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NLU’s Magazine for Alumni and Friends

From Training Class to Thriving University NATIONAL LOUIS UNIVERSITY | FALL 2016




Nivine Megahed, Ph.D. True to our founder, energized by possibilities ahead


Kay Nixon ‘96, ‘04 and ‘14 “I am indebted to National Louis University.”





Dean’s Perspective Celebrating recent achievements


Taking Her Degrees to Another Level From sub to state-level advocate


From Washington to Illinois, Seeds are Planted This prof’s influence is incredible


Reading Challenges Become Literary Successes Thanks in part to an NLU program


Dean’s Perspective Beaming with pride


Alum Receives Golden Apple’s Principal Award Recognizing indisputable impact and leadership


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National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


Speakers Inspired at Reach Gala Pioneer Award and Reach Awards were presented at NLU’s annual fundraiser


Still Carrying Miss Harrison’s Torch From Training Class to Thriving University


Champion of Arts in South Chicago Tackling youth development with art


What’s New with NLU Alums?


Brenda Castile-Munoz ‘16


14 CONTACT website | email | phone | 312.261.3166

19 National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE Dear friends, When witnessing the tiniest of leaves sprout from the trees and feeling the warmth of the sun after a long winter, it is hard to disagree that spring is a season of optimism and growth. However, as an educator, fall is the time of year that provides me with the most hope and vigor. For it is fall that brings the onset of a new school year and with that, the energizing possibilities of what lies ahead. So it is no coincidence that the relaunch of our alumni magazine is in the heart of our Fall Term. With each issue you will learn how your university is making an impact, turning initiatives into actions, and demonstrating the triumph of hope over adversity. Today, learn about Professor Fromm Reed advocating before Congress about the importance of communities in healing traumatic childhood experiences and why Mary Jane Hender co-founded Reading Power, an early literacy intervention program. Discover why former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged NLU to lead the national conversation on the importance of excellence in education and check out the achievements of fellow alums like John G. Morikis, CEO of Sherwin-Williams Co., in our News and Notes section. We recently were ranked in the “Top 10 Nationally for Grads Making a Difference.” A career survey, conducted by and reported by MONEY Magazine, stated that more NLU grads are in jobs that make the world a better place and are happier because of it. This is a testament and a confirmation of what we already knew about our alumni – that the principles of service, commitment to community and social equity on which NLU was founded continue to be the pillar of our work to this day.

You can follow President Megahed on Twitter


We also received notification that NLU was awarded two major U.S. Department of Education grants totaling $4.8 million to support enrollment and graduation of Hispanic students in STEM-related programs and provide first-generation students and veterans with support in transitioning to post-secondary education. Watch for more details on these two initiatives in our next issue and the opportunities they create for NLU, its students, and the communities we serve. While the hum of laptops replaces the sound of pages turning, we are still, at our heart, the school that began with our founder Elizabeth Harrison’s radical idea that every life matters and every individual deserves an opportunity to get a quality education regardless of their zip code. Be it Pre-K through 12 educators or our myriad of other professionals, National Louis remains committed to preparing individuals who are empowered to create opportunity for others in the communities they call home. Evidence that we are still walking in Ms. Harrison’s footsteps are on the pages of this magazine, and I hope you will enjoy reliving our past successes with us, and looking forward to what the future brings.

Best regards to all,

Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., President We welcome you to stay engaged between semi-annual issues of this magazine by visiting


National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


I am indebted to National Louis University. I first realized I wanted to be a teacher when I was in my late 30s. At that point I researched teacher preparation colleges and discovered that not only did NLU have a stellar reputation, but also was conveniently nearby. I enrolled in the M.A.T. program, which allowed me to get a master’s degree at the same time as a teaching certificate. I was able to go to classes during the day and care for my two young children at night. After completing that program in two-and-a-half years, National helped me get a student teaching placement and then interviews for a job. I landed the second interview and began work in the fall, following my graduation. I know that my NLU credential helped me get that job.

“NLU is the only institution that I recommend for people seeking a teaching degree of any kind.”

I ended up teaching in that same district for 20 years, retiring this year. Over the course of my tenure, I returned to National two more times — once to get a Reading Specialist Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) and then a few years later a Technology in Education C.A.S. Both times, National continued to provide challenging, state of the art best-practice instruction with a highly competent, devoted and inspiring faculty. National has been the constant support that has helped me begin and maintain a high level of teaching quality, connect to professional networks, and stay on the edge of innovative teaching methodologies. It is the only institution that I recommend for people seeking a teaching degree of any kind. I now proudly serve as a trustee on the board and hope I can help NLU continue its exemplary tradition.

-KAY NIXON ‘96, ‘04 AND ‘14

-LEAVING YOUR LEGACYHow can you ensure that the next generation receives the same highquality education that you experienced? Request more info about planned giving today. Call 312.261.3166 to learn more about planned giving.

