Hello! My name is Jake Hanifin. I am the co-founder and director of Butler Children’s Preparatory here in the Gold Coast. I am very excited to be part of such an amazing new preschool in Chicago.
I am originally from a small city in central NY. I grew up with great parents and two awesome brothers. I received my B.S. degree in Psychology. After college, I escaped the cold NY winters and moved to sunny south Florida. While in Florida, I taught first grade for four years. Two years in a Title I school and two years in an IB school. I also received my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and 18 additional graduate credits in Early Childhood Education. After my stint in sunny Florida, I moved to Chicago to open the tuition-based program (TBP) at the Ogden International School of Chicago. Working collaboratively with Ogden’s administration and staff, we were able to serve the needs of many preschool aged students in Chicago for over six years. Due to the increase in population, CPS decided that Ogden could no longer house such a program. When it was announced that the program would close, we began working on opening Butler Children’s Prep here in the Gold Coast neighborhood.
That brings us to today! I am happy and beyond excited to be back with preschool aged students and look forward to meeting the needs of our families and most importantly our students here at Butler!
I was born and raised in this wonderful city of Chicago! This will be my 11th year teaching, 9th year in the wonderful world of Preschool! I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Mathematics. While attending college, I played for my school’s Women’s Softball team.
During my years teaching at the Ogden International School of Chicago, I decided to pursue a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in English as a Second Language, which I completed in 2014. I am excited to be a part of the Butler family!
I am a transplant to Chicago, coming from the Gulf Coast of Florida. I grew up in the Tampa Bay area and upon graduating from high school enrolled At Florida Gulf Coast University. I graduated in 2009 with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. For a year I worked as a Title 1 teacher, focusing on small group reading and math interventions for Kindergarten through 5th grade. This position inspired me to pursue my masters degree in literacy curriculum and instruction At the end of the school year I made the decision to move to Chicago and attend the University of Illinois at Chicago’s M.Ed program for Literacy, Language, and Culture. While receiving my masters degree I worked with the Ogden International School’s pre-k program for three and a half years.
This past year I have been teaching a STEM enrichment class for Pre-k through 8th grade on Chicago’s West Side. As much as I enjoy my current position, I am so excited to come back to the pre-k world and help to shape our future learners!
Just as cause and effect is a relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other, Butler is a direct result of one Ogden family wanting to provide a new home for Ogden’s preschool program after CPS announced its termination due to the school’s over-capacity issues. Inspired by the transformation Ogden’s preschool had on her own child, Nikki Koutsonicolis brought the teachers and director together to establish Butler Children’s Prep, named after Chicago’s first mayor William Butler Ogden.
If you ever need a “parent’s insight” to preschool, feel free to email Nikki directly: firstname.lastname@example.org