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Arts Instruction Specialists

The Department of Arts Education has made it a strategic priority to increase peer-to-peer learning and deeply involve the district’s exemplary arts teachers in the development of quality instructional supports.

To accomplish this goal, we have assembled a cohort of Arts Instruction Specialists—outstanding CPS arts teachers with expert-level disciplinary knowledge and instructional skill who collaborate with the Department on the development and delivery of arts professional learning and instructional resources. They also serve as invaluable sources of support and information for arts teachers across the district.

Our Specialists represent four arts disciplines (Visual Art, Music, Dance, and Theatre) across two grade bands (K–8 and 9–12).

To learn more about our Specialists, please email

2023–24 Arts Instruction Specialists

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    Elisa Foshay, Jones College Prep High School
    Joy Gross, Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School
    Gina Spears, Portage Park Elementary
    Darcy Nickel, Dever Elementary

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    Jenai Jenkins, Pritzker Elementary
    Kelley Gossler, Lincoln Park High School
    Michael Velasquez, Tilden High School
    Ashley Barajas-Galan, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
    Christian Smith, Mather High School
    Da'Sean Wilson, Dyett High School

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    Alice Wedoff, Ericson Elementary
    Elizabeth (Betsy) Williams, Franklin Fine Arts Academy
    Jianna Lubotsky, Farragut High School
    Mary Beth Kordik, Mather High School

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    Visual Arts

    Catherine (Kitty) Conde, Ravenswood Elementary
    Aoko Omwony-Hope, Doolittle Elementary
    Sarah Simanskey, Otis Elementary
    Lara Spyer, Brighton Park Elementary
    Sarah Wain, Lane Tech High School

CPS Department of Arts Education


42 W. Madison St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602