Meet Our Staff

Trevor JohnsonTrevor Johnson – Owner/Director
I grew up in Ringwood, Illinois, and met my wife (Jessie) while attending a summer class at McHenry County Community College. She and I have three beautiful daughters. If you have little ones you’ll probably see us at Fort McHenry and Happy Jacks on the weekends! I Am! I Can! has been providing a safe, loving, nurturing environment for children for over 30 years. Many of the current students have parents that attended I Am! I Can! when they were children themselves. My oldest daughter attended I Am! I Can! for four years and recently started kindergarten, and I’m proud to say that she was extremely prepared. All of the children at I Am! I Can! experience a variety of tasks to prepare them in every possible way for their future. At I Am! I Can! we have always and will always do what is in the best interest of the children, and we will always strive to adjust the age appropriate activities to be just right to keep each individual child fully engaged. I am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of taking the best possible care of your children! Here’s to another 30 years!

 Annette Johnson – Director
I am honored and proud to have owned and directed I Am! I Can! for the last 30 years and to be able to share in the educating of children and teachers in our community and many surrounding towns. I am now welcoming second generation families who are returning to us. The parents of the children that have attended I Am! I Can! inform us that their children were prepared for kindergarten academically and socially and are successful in their schooling.
I received my Associate of Applied Science in Child Care and continued schooling at National College of Education and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree. Upon receiving my Bachelors’ degree I continued on to earn my Master of Science Degree. I belong to the McHenry County Director’s Association. My entire education has focused on being an educator of young children and learning methods on being a supportive Director that employs an educated staff with longevity. The quote that best describes my philosophy is, “Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.” My goal for the children at I Am! I Can! is that each child that leaves this center takes with them self-confidence, friendship, social skills and the wonder of learning which will prepare them for success in school and in life.
I live in Spring Grove with my husband and we have two amazing sons, a wonderful daughter in-law and four beautiful grandchildren that we adore. I love to garden, teach swimming lessons and roller blade. I enjoy being with my family and friends and sharing our lives and experiences.

commareJoan Commare –  Teacher/Assistant Director
I have been at I Am! I Can! since it opened its doors in August of 1989.  I began at I Am! I Can! because of my love for children and satisfaction I get from helping them love their first “school” experience.  This is my home because at I Am! I Can! it has always been about the best interest of each individual child.
I have my CDA (Child Development Associate credential).  I have also earned my ECE (Early Childhood Teaching credential) through the program ExCelerate which is presented by the State of Illinois.
I live in Spring Grove with my husband of 40 years.  We have raised 3 wonderful children and they have all married and are raising our 10 energetic  grandchildren. Some of these grandchildren are already alumni of I Am! I Can! and could not have gotten a better beginning to their school experience anywhere else!

watrousJenni Watrous – Teacher/Assistant Director
I began teaching in 2003, when my children attended here.  I have since earned my CDA (Child Development Associate) and my ECE (Early Childhood Education credential).  I am also a member of Gateways to Opportunity and NAC (National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs)
I absolutely love my job as a teacher of young children!  My personal goal is to create a loving and caring bond with each of my students in order to facilitate a safe and comfortable learning environment for them.
I enjoy reading, crossword puzzles, camping and spending quality time with family and friends.

nimrickTricia Nimrick –  Teacher
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Northern Illinois University, graduating in 1992.  I first became a part of I Am! I Can! in 1997 as a mother of a three year old daughter.  Over the next several years, I had two girls go thru I Am! I Can! and began my career here as a substitute teacher, soon filling an open position as an Assistant Teacher.  Knowing how much fun my daughters had here, I knew it would be a fun place to work!  Many people will look at you and think you’re crazy to work with a room full of two year olds.  I don’t think that at all!  Two year olds are just so eager to learn and explore.  It is rewarding to watch them grow.  It may look as if we play all day, but our play has a purpose.  My favorite part of the day is first thing in the morning when many of them are still snuggly and want you to hold them.
Here at I Am! I Can! we all strive to be the best at what we do.  In order to achieve that, I am continuously taking in-services and attending seminars about early childhood education thru the 4-C of McHenry County Program to stay on top of the latest information.  I bring that newly gained knowledge back to the classroom to implement with the students and pass on to you, the parent!

Julie Owens – Teacher
I have always had a passion for working with children. Throughout the past 15 years I have had multiple opportunities in working with children from running my own home daycare, teaching Sunday school classes and leading boys in a local Cub Scout Pack. Currently, I am attending classes and will continue to take classes to earn childhood and School- age credentials. As a mother of three boys, I realize how important their early years were and the positive impact I had on their growth. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to work at I Am! I Can! which has a nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their self-confidence while they play.

Carrie Harper – Teacher
I’ve had the pleasure of caring for children since 1992. I started this passion for teaching at a childcare center in Crystal Lake where I worked for almost 25 years! It was bittersweet to leave my work family after that many years but my son was starting kindergarten in Woodstock and I needed “mommy hours”. I then continued my compassionate nature to work for Greenwood Elementary Early Childhood Life Skills program for 3 years so I could accommodate my son’s school schedule. Working for the school district has been an amazing experience but I realized how much I missed teaching preschool so when I first met Annette and her wonderful staff I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass. Everyone here at I Am! I Can! has welcomed me and are true genuine people that I look forward to getting to know and learn from.

