Lurie Children’s offers various education programs to our patients and their siblings to make sure a stay at our hospital doesn’t disrupt a child’s learning. The following programs are led by teachers with years of experience in the education system.
Take a look at the bios below to get acquainted with the educator who may work with your child.
Meet Our Teachers
Scott Zagalak, M. Ed, co-leads our hospital-wide School Services Program. Scott has a Master's degree in education with endorsements in math, social science, business and economics, and Spanish. His teaching license also bears the designation of approval for Learning Behavior Specialist I. Before coming to work at the hospital, he taught as a Chicago Public Schools teacher for 10 years. He is a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction and received the 2016 Griffin Award for Teacher of Excellence from the University of Chicago. As a life-long learner, he believes learning should be fun, engaging, and hands-on. He enjoys working with our patients and their families to maintain their academic progress.
Katie Vautier, M. Ed, co-leads the hospital-wide School Services Program. Katie has a Master’s degree in education with an endorsement in Spanish. She taught kindergarten, third, fifth, and sixth grades in the Chicago Public Schools before starting at the hospital. As a School Services Coordinator, Katie provides student instruction in all subject areas while working closely with families and schools to ensure students are staying on track academically while inpatient at the hospital.
Robert Blaufuss, a former principal, runs our Epilepsy Education Program. He works with up to 125 epilepsy patient families and their school systems each year to help them understand the educational needs of children with epilepsy and make individualized education program (IEP) recommendations. After 39 years in the education system, Robert is an expert at communicating with both patient families and schools, translating complicated medical information into terms everyone can understand.
Sarah Johnson is the Education Liaison for the Department of Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, and is a licensed Special Education Teacher with a Learning Behavior Specialist 1 Endorsement. Prior to working at Lurie Children's, she worked as a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools in both the middle school and primary grades. Sarah enjoys partnering with patient families and their school teams to best support patients throughout treatment and beyond.
Meghan Liston is the Education Liaison with the NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program within the Heart Center at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Meghan graduated with her Masters in Social Work and Bachelors in Social Welfare from UW-Madison (Go Badgers!). Before transitioning to this role, she was a school social worker in both the elementary and high school settings. She truly loves working with youth and families to help them navigate the educational system and maximize student outcomes. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and family.
Jen Haney, MA, DT-H, is the Hart Family Education Liaison for the Cochlear Implant Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is a licensed teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and credentialed Early Intervention evaluator and provider. Jen holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Organizational Change from Roosevelt University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University. Jen joined the Cochlear Implant Team in November of 2015. Since becoming part of the team, Jen has had the opportunity to present at both the state and national level. She provides support and resources to families regarding the education of their child from birth through post-secondary education. Jen also collaborates with educational teams in a variety of school placements keeping them up-to-date regarding a number of aspects pertaining to cochlear implants. She is currently pursuing her Listening and Spoken Language certification to become a licensed Auditory Verbal Educator.