Admin Staff


Dr. Randy Needlman
Dr. Randy Needlman became the Principal of North Park Elementary School on July 1, 2015. After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, he taught at the elementary level in Orland Park and Lincolnwood, IL before becoming the Director of Early Childhood Education and English Language Learning in Skokie School District 68.  After earning his Master of Science Degree in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, he became the Principal of Devonshire School in Skokie 68 where he spent the remainder of his public school administrative career before joining the North Park community. Prior to earning his Doctoral Degree from National-Louis University in Educational Leadership, he was selected as a J. William Fulbright Scholar, and participated in a Principal's Exchange Program with a School Director in Rosario, Argentina in 2009 and 2010. Dr. Needlman is excited to be joining the North Park Elementary School community and is looking forward to working closely with the Board of Directors to promote North Park's continued growth and progress.

Amanda Espitia
Director of Development and Communications
Amanda has worked at NPES since 2012, but has been involved in fundraising since 2004 when she worked for John Kerry’s presidential campaign and for the Democratic National Committee.  After working as a Chief of Staff to a state representative in Michigan in 2005, she then moved to Chicago where she lead an environmental political organization for two years.  Deciding to leave the political world, Amanda then spent four years as a Development and Communications Director for a domestic violence agency prior to coming to NPES.  She earned a Bachelor of Art from Michigan State University and a Master in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.  Amanda has earned a Master in Educational Administration from Concordia University.  You can frequently find Amanda running in the neighborhood during the early morning hours.  

Emily Friend
Director of Curriculum
After graduating with a Geography and Biology degree from the University of Colorado, Emily fell into her first teaching job through Teach for America as a middle school science teacher in Oakland, California.  At the end of her first year of teaching, she was hooked - on both middle schoolers and teaching.  After moving back to her hometown of Chicago, Emily began to work at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and dedicated 10 years to BZAEDS.  During her tenure Emily taught 5th-8th grade and a variety of subjects from social studies to literature and language arts, but spent the vast majority of her years in the area of science education.  Emily also acted as Lead Teacher and Service-Learning/Advisory coordinator while at BZAEDS. Emily completed her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois Chicago and also taught as an adjunct professor at night, while teaching during the day.  During her downtime you will find Emily exploring the city (and specifically Roscoe Village where she lives) with her husband and their two children, ages 3 and 6.  She is excited to have her son begin the PK program at North Park this fall and is expecting baby #3 this winter!

Mary May Johnson
Office Manager
Mary parlayed her degree in Law Enforcement Administration and Social Justice from Western Illinois University, into a job as an adult probation officer in Lake County, Illinois.  Her experience in monitoring the seedy side of society was a perfect segue into her position as an office manager for Irving Harris with his investment firm, Harris Associates, in Chicago.  Combining that with a litany of jobs over time as a receptionist, fundraiser, investment assistant, bookkeeping assistant, thespian and mom; working here at North Park Elementary has allowed her to use all her strengths.

Diane Lee
Student Services





Brenda Pantle
NPES Bookkeeper

Brad Riggs
Instructional Technology Specialist
Brad just joined the NPES community for the 2015-2016 school year. He taught in Boston at an independent school for nine years in the English, ESL/ELL, and Technology departments. His focus has always been about using technology in the classroom in a meaningful way and examine the social impacts that technology has on our society. He volunteers and helps a school in Haiti through an organization called Prior to teaching, Brad worked for IBM in their data warehouse as a corporate trainer focusing on communication skills and change management for programmers. He attended University of Wisconsin for his undergraduate degree and Boston University for his Masters.

Brad grew up in Wisconsin but was born in Chicago, so it is nice to be back. He still has his Bear's gear. His sister and her family along with his dad lives in Normal, Illinois. For fun, he's practiced Tae Kwon Do since he was nine years old and achieved 1st Dan Black Belt from 8th degree Black Belt Master Chom Son Cho in Milwaukee, WI. He was Wisconsin state champion in 1984 & 85 and went to the Junior Olympics those years.  He has an interest in publishing and photography. He was the photo editor of the campus newspaper and Editor of a zine with some friends in college, and he loves to travel. He's been to England for a semester and backpacked through Europe twice (pre & post EU), Budapest, Hungary, China and last year, took a train trip from Albuquerque, NM to Portland, Oregon.

Kim Smith
Director of Learning Services

Kim has been at North Park since 2012 but is in her 14th year as an educator. With a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from St. Louis University and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington, Kim brought 11 years of service as a social worker in child protection and children's healthcare into her 4th and 6th grade classrooms in public schools in Texas and Kentucky. Kim enjoys spending her free time discussing Lego creations with her son Owen, an NPES student, experiencing the city with her family, and running.


Marshall Warren
Director of Business and Operations
Marshall comes to NPES from a sister independent school where he served in a similar capacity.   The majority of Marshall's career in education sector has been in higher education administration, managing the financial and physical plant operations for business units at private and public universities.   His educational credentials include an EdD, Higher Ed Administration (Benedictine University), MS, Non Profit Management (DePaul University), BA, History / Poli Sci. (Illinois Wesleyan University). He is excited to join Dr. Needlman, the administrative team and faculty as NPES plans to grow enrollment, improve facilities and enrich the co-curricular offerings. 


Anne Zagotta
Director of Admissions
Bachelor of Journalism - University of Missouri


Contact Us

North Park Elementary School 2017 W Montrose Chicago, Illinois 60618
Phone: 773.327.3144      Fax: 773.327.0331