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


SCENES FROM CPSA Taking Her Degrees to Another Level By Nicholas A. Love Gia Orr ’01 found that her two degrees from National Louis University — one in education and the other focused on the helping professions — have given her a broad scope of knowledge needed to propel her career forward.

DEAN’S PERSPECTIVE The College of Professional Studies and Advancement (CPSA) at National Louis University is defined by dedication. Our dedication to access and our support of diversity is evidenced in our MBA program that enrolled one of the highest percentages (61%) of minorities among Chicago MBAs in 2015 according to Crain’s Chicago Business. In addition to our focus on access and support, we are proud of our excellent professional preparation outcomes. We continue to see an increase in the number of graduates passing the National Counselor Exam Licensure (83% for 2015). The determination and dedication of our students and faculty, exemplified below, are incredible. Our faculty members continue to demonstrate dedication to leadership in their fields of expertise. Bradley Olson, Ph.D., received an award from the Society for Community Research and Action, recognizing nine years of advocacy and contributions to social change. Suzette Fromm Reed, Ph.D., recently lobbied Congress to invest in strong communities that prevent adverse childhood experiences. Catherine Honig, Ph.D., is a member of the steering committee leading the development of the Online Learning Consortium’s upcoming conference.

Orr, with her M.S. in Human Services Administration and a ’07 M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, currently wears many hats for the State of Illinois, mainly centered on empowering people and communities. However, her career started out quite differently. She began as a substitute teacher and worked her way to a principal position at Chicago International Charter School. A little too much first-hand experience with the challenging politics of education nudged Orr to a career shift that allows her to use the full spectrum of her skills. “If you wanted to see change, you needed to entrench yourself in change. And I knew I couldn’t continue to do that with 300 or even 3,000 students — it needed to go to another level,” explained Orr of her move into state government. So how many hats does she currently wear? She’s the director of community rights, relationships and resources; an equal employment officer; and a government results officer for the State of Illinois. She’s also a commissioner for the Cook County Human Rights Commission. Add up all those titles and you get an NLU alum who has some serious means to advocate for people who need it most.

The same determination and leadership is obvious in our alumni communities. Doctoral program graduates recently landed leadership positions in the Chicago Department of Public Health, research centers and community nonprofits. Criminal justice program grads like Aggie Wajda ’15, recently hired by the Roselle Police Department, are seeing hard work pay off. Established alumni are attaining high-level positions, like John G. Morikis ’89, M.S. in Management and Development of Human Resources, who is the CEO of paint retailer Sherwin-Williams. This sampling of our recent achievements demonstrates the combined dedication of the entire CPSA community, which is truly something to be proud of.

Judah Viola, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Advancement 6

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

“My day is about what touches and impacts someone else.”

From Washington to Illinois, Seeds are Planted By Nicholas A. Love

NLU’s Suzette Fromm Reed, Ph.D., recently took a trip to Washington, D.C., to begin an important conversation about healing traumas children experience, known as “adverse childhood experiences” or ACEs. She spoke to representatives from D.C. about using a community’s strengths to buffer such traumas. The opportunity to advocate before Congress about ACEs arose through an honor Fromm Reed received — induction to the American Psychological Association’s 2015-16 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology. Fromm Reed has a keen sense for where her expertise is most needed. She originally joined National Louis University after a successful career utilizing her talents in the nonprofit sector, on the cusp of receiving a vice-president position at an agency. She saw something special in the heart of NLU’s mission and

“Jackie Samuel epitomizes everything we hope to do.” -SUZETTE FROMM REED, PH.D.

vision; so instead of taking the career advancement, she took her career on a whole new trajectory. Lucky she did, because Fromm Reed developed NLU’s Ph.D. in Community Psychology program. She describes the program in three words: “access, empowerment and diversity.” Community psychology, as Fromm Reed would have it, is in strong alignment with the heart of NLU. Like many NLU programs, Community Psychology, by design, makes room for nontraditional students — working adults with families, who are often unable to drop everything to pursue a Ph.D. When these established community leaders look to fine-tune their good instincts, the flexible, relevant programs at NLU provide the best practices in evidence-based research they are seeking. Students are even able to align their doctoral research with challenges they are already tackling. Two of the program’s outstanding grads have been recognized with NLU’s Reach Award. The first is Evelyn Chenier, a 2015 Reach Award recipient and the first woman awarded NLU’s Doctorate in Community Psychology. The second is Jacqueline Samuel, one of this year’s Reach Award recipients.

Fromm Reed counts both these alums among the Community Psychology program’s super stars. She recently invited outof-state research partners to explore the work Samuel does in her South Chicago neighborhood. The strategies Samuel uses are the kind of strategies Fromm Reed is hoping to see transform politics at the state level. “Jackie Samuel epitomizes Jaqueline Samuel ‘11 and ‘15, everything we hope to do,” Fromm Reed said. 2016 Reach Award recipient

Fromm Reed and the Community Psychology program help bring out the best in leaders by providing the specialized experience they need to hone their already hard-won skills. In Washington, D.C., Fromm Reed is planting seeds, but when it comes to Community Psychology, she’s helping seeds planted long ago to thrive and multiply.

