Alumni Accomplishments

Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen

Congratulations to these alumni who are making a positive impact on the leadership and administration of education at all levels!

Andrew Allen, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’04, M.S.Ed. Instructional Technology, ’00, was named executive director of Information Systems in the East Aurora School District. Allen comes to East Aurora from Community Unit School District 2, where he served as director of technology and library media services since 2010. Previously, Allen spent 11 years with Indian Prairie School District 204 as library media director and technology teacher.

Kevin Baldus
Kevin Baldus

Kevin Baldus, M.S.Ed. Special Education, ’05, has been named director of Special Education Services at Riverside-Brookfield High School, where he previously served as an instructional coach. Baldus began his career as a teacher at Krejci Academy, a therapeutic day school in Naperville, and also taught in a special needs program in DuPage High School District 88. Before coming to RBHS, he was a special education teacher at West Chicago High School.

Tracy Brewer
Tracy Brewer

Tracy Brewer, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, ’82, has joined Freeport-based Highland Community College’s Business Institute as a training coordinator. The HCC Business Institute provides training and consulting solutions to help clients maintain a competitive operation and a skilled, knowledgeable workforce. Brewer has worked with community and technical colleges for the past 10 years, managing training and development programs.

Julie Brua
Julie Brua

Julie Brua, Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’07, retired in June 2021 as superintendent of Gavin School District 37. In July, she became principal of the School of St. Mary in Lake Forest, her first role in private schools after 34 years working in public education. The Catholic school serves students in preschool through eighth grade. Brua also holds NIU’s Chief School Business Official certification, earned in 2018.

Maria Burgos
Maria Burgos

Maria Burgos, M.S.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, ’05, was named executive director of Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Educational Services for Valley View School District 365U. Burgos previously served as assistant superintendent for Student Services at Cicero School District 99. Her prior roles include the principalship of the McKinley Educational Center and the assistant principalship of Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, both in Cicero.

Seth Chapman
Seth Chapman

Seth Chapman, M.S.Ed. School Business Management, ’06, and Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’17, began work July 1 as assistant superintendent for Finance and Operations in Glenbard Township High School District 87. Chapman, who has served as assistant superintendent of Business Services and chief financial officer in St. Charles Unit District 303 since 2013, previously worked as director of Business Services and Facilities with Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland Park and as business manager with A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperative in Burbank.

Roger Eddy
Roger Eddy

Roger Eddy, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, ’81, was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in February 2021 by Gov. JB Pritzker. Eddy’s term will expire in January 2025. Eddy, who previously served as executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards and the superintendent of schools at Hutsonville Community Unit School District #1, also represented the 109th district in the Illinois General Assembly from 2003 to 2012.

Andrea Gaitán-Bustos
Andrea Gaitán-Bustos

Andrea Gaitán-Bustos, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’15, is the new principal of Sunnydale Elementary School in Streamwood. She most recently served for the last three years as the assistant principal at Coleman Elementary in Elgin. Gaitán-Bustos joined U-46 in 2008, working as a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at Laurel Hill Elementary in Hanover Park and later as a classroom teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Hoffman Estates and Hilltop Elementary in Elgin. She also served on the School Improvement Planning teams at all three schools, and has worked as a bilingual instructional coach.

Jason H. Gold
Jason H. Gold

Jason H. Gold, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’05, is the new principal of Fox Meadow Elementary School in South Elgin. Gold, who has worked in education for 14 years as a teacher and administrator, had served since 2016 as principal of Komarek Elementary School in District 94. He previously was coordinator of ELA and Math Initiatives & Teacher/Principal Retention and Development in Lyons School District 103 and as an assistant principal and Gifted and Talented coordinator in Oak Park School District 97. Gold began his education career as a math teacher Cary School District 26.

Chris Grode
Chris Grode

Chris Grode, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’03, was named superintendent of Columbia Community Unit School District No. 4. Grode most recently served as superintendent Murphysboro CUSD 186, assistant superintendent and chief financial officer of Canton Unit School District 66. In 2018, Grode received the Superintendent of Distinction by colleagues in the Egyptian Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

Lauren Hartelius
Lauren Hartelius

Lauren Hartelius, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’07, was named Behavioral Support Systems coordinator in Downers Grove Elementary District 58. Hartelius directly supports students, staff and families who participate in the district’s Behavioral Emotional and Social Training program, working systemwide to strengthen behavioral support systems for all students. She previously provided guidance and direction to specialized programs as the educational coordinator in Morton District 201, taught students with emotional disabilities in the Kendall County Special Education Cooperative and was the lead teacher of South Berwyn District 100’s ED program.

