Richard A Heinz

The Rev. Rich Heinz has completed 20 years in the Office of the Holy Ministry, six of which have been here at St. John’s.  He graduated with a B.A. from Concordia University—River Forest (Chicago), majoring in theology and minoring in communication/theatre.  After earning his M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1995, he served Mt. Greenwood Ev. Lutheran in Chicago and St. John’s Lutheran in Lanesville, Indiana.  His continuing education interests are in the areas of liturgics (worship) and catechesis (teaching the faith.)

Pastor Heinz is also involved with Higher Things, a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod that serves youth.  He has served as site chaplain for two years, and is in his second year as Worship Coordinator for the annual conferences.

Pastor is an avid Disney and Star Wars fan.  He enjoys theatre, film, music, and tea.



Douglas Markworth

Mr.Markworth has completed 39 years in the Christian Ministry, 19 of which were here at St. John's. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska with an emphasis in Religion, Math and Science. He has earned a Masters Degree in Elementary Administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He has served as the Chair of Math & Science at Luther High School North (now Luther North College Prep), Teacher/Principal in Hannibal, Missouri and as a counselor at Lutheran Camps in Springfield, Illinois and Schyler, Nebraska.


Henry Knueppel, Teacher Emeritus

A native of Maywood Park, Illinois, Mr. Henry Knueppel attended high school at Concordia Teachers’ College in River Forest (now Concordia University – Chicago.)  He then earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from Concordia Teachers’ College (now Concordia University) in Seward, Nebraska.  During his tenure at St. John's, Mr. Knueppel also completed his Master of Arts at Concordia (Chicago.)

Mr. Knueppel accepted the call to teach at St. John’s in 1952.  Teacher, coach, referee, Walther League director, and mentor, Mr. Knueppel has touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives through St. John’s Lutheran Church and School.

Mr. Knueppel is married to Judy (nee Millies), who gave up teaching at Luther North to be a homemaker, and volunteer.  They have been blessed with a daughter (Rebecca), a son (Paul), and five grandchildren.

After a blessed tenure of 42 years as teacher at St. John’s, Mr. Knueppel continued to serve as our director of parish care.  Now, although officially retired, Mr. Knueppel stays active volunteering for St. John’s “behind the scenes.” In 2011, honoring this retired servant, St. John’s completed its plan of dedicating and renaming our gymnasium “The Henry P. Knueppel Gymnasium.”


Early Childhood

Pre-School (3 Year Olds)

JoAn Markworth

Mrs. Markworth has completed 30 years in the Christian teaching ministry, and this is her7th year at St. John's.  She is a graduate of Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, with emphasis on primary grades, music and math. The focus of her teaching experience has been in the primary grades, but JoAn has taught in all of the elementary grades as well as preschool and kindergarten. She now teaches pre school children at St. John's.  In July, 2013, Mrs. Markworth completed her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Pre School News


Brittany Wondrasch 

Pre-Kindergarten (4 Year Olds) 2016-2017 School Year

Mrs. Wondrash is new to St. John's and new to the teaching world.  She recently graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin.  Mrs. Wondrasch is from St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Chicago this summer while her husband finishes his undergrad at Concordia University Chicago.  After this school year, she will be returning to St Louis where her husband will begin his first year at Concordia Seminary.

What is Mrs. Wondrasch’s favorite Bible verse?

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”  1 Corinthians 13:48            

Why does Mrs. Wondrasch love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because it truly strives every day to fulfill its mission statement. It doesn’t just focus on the academic well-being of the students but it also intends to help the students grow in every aspect of their lives.”

What other roles does Mrs. Wondrasch have at St. John’s?

“Due to the unusual circumstances of only being at St. John’s for a year, I haven’t taken on any other roles. If I were able to stay longer, I would love to help lead a drama program or help with one of the after school clubs.”

Pre Kindergarten News

Christina Yerkes

Mrs. Christina Yerkes – Pre-Kindergarten (4-Year-Old) 2017-2018 School Year 

Mrs. Yerkes has over 15 years of experience working with children of all ages and abilities, and this is her 1st year at St. John's.  Prior to St. John’s she worked as a preschool teacher at Concordia University’s Chicago Early Childhood Center.  She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest, IL, and has a Masters of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood certification.