Evelyn Chenier ‘03 and ‘11, 2015 Reach Award recipient

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


SCENES FROM NCE supported by the expertise of the volunteers. Most students are reading independently by the end of their time with Reading Power. They leave the program with the capacity to increase their own reading skills independently, with regular practice.

Reading Challenges Become Literary Successes By Nicholas A. Love

“Every time the children read, they get a little bit better at it.” This quote from Mary Jane Hender ’92, M.Ed. in Reading and ’05 Ed.D. in Reading and Language, perfectly encapsulates what keeps her motivated. Hender is the co-founder and board member of Reading Power, an early literacy intervention program in North Chicago and Zion, Illinois. The program provides one-to-one tutoring to approximately 200 students a year, with a focus on providing tutoring to first grade students five days a week for 35 minutes a day. The tutoring provides support, in the form of caring adults, to struggling students who need some extra help catching up to their peers. The students do all the reading themselves,

Mary Jane Hender ’92 and ’03 is a 2008 Reach Award recipient.

The intervention strategies implemented through the Reading Power program are modeled in part after a National Louis University program called Project Prevent. Hender had success supervising paraprofessionals using the reading interventions with first graders in Skokie, a Chicago suburb. After her superintendent reached out to applaud the dramatic success of her work, she was ready to do something a little out of the box. Hender decided she needed to take her work with paraprofessionals and build out a program utilizing volunteers. Armed with her two NLU graduate degrees and some help from another literacy advocate, she built Reading Power. “I didn’t know it was going to work, but it’s been wildly successful,” she said. One notable success story involved a first grader in an unstable home who defied all odds and bloomed into a nationwide Scholastic essay contest winner several years later. After the

“We help them to catch up. We give them the chance to be successful.” -MARY JANE HENDER ’92 AND ’03 program’s first year of tutoring in Zion, teaching staff described a total transformation in many of the students who participated. Hender hopes more and more students will be taking home literary awards. Reading Power’s influence is growing. This year the program is adding tutoring for preschool and kindergarten students, and Hender is looking to launch a similar program in South Carolina. Hender believes in her program and its success, and with good reason. After 13 years and more than 2,000 children tutored, it’s understandable why she sees so much potential in young children to excel. She’s watched it happen over and over again. “They just need to have these literacy experiences early enough so they can achieve,” she noted. “If they are successful in the earlier years, they have a chance to be successful readers and great writers.”


National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

The National College of Education (NCE) at National Louis University has a proud legacy of serving students, schools and the community. This year is no exception. Our alums go beyond professional success to become leaders in DEAN’S PERSPECTIVE the field of education. We know because of remarkable NCE graduates like Andrew Bean ’12 recognized with a Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers from the National Science Teachers Association for the grant-funded solar panels he helped obtain for an elementary school in Chicago; Nicole Zumpano ’10 recently named president-elect of the Illinois affiliate of the international Society for Technology in Education; and Christine Adler ’94 and ‘14 awarded with the Golden

Alum Receives Golden Apple’s Principal Award By Pam DeFiglio NLU alum Christine Adler ‘94, M.Ed. in Language and Literacy and ‘14 Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, received the Stanley C. Golder Award, given annually by the Golden Apple Foundation to a principal who shows exemplary leadership. Adler, principal of Laura Sprague School, an early childhoodgrade 2 school in Lincolnshire, Illinois, was selected because of her advocacy of unique teacher styles, creation of bilingual services and embrace of multiculturalism, along with her passion and support to help students excel to meet their potential, the foundation said. During her 15 years as principal at Sprague, Adler has advocated for teachers, students and parents. Staff say she respects unique teaching styles by giving teachers the flexibility to enhance their lesson plans and providing

NCE alums have earned 70 Golden Apple Awards – one of the most prestigious education honors in Illinois. That’s more than any other school of education in the state!

Apple Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award for the skills and excellence she has displayed as a principal in Chicago. NCE faculty members were recognized as leading experts in their fields, receiving distinguished honors and awards. They include Elizabeth Minor, Ph.D., who served as an expert consultant to the Michigan Consortium for Educational Research; Angela Elkordy, Ph.D., who is developing new innovative learning technology curricula for educators and instructional coaches and is published in the field of learning science and instructional technologies, and Carlos Azcoitia, Ed.D., who recently traveled to a Southern California university to teach graduate students during its Distinguished Practitioners Series. They are just a few of the many outstanding faculty members setting the bar for quality and excellence.

support and resources. Described as tireless, she knows all 555 of her students and their families. “This award truly represents that entire learning organization that I am privileged to lead,” said Adler.

Between our alumni and faculty, we will continue to sustain impact in education for many years to come.

