Libertyville-Taught Teachers

Maggie Burnetti, Sports Editor

Within the 100 years Libertyville High School has existed, students have come and gone, most limiting their time to four years. A considerable amount of current Libertyville teachers were once these students, who walked these halls in a different decade, during a different time in their life. That group all has something in common: where they received their high school diploma.

Mr. Beau Schaeffer, a teacher who both studied and taught at Brainerd, graduated in 1980 and returned in 1988 to start his teaching career. Schaeffer coached both baseball and football for many years because he played both of those sports throughout high school.

“I came here on purpose because this place is awesome. The people here care about the students a lot, they care about each other a lot; they’re very helpful. Everyone’s very supportive,” he said.

During his years as a teacher at Libertyville, Mr. Schaeffer remembers coaching Mr. Matt Thompson and Mr. Tim Matheson in baseball, two current Libertyville teachers and baseball coaches. Mr. Schaeffer knows many people from the community because of his many years at LHS. He stated that the weirdest thing he has experienced on multiple occasions is when he has former students’ kids in one of his science classes.

Mr. Matt Thompson, a 1998 graduate, started teaching in 2005. Mr. Thompson returned to LHS after his graduation from Northwestern University even before his teaching career began, to coach baseball. He is still coaching today as the varsity head coach.

While in high school, Mr. Thompson played both baseball and football. At the start of his teaching career, he felt that many things physically about LHS remained the same from when he was a student, other than the West Gym and front entrance additions. Mr. Thompson added that his current classroom may have actually been a classroom he was taught in for chemistry with Mr. Pete Dawson. At the time Mr. Thompson attended LHS, all freshmen had classes in the Brainerd building.

“It was really kind of a cool building. It was fun to be with just freshman over there. It was kind of like our own little bubble we lived in,” said Mr. Thompson, whose own children will likely attend LHS.

Mr. Matt Tooley also graduated in 1998 and returned just seven years later in 2005 to start his ongoing 12-year teaching career at Libertyville. As a teacher, Mr. Tooley has been involved in many activities, including coaching boys soccer, advising Drops of Ink in the past at LHS. He  is still involved in being an advisor for Slant of Light as well as a sponsor of Book Club.

While a student at Libertyville, Mr. Tooley played boys soccer and track and field, and he was also a member of National Honor Society. Another component of Mr. Tooley’s student life was going to school at Brainerd his freshman year.

“It was probably as close a thing to living in a sort of ‘Dead Poets Society’ or Hogwarts-type of environment as you can get these days,” he said.

Mr. Tooley remembers having classes with Mr. Brady Sullivan, who he called “Sully,” another current Libertyville teacher. Due to the close proximity of his graduation date and the time that he started as a teacher here, Mr. Tooley stated that he does have “flashbacks every once and awhile, but I think this building has become more of my adult life than my teenage life in many ways.”

Mrs. Joyce Amann, a graduate in 2002 and soccer state champion, started her career here in the fall of 2009. Mrs. Amann’s class was the last to go through Brainerd as freshmen. For all four of her high school years, Mrs. Amann played cross country, basketball and soccer.

After high school, Mrs. Amann played soccer and studied at Illinois State University. After teaching at Mundelein High School for two years, she applied for a Libertyville job. She remembered the nerve-wracking interview because she knew all of the teachers who were interviewing her.

“I remember I was nervous and shaking and sweating and I wanted it so bad that I literally almost cried in the interview. I was so passionate about it,” she said. “I left the interview and I called my mom and when she asked how it went, I was like, ‘I have no idea; I’m not sure.’”

To this day, Mrs. Amann finds it too odd to call Mr. Matt Leone by his first name and other co-workers that she had as teachers by their first name, including Mrs. Amy Holtsford, who she had as a basketball coach.

Mrs. Nora Kostro, another graduate of the 2002 class, spent her years involved in a multitude of activities and sports. “If you could sign me up, I was on it. I really liked the high school life,” she said.

Those activities included four years of basketball, two years of track, cross country and lacrosse, as well as Student Council and National Honor Society. As a teacher at LHS, Mrs. Kostro coached lacrosse for four years and was a leader of Top Cats. Since then, she has stopped both to spend more time with her children. One of Mrs. Kostro’s best memories from high school that has continued to this day is the W.I.S.H. program.

“It’s still such a heartwarming event,” she said. “Makes me tear up a little bit when I get to see the kids that get to rise to the top and make a connection either getting gifts or being at the event to make it as nice as possible.”

Mr. Chris Davis graduated in the class of 2004. During his freshman year at Libertyville, his class was the first that had split into Vernon Hills and Libertyville High Schools. Looking back on his high school years of football, Mr. Davis expressed one of his fondest memories was “when we hosted a semifinal vs. Prospect and there was like 7,000 people, and people lined up on the track and Prospect was the two-time defending state champion, and we just rolled them here.”

After that game, the team went to the state championship, which Mr. Davis stated as being “phenomenal,” even though they lost in double overtime. Mr. Davis also did track all four years at LHS, on top of being a member of band and orchestra, where he played trombone.

He continued his academic and athletic career at Butler University. On top of his responsibilities as a physical education teacher and assistant athletic director, Mr. Davis is the varsity football head offensive coordinator.