Kurt Johansen
Kurt Johansen

Kurt Johansen, M.S.Ed. Adult and Continuing Education, ’03, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’01, is the new principal of South Elgin High School. Johansen most recently was assistant principal at Glenbard East High School, a role he began there in 2013 after serving as dean of students since 2009. Johansen began his career in 2003 as a special education teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park.

Julie Lam
Julie Lam

Julie Lam, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’18, was named director for Student Learning at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Lam had worked in Oswego Community Unit School District 308 since 2014, serving as assistant principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Oswego East High School and previously as assistant director of secondary education. She began her education career in 2005 as a high school biology teacher in Chicago Public Schools, prior to teaching at Maine Township East and Downers Grove North high schools.

Mark Langer
Mark Langer

Mark Langer, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’11, was named principal of William Fremd High School in Palatine High School District 211. The appointment is effective July 1. Langer, who is currently the assistant principal at James B. Conant High School, began his career in 2003 as a science teacher at Palatine High School. He later was named the school’s dean of students for the 2011-2012 academic year. In 2019, Langer was recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education with a Those Who Excel award in the School Administrator category.

Marcus Lewis
Marcus Lewis

Marcus Lewis, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, ’98, and Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’19, began work July 1 as principal of Thompson Junior High School in Oswego School District 308. He had served since 2017 as assistant principal at Plank Junior High School.

Debbie Lubeck
Debbie Lubeck

Debbie Lubeck, M.S.Ed. Special Education, ’00, and M.S.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, ’03, began a new role July 1 as director of Student Services in River Forest School District 90. She previously served as director of Special Education in Pleasantdale School District 107, director of Curriculum for Lyons District 103 and director of Support Programs and administrator of Student Service in Glenview District 34. Lubeck is also an adjunct instructor at Concordia University and National Louis University.

Peter Meismer
Peter Meismer

Peter Meismer, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’12, was named assistant principal of Hunt Club Elementary School in Oswego School District 308. Meismer, who in October 2019 became Special Education Program administrator at Oswego High School and also served as the school’s Extended School Year site coordinator, previously taught math, reading and writing at The Wheatlands Elementary School in Aurora as an elementary resource teacher.

Jonathan Miquelon
Jonathan Miquelon

Jonathan Miquelon, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’17, has been named principal of U-46’s Clinton Elementary School in South Elgin. Miquelon, a graduate of Elgin Larkin High School, previously served as assistant principal of Tefft Middle School in Streamwood, where he designed the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) approach. He joined U-46 in 2005, initially working as a substitute teacher and teacher’s assistant at South Elgin High School before becoming a a social studies teacher at Elgin High School.

Philip Moe
Philip Moe

Philip Moe, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, ’10, was named principal of Millikin Elementary School in Geneseo Community Unit School District 228. Moe, who previously was assistant principal of Geneseo High School and also had served as assistant coach for track and cross country there, began his education career at Southwest School in Geneseo.

Jennifer Pacheco
Jennifer Pacheco

Jennifer Pacheco, B.S.Ed. Special Education, ’05, is the new director of Special Services in East Maine School District 63. Pacheco, who previously served as principal of Emma Melzer School, began her career as a special education resource teacher at West Aurora School District 129 and later joined District 63’s Apollo School in a similar position. She also worked as a professional development and academic achievement coach, ultimately serving as a district special education facilitator for two years. Prior to returning to District 63, she was associate principal at Stevenson Middle School in Maywood/Melrose Park/Broadview School District 89’s Stevenson Middle School.

Renee Payne
Renee Payne

Renee Payne, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’81, was named assistant superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Rockford. She previously was head of school and principal at All Saints Catholic Academy in Rockford. Prior roles included serving as principal of St. James School from 2019 to 2019 and as principal at St. James and St. Bernadette in their combined administration from 2017 to 2018.

John Petzke
John T. Petzke

John T. Petzke, M.S.Ed. School Business Management, ’20, was appointed July 1 as chief financial officer of Oswego School District 308. Petzke, who previously was superintendent of Prophetstown-Lyndon-Campio School District 3, had worked in District 308 earlier as executive director of technology from 2007 to 2012.

