10 teachers, administrators join U-High

Abigail Slimmon and Madeline Welch

Paul Beekmeyer

Paul Beekmeyer assumes the role of principal. Mr. Beekmeyer has spent time as both an administrator and a high school English teacher. He most recently worked as the assistant head of the upper school for Academics at the Brooklyn Friends School in New York. Mr. Beekmeyer has also worked at schools in Morocco, Turkey Australia and Afghanistan.

Mr. Beekmeyer said he hopes to build a sense of trust with the students.

“I hope to have an open door. I hope to be able to listen and facilitate conversation,” Mr. Beekmyer said. “Lab brings together students and teachers all with amazing experiences. My job is to foster an environment of collaboration and respect.”

When he isn’t at school, Mr. Beekmyer spends a lot of time with his new puppy, Walter.


Chimare Eaglin

Chimare Eaglin is the service learning coordinator while Hannah Roche is on leave. She comes to this position from Bulldog Solutions Inc. where she facilitated curricula, assemblies, professional development trainings, student programs and parent workshops in social emotional learning.

She has also worked on the partnership program between Lab and U. of C. charter schools. She completed her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology in July.

“I was attracted to the opportunity to work in a position that fused several of my interests into one role: community outreach and service, the chance to work directly with students — mentoring and supporting their growth — and the freedom to be creative in my approach,” Dr. Eaglin said. 

She said she hopes to help students find ways to bring their community interests and passions to life through service learning.

Outside of work, Dr. Eaglin spends most of her time cooking, dancing, traveling and spending time outdoors.


Kenny Fournillier

Kenny Fournillier will teach Introductory Biology. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Howard University and completed his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Northwestern University.

For the last four years, he has worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he was an application specialist providing technical support to customers buying scientific instruments.

Dr. Fournillier is familiar with the Lab culture, as he is the parent of two young Lab students.

“One of the things that motivated me to apply for the position was the flexibility. In terms of the content we want to teach, all of the teachers have agreed on that, but I have the freedom to teach the way I want to teach,” Dr. Fournillier said.

“If you don’t understand the big concepts, then it doesn’t always make sense and you can’t reason through it.”


Elizabeth Kelley

Elizabeth Kelley will teach Chemistry C. Before coming to U-High, Ms. Kelley earned her Masters of Science at the University of Chicago.

She said that as a teacher, it is most gratifying when teaching students that are truly excited to learn.

“I’ve taught students with a spectrum of interests. Some are really excited to be in the class and some are bitter and are just there to fulfill a requirement. I feel like the students at Lab have a lot of enthusiasm and are really excited to learn,” Ms. Kelley said.

When she isn’t working, she can be found reading books on a wide variety of topics or playing with her puppy.


Colleen McGoey

Colleen McGoey will teach English 1. Previously, Ms. McGoey taught English and yoga classes at the Zurich International School in Switzerland. She has also taught in Chicago and in Colorado.

With her background in yoga, Ms. McGoey said she is excited to implement mindfulness into her classes as Lab.

“I would really like to contribute to the wellness efforts that they are talking about in the new strategic plan,” Ms. McGoey said. “I really hope I can also get freshmen to find an interest in reading and writing while igniting a passion in English.”

When Ms. Mcgoey isn’t teaching she is constantly seeking out live music in Chicago and spends time going to different shows and festivals.


Katharine McJimsey

Katharine McJimsey will teach English 1 and Expository Writing. Before coming to Lab, Ms. McJimsey taught at Curie High School for 13 years.

Ms. McJimsey said she decided to teach at Lab for a career change and the opportunity to be part of a different community.

“Lab has a great reputation and it’s an honor to be teaching here,” Ms. McJimsey said.

She is excited to bring her experience with theatre and the “Poetry Out Loud” group into her English classrooms.

Outside of work, Ms. McJimsey loves to garden and spend time with her two children.


Ana Romero

Ana Romero will teach middle and high school studio art. She previously worked at Lab’s primary school, where she taught first and second grade art for six years.

Prior to Lab, she also worked with kindergarten through eighth grade students for 10 years at Chicago Public Schools.

Her graduate work and national board title, however, were both focused on high-school aged students. She said she is excited to move back to teaching older students.

“From what I hear, the high school students have so much background knowledge and experience, so I’m excited to feed and nurture creativity,” Ms. Romero said.


Jayna Rumble

Jayna Rumble will teaching Beginning Journalism, Yearbook and Photojournalism. She previously taught journalism at Troy High School in Troy, Michigan. Ms. Rumble has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Michigan State University.

Ms. Rumble explained that she has a photography business, so she is excited to be able to bring her experience to the program here.

“I am a super-spirited, enthusiastic person. I embrace being a bit of a nerd in some ways, and I just feel like I fit in here,” Ms. Rumble said.

Because she has only lived in Chicago for less than a month, Ms. Rumble explained that she has been exploring the city through food, slowly making her way through each neighborhood.


Zana Tran

Zana Tran is the newest addition to the math department teaching PreCalculus and Introduction to Calculus. In addition to teaching, she is earning a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Chicago.

Previously, Ms. Tran earned her masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, along with her bachelor’s degree from Bard College.

Ms. Tran explained that in addition to teaching by the book and meeting the requirements, she wants to teach the subjects in depth.

“They give me a lot of freedom here and textbooks don’t focus on teaching depth, so I want to see if I can,” she explained.

When Ms. Tran isn’t in the classroom, she can be found dancing tango at different studios throughout Chicago.


Kimberly Williamson

Kimberly Williamson is the new director of human resources. Prior to joining Lab, she had the same jobs for both the Hyde Park Day School and the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School.

“As a Chicagoan, specifically a South Sider, I am acutely aware of the rich history and reputation of the Laboratory Schools and the University of Chicago, which is why it was a great honor to be offered this role to add value and bring my expertise to this leadership team,” Ms. Williamson said.

Her goal is to create a space that supports all employees by making sure everyone feels their voices are heard.

Outside of work, she loves to spend time with her daughter and play with her French bulldog.