What is Mrs. Yerkes’s favorite Bible verse?

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  – Philippians 4:13

Why does Mrs. Yerkes love St. John’s?

 “I love that they are spreading the word of God, and that they are teaching with God's love throughout all aspects of learning.”

What other roles does Mrs. Yerkes have at St. John’s?

“Being new to the school, I don’t have any official roles yet, but I am eager to gain more roles throughout my time at St. John’s. I love sports and would be interested in coaching or helping in some way in the future. I also am a parent so I would like to be involved in PTL or any other parent groups.”



Leslee Johnson

Mrs. Johnson has completed 40 years of Christian teaching, 39 of which have been at St. John's. Mrs. Johnson graduated from Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She specialized in English, Speech and Drama and has a minor in Early Childhood Education. In addition to teaching Kindergarten, Mrs. Johnson is the coordinator for chapel families, the school yearbook, reading day, and the LWML Angel Tree. She is also a member of the church picnic committee and the Board of Christian Education. Mrs. Johnson was the 2001 recipient of the CLEF Good News Teacher Award in Early Childhood Education.

Kindergarten News

Early Childhood aides: 


Elementary School

Kristi Heinz

1st Grade

Mrs. Kristi Heinz has completed 20 years of teaching in Lutheran education. She graduated in 1989 from Concordia University – River Forest with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with concentrations in reading and music.  She has also taken Master's level courses as a Reading Specialist at Indiana University -- Southeast.  Prior to St. John’s, she taught 2nd grade and 3rd grade at St. John's, Algonquin, IL, and St. John's,                           Lanesville, IN.

 Kristi has been fortunate to share her love of music with others through teaching.  She has taught music to  a wide range of students (preschoolers to senior high school), in addition to her mainstream teaching  duties.  Before becoming the full-time teacher at St. John’s, she spent years teaching music to the entire  student body.  Although she misses this role, she was thrilled to return to the classroom full-time!

What is Mrs. Heinz’s favorite Bible verse?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

 Why does Mrs. Heinz love St. John’s?

“I love St. John's because it fosters a family relationship amongst the students.  The students really look out for each other and care about each other with Christian love and concern.”

What other roles does Mrs. Heinz have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the Pastor's wife, attend weekly bible studies, and assist as a member of the Dorcas Society."

1st Grade News


Debra Mackie

Mrs. Debra Mackie – 2nd Grade

Mrs. Mackie has completed 35 years of full-time Christian teaching, all here at St. John’s. She graduated from Concordia Teacher’s College, River Forest, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. She taught 1st grade for eight years and served as the part- time special reading teacher for one year.  This is her 28th year as a 2nd grade teacher.


What is Mrs. Mackie’s favorite Bible verse?

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift from God.”  – Ephesians 2:8

Why does Mrs. Mackie love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s, because 39 years ago, the school welcomed me into its family as a teacher. Since then, my own family has become a part of the extended church family. Many wonderful, heart-warming memories, from both my classroom, and my family, echo through these halls. St. John’s has become a part of my life and my family.”

What other roles does Mrs. Mackie have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the Athletic Director, Bowling Coach, Cheerleader Advisor, Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart School Coordinator, Clothing Coordinator, After-School Bowling Club Instructor, Lutheran School League (LSL) Secretary, Volleyball Liaison, 7th & 8th grade Basketball 3 point contest Coordinator, Bowling Tournament & League Awards Coordinator, Church LAA Liaison, Ladies Volleyball Team Manager, and Rummage Sale Coordinator.”

2nd Grade News

Bonnie Mayrens

Mrs. Bonnie Mayrens – Third Grade

Mrs. Mayrens has completed 31 years in the Lutheran teaching ministry, 12 of which have been at St. John's.  She is a graduate of both St. John's and Luther North.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in elementary education with concentrations in psychology and English literature, and, holds a Master's Degree in reading instruction from Concordia University, Chicago.