Rob Muller, Ed.D., Dean of the National College of Education National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016



Speakers Inspired at Reach Gala


By Pam DeFiglio




(a) Emcee Karen Jordan, ABC7 News anchor, welcomed guests to the Gala. (b) Mike Koldyke, from left, founder of the Golden Apple Foundation, Patricia Koldyke, Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner and NLU President Nivine Megahed celebrated NLU’s successes at the Reach Awards. (c) Harrison Professional Pathways program students, also recognized at the event, enjoyed the night along with NLU staff. (d) Jacqueline Samuel, from left, Amanda Leftwich, Arne Duncan and Matthew King posed for a photo at the Reach Awards.

NLU alumni, donors and friends arrived at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel May 17 to honor one of the United States’ most influential education leaders and three NLU alumni who are exercising their knowledge and leadership in ways that bring positive change to communities. Emcee Karen Jordan, an anchor at ABC7 News, introduced NLU President Nivine Megahed. “Education, more than ever, is our strongest vehicle for economic opportunity. It is our strongest hope for social equity,” Megahed said, explaining how NLU has created Harrison Professional Pathways as a quality program, at an affordable price point, with a built-in support model to help all students attain their bachelor’s degrees. She also told guests about how NLU educators created the Adaptive Cycles of Teaching instructional design, which uses cloud-based technology to provide coaching and feedback to teacher candidates on their classroom instruction. As a result, students performed significantly better than expected both on written tests and in classroom confidence. 10

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

“We do this work at NLU because we believe it’s our moral obligation to be sure every student has a great education,” she declared. Guests enjoyed filet mignon and crème brûlée during the dinner, which then gave way to the awards portion of the event. Matthew King, the Reach Award winner from the National College of Education and a change agent in education, is executive director and principal of EPIC Academy College Prep Charter High School since 2009. In accepting the award, he referenced the popular anecdote about a man throwing beached starfish back into the sea. When a bystander opines that he can’t possibly make a difference because there are far too many thousands of starfish, the man tosses one in the water and replies, “It made a difference for that one.” King declared that NLU and OneGoal, a national organization that partners with higher education for student success, would abandon a “toss one in the water” approach because it’s random and lacks strategy. Instead, they would study the data, find out why starfish get beached and find more efficient ways to get

them back in the water. And their goal would be to help 100 percent of the starfish thrive, he indicated, just as NLU and EPIC strive to help all students succeed. Last summer, Jackie Samuel, Ph.D., the Reach Award winner in the College of Professional Studies and Advancement, surveyed 126 people in the South Chicago neighborhood, where she works as senior program director for Claretian Associates, a housing and human services provider. Of those surveyed, 51% indicated they had witnessed a shooting. “If you had to live with that kind of trouble, what would your life look like?” she asked, noting that even everyday activities like going to school or to the park put residents at risk. Then she posed a more philosophical question to her listeners: “How do we heal our communities?” Samuel is determined to be part of the healing process. “I will not tolerate the injustices of the world, because NLU has strengthened my voice,” she declared. [Read more about Jackie Samuel on page 14]

After acknowledging she has struggled with learning challenges all her life, Amanda Leftwich, winner of the P.A.C.E. Reach Award, thanked her parents for doing diligent research and finding NLU’s P.A.C.E. program. “P.A.C.E. has impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined,” she said, explaining she gained many life skills, including those which equip her to live in an apartment with her roommate and best friend, and to have a career. She works as a teacher’s aide at Rush University Medical Center’s daycare center, aiding in the growth and development of babies and toddlers. Recently, she earned her Level 1 ECE (early childhood education) credential.


Watch the highlight video from Reach at “I accept this award on behalf of present and future P.A.C.E. students who will also rise above their challenges,” she said. After serving as U.S. Secretary of Education from 2009 until last December, Arne Duncan is back in his hometown and energized to use education as a tool to reduce Chicago’s violence by providing underprivileged young people with opportunities. NLU awarded Duncan its Pioneer Award, which is bestowed on individuals with exceptional character, a sense of higher purpose in life and work, and a record of increasing opportunities for others. After thanking NLU for its focus on access, affordability, innovation and completion, Duncan took a frank look at education in the U.S today. “We can’t talk about education today without talking about race and class and opportunity, or lack thereof, and privilege, or lack thereof,” he said, noting Illinois has a school funding formula riddled with inequity. “What NLU can do to challenge the status quo among schools of education is to talk boldly about how important excellence is in education, how transformative great teachers are,” he said. “So the opportunity for NLU to lead that national conversation is both huge and desperately needed.”


