The Fundamentals Poster

NW Theatre Presents “The Fundamentals” by Erika Sheffer on Aug. 29-31

Niles West Theatre logoNiles West Theatre presents “The Fundamentals” on August 29 through 31 in the Black Box Theatre at Niles West High School, 5701 W. Oakton, Skokie. “The Fundamentals” was developed by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, through its New Plans Initiative and was presented as part of First Look at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, IL; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, David Schmitz, Managing Director.

Direct from Steppenwolf Theatre, this modern—and often shocking—new play was commissioned and developed as part of Steppenwolf’s 2015-16 new play series. We are fortunate to host this new work on the Niles West stage.

Performances are at 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 29; 4 p.m and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 30 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 31. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students, senior citizens and children. Call the Box Office at (847) 626-2633 or visit There will be a free community performance at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 29.

Millie is a smart, resourceful young mother who works as a housekeeper in one of New York’s premier luxury hotels. When an opportunity to move into management gives her the chance to leave behind her blue collar life, Millie must decide how much, and who, she’s willing to sacrifice to secure her family’s future. A funny and scathing look at America’s corporate culture, “The Fundamentals” examines the compromises we make in order to fulfill our dreams.

“The Fundamentals” is also Niles West’s 7th annual Thespian Society Production. All cast members, student designers, crew heads and production crew members are inducted members of Thespian Troup #1714. Each “thespian production” offers our elite students the opportunity to tackle challenging roles and leadership positions in productions not normally produced in a high school setting.

Please note: this production contains strong adult language and mature situations. Viewer discretion is advised.

Cast: Alexis Aponte is Millie; Aaron Razack is Lorenzo, Henry Gussis is Abe, Sara Collins is Stellan and Lynn Nguyen is Eliza.

Student Designers:  Co-Costume Designer: Althea Bibat; Co-Lighting Designer: Melanie Kerz and Elizaveta Kolesnik; Co-Sound Designer: Bryan Abad; and Assistant Sound Designer: Maddy Foler.

Crew Heads: Stage Manager: Hailey Shah; Assistant Direct: Lorelei Wernecke; Assistant Stage Manager: Mia Finnigan and Anton Tomacic; Costume Head: Jake Pranian; Assistant Dramaturg: Mia Finnigan; Head Carpenter: Sam Myers; House Manager/Publicity: Janay Moncrief; Master Electrician: Adam Rutecki; Media/Video Lead: Cerasela Dornan; Paint Lead: Mehreen Patel; Scenic Assistant/Assistant to the Technical Director: Henry Rousseau.

Production Crew:

Costume Crew: Charlie Luz and Ally Regailo

Lighting Crew: Sarita Akwa-Philbin, Nina Cajuste, Cameron Gordon, Janay Moncrief.

Prop Crew: Dashna Benjamin, Charlotte Howard-Check, Kathy Lopez, Zucchious Rosal, Ella Rousseau

Scenic Crew:  Javier Akwa-Philbin, Olivia Benitez, Cerasela Dornan, Tanya Spasic, Emily Sproat, Anton Tomacic

Sound Crew: Maya Patterson, Jake Pranian, Ian Soriano

Production Team: Director: Andy Sinclair; Technical Director/Scenic Designer: Michael Johnson; Co-Costume Designer: Leah Hummel; Prop Designer: Kimberly Morris; Co-Lighting Designer: Charlotte Rathke; Co-Sound Designer: L.J. Luthringer; Production Management: Hannah Luthringer; Poster Designer: Deanna Sortino; Production Assistant: Lisa Bany; Box Office Management: Jackie Garvey

Agenda for special Board Meeting on Wednesday, August 21.

Special Board Meeting on August 21

The Board of Education of Niles Township High School District 219, Cook County, Illinois, has called a special meeting of the Board of Education to begin at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, August 21, 2019, in the Superintendent’s Conference Room of the District 219 Administrative Office Building, located at 7700 Gross Point Road, Skokie, Illinois. The agenda is below:

Agenda for special Board Meeting on Wednesday, August 21.