What is Mrs. Mayrens’ favorite Bible verse?

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31

Why does Mrs. Mayrens love St. John’s?

“I love St. John’s because it’s my home away from home.  I attended St. John’s as a student from 1968-1977.  I was blessed to attend school in a place where I was reminded daily of God’s care for me. Now, as a teacher here, I have the joy of sharing that faith with others. I love that this is not only a school, but a community.”

What other roles does Mrs. Mayrens have at St. John’s?

“I serve St. John’s as the art fair director and as a member of the National Junior Honor Society Committee.”

3rd Grade News


4th Grade

Deborah Callaghan

Mrs. Callaghan has completed 19 years of teaching, 12 of which were here at St. John's. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Education. Mrs. Callaghan's family have been members here for 31 years.    Mrs. Callaghan is the Baptismal Birthday coordinator for St. John's students, faculty and staff and she also teaches in the Title I program after school.


4th Grade News

 5th Grade

Robin Rocans

Mrs. Rocans has taught for 23 years in Lutheran Schools, with the last 6 being here at St. John's.  She is a graduate of Concordia University in River Forest with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, and has endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies.  Prior to St. John's, she taught 7th grade, 5th grade, and combined 3rd & 4th grade.  Additionally, she was an Athletic Director and coach.  She currently serves as the boys' volleyball coach and scoreboard operator/book keeper for basketball games, along with planning servant events for our student body.

5th Grade News


High School Preparatory Program


Rachael Franklin (6th Grade Homeroom)

Mrs. Franklin completed three years of teaching in Danville, IL before coming to St. John's, and is in her fourth year here.  She graduated from Concordia University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.  She is currently working on her Master's Degree in Educational Technology from Concordia University, Wisconsin.  She serves St. John's as the girls' volleyball coach, the 5th & 6th grade girls' basketball coach, and assists in coaching track and field.


6th Grade News



Jeremy Benedict (7th Grade Homeroom)

Mr. Benedict has been teaching for 6 years, 3 of which have been at St. John's.  Mr. Benedict graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin.  He coaches cross country and basketball, as well as coordinates the National Junior Honor Society.



7th Grade News


Michelle Runge (8th Grade Homeroom)

Mrs. Runge is in her 12th year of Christian teaching here at St. John's.  She graduated from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.  Her area of concentration was Psychology.  She has her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.  Mrs. Runge serves as the Cross Country coach, the 7th & 8th grade Girls' Basketball coach, the Track coach and Hot Lunch coordinator along with serving on the Youth Board.  

8th Grade News







Katrina Jurica

Katrina Jurica graduated from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest with a Bachelor’s in Music Education. She declared an emphasis in General Music and Choral Music. While at Concordia University, she had the chance to rehearse and conduct the Concordia University Kapelle, the premiere touring choir. She studied voice, piano, guitar, and percussion and participated in many student ensembles, including the Handbell Choir, Women’s Choir, Jazz Band, and University Band. She still participates in the University Band as a member of the percussion section.


Mrs. Jurica states that one of the main reasons why she chose Concordia University Chicago was because of the active and thriving faith community at the school. She believes that because of her peers and professors, her relationship with God and understanding of God’s Word grew. That is why she chooses to teach in the Lutheran schools of Chicago-because she wants to be able to freely proclaim the Gospel to her students, as well as instruct them in growing as musicians and as human beings.


Mrs. Jurica joined the faculty of St. John’s Lutheran School as the Music Teacher in August of 2016. She also teaches General Music and Choral Music at Grace English Lutheran School. She is looking forward to another year of singing God’s praises and teaching her students to do the same.



George Bryant 



Tana Uffenbeck

Mrs. Tana Uffenbeck has completed 4 years of teaching in Lutheran schools. She graduated from Concordia University Mequon with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English/Language Arts. She also holds a Master’s degree in Reading from Concordia University Portland. Mrs. Uffenbeck is thrilled to be sharing this expertise in the library and through her role as Literacy Coach for St. John’s.


 Library News