(a) Alumna Rose Johnson and her husband Robert enjoyed hors d’oeuvres while they chatted with other guests. (b) Alumnae Kay Nixon, from left, Martha Smith and Nan Cosier mingled before the Gala. National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016



Still Carrying Miss Harrison’s Torch By Nicholas A. Love

Walk onto National Louis University’s Chicago campus today, and you’ll encounter two striking scenes. On the second floor you’ll find a carefully preserved desk and magnificently upholstered chairs from the 1880s — heirlooms of the National Kindergarten and Elementary College (NKEC), which later became NLU. On the sixth floor you’ll find students with razor-thin laptops, surrounded by HDTVs and wall-to-wall whiteboards. In the balance between antique upholstery and vivid LCD screens is where the innovative vision of NLU founder Elizabeth Harrison continues today. President Edna Dean Baker, Harrison’s immediate torchbearer, was the first to move the vision forward when she helped transform the National Kindergarten and Elementary College (NKEC) into the National College of Education (NCE). Back in the 1920s, NKEC was stuck in a souring neighborhood. The college needed a fresh start and new life. Thanks to the generosity of a friend of the college named William H. Swett — which came as a bequest of around $2 million in today’s dollars — and the support of an army of invested students and alumni, NKEC was able to raise enough funds to acquire new property and make a full transition to Evanston, Illinois. With the move, Harrison’s legacy was safely planted and reemerged as the National College of Education in 1930. President Baker explained the much-needed transformation to the alumni community: “’National’ because we are national with students from every state in our country and because everybody uses ‘National’ now in speaking of us. The ‘College

Students enjoyed the front lawn at the old Evanston campus.

[Read more about Elizabeth Harrison on the back cover]


National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

girls’ say ‘We go to National.’ The superintendents say ‘We have teachers from National.’” In the spirit of maintaining a “National” impact, NLU continues to focus on quality education with broad strokes. NLU’s teachers are prepared for excellence with NCE’s Adaptive Cycles of Teaching (ACT) model that centers on video records of teaching experiences. Students receive precise feedback from teachers, faculty and peers that helps pinpoint areas of improvement that hone their skills. The desire for a “National” impact led to NLU’s Harrison Professional Pathways program. Those students on the sixth floor are part of a unique college experience that includes flexible curriculum and academic coaches who help them attain their bachelor’s degrees. When looking at NLU, NCE or even NKEC — you’ll find the same drive for excellence that’s traced back to Elizabeth Harrison and her class for mothers of kindergarten students. It’s those important markers from past successes and achievement that provide the encouragement and the drive to pursue innovations and excellence for all the current and future students who walk (or click) onto NLU campuses.

FROM THEN TO NOW How Miss Harrison’s Training Class grew into National Louis University. [See more at]

Miss Harrison’s Training Class Elizabeth Harrison began her training for mothers at the Loring School on Prairie Avenue in Chicago.

1886 1891

The National Kindergarten College In affiliation with the National Kindergarten Association, the school became the National Kindergarten College.

The National College of Education The college, firmly established in Evanston, introduced the first four-year teacher-training program in Illinois.

1912 1927

The Chicago Kindergarten College After several years of success and expanded curricula, the school was reorganized into a college.

The National Kindergarten and Elementary College The college was accredited to award bachelor’s degrees and marked by a name change.

1930 Michael W. Louis


Louis made a historic $30 million donation to the NCE, among the largest gifts to higher education in Illinois.

National Louis University Thanks to the generosity of Michael W. Louis and his family, the institution was renamed and transitioned from college of education to a full university.

1990 2014

College of Professional Studies and Advancement The university merged the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Management and Business into one new entity, the College of Professional Studies and Advancement (CPSA).

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016



Champion of Arts in South Chicago By Nicholas A. Love

Visit to watch the video featuring Jacqueline Samuel’s Reach acceptance speech.

Jacqueline Samuel, Ph.D., ’11 and ‘15, is a leader in youth development, violence prevention and trauma-informed community development in South Chicago, a city neighborhood on the far Southeast side bordering Lake Michigan. For Samuel, who is a two-time National Louis University graduate and 2016 Reach Award winner, it all started with the arts. Samuel leveraged a passion for encouraging all generations of artists by putting herself at the intersection of education, community and art, working with a program called Building Community through the Arts. The program was focused on integrating established artists with community development projects in South Chicago and other under-resourced neighborhoods like it. Samuel became attached to South Chicago. She found so many inspiring artists that were expressing their creative skills outside of the community. So the challenge began; how do you make space for artists to thrive in their own backyard? Samuel has spent a great deal of effort seeking the answer to that question as the senior program director for Claretian Associates, a human services and program provider for low- and moderate-income residents in South Chicago. Most recently, Samuel helped neighborhood youth document the last 10 years of public art in South Chicago and interview local artists. The product was a catalog of South Chicago arts and artists who’ve improved the neighborhood’s quality of life, and it’s become a bit of an underground hit among the teens and their neighbors.


National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

Just as the intersection of art and education was how Samuel discovered her love for South Chicago, it was also how she discovered National Louis. Samuel’s introduction to NLU began in the 1990s when she worked under an NLU program that taught teachers at 36 Chicago Public Schools how to integrate arts into their curriculum. From there she took a one-off class at NLU about putting research into action. It wasn’t until years later — spurred on by a desire to increase the effectiveness of her work — that she was ready to commit to graduate school. A student-organized event sold her on the NLU public policy program. “I loved the dialogue I was having with the students — my peers, my class. It was rich, it was informative, it was really right on the cusp of current issues that were going on in the country,” explained Samuel. After her positive experience in the public policy program, it was an easy choice for her when a faculty member suggested that she take her education a step further by obtaining a doctorate in community psychology. Samuel has moved in her South Chicago journey through the arts and into a Ph.D., but she hasn’t set her first love aside. She brings passion and her artistic mindset to her important work at Claretian Associates. “My background is in theater — so it’s almost like creating a play, so to speak. You have this wonderful cast of characters, and they’re trying to get to a particular goal. And I’m the director trying to find a way to help them do that.”