Picture of Niles North Incubators partners mtg

INCubatoredu Holds First Community Partners Meeting

On August 15, Niles North Business teacher Nick Pahl (back row, left) welcomed community partners to the new INCubator class at North. Students will learn firsthand from business experts how to start, operate and run a business. Students in the program will work in teams to create and fully develop their own product or service, culminating in a Shark Tank-style pitch for funding. The main goal of the program is to build career ready skills so that our students are able to be positive members in our communities.

Community members, business leaders and enthusiastic entrepreneurs will help guide and mentor our students in volunteer roles such as Coach, Mentor or Board of Advisors. There are varying levels of commitment. All participating volunteers will be working directly with our students and will be required to be fingerprinted and provide consent for a background check.

If you are interested in the program or the volunteer roles, please contact INCubatoredu@NNHS instructor Nick Pahl at


Picture of Niles North Incubators partners mtg

Graphic of Big Ten pennants in a circle

Upcoming College Nights for Seniors and Families

D219 high school seniors and their families are encouraged to attend the upcoming College Information Nights. College Night for Niles North seniors will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 22 in the Niles North Auditorium at 9800 North Lawler, Skokie. College Night for Niles West seniors will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 29 in the Niles West Auditorium at 5701 W. Oakton, Skokie. The agenda includes presentations by Jerry Pope, Dean of College Counseling and Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt, College and Career Counselor (North) or Dan Gin, College and Career Counselor (West); breakout sessions with school counselors; and an alumni panel.

The following critical components of the search and application process will be covered:  terms and timelines; application requirements; essays and personal statements; recommendation letters; standardized testing (ACT and SAT); college rep visits; campus tours; college choice; and upcoming workshops.Graphic of Big Ten pennants in a circle

Winifred Clausell and Tim Naatz

Clausell, Naatz Join D219 Admin Team

At its August 6 meeting, the Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education approved the appointment of two administrators for the 2019-20 school year.

Winifred ClausellWinifred Clausell has been named the district’s new Director of K-8 Literacy. As part of the Classrooms First administrative team, she will help create, develop and implement a K-12 Literacy learning environment that includes a guaranteed and viable curriculum and instructional pedagogy sufficient to ensure high school and college readiness.

Clausell comes to D219 from Wheeling Community Consolidated School District 21, where she served in a variety of roles. Most recently she was an Instructional Coach at Twain Elementary School in Wheeling, where she co-facilitated the school’s multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) process and collaborated with teachers, curriculum coordinators and administrators to provide ongoing professional development. Before that, she was a Learning Coach at Riley Elementary School in Arlington Heights. She also served D21 in the roles of Literacy & Media Teacher at Cooper Middle School in Buffalo Grove, as Literacy Resource Teacher at London Middle School in Wheeling and as a teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Buffalo Grove. Prior to working at CCSD21, Clausell was a classroom teacher in Skokie School District 68 for two years.

Clausell earned a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest. She holds both a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Illinois State University in Normal.


NW Asst SS Tim Naatz

Tim Naatz was appointed Assistant Director of Student Services at Niles West. He moves to West from Niles North, where he served the past year as Vocational Coordinator in the Special Education Department. In that role he taught students job skills and introduced them to potential employment opportunities, both while they are in high school and for when they graduate. Naatz served the past three summers as Special Education Coordinator for D219 Summer School. For six years Naatz was a Special Education Teacher at Niles North. He also served for a year as Restrictive Study Coordinator at North. Before joining D219, Naatz was a Special Education Teacher and then Special Education Director and Case Manager at Urban Prep Academy’s West Campus in Chicago.

Naatz earned his Master of Arts in School Administration from Northeastern Illinois University. He is certified as a Learning Behavioral Specialist from Roosevelt University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Business Education, from Illinois State University.

Tara Brownlee Named New Dean at North

Picture of Tara Brownlee

Tara Brownlee has been named Dean of Students for Niles North High School, effective August 1.  The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education approved her appointment at its July 16 meeting.

