Elmhurst education faculty members are outstanding teachers, scholars, and practitioners. Members of the faculty have been recognized by the State of Illinois, and a variety of professional organizations.
Faculty members hold leadership roles in state and national professional organizations, maintain impressive publishing and professional service records, and remain true to the fundamental focus of excellence in teaching and support for their students.
The faculty is equally committed to staying abreast of new scholarship and policies in the field through continual review and synthesis of current research findings, methodology and teaching strategies, and innovation in technology and curriculum.
Debra Meyer, Chair
Judy Fiene, Associate Chair
Jeanne White, Associate Chair
Mary Jo Young
Dan Jares, Teacher Licensure Officer
Judith Kaminski, Director of the Satellite Field Experience Network
William Slodki, Director of Teacher Education Admission
Contact a faculty member directly through our Faculty Directory.
Debra K. Meyer, Ph.D.
Dr. Meyer earned a B.A. from Purdue University in education and psychology. She taught in a 5th/6th grade team and in a developmental second grade in Mesa, Arizona before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin in educational psychology. Her research examines the relationships among classroom characteristics and student motivation, emotion, and learning. She has presented at national and international conferences and authored over 30 publications. Dr. Meyer serves as the liaison professor at an elementary professional development school, where she supervises interns and practicum students. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Educational Psychology for the American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Journal for the American Education Research Association, and Theory to Practice. She has received several awards for teaching and advising, and holds memberships in Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Phi, and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies.
Diana Brannon, Ed.D.
Dr. Brannon earned her B.S. in elementary education at the University of Dayton and M.Ed. in language education from Indiana University, where she completed all but her dissertation in the doctoral program in language education, earning her doctorate from Argosy University in curriculum and instruction. She was a classroom teacher and reading specialist for 11 years. Dr. Brannon is a nationally board certified teacher. Her research interests include parent involvement, emergent literacy, and working with English language learning families. She has developed a variety of programs to help increase family involvement and literacy practices in families deemed “at risk.“ Dr. Brannon has published and presented nationally at conferences held by the International Reading Association, Association of Teacher Educators, National Center for Family Literacy, National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, Council for Exceptional Children, Kappa Delta Pi, National School Board Association, and the International Association for Research on Service Learning.
Sarah Brooks, Ph.D.
Dr. Brooks holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Gordon College. She taught 7th and 8th grade social studies for five years in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Virginia. She earned a M.A. in social studies education from the University of Connecticut before completing her doctoral work at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the fostering and display of historical understanding in the social studies classroom. Dr. Brooks’ scholarship has been published in Theory and Research in Social Education, Social Studies: Research and Practice, and The Journal of Social Studies Research. She has presented at state and national conferences and is a member of the National Council for the Social Studies and the American Educational Research Association.
Ayanna F. Brown, Ph.D.
Dr. Brown holds a B.S. from Tuskegee University in secondary education, language arts
education. She taught 7th grade language arts while earning her M.Ed. in curriculum and
instructional leadership from Vanderbilt University Peabody College. After teaching
middle school, Dr. Brown became a scholarships coordinator for Project GRAD and Imagine
College, which was a consortium between Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt
University. Her work centered around planning for high school students, most of whom
were first generation future college students. She completed her Ph.D at Vanderbilt
University in interdisciplinary studies in language, literacy, and sociology where her
research focuses on discussions of “race,” contemporary African American studies, and
discourse analysis. Her research has been presented nationally and internationally and
has served as a member of the International Reading Association, National Commission on
Reading, National Council of Teachers of English, American Education Research
Association, and International Federation of Teachers of English.
Lisa Burke, Ph.D.
Ms. Burke earned a M.S. from Northern Illinois University in education and holds LBS1 certification. She was a special educator for 16 years before joining the faculty at Elmhurst College in 2001. She was a teacher to K-8 students with moderate to severe disabilities, a learning disabilities resource teacher, and then was an inclusion facilitator for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Ms. Burke specializes in differentiated instruction and adapting curriculum, collaboration, consultation, and working with paraeducators. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children and the honorary society of Kappa Delta Phi. Ms. Burke established the first student chapter of Council for Exceptional Children at Elmhurst College. She received KDP’s Educator of the Year award in 2003 and 2005.
Debbie Cosgrove, Ph.D.
Director of Elementary Education
Dr. Cosgrove earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in curriculum and instruction. She holds a B.A. in elementary education with a specialization in music from Bethel University, St. Paul, MN. She also received an M.A. in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Cosgrove holds an ESL approval from the state of Illinois. Dr. Cosgrove taught for 18 years in diverse public school settings in grades K-6. She also served 18 years in public school administration in the roles of elementary principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent. She has presented at local and state conferences and is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the International Reading Association. Her research interests include teacher preparation and leadership, curriculum design, and teaching linguistic and culturally diverse students.
Linda Dauksas, Ed.D.