NEWS & NOTES 1980s

as the incoming principal of Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Illinois.

George Bridges ‘82, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences, joins the board of directors for Northern States Financial Corporation, the holding company of NorStates Bank in northeastern Illinois.

Daryl Deino ‘97, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was featured in the Huffington Post recounting homophobia and discrimination he encountered as a teacher in the 1990s and 2000s.

John Zizzo ‘88, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences, was named as a property and association manager for KOVA Property Management, a commercial real estate firm in Naples, Florida.

Laurie Kimbrel ‘97, C.A.S. in Administration and Supervision, was announced as the new head of school for Brookhaven Innovation Academy, a charter school near Atlanta, Georgia.

Amber Bechard ‘89, M.Ed. in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders, was announced as a visiting assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.

Dona Svehla ‘97, B.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences, was named vice president of fraud/Bank Secrecy Act and member resolution at GTE Financial, a credit union with locations throughout West Central Florida.

1990s Jacklynn Lesniak ‘96, M.S. in Management and Development of Human Resources

Alan Berkowsky ‘93, B.A. in Management and ‘97 M.S. in Management, was featured at describing the need for fire and police departments to coordinate their efforts when responding to active-shooter events. Nathaniel Echols ‘93, B.A. in Management and ‘95 M.S. in Management, was named 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year in Accounting & Finance by Worldwide Branding, a professional branding company. Kim Gillespie ‘93, B.A. in Management, joined Vatterott College as the campus director for the college’s location in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Cece Coffey ‘94, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, was honored as the South Cook Elementary Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association. Lanis Petrick ‘94, M.Ed. in Science Education, retired from her career as an education specialist with the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. Lori Broncato ‘95, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and ‘04 C.A.S. in Administration and Supervision, was announced as the new principal of Everest Academy, a Catholic elementary school located in Lemont, Illinois. Jim Honn ‘95, B.A. in Management, was appointed as chief operating officer of American CareSource Holdings, a health care network with locations in a number of Southern states. Don Slawinski ‘95, B.S. in Management, ‘02 M.Ad.Ed and ‘04 M.S. in Managerial Leadership, was featured in Crain’s for his unique work as an in-house instructor at Camcraft, a small manufacturing company in Hanover Park, Illinois. Jean B. Bingham ‘96, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences and ‘04 M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was just appointed to a leadership role in the organization tasked with the religious instruction of young children for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kelly Dvoracek ‘96, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, was named as the new principal at Fredrick Nerge Elementary School in Roselle, Illinois. Debra Novy ‘96, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was announced

Lesniak was honored as one of the Women Hospital and Health Systems Leaders to Know in 2015 by Becker’s Hospital Review. Pat Ciara ‘98, B.S. in Management, was featured in the Windy City Times for her experience as a member of the LGBT community working in the Chicago Fire Department. Frank Trost ‘98, B.S. in Management, was profiled in CBS Chicago for his work as a police lieutenant with the City of Elgin Police Department in Illinois. Tracey Burkheimer ‘99, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, retired from her position as a sixth-grade teacher at Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin. Christina Campbell ‘99, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, retired from her position as an elementary school teacher at Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin. Theresa Dixon ‘99, M.S. in Human Services Administration, was named as the director of the TRiO Talent Search program at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois.

2000s Melody Hackney ‘00, M.S. in Management, was announced as the new superintendent for Hopewell City Public Schools in Hopewell, Virginia. Shawna Cooper-Gibson ‘01, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, is the new dean of students for the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Nakia Nicholson ‘01, B.S. in Management, was named as the principal of The Children’s Guild District of Columbia Public Charter School in Washington, DC. National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


NEWS & NOTES Adam A. Smith ‘01, M.Ed. Administration and Supervision, was appointed as director of undergraduate academic advising and student success at the University of Alabama.

Emily E. Bennett ‘05, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, joined Howard & Howard Attorneys and will practice out of the law firm’s Chicago office.

Keisha White ‘01, M.Ad.Ed, joined the board of directors for the Indiana Youth Institute, an organization that promotes the healthy development of children and youth.

Chadd D. Carr ‘05, B.S. in Management Information Systems, was profiled on the CBS Baltimore website for his role and expertise as the director of cyber threat intelligence and response services at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services network.

Dennis Bednarski ‘02, B.S. in Management, was hired as the regional vice president of Midwest operations for the utility services company INTREN. Kim Brown ‘02, M.S. in Written Communication, wrote a short piece of fiction that was featured in the latest edition of MUSED, the BellaOnline Literary Review.