Through my Early Childhood course work at McHenry County College, I’ve become teacher/director qualified and also received my paraprofessional license when I was employed for the school district.

Outside of school I enjoy hiking, biking, camping and playing baseball with my son every chance I get.
We are very active in our Cub Scout pack where I am the pack secretary and also to provide leadership skills.

Maureen BellMaureen Bell – Teacher
I am so pleased to be part of the I Am! I Can! staff. Working with children is so rewarding. For several years I was a Teacher’s Aide with Johnsburg School District. I enjoyed being in the classroom so much that I pursued classes at McHenry County College. I received my Associates of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and became Teacher/Director qualified. I was happy to come on board at I Am! I Can! as a substitute Teacher. When a position opened up in the 4 and 5-year-old room, I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to expand on. I was so right, it is such a joy to watch these children engage, learn, play and wonder. It is a blessing to watch their brains at work. Words I try to live by are: Positive, Powerful, and Uplifting. Keep a positive attitude, be powerful in my endeavors and uplift those around me. I live in Johnsburg with my husband Paul. We are married 38 years and have three great children and four grandchildren who are a joy and keep me busy. I enjoy crossword puzzles, cooking, boating, fishing and time spent with my family.

corsoCarol Corso – Teacher Assistant & Cook
I live in Johnsburg and have been married to my husband Rick for 30 years.  We have 2 daughters, 3 granddaughters and 1 grandson.  I have been at I Am! I Can! since 1998!  I cook lunch for the daycare children and aide in the afternoon.  I am certified in food sanitation, CPR and First Aid.  Throughout the year I take several continuous education classes and in-service seminars.  With my love for art, I share many ideas with all of the classrooms.
When I am not at work, my husband and I love to travel, ride our motorcycle and race stock cars.  I love coming to work at I Am! I Can! and caring for and being with the children.  It is the most rewarding part of my day.

davisEla Davis – Teacher Assistant
I was born in Poland and moved to the United States when I was 18 years old.  I live in Ringwood with my husband and two daughters.
Both of my girls attended I Am! I Can!, and  it was at that time that I began working here (2005).  They are teenagers now and enjoy visiting the school every chance they get.
Over the years I have learned so much from the staff.  I also attend in-service (educational classes). I didn’t know I would like working with small children as much as I do, each new year brings new faces and personalities which I enjoy so much.

IMG_3687Karen Flaschberger – Teacher Assistant
In 1999, our son attended pre-school at I Am! I Can!  Lucky for me a teacher aide position opened up and this was when I first began working at I Am! I Can!  Not only did my son get to go to a fun school, his mom got to work in a fun environment!  I worked until 2002 but had to leave due to multiple reasons (one reason was due to a debilitating back problem).  This saddened me to leave.  I am very happy to say I am returning to I Am! I Can!  I am currently taking ECE (Early Childhood Teaching credential classes) through the program ExceleRate which is presented by the State of Illinois.  I am also a member of Gateways to Opportunity.  I will continually be attending 15 in-service hours yearly to continue my education.  I am certified in CPR and First Aid.
I have been married to my husband for 35 years and we have 3 amazing children and 2 adorable granddaughters.  I enjoy taking walks, camping, reading, singing in the car, road trips, gardening and social media.

IMG_3688Corinne Tessman – Teacher
I began working with young children in 2005 when I started an in-home preschool program for my first-born daughter and a few neighborhood children. I was able to stay home with my three daughters, and I found that I really enjoyed creating a curriculum and watching the children learn and grow. I decided to return to college to pursue my degree in Early Childhood Education.
I currently have my Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development from Purdue University and my ECE credential Level 5. My background is in Art Education from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. I have found that this combination works well with preschool learners.
I’ve since worked as an Educational Paraprofessional, a Pre-K teacher and Art teacher. I recently moved to the area and found that I Am! I Can! preschool is a great fit for me. I am excited to share my passion for teaching young children while helping them secure the skills they need to be successful and ready for the next developmental stage.
The staff at I Am! I Can! is amazing and I am excited to be a part of the team! I look forward to using my skills everyday while working with wonderful people.

IMG_3689Tina Rice – Teacher & Substitute Cook
I am so happy to be a part of the I Am! I Can! family and it is an honor to be involved in the education that the children receive here at I Am! I Can! I am an early childhood qualified Teacher, a licensed paraprofessional, and a member of Gateways to Opportunity for Continuing Education. I am also certified in CPR/First Aid, food service sanitation, and I attend early childhood seminars annually. I live in Wisconsin with my husband of 23 years, our 2 dogs, and 2 cats. We are proud parents and grandparents. In our free time we enjoy taking walks with our dogs, camping, fishing, antiquing, and spending time with our family.