Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy
6th to 8th Grade Staff

Linda Smith
6th Grade, Room 216

I am very excited to be a part of the Prieto Academy staff.  I teach 6th grade Reading and Earth Science in Room 216.  Before coming to Prieto, I taught 6th grade Reading and Science at Hedges Elementary for 8 years and prior to that I taught 3rd grade at Woods Academy for 4 years.  I have a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University and a Bachelors in Science from Illinois Benedictine University.


Maraliz Salgado
6th Grade, Room 318

It is my pleasure to introduce myself to you and welcome you to our school family. My name is Maraliz Salgado and I am a proud mother, wife, teacher and learner. I love music, dance, art, people, food, and travel and it is my joy to share these experiences with the children I teach in my Social Studies and Language Arts classes.
After twelve years of teaching 7th and 8th graders in my beloved Humboldt Park, I thought the switch to 6th grade this year would be trickier, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the mature, inquisitive, supportive, clever and creative young historian/reader/writers that are my sixth grade Pulsars.  I look forward to building community with you here at Prieto and cannot wait to see how all our brilliant minds and caring hearts will transform the world!

Es mi orgullo darles la bienvenida a nuestra familia escolar en la Dr. Jorge Prieto.  Me llamo Maraliz Salgado, y tengo el privilegio de ser maestra y alumna, madre y esposa. Soy fanática de la música, el baile, el arte, la comida, la humanidad y viajar.  ¡Me encanta compartir estas experiencias con mis estudiantes en nuestras clases de estudios sociales, lectura y escritura!Despues de doce años de dar clases de séptimo y octavo grado en mi querido Humboldt Park, pensé que el ajuste en cambiar al 6to grado sería un poco difícil, pero mis alumnos me han sorprendido placenteramente con su madurez, curiosidad, ternura, y creatividad como lectores/escritores e historiadores . Deseo crear comunidad con ustedes aquí en la Jorge Prieto, y espero anciosamente ver como, por medio de la colaboraciٕón, nuestras mentes y corazones transformarán al mundo!


Michael Hock
6th Grade, Room 320

My name is Michael Hock and I am so excited to be part of the fantastic Prieto team! In my view, we accomplish so much more working as a team: the faculty, our Prieto Scholars, and their families. On that same note, I feel very privileged to work with a super team of 6th grade teachers. When we’re not found planning and discussing teaching strategies to develop our young and energetic Scholars, we are found laughing and sharing our joys that our job brings us. Outside of school, I can usually be found listening to some good music, travelling to various parts of the world and U.S., skiing, enjoying the arts, exploring the various communities that make Chicago such a fantastic place to hang my hat, or on the couch with my math book!
While I have called Chicago home for almost 15 years, I was born in New York, but grew up mostly in Florida. I am proud to say that I am University of Florida Gator alum, and I received a Masters in Business Administration from Emory University in Atlanta. After working for many years in the business world, I decided to pursue my passion of teaching middle grade students. I have taught 8th grade reading, writing and math since receiving a Masters in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois. I couldn’t be happier with my current job teaching 6th grade, specializing in math, and feel blessed to be part of such a caring, community. It has been amazing to see the students grow and I look forward to watching them mature during their years at Prieto and beyond!


Anna Sisto
7th Grade, Room 201

As the 7th and 8th grade science teacher here at Prieto Academy I bring my love of teaching and my passion for science together to engage our students in many ways.   I have taught 7th through 12th grade biology, chemistry, earth science and general science.  I come to Prieto with a degree in biology and secondary education.  In 2008 I earned my master’s degree in educational leadership.  I am a multiple grant winner including the Oppenheimer, Lance Armstrong Peloton, and the BP $10,000 environmental stewardship grant where my students transformed a diesel pickup truck to run on used vegetable oil, added solar panels to the roof, and visited neighborhood schools as a traveling renewable energy classroom.  I am an ambassador on the Brookfield Zoo advisory board and a lifelong member of many environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.   I am honored to serve our students and our community in providing an always engaging, challenging, and rewarding educational experience.  I welcome all parents and families to our science classroom to connect first hand with science at Prieto.  


Bernadette Lasich
7th Grade, Room 314

I’m so honored to be a teacher here at Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy! I’ve loved getting to know the staff, students, and parents.  This is my 8th year teaching seventh and eighth grade math, and every year it only gets better.  I grew up just north of Chicago and went to a small college in Minnesota called St. Olaf College. My path to becoming a teacher began at National-Louis University, where I received my Master of Art in Teaching.  I then taught on the southwest side of Chicago for seven years before coming to Prieto.  One thing that a lot of people may not know about me is that when I’m not teaching math, you can find me playing my violin with orchestras and theatre groups around the Chicagoland area.  I’m so excited to be here and can already see the talents and successes of all of our students.


Illiana Marcano
7th Grade, Room 316

Saludos! My name is Iliana Marcano and I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies. I first fell in love with history as a high school student at Lincoln Park high school. I graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with my B.A. in History and Secondary Education. Born and raised in Chicago's Humboldt Park, I am a huge Chicago fan: Cubs and Bears! My students mean the world to me, which is why I try my hardest to make history come to life in our classroom. Whether we are studying the Civil War or Civil Rights, we dissect and analyze significant events in American history and connect them with current events. I am so proud to be apart of the Prieto Pulsars and look forward to what the future holds!


Natalie Neris-Guereca
8th Grade, Room 319

¡Bienvenidos a todos! My name is Natalie Neris-Guereca and I am excited to be a part of the Dr. Jorge Prieto family. As a Humboldt Park native and former resident of the Belmont-Cragin community, it is my honor to serve as the 8th grade English Language Arts teacher. 
My philosophy of teaching begins with understanding that I have been called to complete a mission. Teaching is a mission. I accept my charge and will do everything I can to provide the best education possible for our young scholars.
I am an educator who prides herself in creating an atmosphere for children where they are able to interact without fear of criticism, ridicule or negative evaluation. I encourage honesty, open communication, and work diligently to create a sense of family in my class.  I believe that each of our scholars has the potential for greatness and that they will only put forth effort when they feel they are being given the tools necessary to achieve academic excellence.  My desire is to equip each student to compete, not only in their communities, but globally.
My undergraduate degree is from Northeastern Illinois University.  I also hold a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University, and I am working to complete a Master of Arts in Reading.  I am a Nationally Board Certified teacher and a recipient of the 2008 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The end of all education should surely be service to others. We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about the progress and prosperity of our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others for their sake and for our own.    
 ~Cesar Chavez


Lisa Solivan
Upper Special Education, Room 214





Cathy Young
Upper Special Education, Room 123

I have worked as a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system for about 25 years and still love challenging my students to push their academic boundaries every bit as much as my first day. My career has spanned all areas of special education, and I’ve taught students with various learning disabilities – EMH, TMH, EBD and SPH – as well as physical disabilities. I received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a master’s degree in special education from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).
I come to Jorge Prieto from the neighboring Hanson Park Elementary School, where I worked for the last 15 years, so I’ve been excited to see many familiar faces from the community at my new home. I take as much pleasure as my students do in seeing them tackle the same materials as their peers and begin to master new skills. My teaching philosophy is to aim high.