John G. Morikis ‘10, M.S. in Management and Development of Human Resources Morikis was named as the new CEO of Clevelandbased paint manufacturer and retailer SherwinWilliams Co. Janel Dorn ‘02, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, was named the new principal of Sarasota Middle School in Sarasota, Florida. Mike McClelland ‘02, B.S. in Management, joined Servion Global Solutions as vice president of enterprise delivery in the US. Thomas Reidy ‘02, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, was announced as the next president of Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Selene Stewart ‘02, M.A.T. in Elementary Education and ‘06 C.A.S. in Administration and Supervision, was announced as the new principal of Hoffman School in Glenview, Illinois. Jane Thompson ‘02, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and ‘11 C.A.S. in Administration and Supervision, retired from her position as dean of students at Rock University High School in Janesville, Wisconsin. Jennifer Vincent ‘02, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was profiled in CBS Chicago for her work as a technology integration specialist at Mundelein Elementary School District 75 in Mundelein, Illinois. Ella Allen ‘04, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences, received a Servant’s Heart Award from the Georgia Children’s Cabinet, the child welfare advisory body for the state of Georgia.

Beth Schaefer ‘05, M.A. in Psychology and ‘14 M.S. in Written Communications, was highlighted in the Chicago Tribune for a unique career that includes corporate writing, comic send-ups and children’s books. David Wyche ‘05, B.S. in Management, was a contributing author in an article about operational readiness featured on the official website of the U.S. Army. Christopher Basten ‘06, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was named as the new principal of Aspen Elementary School in Aspen, Colorado. Chundra Evens ‘06, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, was recognized by the Florida Department of Education with an Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award. Joshua Mercer ‘06, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was featured in DNAinfo for founding Swish Dreams, a program that uses sports and statistics to encourage math and reading skills in students. Jared Smith ‘06, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, was named principal of Muscatine High School in Muscatine, Iowa. Adam Lewandowski ‘07, B.S. in Management and ‘09 M.A.T. in Secondary Education, was selected as the new head football coach for Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois. Gale Rundle ‘07, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, retired from her position as a fourth-grade teacher at Janesville School District in Janesville, Wisconsin. Scott Grens ‘08, M.A.T. in Secondary Education and ‘12 M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, was recently announced as the new principal of Rutledge Hall Elementary School in Lincolnwood, Illinois. James Held ‘08, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Science, retired from his role as police chief after 31 years with the police department in Lake Forest, Illinois. Yaa Appiah ‘09, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, is the new principal at Weber Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa.

Soraya Correa ‘04, B.A. in Management, was featured in an online discussion hosted by Federal News Radio for her work modernizing Department of Homeland Security network systems.

Meg Knapik ‘09, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, was appointed as the new assistant principal of Pleasantdale Middle School in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

Javette Simmons ‘04, MBA, is now the senior human resources business partner at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Alicia Kroher ‘09, Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision, was named as the new assistant principal at Opp Middle School in Opp, Alabama.

Brian Stahulak ‘04, MBA, is the new chief nursing officer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Elisa Maldonado ‘05, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, ‘11 C.A.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, and ‘12 M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, is the new principal of Myers-Wilkins Elementary in Duluth, Minnesota.

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016

Tony Miksa ‘09, Ed.D. in Community College Leadership, was

hired as the next president of Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee. Clare T. Walker ‘09, M.S. in Written Communication, published her thesis project as a mystery novel, “The Keys of Death.”

2010s Tony Bowers ‘10, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, published “On The Nine,” a collection of short stories describing life for African American men living in Chicago’s South Side. Michelle Cooney ‘10, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision, was appointed as the new principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Evanston, Illinois. Sarah Marion ‘10, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, is now the executive director of the Manteno Chamber of Commerce and event planner for the Village of Manteno, in Illinois. Dorota Rakowiecki ‘11, B.S. in Health Care Leadership, was featured in Becker’s Hospital Review for her work as the assistant director of program management for the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Lacey Satterfield ‘14, B.S. in Health Care Leadership, was promoted to director of dental practice coaching at Dental Partners, LLC., a network of dental offices with locations across the Southern United States. Alison Hawley ‘15, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, was selected as the new director of curriculum and instruction for River Forest Public School District 90 in River Forest, Illinois. Patrick Iovinelli ‘15, M.S. in Written Communication, wrote a young adult novel for his thesis project called “Waiting for the Sun” that is scheduled to be published this fall. Rachel Jantke ‘15, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, was named as the program director of HIV/AIDS surveillance for the Chicago Department of Public Health. Caly Meyers ‘15, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, joined the board of directors for Literacy DuPage, a nonprofit that provides customized, learner-centered English language instruction to over 30 communities in DuPage County, Illinois.

