Major Studies & IBCP » Major Studies Department Staff

Major Studies Department Staff

Nicole Flores
Department Chair
This year started my 20th year as a math teacher and my 7th at Senn.  I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a math teacher.  I wanted to help other students see the beauty and joy in mathematics and understand how math can be relevant and needed in their lives.  In addition to teaching in the mathematics department, I am our Major Studies Department Chair where I teach Computer Science Design, our STEAM course.  It is through this course that I can also integrate principles of science, tech, engineering, art and math into real world problems and solutions.  I received my Bachelor's in Mathematics and Math Education from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania and my Master's in Educational Technology at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.  
When I am not teaching, I am a libero for a USA Volleyball team and a Blocker for the Windy City Rollers (a roller derby team).  I skate under the name Flo Rider and have been actively competing in this sport for 10 years. In February 2020, before stay at home orders and virtual learning were the norm, my team won our Championship and I was named MVP.  My partner Douglas and I love to attend sporting events and even though I root for our Chi Town teams, I am a Pittsburgh transplant and have a strong love for my Pittsburgh Steelers!
2021 - 2022 Courses: Computer Science Design I & Math I
Cynthia Austin
2021 - 2022 Courses: Health Science I & Biology
Jennifer Clay-Akakpo
This is my 6th year teaching at Senn, my 4th year teaching Computational Design II. I also teach Chemistry. During undergrad I was part of a group of students who put on science demonstrations for local schools. But I didn't think I could be a teacher. After moving to Chicago I worked a few different jobs, including lab technician, while volunteering as a tutor for a few years. At some point I realized I didn't actually like my job but I loved tutoring so I decided to go back to school and earn my Masters in Education from UIC. 
I recently gave birth to my 2nd child, so consistent sleep is something I no longer get. But I do get to watch a bond between siblings grow. I'm from Cleveland (GO CAVS!) so I'm always gonna root for the underdog (as long as LeBron isn't playing). I love a good book, quiet time, hanging with my family, baking with my daughter, and playing with her legos. 
2021 - 2022 Courses: Computational Design II & Chemistry
Michael Cullinane
I am a 22-year veteran teacher, having spent my last 9 years at Senn High School, leading the Digital Journalism Program. I graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a degree in English Education and Loyola University (Chicago) with a Masters in Digital Media and Storytelling. Before settling down with my wife (and now two children), I loved travel, and even spent time teaching English in Strasbourg, France and Odate, Japan. Now, I feel happiest reading lots of books, writing fiction, and listening to weird records from my extensive collection. I value my students' voices in the courses I teach (Media Literacy and Broadcast Journalism), hoping that they gain a deeper understanding of the world which they can then use to inspire their peers. 
2021 - 2022 Courses: Media Literacy & Broadcast Journalism I & II
Eleanor Flanagin
Hello! I am in my 20th year teaching at Senn High school and excited to keep going strong. I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a degree in Biology. I then got my Masters in Chemistry Education from Loyola University. I recently to classes to get certified in Computer Science from NEIU and ISU. During my time at Senn I have taught almost every science course except Physics and am the Science Department Chair.  I love developing curriculum and designing new projects for students that allow them to be creative problem solvers applying technical knowledge to solve real world problems. I believe that every student can and should learn computer science and be empowered to produce their own solutions to issues they see around them. Students inspire me with their inquisitiveness, imagination and joy.
I am married to Mr. Lev, a history teacher at Senn, and we have two sons. In my free time (pre-pandemic) I played a lot of soccer and ultimate frisbee. Currently, I chase around my two kids and have started running for exercise even though it is not as fun as sports. On days off I love to get outside hiking, biking, and kayaking and finding ways to mess with Mr. Lev.
2021 - 2022 Courses: IB Biology I & II & AP Computer Science
David Gregg
2021 - 2022 Course: Ethics and Professional Skills
Irving Hernandez
Born and raised in the Belmont - Cragin neighborhood here in Chicago, I am a first generation Mexican American who obtained a degree in Physics and a Masters in Education (PhD is next).  I am a product of CPS and you will learn more about me from my crazy life experiences.  My first picture is of me leading a protest at Foreman High School in 2013 due to the heavy budget crisis in the city.  Being a part of a low performing neighborhood school really affected me heavily.  As a teenager I was realy involved with my community becuase I realized how much work needed to be done.  Public education is the beacon of success for communities in this city.  In my high school career, my classmates and I were suffering as our favorite teachers were being released and there weren't many resources for us to obtain a proper education.  I was learning content from scratch when I went to college far from home - I found out the hard way how much a disadvantage I really had in life.  In high school I just always knew that in order to help my community I needed to get an education.  I always loved science growing up but never realized what it really was until college.  Once I was doing all this amazing research in undergrad, it hit me hard that so many students back in Chicago are missing out on such amazing learning experiences.  I knew I had to return home to teach.  I do want to return to Foreman to better my community but I still feel like I have much more to learn.  I came to Senn because I never took IB or AP classes in high school.  I want to become the best educator that I can be and this is the community that will allow me to keep growing.
2021 - 2022 Courses: Honors Computer Science & Physics
Brendan Meara
I'm so proud to be part of the amazing programming that Major Studies has to offer! Prior to joining Senn I taught studio classes in moving image, digital photo and darkroom photo as an adjunct professor in the Chicago area. My own studio practice centers on photo and video projects that address a range of social and cultural issues through an absurdist lens. When I'm not teaching, I love spending time with family and friends, skateboarding, cooking, collecting records, hiking/camping, swimming in the lake and reading a bit of fiction. 
2021 - 2022 Courses: Digital Imaging I & II & Art I
Nate Reinhart
2021 - 2022 Courses: Computational Design II & Earth and Space Science
Kaitlyn Ritts
This will be my first year teaching at Senn. I have taught for 7 years in Missouri and am very happy to be joining a great school here in Chicago. I received my degree in math education from University of Missouri- Columbia (Mizzou) in 2014 and a Masters in technology integration in 2018. I became a math teacher to share my love of learning. I strive to make math fun and relatable for all students. I also really enjoy teaching design as it puts real world application to problems.  It is always fun to learn something new.  Outside of teaching, I enjoy hiking, crafting, playing board games, and doing puzzles. I also enjoy binge-watching shows on Netflix.
2021 - 2022 Courses: Design II & IB Math
Spencer Rosenfeld
This is my 3rd year teaching at Senn, where I get to teach Math 1, Design II & Design III.  I came up through CPS, then got a degree from UIUC in Engineering.  After a bit of hopping around different jobs/careers (small business, construction, finance) came to my senses and realized my love for teaching and tutoring.  After a Master's in Education from DePaul, I taught for a maternity stint at Brooks College Prep and then was fortunate enough to land at Senn.  Love it here!
My interests include basketball, weightlifting, gardening, travel and reading.  Also, like, I like math.  I mean outside of teaching it, learning a new piece of math always fascinates me and makes me feel energized!  Avatar the Last Airbender is my current favorite TV show (an opinion shared with some of my math colleagues).
As an educator, I think your growth and potential is limitless in any area you apply persistent focus.  I believe all education is political, and black lives matter.
2021 - 2022 Courses: Design II, Design III & Math I
Romana Ruggiero
I'm entering my first year teaching, and I'm really excited to embark on this journey with the vibrant Senn High School community! I student-taught at Juárez Community Academy and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor's in Teaching of Mathematics with a minor in Italian and Italian-American Studies. What drives me in teaching is helping raise students' self-confidence in math and design, getting students to think about material differently, and celebrating students' successes along with them!My interests include gardening, reading, hiking and travelling, cooking, spending time with family. I also have two cats— Leo, a lively black cat, and Miso, a sweet domestic shorthair, and soon I plan on teaching them to use speech buttons!
2021 - 2022 Courses: Design II & Math I
Luewilla Smith-Barnett

