerber. I loved swimming with my friends, playing softball, and riding horses. I attended Red Bluff High School where I was a cheerleader, a volleyball player, and a student council member. I have very fond memories of high school.
Hobbies/Activities outside of work: Outside of work, I love to be with my family. I have one son and one daughter.  I. have two grandsons and one granddaughter. I enjoy going to concerts, hiking, and reading. My favorite topic to read about is Abraham Lincoln. 
Favorite food: My favorite meal would be biscuits and gravy.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why: If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to my cabin. It is the place I love the most and I can relax and get back to nature.

Stephanie Nagy

Phone Ext: 201

Jad Funk

IT Guy
Phone Ext: 218

Lisa Foss

Academy Teacher
Why Chicago Park
My family & I just recently moved here; I’m excited to teach in the community where I live & I’m already loving the area! 
Where you grew up
I grew up in the Central Valley. 
Hobbies/Activities outside of work
I love camping, traveling, eating good food, and spending time with my family.
Favorite Food
Breakfast Burrito
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why
I would spend my summer in one of Maine’s cute coastal towns, where the temperature is rarely above 80. 

Kaelah De Mello

Instructional Aide

Meredith Regan

K-8th PE teacher & 3rd grade

I am excited to be teaching K-8th grade PE and team teaching with Mrs. Martinez in 3rd grade one day a week.  I love Chicago Park for the small school feel where everyone knows and supports each other. 

I grew up in Southern California.  I received BA degrees in Theatre Arts and Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University and a Masters degree in Humanities from Dominican University.  I hold a multiple subject teaching credential with a dance authorization, a PE credential, and a CTE credential in Arts, Media, and Entertainment.  This is my 13th year in education.

In my free time I love traveling with my husband and our 3 boys, hiking, baking, and practicing yoga.  I love Italian food and Thai food and anything with chocolate and peanut butter together.

During college, I studied abroad in Europe.  London holds a special place in my heart, so I would definitely like to travel there again soon!