Tracy M. Stevenson-Olson ‘11, Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision and ‘16 Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, was hired as the director of teaching and learning for Wilmot Union High School in Wilmot, Wisconsin. Carol Keene Baker ‘12, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, is the new superintendent for Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 in Lyons, Illinois. Andrew Bean ‘12, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, was awarded the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers from the National Science Teachers Association. Rodney Figueroa ‘12, M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision and ‘16 Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, was named superintendent of the Pittsville School District in Pittsville, Wisconsin. Judy Mitchell ‘12, Ed.D. in Community College Leadership, was named interim president of Joliet Junior College. Lori Wilcox ‘12, Ed.D. in Educational leadership, was named as superintendent of Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102, based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Yolonda Williams ‘12, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, was recently named as the manager of data analysis and communications for the Chicago office of the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Jennifer Harris ‘13, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, was recently named as a vice president at the international fundraising and nonprofit management firm Graham-Pelton Consulting. Robert Sky Allen ‘14, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, recently had his doctoral dissertation published as three separate articles in peer-reviewed journals. Chrysoula Sarantopoulos ‘14, B.S. in Health Care Leadership and currently working towards a Master’s in Health Services Administration, was added to the International Nurses Association’s list of Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.

Tiffany Aurand ‘10, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction

Aurand was one of five elementary school teachers to receive a 2016 Golden Apple Award from the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford, Illinois. Lissette Rivera ‘15, B.A. in Criminal Justice, recently received a special task force assignment with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department. Amber Williams ‘15, Ph.D. in Community Psychology, was recently named director of evaluation and research at Beech Acres Parenting Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In Memoriam Valerie Cothern ‘81, M.S. in Management and Development of Human Resources Laura Konkel ‘88, B.A. in Applied Behavioral Sciences and ‘93 M.A.T. in Elementary Education Leroy Thomas Van Dyne ‘90, B.A. in Management Signe Noth ‘95, C.A.S. in Administration and Supervision Natalie Kaye Manbeck ‘96, Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership Susan M. Dayton ‘99, M.S. in Counseling Janice K. Schulien ‘03, M.S. in Counseling

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


Steve Goodwin, president and chairman

of the National Louis University Veterans Program Advisory Council, was presented with an honorary doctorate this past June for his exemplary commitment to veteran services at NLU and beyond: “It has been my honor to serve as chairman. Our vision began with Stephen Curda, Ph.D., and his wrap-around services and holistic support model, which was critical to a successful outcome. Our model of how to deliver the educational needs of veterans has now become the ‘gold standard’ for colleges and universities across the country and put NLU in the forefront of the veteran education experience.” Goodwin recently made a pledge to support NLU’s Veterans Program so that this gold-standard program can continue to see success for years to come.


COMMENCEMENTS See this year’s grads at


National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016


have I regretted returning to school. Not once have I regretted attending National Louis University. National Louis University was the bridge between there and here, hope and despair. I was over there. But now — I’m over here.” Brenda Castile-Munoz ‘14 and ‘16, Student Reflections Speaker at NLU’s 2016 Commencement [Watch the entire speech at]

INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT Carole Wood, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Genti Basha, Research and Prospect Analyst Karen Galea, Director of External Funding and Grant Development Danielle LaPointe, Director of Advancement Services Sandy Injerd, Institutional Advancement Coordinator Brittany Yantos, Associate Director of Annual Giving National Louis University VIEW Nicholas A. Love | Managing Editor James Richards IV | Staff Photographer Contributors Pam DeFiglio Kay Nixon Meghan Ryan and Chris Diaz

National Louis University VIEW | Fall 2016





Office of Institutional Advancement 122 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60603-6162

REVIEWING OUR LEGACY Expanding Opportunities From the Very Beginning By Meghan Ryan and Chris Diaz One hundred and thirty years ago, Elizabeth Harrison set out to expand opportunities for women to be trained in teaching, educational philosophy and early childhood development. The

Chicago Kindergarten College, which existed between 1891 and 1912, was founded by Elizabeth Harrison and J.N. “Rumah” Crouse. With Harrison’s intellectual leadership and Crouse’s organizational management, they worked together to transform what was first known as Miss Harrison’s Training Class in 1886 into what has evolved into National Louis University today.

Harrison began her work with the Kindergarten Movement when she moved to Chicago in 1879 to study with the woman who helped bring kindergartens into public schools in Chicago, Alice Putnam. In the mid-1880s, she received permission from Stella Dyer Loring, principal of the Loring School on Prairie Avenue, to hold a class for mothers of the kindergarten students. Although only two mothers attended her first class, with the help of Crouse (one of the mothers), Harrison was soon providing classes throughout the Chicago area. As a student, Crouse saw that Harrison’s vision of early childhood education needed a greater audience. Crouse’s partnership with Harrison helped organize her training school into the Chicago Kindergarten College, from which graduates could enter the field of education as more on the professionals.

Visit for history of National Louis University.

Elizabeth Harrison’s students learn how building blocks can be used to enhance kindergarten lessons.

[To contact Meghan Ryan, Archives and Metadata Assistant, email]

National Louis University View | Fall 2016  
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