[email protected]

This is my first year at Senn High School.  I teach Computer Science Design I and Dance I/Dance Performance I-II.  Prior to Senn, I taught elementary school and middle school Math, Science and Language Arts for over 11 years.  I was also a math curriculum specialist for 5 years and a middle school STEM Specialist for 9 years.  I’m also a professional dancer and particularly love teaching and performing modern techniques, including Katherine Dunham and Horton techniques.  I really love seeing students learn and develop problem-solving, critical thinking and creative skills.   I have three children: two daughters and one son, ages 28, 24, and 20.  I enjoy cooking, going to the spa, watching movies, and taking dance classes.  I’m looking forward to being a part of the Senn learning family!
2021 - 2022 Courses: Design I & Dance
Chris Wolf
Greetings Senn community—here are a few facts about me in case anyone was curious. I’ve been teaching since the late 90s and an Edgewater resident since 9/11/2001 but I didn’t join the Senn community since 2017. I’ve had a variety of roles over the years, bouncing between teaching (English and math) and college counseling and here I’m fortunate to do both. I also have coached Bulldog cross country and track and am continuously inspired by the growth of our student athletes.

In my spare time, I love self-guided jogging tours of college campuses, crocheting baby blankets, taking architectural tours, building Spotify playlists and getting my heart broken by local sports teams.
2021 - 2022 Courses: One Goal & Senior Seminar