Talley has worked with kids since she can remember. First babysitting, then teaching everything from early childhood through university. Talley has lived in Oak Park since 1998, and Chicago since 1991, moving here from the East Coast to attend Northwestern and then never leaving. She lives with her supportive Husband Rob, and three sons Greg, Elliot, and Thomas just up the street from OP Friends. Her biggest joy at OPFS is working with the parents as they navigate the craziness of parenthood.
Chloe has raised her family in Oak Park (around the corner from OPFS) for the past 18 years. She began working with Talley in 2013 and together, they officially established OP Friends School in the Spring of 2014. Chloe has a background in fine art. She has three children-- Josie, Fiona, and Owen --one husband, one goldfish, and one scruffy dog named Gertie. Chloe enjoys books, film, yoga, art, and travel. She used to play roller derby. She does not like balloons.
Jessica has been part of the Oak Park Friends community since 2013 - first as a parent and now as part of our staff. Jessica has a Masters in Elementary Education and a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from DePaul University. This job is a perfect fit for her love of children, Pinterest, and spreadsheets. Jessica lives up the street from OPFS with her husband, 3 kids, and their perfect dog, Perry the Perro. She enjoys spending time with her family and neighbors, yoga, and baking.
Joel has been with OPFS since 2015 when we were a home daycare. With over 30 years of experience working with children from birth to 12 years old, a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Joel is a Director extraordinaire with hours in every classroom and a place in his heart for every kiddo. Joel teams up with DCFS to keep us safe, the Collaboration for Early Childhood to keep us educated and supported, with teachers to help children feel seen and loved and with our kids to help them navigate challenges. He has a strong passion for being a part of making a difference in children’s lives. Mr. Joel is a proud grandfather of five and always enjoys being with family.
Katie has been working in the ECE field for over 10 years in a variety of different roles but her favorite role is being a teacher! She believes in creating an environment where students are able to play, explore and feel a part of a classroom community. When Katie is not at school she loves to travel or be outside in nature with her family.
Lauren has been working with OPFS since 2014--the early days in Talley and Chloe’s houses. In addition to being a teacher in the Willow room, Lauren has joined the admin team as a mentor, providing teacher support. Lauren has been working with kids since the age of 11 and has worked with young infants to young teens. She studied Education and Psychology at the Evergreen State College, and she loves the outdoors, art, music, dancing, and having fun!!!
Mercedez has been in the childcare field since 2009 when during high school she worked at a home center. She sought out a quality education for childcare management at Rust College. She has been a lead teacher since graduating in 2018. In 2021, she earned a Masters in Early Childhood Education Administration. Mercedez has a son of her own who she spends a lot of time with. She likes to read and practice photography in her free time. She looks forward to working with you and your child(ren).
Emily has worked at OPFS since 2019 predominantly with the After School and Summer Camp program. She has also worked in all of the lower school classrooms as a floater. She is now the School Age Program Director, and couldn’t be more excited. She plans to create the most fun and uplifting environment for all of the students to make lasting memories, and great friends. She is dedicated to the program, and is looking forward to building connections with everyone who comes into OPFS.
Dani began her adventures with OPFS in 2015 as a teacher in the Blue Room (now Maple/Elm). In 2021 when the school expanded she moved to help a bit all over from the front desk. She has a bachelor's in studio art and brings experience as a nanny and a foster carer. She's gained an indelible appreciation for wonder and teamwork here.
Kitchen manager, Tara is an eccentric, mom of 2 energetic and creative kiddos. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts Management and a passion for the dramatic. She loves playing with and hanging out with babies, children, kids, teens and beyond. Tara is a certified food safety manager and mild foodie. She is a facilitator for Oak Park Our Whole Lives and loves having the hard conversations. Her passions include travel, travel planning, attending theatre, listening to music and streaming TV of all kinds.
Lupita Carrasquillo nurtures the artist in all of us. She is queer chicana boriqua born and raised in Chicago. She is a poet, educator and organizer with Brown and Proud Press, a collective of artists and idependent publishers. Lupita has been teaching youth art, writing and zine making for over 4 years.
Morgan has been with OPFS since Sept 2016. He is from Chicago and currently lives in Berwyn, IL. Before OPFS Morgan worked at UPS and had his own business buying and selling vintage/antique furniture. Morgan’s time here is split between classroom and property management. He is in charge of all maintenance and housekeeping at OPFS. Outside of OPFS Morgan also manages other properties around the city, enjoys gardening, and hanging out with his three kids.