CI alumni accomplishments

Congratulations to these Department of Curriculum and Instruction alums!

Sarah Knight Adamson
Sarah Knight Adamson

Sarah Knight Adamson, M.S.Ed. Reading, ’84, was a special guest at Ebertfest 2018. She is is in her 10th year as the weekly film critic for the internationally syndicated radio show Hollywood 360 Radio Network, which includes more 90 Salem Radio News/Talk stations; these include WNYM-New York, KRLA-Los Angeles and WWRC-Washington, D.C. She’s a member of the Chicago and Broadcast Film Critics Associations, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and a voting member of the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Bibi Belford
Bibi Belford

Chicago-based author Bibi Belford, M.S.Ed. Literacy Education, ’84, has been honored with a Christopher Award for “Crossing the Line” (Young Adult, Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing). It is one of 12 books for adults and young people by 19 authors and illustrators to be celebrated on May 17, 2018 at the 69th annual Christopher Awards in New York along with the writers, producers and directors of 9 feature films and TV/Cable programs. She has also been a classroom teacher, reading teacher and literacy coach in East Aurora, and now works as a reading consultant when she’s not volunteering in Chicago public schools or writing.

Jill Gildea
Jill Gildea

Jill Gildea, Ed.D. Curriculum and Superivsion, ’02, was appointed superintendent of the superintendent of the 4,800-student Park City School District in Utah. A career educator, Gildea previously served as superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools in Connecticut. She has worked as a superintendent for 11 years, assistant superintendent, educational programs director, curriculum director, high school division administrator and elementary principal. She also has taught middle and high school.

Tina Haralambopoulos
Tina Haralambopoulos

Tina Haralambopoulos, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’11, has been named to the DuPage High School District 88 school board. She will serve until the April 2, 2019, election. District 88 serves Addison Trail and Willowbrook high schools. Haralambopoulos began her career in education seven years ago as an elementary teacher at a private school in Schaumburg and now teaches English as a Second Language at a hybrid charter school in Chicago.

Denise Herrmann
Denise Herrmann

Denise Herrmann, Ed.D. Curriculum and Superivsion, ’02, was hired as superintendent of the Roseville Joint Union High School District in California. Herrmann, who has 29 years of education experience, accepted a three-year contract that began July 1. She previously served as associate superintendent for instructional services at Fremont Unified School District in Fremont. Herrmann also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Grace Ann Horner
Grace Ann Horner

Grace Ann Horner, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’72, and M.S.Ed. Outdoor Teacher Education, ’77, received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. With more than 50 years of industry experience to her credit, Horner is semi-retired as of 2017, contributing as a programmer analyst for Block and Company, a position she has held since 1987. She previously served as a programmer for AMC Industries Inc. from 1986 to 1987, a programmer for Marca Medical Industries from 1984 to 1986, director of adult education and field advisor for the North Oakland County Girl Scout Council from 1979 to 1983, and teacher’s aide for the Woodlands School District from 1978 to 1979. Previously, she held both the roles of substitute teacher from 1972 to 1978 and third-grade teacher for the Round Lake School District from 1972 to 1973.

Krystal Rasmussen
Krystal Rasmussen

Krystal Rasmussen, M.S.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, ’09, was named principal of Lynne Thigpen Elementary in Joliet Public Schools District 86. Most recently serving as the assistant principal of curriculum at Plano High School for the last three years, she has worked in education for 14 years, including three years in Rockford School District 205 as the HS Academy principal. Rasmussen also earned an M.S.Ed. in Educational Administration in 2011 from the NIU Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations.

Dick Ruffolo
Dick Ruffolo

Dick Ruffolo, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’59, continues to teach about the outdoors as a resident of Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg. The retired elementary teacher, principal and curriculum administrator routinely exposes youngsters to the marvels of nature at Heritage Farm in Schaumburg, where he has been a volunteer guide, animal caregiver and teacher to local school children for more than 20 years. He also gives presentations at Friendship Village about chickens and dog sledding.

Marc Schaffer
Marc Schaffer

Marc Schaffer, M.S.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, ’96, is the new superintendent of the Thompson School District in Loveland, Colo. He previously served as an assistant superintendent in the Boulder Valley Schools of Colorado. Schaffer’s diverse career in education includes teaching and serving as dean of students, assistant principal and principal before moving to director of middle school education and assistant superintendent roles. His first teaching job was in fifth- and sixth-grades in Bullhead City, Ariz. He also worked in school districts in Illinois.

If you’re a CI grad with news to share, please let us know – and send a photo! Our email address is NIUCOEalum@niu.edu.

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