Creative Kids Corner realizes the standards for excellence in programming are only as good as the people delivering them. All programs are staffed with talented professional educators/inspirers who are committed to providing a geniune learning experience for each child.
Linda Kusel - Director
Linda received her degree in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Mundelein (Loyola Univ.) She has had extensive dance training and formerly taught Developmental Kindergarten for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Her honors include being a finalist for the 2001 Kohl / McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards and being the proud mother of two children.
Debbie Berg - Instructor
Debbie first became familiar with CKC as a participant in one of the classes with her youngest daughter Carolyn. Once she said “Yes” to teaching, nothing could stop her from joining the CKC family. In addition to teaching music at CKC, Debbie also teaches music at Glenview Community Church Nursery School. Debbie graduated from the University of Illinois with her Masters in Speech and Language Pathology and continues to work per dium at Lake Forest Hospital. Debbie’s interests in music are piano, flute, choir , and bell choir. She and her husband Doug live in Glenview with their 3 children, who all love music.
Judy Rose Epstein - Instructor
Judy has been working in Early Childhood for fourteen years as both a teacher and former director of The Movement Center. Judy is a certified elementary school teacher and was an instructor at Beth Emmet Preschool in Evanston. Judy lives in Northfield with her husband and two rapidly growing boys!
John Leonard - Culinary Instructor
John is a citizen of the world. Born in Brazil, he has lived in 13 countries and speaks five languages. He retired from an international advertising career in 2003 to attend Kendall College and become a chef. Since becoming a chef John has become a teacher, both of cooking and French. As a Northshore leader in preparing meals for the homeless, his skills in leading teams truly shine. He also works at private parties on the North Shore. For John, teaching kids at CKC is an inspirational challenge. He is always amazed at what they accomplish.
Joanne Petersen - Culinary Instructor
Joanne is a person with great enthusiasms, including but not limited to cooking, both professionally and for fun; working with children ages three and up both as a chef- instructor and as a school lunch culinary consultant; travel and living in Europe; and the company of friends and family. She was the assistant executive director of Midwest Montessori School at Kendall College where she partnered with Kendall’s chef instructors to plan the hot lunch program for the schools’ 3-12 year old students. She has also been a chef-instructor at CKC’s “Cooking for Life” program since 2011. In her volunteer work Joanne has worked with Common Threads Healthy Schools Campaign, been the “Chef in the Classroom” at Chicago’s Smythe School, and mentored the “Cooking Up Change” culinary team at George Washington High School. Joanne has lived, worked, and traveled extensively in Europe and brings a distinctly European sensibility to food: she wants it to be healthy, delicious, and beautiful to look at. She is great at communicating her passion and excitement to the children she teaches!
Linda Vaccaro - Instructor
In many different yet complementary ways, Linda Vaccaro has been a teacher and a culinary pro for most of her career. She began her teaching career as a first grade teacher in the Evanston School District. In later years she served both as a regular and substitute teacher for grades K through 6, as well as music, art, and special education. She also worked in the Niles Township, Northbrook, Glenview, and Park Ridge districts. Following her teaching career Linda got involved in the culinary world, working in the catering department of the Sheraton O”Hare hotel, planning and executing social and corporate functions. Afterwards see was the catering consultant for The Mixing Bowl, training new personnel, planning events from 20-1,000, and acting as the primary pastry consultant. Linda has the culinary chops to make her a compelling teacher of the culinary arts and the experienced long-time teacher’s touch that lets her help her students get the most out of every class. CKC is thrilled to have her.