Carey Valente is in her 15th year of teaching in District 27. Ms. Valente earned a Master’s degree in Music from Northwestern University, a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Bowling Green State University, and has taught beginning band students throughout the Chicago area for 20 years as an elementary school band director and a private woodwind instructor.
Previously, she was the Jazz Band Director and Woodwind Instructor at Oakton Community College, and taught applied saxophone at VanderCook College of Music. Ms. Valente also taught beginning band to many students in Chicago Public Schools, as well as Indiana, through the Merit Music in Communities program. As a saxophonist, Ms. Valente has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Society of Composers, Inc, and at the 13th World Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis. Since 2005, Ms. Valente has been a member of the Northshore Concert Band, a performing ensemble composed of many music educators in the Chicago area, and she currently serves on their board of directors.
Nathan Rhodes is a 2nd year teacher in District 27 this year. Mr. Rhodes earned his Masters degree in Music Education from Lake Forest College. Before joining District 27, he spent four years teaching orchestra and general music in Highland Park District 112. He has also taught students throughout the Chicagoland area through the El Sistema Ravinia program and Midway Chamber Music.
He is an active member of the American String Teachers Association, and certified in Suzuki and Paul Rolland Pedagogy methods. Mr. Rhodes served as assistant principal cellist in the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, and frequently collaborates on recording projects for composers and musicians in the Chicagoland area. He has also performed in orchestras and as a soloist in Germany, Italy, Czechia, California and throughout the Midwest. In addition to music he is passionate about ice hockey, chess, and reading non-fiction.
Shanna Simonsen is in her 15th year of teaching in District 27, both at Hickory Point and Shabonee School. Ms. Simonsen earned Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Nebraska and Vandercook College of Music, a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and has taught general music for over 23 years. Before relocating to Illinois, she was a K-6 general music teacher in Nebraska. Ms. Simonsen’s primary instrument is voice.