Pilgrim's high quality programs are unique in that they offer small classes with two fully trained teachers. The staff renews their certification in First Aid, CPR, and epi-pen administration yearly. The teachers are also continually pursuing their professional interests through workshops and conferences. They are frequently asked to share their expertise at conferences and workshops as well.
Ruth Craft Martin - Director
I grew up in a family of 7 kids in the western suburbs. I married a man from a family of 10 kids so our children had 28 aunts and uncles when they were born. I have been at Pilgrim School since 1989. I taught the first 11 years and then have been the Director. For 10 years prior to coming to Pilgrim I worked with hospitalized children at Cook County Hospital. The year before that I taught kindergarten. I have a BS degree in Child Development and Family Relations and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Administration.
I enjoy singing, working with stained glass, and cooking.
Mary Puccio Cullen
My belief in life-long learning has led me to seek out diverse educational experiences including studies at UCLA, Pacific Oaks College, Columbia College, the Erikson Institute as well as attending continuing education workshops and seminars throughout the country. I earned my California Children's Center teaching permit and directors permit and worked at the Southern Californian Children's Place, a state funded early childhood center. My life as a wife and mother has contributed greatly to my understanding of human development.
I have taught at PCNS since 1985. I love it. Over the years I have also worked and/or volunteered at various community organizations including Parenthesis, the Academy of Movement and Music, District 97 schools, and Ascension Church. In 2009 I became a licensed Muskigarten teacher and a grandmother!
I continue to delight in every day I spend with young children and their families and will never tire of learning together about our wonderful world!
I started at Pilgrim Church in 1991 and am the jack-of-all-trades. I love all my 100+ "grandkids". They make my day. I worked at Inland Steel for 33 years in the re-bar division and I am proud to say that I helped work on the Sears Tower.
This is my first year as a teachers aide in the Rectangle Room. I studied early childhood education at both Triton College and Northeastern Illinois University.
I enjoy being around children, and have been a nanny for a great Oak Park family for the past six years. Their two children both attended Pilgrim, and I got to know all the great teachers here.
I live in Franklin Park and often visit my family in Arizona. I have a twin sister, a younger sister, and a brother. I spend my free time traveling, going to concerts, and love baseball games.
Coming to Pilgrim in 2000 was a great place for me to continue with my teaching career! My daughter was beginning preschool at Pilgrim the same year, so it was a special time for us to be going to and from school together! My son also attended Pilgrim four years earlier. Pilgrim was such a comfortable fit for all of us!
With a background in elementary education and a BS in Psychology, I especially love teaching young children. It is amazing to see how much growth occurs from the beginning of the year to the end!
I am an avid runner. I also enjoy bike riding, reading and working in my yard. My family spends a lot of time in Florida. We love the beach and all the water activities that go along with it!
I began my career at Pilgrim Nursery during the 1992-1993 school year as a student. I then returned to help with Summer Camp in 2002 and became an Assistant Teacher in 2007 while in college at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, IL majoring in Elementary Education and later switching to Early Childhood. In 2009, I became a classroom teacher in the Circle Room. I have 10 years of experience as a nanny, and also worked at the Concordia Early Childhood Center for 3 years. In my spare time I enjoy singing and playing the flute in my church's praise band, dancing with a competitive dance team, and spending time with my family.
I began my Pilgrim career in February of 1993. I live in North Riverside with my husband and two of my four children (my two oldest daughters are grown and also teachers; you can find one of them at Pilgrim!). I have an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I have previous teaching experience in Montessori School, Mom and Tot Classes, Preschool, Summer Day Camp and ten years running a Licensed Home Day Care. My out of school interests include music and theatre - mostly involving my children - as well as sewing and gardening. I truly enjoy being a grandma.
I have been a classroom teacher at Pilgrim since 2010. My husband and I moved to Oak Park in 1993 and have enjoyed raising our three children (all Pilgrim alums!) in this wonderful community. I have always loved interacting with children and took courses in child development while attending Tufts University where I received my B.A. in Clinical Psychology and German Area Studies. I also received a Masters in Social Work from Boston University where my studies focused on work with children and families. Prior to the birth of my eldest son, I worked as a Family Support Specialist for Aspire Children's Services serving children ages 0-3 years with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. My other experiences working with young children include volunteering in a German Waldorfschule, internships at a children's rehabilitation hospital and a therapeutic day school, and teaching Sunday School. In my free time, I enjoy doing all sorts of craft projects, reading, traveling, and playing the piano.
