About St. James

School Vision Statement

Equipped with an intellectual and spiritual foundation, our students will excel in high school and throughout life as life-long learners and leaders who are committed to bringing Christ’s love to their families and communities.

St. James Lutheran School offers preschool through 8th grade students innovative and engaging coursework in a Christ-centered environment that shapes their intellectual, spiritual, and physical well-roundedness.

Ultimately, 95% of St. James students are accepted into their first choice Chicago high school.

A focus on personalized education.

We intentionally keep class sizes small so that students receive individual attention and opportunities for small group work. Our faculty are experts at differentiating instruction and proactively planning lessons based upon students’ readiness, interests and learning profiles.

Thinking critically and creatively.

Class sizes are kept small so that students receive individual attention and opportunities for small group work. Employing an inquiry-based approach, our faculty are experts at differentiating instruction and proactively planning lessons based upon students’ readiness, interests, and learning profiles.

Educating the whole child.

 No two children are the same, which is why we provide opportunities for each student to find their unique interests and learn to express themselves through multiple disciplines. Through participation in athletics, academic clubs, art, music, drama, and a variety of other learning experiences, a St. James graduate is a confident and well-rounded individual.

Dedicated Faculty and Staff
Pastor Joel Hess
Senior Pastor

Besides being freely given the privilege to call God, Father, Pastor Hess is blessed to be the husband of Julie and the father of Henry and Samuel. He enjoys degrees in English and German literature from Michigan State University as well as a M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Hess gets excited about hanging out or taking adventures with his family. On any given moment he’s probably playing mandolin, piano or learning his new lap steel, attending a concert, running on the Lakeshore, reading Flannery O’Connor, watching a Wes Anderson or David Lynch film, writing short stories, or just enjoying a rich discussion with various types of human beings about life, Jesus, and how it all goes together.
He also hosts the podcast Ringsidepreachers.com and write for a variety of publications. You can’t offend him and he loves conversations!


Pastor David Keating
Associate Pastor
Sheri Meyer

Sheri Meyer is the principal at St. James. Ms. Meyer has over 25 years of experience in the field of education. Over the past decade she has provided diversified services and leadership in the education industry. As an Education Leader Ms. Meyer has worked with both public and private schools to improve quality and integrate technology into the classroom. She has successfully worked with Lutheran Schools in Chicago to promote both improvement and excellence in the academic process.

Ms. Meyer holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Secondary Education from the University of Tulsa. Additionally, she holds her M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University.

Email smeyer@stjames-lutheran.org

Warren Gast
Principal Emeritus

Warren Gast has been an integral part of the St. James community since 1975. Mr. Gast serves St. James as Principal Emeritus. He also sings in the church choir and plays guitar with ”St. Jams.”

Mr. Gast earned his bachelor’s degree in Education from Concordia University, Ann Arbor and master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University, Chicago.

Email wgast@stjames-lutheran.org

Julie Hess
Preschool Teacher

Mrs. Hess teaches the 5 half and full day early childhood class.

Email: jhess@stjames-lutheran.org

Sheila Amdur
Preschool Teacher
Jennifer Marcantonio
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Brittani Mosinski
Junior Kindergarten Teacher

Brittani Mosinski teaches junior kindergarten. She has her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Northeastern Illinois University with a minor in fine arts with a focus in metals and painting. She also has a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University where she wrote her thesis on the uses and benefits of environmental print in the classroom.

Email bmosinski@stjames-lutheran.org

Marie Adams
Kindergarten Teacher
Kristina Ecklund
Kindergarten Teacher
Lora Webster
First Grade Teacher

Lora Webster teaches first grade at St. James. Mrs. Webster comes to St. James with experience in both early childhood and first grade. Previously, she taught first grade and preschool at St. Matthew Lutheran School in Hawthorn Woods, as well as served as their Early Childhood Director. Mrs. Webster earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Concordia University, River Forest. She is a rostered and called teacher in the LCMS.

Email lwebster@stjames-lutheran.org

Maria Smith
Second Grade Teacher

Email msmith@stjames-lutheran.org

Stephanie Bending
Third Grade Teacher

Stephanie Bending teaches third grade at St. James. Previously, Mrs. Bending taught first grade at St. James and served the Downer’s Grove school district as an instructional assistant in the primary grades. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University.

Email sbending@stjames-lutheran.org

Kaitlyn Pegman
Fourth Grade Teacher

Kaitlyn Pegman teaches fourth grade at St. James. Mrs. Pegman is experienced in differentiating instruction and integrating technology into student learning. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University.

