The Naz Family Grows


Catherine Moster and Xareni Palacios, Staff Writers

The Nazareth family really grew this year. The Announcer welcomes the new teachers and found out some interesting things about them. Learn about their backgrounds, some fun facts and whether they’d rather be a pizza or a sandwich!

Mr. Almonacci – Foreign Language Department

Mr. Almonacci attended Rockford University to pursue his nearly lifelong goal of being a teacher. He told The Announcer that teachers have always been a huge influence on him and that they were great role models. Mr. Almonacci also said that they inspired him to give back to the community. He has been teaching for 4 years. Prior to Nazareth, he taught at Marmion Academy, St. Benedict Prep, and at a small public school just north of Rockford. Mr. Almonacci says his favorite things about Nazareth are the students and the staff. He says that he liked how there was diversity and that everyone got along well. He hopes to learn and grow and understand his students in the future at Nazareth.

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich?: “I would rather be a pizza because I think pizzas are more popular. I think that pepperoni is probably the most popular kind of pizza, so like anyone who wants to be liked, that would be my choice.”

Fun fact: “I had the opportunity to visit Thailand. I was there for a few weeks, and it was my first time travelling overseas so I really enjoyed it.”

Ms. Bealin – Religion Department

Ms. Bealin went to John Carroll University for her undergraduate studies and Loyola for her Masters in Education. She did not always want to be a teacher, but in college she realized she couldn’t just sit at a desk all day and was inspired by great professors to go into education. Before Naz she worked at Christ the King Jesuit, but this is her first year teaching. She loves Naz students and says “I can joke around with them, but they know when to take things seriously.” She looks forward to being the best teacher possible, getting to know students, and coaching sports!

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich: “A pepperoni pizza: classic, not fancy, and has a lot of integrity!”

Fun fact: “When I was 3, I crawled out of my car seat while my mom walked away for a second, I put the car in reverse, and backed it out of the driveway. I got in big trouble for that!”

Ms. Dlesk – Campus Ministry and Religion Department

Ms. Dlesk graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013. There was a brief moment in the first grade where she wanted to be a flute player and dolphin trainer, but otherwise she has always wanted to be a teacher! She often played “school” with her sister! Prior to joining the Naz family, she worked at Sacred Heart School in Lombard and taught language arts! She says she absolutely loves Naz’s community and how everyone is so welcoming! She looks forward to building relationships with students and to being able to communicate to them that they are loved, important and that they matter!

Would you rather be a pizza or Sandwich: “Pizza because everyone loves pizza! Wait, scratch that – PB&J because no matter how old you are, you are happy to see it! It will always bring warmth and memories!”

Fun fact: “I have really big feet for a woman, I wear a size 11! And because my feet are big, when I played sports growing up, I had to buy men’s shoes. I’m proud of my feet! I was also prom queen in High School, which was…okay, but it was a fun experience!”

Mr. Kittlaus – Social Studies Department

Mr. Kittlaus went to Concordia University in Chicago and says that he always wanted to be a teacher, but it took him years to figure out what he wanted to teach exactly. Before teaching at Naz, he taught for 7 years. First, he was a Technology Integrations Specialist for Oak Park in District 97. Then, he worked at Saint Cletus in Technology and then as a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teacher. Mr. Kittlaus said that he loves the sense of community at Nazareth, saying “Everyone has just been so welcoming ever since I started.”

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich?: “I would rather be a pizza really just because pizza is my favorite food. As far as what kind of pizza I would be, it would be sausage pizza because I’m German, and sausage is German!”

Fun fact: “I have a dual citizenship with Germany, so I am citizen of Germany and the United States.”

Mr. Ortiz – Math Department

Mr.Ortiz went to St.Ambrose University in Austin, TX. He says that he wanted to be a Math Teacher because it was “in the middle” of engineering and psychology, the two other careers he was looking at senior year of high school. Before joining the Naz team, he taught at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas, TX. He loves Naz’s students, stating that “they’re upbeat and always make me laugh.” He looks forward to settling into a new state and school, and getting to know everyone!

Would you rather be a pizza or a sandwich?: “Definitely a margarita pizza.”

Fun fact: Mr. Ortiz has played rugby for 10 years and has won 3 state championships, 2 regionals and was 1 win away from a national. Impressive!

Ms. Sobol – Social Studies Department

Ms. Sobol went to Benedictine University in Lisle. She has always wanted to be a teacher, sharing, “A couple years ago at Christmas we found a piece of paper I wrote when I was seven saying I wanted to be a teacher. So it kinda confirms it.” Before coming to Naz, she worked at Queen of Peace High School. She loves her students and how each class is different. She is looking forward to coaching and getting more involved with the Naz community.

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich: “A vegetable pizza because there are lots of different kinds!”

Fun fact: If anyone could be her best friend, it would be Ferris Bueller!

Mr. Tassone – Science Department

Mr. Tassone attended the University of Illinois for his undergraduate degree, Rossland Franklin School of Medicine and Science for a brief period of time, and then National Louis University for his Master’s Degree in Education. He had originally wanted to be an Oncologist, but switched to education later in his life. Mr. Tassone has taught for almost 2 years at Nazareth. The faculty and students have been his favorite things about Naz, and he thinks that the welcoming environment has been very nice and very different from the tech and lab jobs he has had in the past. He is looking forward to completing the development of the Anatomy curriculum.

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich?: “I think I’d have to be a pizza; probably a sausage and pepperoni pizza would be nice!”

Fun fact: “I think if I was doing something else besides teaching, I’d be outside just about all the time. I love to swim, and spend most of my time outside.”

Ms. Wunderlich – Foreign Language Department

Ms. Wunderlich attended St. Ambrose for three years, and then she studied in Spain for a year. She said her teaching career came along by accident. Wanting to return to Europe after a trip to Italy, she decided to major in Spanish. Her parents asked what she’d do with the major, so she took an education course and fell in love with it. Ms. Wunderlich told The Announcer that her favorite thing about Nazareth thus far are all of the neat traditions and the way that everyone seems to know each other. She is looking forward to being ahead of her planning for her classes, and hopefully getting to do it again next year.

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich?: “I’d have to be a pizza: a vegetable pizza.”

Fun fact: “I lived in Spain for a while!”

Mr. Zhou – Math Department

Mr. Zhou attended DePaul University for his undergraduate studies and University of Memphis for his graduate studies. He grew a passion for teaching while at DePaul. He’s been teaching for about 7 years; he formerly worked at U of M as a graduate assistant, then took a summer position at Prairie State community college before coming to Naz. He loves the faculty and students and hopes to expand the computer science department and prepare students for I.T. careers in the future.

Would you rather be a pizza or sandwich: “A pineapple pizza!”

Fun fact: “I like to be immature on appropriate occasions.”