Griselda Pirtle
Griselda Pirtle

Griselda Pirtle, M.S.Ed. Literacy Education-ESL/Bilingual Education, ’09, was named director of English Language Learners for Elgin School District U-46. She had served since 2014 as director of Multilingual Programs for Elk Grove Village Community Consolidated School District 59, where she launched the country’s first nationally recognized program in Polish Dual Language. Pirtle also has been an adjunct professor at Judson University.

Griff Powell
Griff Powell

Griff Powell, Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’80, was appointed July 1 as co-interim superintendent of Oak Park Elementary School District 97 for the 2021-22 school year. Powell’s more than 40 years in educational leadership include the superintendencies of Grayslake Community High School District 127, Highwood-Highland Park School District 111, Ramapo Central School District in New York, West Chicago High School District 94 and Niles Township High School District 219. Since Powell’s retirement, he has served as interim superintendent for 10 districts, including his most recent position in DeKalb.

Nicole Poynton
Nicole Poynton

Nicole Poynton, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’05, was hired as assistant principal of Old Post Elementary School in Oswego School District 308. Poynton previously worked for Plainfield School District 202 as a Transitional Bilingual Education/Transitional Program of Instruction teacher, as well as an administrator for the English Learners remote learning summer school program. Before joining District 202, she worked as a bilingual second-grade teacher in Cicero School District 99.

Melissa Sago
Melissa Sago

Melissa Sago, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’04, is the new principal of Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School in Freeport School District 145. Sago previously served the last two years as assistant principal at Freeport Middle School. She also taught at the elementary level in Freeport, and has teaching and administrative experience from Rockford Public Schools 205.

Paul Schrik
Paul Schrik

Paul Schrik, Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’13, began work July 1 as superintendent of Troy Community School District 30-C. He previously was superintendent of Rockdale School District 84. Schrik’s prior roles include has serving as principal of Serena Grade School and as a teacher at Shepherd Middle School, Washington Elementary School and Ogden Avenue School.

David Shepherd
David Shepherd

David Shepherd, Chief School Business Official certificate, ’21, began work July 1 as director of Finance and Operations in Cary School District 26. Shepherd previously served in administrative roles in Antioch Community Consolidated School District 34 and Cicero School District 99.

Christi Sosin
Christi Sosin

Christi Sosin, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, ’96, and M.S.Ed. Literacy Education-Reading, ’04, was named principal of Mary Endres Elementary School in Woodstock Community Unit School District 200. Sosin spent most of her career in Schaumburg District 54 as a literacy coach and most recently as an assistant principal there for the past seven years.

LeeAnn Taylor
LeeAnn Taylor

LeeAnn Taylor, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’08, is the new assistant superintendent of Finance and Business Operations in Vernon Hills-based Hawthorn School District 73. Taylor previously served for four years as director of Fiscal Services and Asset Management at Barrington Area Unit School District 220, where she also worked as director of Media Services. Prior to her work in Barrington, she chaired the Career and Technical Education Department at Grayslake High School District 127 and taught business at District 127, New Trier Township High School District 203, Mundelein High School District 120 and McHenry Elementary School District 15.

Sara Turner
Sara Turner

Sara Turner, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’09, was named coordinator of Social Studies Curriculum in West Aurora School District 129. Turner had taught social studies at Sycamore High School for 16 years, and in the last two years had assumed responsibilities of a technology coach, providing daily instructional technology support and monthly professional development courses to staff members.

Matthew T. Vosberg
Matthew T. Vosberg

Matthew T. Vosberg, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, ’99, and Ed.D. Educational Administration, ’17, began work July 1 as superintendent of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School District 307. He previously served for eight years as deputy superintendent in Rockford Public Schools 205, where he had spent most of his education career, including his start as a high school business teacher and as assistant superintendent. Vosberg took his first administrative role as principal of South Beloit High School in Community Unit School District #320.

Kevin Werner
Kevin Werner

Kevin Werner, Ed.S. Educational Administration, ’17, began work July 1 as chief officer of Finance and Operations for Community High School District 155. Werner, who has experience in public accounting, health care and financial services, previously served as chief financial officer for District 47 in Crystal Lake and District 46 in Prairie Grove.

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

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