I am originally from Wisconsin and still have a summer home there. I came to Pilgrim School Office in 1998 when my children were here in preschool. I enjoy snow skiing in the winter and sailing in the summer.
I first began volunteering in a day care center as a high school student in New England. I told myself then, that working with young children was what I wanted to do with my life. I became thoroughly distracted for many years before rediscovering my fascination with teaching and early development at Pilgrim Nursery School when I was hired in 1990.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago and a Masters of Education degree from Erikson Institute. I'm a member of the National Orff/Shulwerk Music Teacher's Association. Music, movement and art have been particularly important aspects of my teaching. My husband and I have both lived and taught in Oak Park for many years. Our two adult children are Pilgrim alums and speak highly of their hometown and community.
I am originally from Brooklyn, NY and every now and then you can hear the accent in my voice. I love that because many people comment about it. So it's a great conversation starter!
I have been teaching at Pilgrim since August 2000. My children came to PCNS and I came on board the following year. Prior to that, I taught special education classes in various middle and elementary schools (some in Chicago and some in Florida). I have a degree in Special Education called a Learning Behavior Specialist degree.
My family and I enjoy traveling. One of our favorite trips was biking in Ireland with some friends.
I have taught at Pilgrim since 1983, with two years off for the birth of my youngest child. I have a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois, as well as an Illinois K-9 teaching certificate.
• Taught first grade in Kankakee and Hazelcrest for five years.
• Taught gym and swim classes at the Oak Park YMCA.
• A Beye School room parent for twenty years.
• Girl Scout leader for eleven years.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. degree that included my certification to teach high school. My children came to school at Pilgrim and I soon followed. The staff and the families we work with make Pilgrim a place you want to stay - I started teaching here in 1984. I am proud to be a part of Pilgrim because it is wonderful place for children to grow and learn. In recent years I have been able to travel to New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Turkey and Thailand and hope to do some more traveling soon.
The theater had been my chosen profession since childhood. I studied and worked as an actor for many years, including workshops at Second City and as an Actor in Residence for the City of Chicago. After having children, I became a teacher. These two life loves have a strong connection for me. My training as an actor has informed my teaching by increasing my listening skills, flexibility, and the ability to observe behavior and think on my feet. My training in Early Childhood Education has made me a better and more sensitive theater instructor/director because of a deeper understanding of child development and my desire to create child centered theater collaborations that meet each participant "where they are". I have been delighted to be 'where I am", at Pilgrim since 1994. I love our community and I am continually thrilled when I see young children making connections with each other, with experiences, and with ideas.
I taught at Pilgrim Nursery School for 7 years. I then had my second daughter and decided to stay home. I am back and very excited to meet your children.
I have my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been teaching since 1989 in Preschool, daycare and Headstart.
I love singing and dancing. I am married and have 2 daughters. I enjoy Ohio State football and anything Disney. I hope to get to know you soon.
- Anna Sadowski (1966-2000)
- Aileen Riley (1984-Present)
- Jayne Petrick (1984-Present)
- Jodi Rowder (1986-2010)
- Marion Maple (1970-1994)
- Mary Puccio Cullen (1985-Present)
- Shirley Hahn (1980-2001)
- Rebecca McLane (1989-Present)
- Ruth Martin (1989-Present)
- Annette Finn (1974-2003)
- Donna Landa (1993-Present)
- Judy Bowker (1979-1990)
- Kim Conner (1989-2007)
- Laurie Volz (1991-2002)
- Maryanne Peterson (2000-Present)
- Nancy Hogan (2000-Present)
- Nickolas Dorich (1991-Present)
- Rhona Taylor (1994-Present)
- Ruth Prescott (1980-1993)
- Val Schoenneman (1977-1989)
- Wendy Luttrell (1998-Present)