Meet the IGSS Staff

Jeffrey Markham , Coordinator/English Instructor

William Blake described "the desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite…" and at the moment, this sentiment is at the heart of why I teach. The environment of IGSS, with its fluid use of time, its emphasis on community, and its method of self-directed learning is wonderful for exploring what Blake is talking about-the infinite in what is to be learned, the infinite in each other, and the infinite in ourselves. A few lines later, Blake asks, "Is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only for the sake of present ease or gratification?" It is my conviction that a perception of the infinite allows us to value our honesty and our genius more than anything else as we learn to make lives for ourselves and to make the world a livable place for everyone else.

I was born and raised in New York, graduated from Hampshire College, focused on music throughout my 20's and then went to the University of Chicago for an MAT/English degree. 2016-17 marks my 23rd year at New Trier. I live in the district, so two of my kids have already graduated from NT (and were in IGSS!), and my youngest is a sophomore here. My lovely wife is a teacher, a writer, and the center of our household. Our life together is a never-ending series of surprises as the five of us together explore the infinite through each other's eyes.

Lindsay Arado , Coordinator/ Social Studies Instructor

I was born in Washington, DC, graduated from Georgetown University and then spent the next decade of my life doing things like: Americorps (twice), picking blueberries on an organic farm for a summer, backpacking throughout the west, serving in the Peace Corps, and having other fun adventures that did not apply to my degree. Teaching seemed like a natural fit; I earned my Master's in Education from Northwestern. I am also married and spend much of my free time with my two sons.

I served on the strategic plan committee from which IGSS emerged and was thrilled by the discussions we had about education and how to create a school that incorporates more autonomy and self-direction for students. We continue to have those same conversations, recognizing that IGSS is a work in progress and is shaped by all community members, especially our students. As a teacher in IGSS, I am challenged to think about teaching and learning in a very different manner, a process that is exciting (and sometimes painful).

Darrin Jeziorski , Art Instructor

Why am I here? I am here for the collaboration, the connections, and for the challenge. For me, the best way to learn/grow is to place myself in a new environment and to be uncomfortable. In joining the IGSS program 5 years ago, it afforded me an opportunity to question where I have come from and where I want to go as an educator. In life and in my classroom, I embrace the inventive, the subjective, and the provocative.

Who am I? I am an artist, a parent, a lover and a fighter. I grew up in Chicago and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before I moved east to get my Masters of Fine Arts degree from SUNY New Paltz. In addition to my teaching, I have worked as a tattoo artist in some capacity for the past 20 years. I have three creative kids and my wife of 14 years has great attention to detail as a result of her time in the US Coast Guard and studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Since returning from a Fulbright in England 7 years ago, I have found inspiration and balance through training and competing in the martial arts.

Colby Vargas , Administrative Advisor

IGSS has been a wonderful, tumultuous ride, and a centerpiece of my career. The experience has transformed students and adults alike. I've been involved from the first, embryonic stages of our school-within-a-school, and am very proud of what IGSS has become. I've had the opportunity to work with New Trier's most innovative staff and most passionate students.

A little about me: I am from all over the Midwest, and as a result I am really good at waiting in lines and I always expect a potato with my meals. I am the fencing coach at New Trier, but I am also fairly obsessive about baseball. In my spare time, I like to write short stories that explore the darker sides of birthday parties and small animals. I have taught just about every Social Studies class in existence, and I have sponsored everything from Student Alliance to Ultimate Frisbee Club.