Whittier Leadership

Andy Kramer 
Principal Andy

Andy has taught 3rd grade and 5th grade in Boynton Beach, Florida, Chicago Public Schools, and Northbrook prior to joining Waukegan Public Schools. While in Florida he was awarded the South Florida Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year nominee. Andy has spent the past four years as the Assistant Principal at Little Fort Elementary School in Waukegan District 60.

Andy’s wide range of experiences have developed a sound understanding of how to serve people. Serving those he leads has shaped his approach to becoming a transformational leader. He leads by example and with his colleagues to build up their capacity. Andy believes that students come first and every staff member plays a vital role in supporting students. It’s been his pleasure to build relationships with staff and parents to provide the best learning experiences for students. He has helped transform student behaviors through community development and restorative justice. Andy has also shaped the school's approach to monitoring student data. He has coached and trained staff to understand standards and develop bite sized objectives and measurable exit tickets. This focus has led to teachers building their capacity to differentiate lessons and use data to drive instruction.

Andy has been eager to get an opportunity to lead a building as the principal. He brings a supportive approach that believes in honest decision making with specific transferable feedback. Andy passionately believes in the transforming Whittier Elementary School into a International Baccalaureate school!!

Katherine Peregrin
Instructional Coach / ILT Lead


My name is Katherine Peregrin. I have been in the Waukegan district since 2004, where I have been a 3rd grade teacher, Reading Specialist, and now Instructional Coach. My favorite aspect of coaching is finding new strategies to use in coaching cycles to watch students grow.  I am a member of the MTSS team, IB team, and lead ILT.  My favorite thing about Whittier is the family feel!

Natalie Vanlaningham
5th Grade Teacher / IB Coach


Natalie Vanlaningham has been teaching at Whittier since 2011. She taught 4th grade for several years before moving up to 5th, where she teaches Math and Science. She has an ESL endorsement, Masters of Science in Instructional Technology, and is currently working on her National Board certification. As an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, Natalie has grown in her understanding of the Science and Social Studies standards, and is energized by the ways students engage in these subject areas. Serving both on the Instructional Leadership Team and the IB team, Natalie is passionate about all students engaging in differentiated and student-led exploration. She's excited to see how Whittier's students grow as global citizens this school year.

Tamara Feldman
3rd Grade Teacher


Tamara Feldman is starting her 19th year of teaching. She has taught at Whittier for seven years and in her twelve years working for Waukegan she's earned her ESL endorsement and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction. Ms. Feldman is a departmentalized math teacher for the 3rd grade team. She was a district technology innovation coach for nine years; first as an original member of the Lighthouse Lead Learners program and then as a WIN trainer. Ms. Feldman has been a member of the ILT building leadership team for five years.

Diana Jimenez
2nd Grade Teacher


I graduated from Lake Forest College in December of 2018 with a double major in elementary education and English literature. I began working in Waukegan right out of college because I have a passion for this community as I grew up here. I came to Whittier in 2022 and I am so happy to be a part of such a wonderful school full of capable leaders and students who will lead the world. I am happy to be a part of the PBIS team, leadership team, and lead a book club for 2nd grade students. I am currently working on my Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language. As a dual teacher, I believe in the capabilities of our English learners and will strive to be the best educator for them by providing a warm and safe environment where they can explore and grow academically and emotionally. Being bilingual is a superpower and I will model that to my students every day. Go Wolf Pack!

Kayla Carey
Assistant Principal 



Ms. Kayla Carey is delighted to join Whittier Elementary as the new assistant principal!  I was most recently the assistant principal at Edith Smith Middle School and she is looking forward to being back in the elementary setting at Whittier.  I am also excited to continue the work the staff have already done to implement the International Baccalaureate program.  Prior to working in Waukegan, I was a 4th and 5th grade teacher, trauma-informed team leader, and leadership team member for the Racine Unified School District.  I love building relationships with students, families, and staff.  In my free time I train my two German Shepherds, Ember and Denali, and we love taking long walks near Lake Michigan.  I am thrilled to be a part of the Whittier Wolf PACK!

Alex (Ames) Burks
School Psychologist/MTSS Lead


My name is Alex and I have been the School Psychologist at Whittier Elementary School since 2018. I love being a School Psychologist because I have a passion for helping students and families find the support they need. As the School Psychologist I have the unique opportunity to work with students, parents, and teachers across all grade levels to help students at all stages of learning. Whittier is an amazing school community that has so many great teams working together to help students foster curiosity within their instruction, develop a passion for learning, and self-advocate around their own growth. Always feel free to reach out with any questions!

Angelica Corona
Instructional Support Teacher (IST)


Mrs. Corona has been at Whittier Elementary School since 2005 where she has taught kindergarten and second grade and is currently the Instructional Support teacher.  She is a member of the MTSS team, IB team, and Instructional Leadership Team. She has a passion for small group instruction and believes in fostering a nurturing learning experience through collaboration, high expectations, and differentiated learning opportunities.  Her goal is to encourage curiosity and inquiry to create self-motivated lifelong learners and leaders.

Victoria Labelle
5th Grade Teacher / IB Coach


Ms. Victoria Labelle is a member of the fourth-grade team and a part of the dual-language program. This will be her second year at Whittier and she recently joined the instructional leadership team. Previously, Ms. Labelle taught the IB program in both schools in Mexico and Colombia. She uses this previous experience to help support the IB implementation team. Fostering a growth mindset in students and creating spaces for inquiry-based learning are two things she is passionate about.

Melissa Ramlow
School-based Equity Facilitator

Melissa Ramlow began her public school teaching career at Whittier in 2015. She has taught both 4th and 5th grade and is currently a 5th grade departmentalized ELA and social studies teacher. She recently became one of the Waukegan district's first school-based equity facilitators (SBEF); in this role her goal and hope is to make every person entering the doors of Whittier feel welcome and valued. She is a member of ILT and PBIS; along with a colleague, Ms. Ramlow hosts an after school club called "Makerspace".

Prior to working in Waukegan, Melissa began her teaching career as a diverse learning educator. She began her work as a paraprofessional while in college and eventually became the assistive-technology coordinator for a small therapeutic day school. Her passion brought her to Waukegan where she always wanted to teach.

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