Email kpegman@stjames-lutheran.org

Becky Gorcyca
Middle School Teacher

Becky Gorcyca is our fifth and sixth grade homeroom teacher. In our departmentalized approach to middle school, Mrs. Gorcyca focuses on the science curriculum. Her enthusiasm of subject matter is contagious and she captures the mindset of students at age level while anticipating their needs. Mrs. Gorcyca earned her bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago.

Email bgorcyca@stjames-lutheran.org

Kim May
Middle School Teacher

Kim May is our seventh and eighth grade homeroom teacher and specializes in English Language Arts. Coming from a broad range of experience, from jr. high – graduate level, Mrs. May exposes students to a rich variety of genres of literature to kindle their love of reading, thinking and discovery. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education- English from Concordia University and her master’s degree in Linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University.

Email kmay@stjames-lutheran.org

Mitch DeBoer
Middle School Teacher
Matthew Runge
Physical Education and Health

Matt Runge teaches Physical Education and Health and serves as our Athletic Director. Whether in the classroom, gym or playing field, Mr. Runge’s focus is on the total wellness of the child including nutrition, exercise and human relationships. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Saint Ambrose University.

Email mrunge@stjames-lutheran.org

Karen Gast
Music Teacher

Karen Gast teaches music in early childhood through fourth grade and directs the middle school Honor’s Choir.  She focuses on the Orff method for music education that engages the whole child in learning music as it incorporates the natural rhythm of speech and language and builds in the movement that young children love.   Now retired from the classroom where she enjoyed integrating music within all subject areas, Mrs. Gast focuses on her love of music education.  She worked toward her Orff certification at DePaul University and continues her involvement in the GCAOSA, the greater Chicago Orff Association.

Email kgast@stjames-lutheran.org

Katie Wenzel
School Counselor

Ms. Wenzel is the school counselor.

Email kwenzel@stjames-lutheran.org

Lynda Runge
Director of Early Childhood

Lynda Runge serves the community as the Director of Early Childhood. Mrs. Runge’s knowledge of child development and positive discipline allow her to develop independent problem solving and social skills programs for our students. Through observation she capitalizes on child interest to craft experiences where students observe and manipulate to expand their current understanding and synthesize and apply new information. Mrs. Runge earned her bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University and her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the Erikson Institute in Chicago.

Email ladams@stjames-lutheran.org

Carole Anne Cook
Director of Admissions

Carole Anne Cook is the Director of Admissions at St. James.

Email ccook@stjames-lutheran.org

Dot Minogue
Office Manager

Dot Minogue is the Office Manager at St. James.  Mrs. Minogue has worked as an administrative assistance in the education field for 23 years.  Our students love Mrs. Minogue – she takes care of us all!

Email office@stjames-lutheran.org

Rob Jantz
Director of Finance and Administration

Rob Jantz serves St. James as our Director of Finance and Administration. He has been a member at St James for 7 years and has been incredibly giving with his time and talents on Sunday mornings. Now he would like to utilize his 20+ years of tax/accounting experience to further God’s mission here at St James so Chicago can have hope and peace in Christ.

Email rjantz@stjames-lutheran.org 

Sam Herlo
Facility Manager

Sam Herlo manages the facility and maintenance needs of St. James. Mr. Herlo’s background includes electrical, plumbing, painting and general maintenance capabilities. He has worked as a Building Manager for several Chicago residential buildings since locating to Chicago from Romania.

Email sherlo@stjames-lutheran.org

Emily Kroeger
Director of Ministry Services
Olivia Becker
Director of Marketing and Communications

Mrs. Becker is Director of Marketing and Communications at St James. She graduated from Bethany Lutheran college with a major in Media Arts.

Email obecker@stjames-lutheran.org

Meghan Sleezer
Music Director

Meghan Sleezer is the Music Director at St. James. In this role, she coordinates special music, directs the handbell choir, and serves as our organist. In addition to serving at St. James, she is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Concordia University Chicago. Dr. Sleezer studied organ under Dr. Faythe Freese and earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from Concordia University at Austin, her masters degree in Mathematics Education from DePaul University, and her PhD in Mathematics Education from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Email msleezer@stjames-lutheran.org

Mikayla Keating
Sunday School Superintendent


Together, we can prepare your child to love learning, love God, and love others.


Have questions or want to learn more about St. James?

We look forward to meeting you and showing you all that St. James has to offer your family.

Funding a quality education requires more than just tuition; it requires the support and generosity of the whole community.

St. James Lutheran School

2101 N Fremont St Chicago, IL 60614   |   Phone : 773-525-4990     Fax : 773-326-3645

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