Morgan Park Academy (MPA) welcomed several new faculty and staff members for the 2019-20 school year.

Apiphany Asberry, lower- and middle-school P.E.

Asberry completed her bachelor’s degree at Mayville State University, where she was a scholarship member of the varsity basketball team. Passionate about fitness and sports, she started her career as a high school girls basketball coach and a fitness trainer before transitioning into education as a human anatomy and physiology teacher.

Archana Desai, associate college counselor.

Desai grew up in Bombay, India, before enrolling in 1987 at Purdue University, where she earned a Ph.D. in industrial and physical pharmacy. She began teaching pharmacy at Midwestern University in Downers Grove in 1993 and worked as a tenured associate professor until 2010 and then as an adjunct professor.

She has mentored students with Chicago Scholars and also worked as an independent college counselor with Innovative College Counseling since 2016.

Paula Etheridge, upper-school social studies.

Etheridge has been teaching high school social studies for nearly four decades. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ana Fernandez, lower- and middle-school administrative assistant.

Introduced to the MPA community as a substitute teacher and ABC staffer, Fernandez joins the full-time staff with more than 10 years of administrative experience at AIG retirement services.

Michelle Hicks, second grade.

Hicks received an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Purdue University and a master’s degree in education from National Louis University. She taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade for Chicago Public Schools and also has served as dean of culture for grades three to five.

Ronald Jackson, sixth-grade math and science.

Jackson became a teacher after working for several years in the pharmaceutical department at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and developing an interest in chemistry and the biological sciences. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and is pursuing a master’s degree at Chicago State University. His experience also includes teaching high school and college students.

Megan Morrison, pre-K-4 aide.

Morrison returns to the Blue House after a year away. She previously was a member of the pre-K faculty from 2015-2018.

Ashley Perisee, upper-school Spanish.

Perisee taught Spanish for the past eight years on the south and west sides of Chicago and in the south suburbs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish secondary education from St. Xavier University and is working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership at Concordia University Chicago.

Kathleen Tangel, middle- and upper-school French.

Tangel returns to the faculty after teaching at MPA from 2001-2011 and serving last year as a substitute teacher. In recent years, she taught junior high Spanish and pursued an ESL endorsement. Tangel holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish and a graduate degree in French, both from Illinois State University.

April Williams, third grade.

Williams graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in education and social policy. From there, she spent over a decade in the business world before teaching elementary school. She is currently completing her master’s degree in teaching with an endorsement in English Language Learning from Dominican University.