Select Page

Cathryn Ilani


Cathryn Ilani is a Principal who has been working in education for over 30 years. She is dedicated to providing a place and curriculum that helps students to grow. In both teaching and administrative roles, Cathryn Ilani has created an environment for her students to succeed.  

Cathryn Ilani has taught preschool through ninth grade over her years as an educator. Before she started teaching, Cathryn attended a university in Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. The university is a public research school and the official state university of Wisconsin. Founded in 1848, the same year Wisconsin received statehood, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the flagship campus in the system.  

Once she completed her bachelor’s degree, Cathryn Ilani began working as a preschool teacher and teen coordinator for the Jacob Duman JCC Early Childhood Center in Chicago, Illinois. During this time, Cathryn held two roles; preschool teacher and teen coordinator. This role was Cathryn’s first experience working with and educating children. While in this position, Cathryn was attending graduate school to further her education and career. 

In 1993, Cathryn Ilani completed her Master of Arts in Teaching at National-Louis University. It is a private university, and National-Louis University’s main campus is located in Chicago. After five years of working with preschoolers and teenagers, Cathryn began a new role at the Summit School in Illinois. There, Cathryn Ilani worked as a fourth to eighth grade teacher for six years. She continued to expand her knowledge and experience of working with children of various ages.  

Cathryn Ilani then went on to work at the Davinci Academy, where she expanded her skill set. At the Davinci Academy, Cathryn taught the fourth grade and co-wrote the curriculum for those students. Writing the curriculum helped Cathryn create a lesson that was better fitted for her students. Cathryn quickly realized that she wanted to create a place for students to grow without being held up by the curriculum.  

In 2002, Cathryn Ilani opened the Einstein Academy, a school for academically talented students, of which she is the founder and principal. Cathryn aimed to create a school that taught a well-rounded curriculum to its students. She had noticed that many other private schools focused on certain areas of curriculum while ignoring others and wanted to make a place that did more for students.  

The Einstein Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Elgin, Illinois that provides education for students from preschool through high school. Ilani is proud of The Einstein Academy, which boasts smaller class sizes and increased attention per student, ensuring a proper education.  

Recently, The Einstein Academy announced a new merger on the horizon. The Einstein Academy and Gersh Autism intend to join forces. Gersh Autism has been serving neurodiverse students for over 28 years, becoming an industry leader in autism education. Their goal is to combine forces to serve the community and students within.

Cathryn Ilani is dedicated to providing the best education for her students. Mrs. Ilani is one of the few teachers statewide with an endorsement in Gifted Education. Her classroom is always alive with excitement and hands-on learning activities. She is extremely dedicated to making each and every one of her students reach their maximum potential. Cathryn Ilani is passionate about maintaining a curriculum that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). She believes that the science and math-related curriculum is ineffective without the arts as well.  

Given her background, it is easy for Cathryn Ilani to see how much of an impact technology has on education. She believes it has the potential to revolutionize the way we teach. For example, technology can make education more accessible for all. 

On a more personal level, Mrs. Ilani is married and has three children. She loves her work and everything her career enables her to accomplish. Cathryn Ilani is a firm believer in philanthropy and giving back. This has been a driving force behind her career choice and will continue to inform her decisions.

Visit Cathryn Ilani’s other website,, to learn more about her views on education.