Brownlee comes to D219 from Addison Trail High School in Addison, IL, where she has been a teacher since 2016. She taught Advanced Placement Macroeconomics there, and also taught for the Achieve program, which is an in-school alternative program. From 2011 to 2016, Brownlee taught Social Studies at Charles P. Steinmetz College Prep in Chicago Public Schools. At Steinmetz she was part of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team and part of the Freshman Success Team.

Brownlee earned a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from DePaul University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She also earned an Educational Leadership, Ed. S. degree from National Louis University.

NEW PORTAL – Campus Student & Campus Parent

Dear D219 Parents & Students:

Effective July 1, 2019 – our Infinite Campus system will have different portals for students and parents. Campus Student & Campus Parent are replacing Campus Portal.

Additionally, there are new apps for each (Campus Student / Campus Parent) to replace the old mobile app. Campus Mobile Portal will be removed from the app stores by June 30, 2019. All mobile device users will need to download Campus Student or Campus Parent.

Get your App Today, and be ready for the 2019-2020 school year!

Infinite Campus Student & Campus Parent apps are available (free) for iPhone and Android.

CAMPUS PARENT APP:     Apple Store    Google Play
CAMPUS STUDENT APP:    Apple Store    Google Play

After downloading and launching either the Student or Parent app:
* Enter part of the District name (Niles Twp), select state IL, click on Search
* Choose NILES TWP COMM (Niles K-12) to access our district’s system
* Enter your username and password to log in to the system

Don’t yet have a Parent portal account?

If you have not yet established a portal login, you can request that the system send a portal Activation Key to your email already on file with the district. On the Campus Portal login page, in the “Need More Help” section (at the bottom), click on the option to get an Activation Key.

Christine Gonzales will be D219’s next Executive Director of K-12 STEM and Literacy

Picture of Christine Gonzalez

Christine Gonzales has been named Niles Township High School District 219’s next Executive Director of K-12 STEM and Literacy, after a vote by the D219 Board of Education at its June 18 meeting. She will begin in that role on July 1. Gonzales is currently Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning & Communications for Township High School District 113 in Highland Park.

The executive director oversees the alignment of K-12 STEM and Literacy curriculum to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, to ensure high school, college, and career readiness for all students, and supervises the implementation of that curriculum through supervision and professional development. The executive director monitors and tracks student data with the Classrooms First administrative team to ensure student success.

Gonzales has served District 113 since 2016. The district includes Highland Park and Deerfield High Schools. In her role she oversaw the district’s Innovative Teaching and Learning initiatives, which include: providing technology and instructional technology support for teachers, counselors and support staff; researching educational trends and innovative instruction; and heading up the selection and districtwide implementation of a Learning Management System. She also headed up the district’s Communications division, where she: developed a comprehensive Communications Plan for the district; oversaw the district’s website, publications and social media; and collaborated on developing the district’s Strategic Plan.

Prior to D113, Gonzales served as Assistant Principal for three years at Lane Tech College Prep in Chicago. In that role she led the Mathematics Department, was responsible for scheduling 4,200 students and 217 teachers, and was the school’s Webmaster. She co-founded the school’s GEMS program, which builds capacity in young women interested in entering the fields of engineering, math and science.  Gonzales taught math at Lane Tech from 2007 to 2013.

Gonzales earned a Master of Science degree in Math Education from the Illinois Institute of Technology, as well as a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is completing her Doctorate of Education in Learning Design & Leadership at the University of Illinois.


Kosta Kougias Named New Dean at Niles North

Picture of Kosta Kougias

Kosta Kougias has been named Dean of Students for Niles North High School, effective July 1. The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education approved his appointment at its June 18 meeting.

Kougias comes to D219 from Grayslake Community High School District 127, where he served as Dean of Students since 2012. This past year, Kougias led the school’s Restorative Justice program, the first year the school is using alternatives to disciplinary consequences. In addition to his responsibilities as dean, Kougias was a founding member of Familias Unidas, which provides Spanish-speaking parents and students the opportunity to attend important school events such as Open House and College Night with translators. Before becoming a dean, Kougias taught Social Studies for three years at D127, and before that, taught Social Studies for three years at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

Kougias earned a Master of Arts in Special Education as well as a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Concordia University in Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Roosevelt University.