Alumni Accomplishments

Jill Anderson
Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson (M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’12) has been named principal of Park School in Evanston/Skokie School District 65. The therapeutic day program provides a structured and safe environment for students ages 3 to 21 with a variety of special needs. Anderson has spent the past five years as assistant principal at Kirk School, part of the North Shore Special Education Organization.

Christohper Bobek
Christohper Bobek

Christopher Bobek will start July 1 as the new associate superintendent of Business Services for the Woodland Board of Education. He completed his Type 75 Chief School Business Official Endorsement in the NIU Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations in 2008. Bobek has been leading the business office at Grayslake Community Consolidated District 46 since 2013.

Michael DeVries
Michael DeVries

Michael DeVries (M.S.Ed. in Kinesiology and Physical Education/Pedagogy and Curriculum Development, ’13) was named the regional nominee for the 2018 Newell National Athletic Trainer of the Year Award. DeVries is a certified athletic trainer at Schaumburg High School. The Newell National Athletic Trainer of the Year Award recognizes athletic trainers for the service and leadership they provide local athletic communities.

Hector Garcia
Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia (M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’96) will begin work this summer as the new superintendent of Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181, beginning this summer. Currently superintendent of the Plano Unit District 88, Garcia also serves as Chief Financial Officer and manages Facilities and Operations. He previously worked as an assistant superintendent in Glenbard School District 87.

Jill M. Gildea
Jill M. Gildea

Jill M. Gildea (Ed.D. Curriculum and Supervision, ’02) was named superintendent of the Greenwich Public School District in Connecticut in July 2017 after a national search. Gildea had served as superintendent of the Fremont School District 79 in Mundelein, Ill., for seven years.

Jamie Hooyman
Jamie Hooyman

Jamie Hooyman (M.S.Ed. in Kinesiology and Physical Education: Exercise Physiology, ’86) is the first woman to serve as provost of Northwest Missouri State University. She assumed the role in November 2017 after five months of leading the office as interim provost. Hooyman was named vice provost in 2016.

Jay McCracken
Jay McCracken

Jay McCracken (B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’76) is the interim superintendent this year of Hall High School District 502 in Spring Valley, Ill. The 2016 recipient of the IASA Superintendent of Distinction Award retired that year from the superintendent’s job in the Putman County School District 535 of Granville, Ill.

Donn Mendoza
Donn Mendoza

Donn Mendoza (M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’04, and Ed.D. Educational Leadership, ’08 ) will become superintendent this summer of Round Lake Area School District 116. Mendoza, who has been in the district since the 2013-2014 school year, currently serves as deputy superintendent. He previously worked in leadership roles at Crystal Lake Elementary District 47, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 and Community Unit District 300 of Algonquin.

Byoung-chul Min
Byoung-chul Min

Byoung-chul Min (M.S.Ed. Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, ’91, and Ed.D. Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, ’98), continues his worldwide Internet Peace Movement that counters cyberbullying and human rights violations on social media and has founded the Internet Peace Prize to recognize those who have contributed to world peace online. Currently, he teaches at Hanyang University in South Korea, helping students to be competitive for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Stephany Schlachter
Stephany Schlachter

Stephany Schlachter (Ed.D. Adult and Continuing Education, ’91), provost of Lewis University for the last 17 years, will retire June 30 after four decades of leadership in key university roles. Academic offerings, departments and external recognition all have significantly expanded during her tenure. She will continue to serve Lewis as special assistant to the president until June 30, 2019.

William Speer
William Speer

William Speer (M.S.Ed. Secondary Education with Math Specialization, ’71), was selected as the recipient of the 2018 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mathematics Education Trust. Speer, who also earned his B.S. in Mathematics at NIU, is currently the director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas Mathematics Center and is in his 48th year of service to education.

Alice Spingola
Alice Spingola

Alice Spingola (B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’83), begins a new job July 1 as principal of Kiva Elementary School in the Scottsdale Unified School District of Arizona. Currently serving as principal of Southeast Elementary School in the Evergreen Park Elementary School District, she also has worked as a K-12 reading specialist, literacy coach and classroom teacher.

Panthea Spyratos
Panthea Spyratos

Panthea Spyratos (B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’14), launched a tutoring service, EdUcate Inc., in her hometown of Sycamore. EdUcate Inc. offers one-on-one tutoring and small group interaction. Spyratos focuses her work on struggling students as well as advanced pupils, providing help with homework and enrichment.

Melinda Tejada
Melinda Tejada

Melinda Tejada (Ed.D. Curriculum Leadership, ’13), vice president of student development at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, is among the four finalists for the presidency of Heartland Community College in Normal, Ill. The incoming president is expected to take office in July.

Art Vallicelli
Art Vallicelli

Art Vallicelli (Ed.D. Curriculum Leadership, ’12) has been named the next principal of Woodstock High School, where he has served as assistant principal since 2013. He began his career at Woodstock High School in 2005 as an English teacher;  his first two years of teaching took place at Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake.

Anthony Wilkinson
Anthony Wilkinson

Anthony Wilkinson (M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’05) has been named Head of School at Rosary High School in Aurora. He begins July 1 at Rosary, a Catholic, college-prep high school for young women. Currently the principal of Our Lady of Peace School in Darien, Ill., Wilkinson previously served as principal at schools in the Illinois towns of Lockport, Morris and Bradley.

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