Dr. Dauksas earned her B.A. in special education/elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, her M.A. in educational administration from Governors State University and her doctorate in instructional leadership from National Louis University. She has spent thirty years teaching and leading programs for children with special needs. Her specialty area is early childhood special education. She has designed programs and delivered services for children from birth through eight years of age. Her ethnographic research portrays the importance of a paradigm that honors people first and along with her responsibility to teach others, it weaves her work as a school leader with educational practices creating possibility and promise for all young children, most importantly those with significant disabilities. Dr. Dauksas holds membership in the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Council for Exceptional Children, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Illinois Principals Association and the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education.
LuEllen Doty, Ed.D.
Dr. Doty earned a doctorate from the University of Kentucky and a M.Ed. from the
University of Louisville in special education. Her undergraduate degree was from
Indiana University in elementary education. Her areas of interest include transition
and post secondary experiences, early childhood special education and applications of
technology in special education. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional
Children and the honor societies of Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. Dr. Doty has
served on the executive board of the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children and has
presented nationally. She is the recipient of the Academic Advisor of the Year Award.
Judy Fiene, Ed.D.
Dr. Fiene earned a B.S. from University of Illinois at Chicago in physical education. Subsequently she acquired additional certification in elementary education and school administration. She has taught grades 4, 5, 6, physical education, and has served as an assistant principal in an elementary school. Her doctorate is in Reading and Language. Her specialty area is in reading development, specifically reading comprehension and classroom instruction. She has presented her research at local and national conferences. Dr. Fiene is an active member of Kappa Delta Pi and serves on the Executive Council for this international organization. She is also co-faculty councilor for the Elmhurst chapter. She is a member of the International Reading Association, National Reading Conference, and Illinois Reading Council. Her current scholarship focuses on mentoring new teachers and the induction process. She also continues to be passionate about helping teachers understand how to integrate reading comprehension into the content areas.
Theresa Robinson, Ph.D.
Director of Secondary Education
Dr. Robinson earned a B.S. in biological science and secondary education and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in science and environmental education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She taught grades 9-12 science in Chicago Public and Charter Schools. She has served the profession by providing science and math professional development to elementary teachers in the Chicagoland area. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and the Association of Teacher Educators.
Kathryn L. Servilio, Ed.D.
Dr. Servilio earned a doctorate from West Virginia University in special education. Her B.S. in mult-disciplinary studies and M.A. in elementary education were also from West Virginia University. She acquired additional certification in multi-categorical special education and early childhood education. She has taught inclusion for reading and mathematics in grades K, 1, and 2, and has taught in a self-contained setting for grades 9-12. Dr. Servilio specializes in collaboration, differentiated instruction, and teacher training. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and American Council on Rural Special Education. Dr. Servilio serves as a representative on the executive board of the Council for Exceptional Children. Her current scholarship focuses on teacher training and professional development.
Dennis Smithenry, Ph.D.
Dr. Smithenry earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He also conducted postdoctoral research in science education and environmental engineering at Stanford University. Smithenry is certified in secondary education with endorsements in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and taught for five years in Illinois and Iowa. His current research examines how to transform the typical science classroom into one where the students and their teacher participate in a community of scientific practice. He is particularly interested in understanding how teachers can design participant structures in the classroom so that their students assume full responsibility for working together as a whole class to collectively solve a problem. Smithenry brings to this research a range of previous career experiences that span the fields of science research and science teaching.
Therese Wehman, Ph.D.
Dr. Wehman earned her doctorate in child development from the Erikson Institute, Loyola University Chicago. Her specialization includes children birth to six with disabilities, early childhood program administration, organizational development, and team building. She holds advanced degrees and Illinois certification in educational administration, elementary, early childhood and special education and has extensive experience designing and administering early childhood intervention programs. Her research involves early intervention system change, parent-professional partnerships, leadership development, teacher mentorship and international service learning. Dr. Wehman holds memberships in the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Council for Exceptional Children, Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, and Association of Infant Mental Health, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. She serves as the Governor’s appointed Personnel Preparation Representative on the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention. Dr. Wehman has published numerous articles, curriculum materials, and a textbook, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Toward Full Community Inclusion.
Jeanne White, Ed.D.
Dr. White holds a B.S. in education and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign,and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University. She is certified in elementary education and general administration and was an elementary teacher in Orland Park for 12 years as well as an adjunct professor in early childhood education at Governor’s State University before joining the faculty in 2005. With areas of specialization in literacy and mathematics, her dissertation involved investigating how children’s literature improved performance and attitude of mathematical problem solving. She has authored several articles and presented locally, nationally and internationally on topics including elementary mathematics education, teacher leadership, service-learning abroad and teaching English language Learners.
Mary Jo Young, Ph.D.
Dr. Mary Jo Young holds a B.A. in math from the College of St. Francis, Joliet, a M.Ed. in early childhood education from National Louis University, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a major in early childhood education from Indiana University. Before coming to Elmhurst College, she taught in the preprimary and primary grades, was director of an early child care center, and taught undergraduate and graduate teacher education courses at Roosevelt University. Along with teaching early childhood classes here at Elmhurst College, Dr. Young currently coordinates the early childhood program. She is a member of several organizations including National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, International Reading Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Phi Delta Kappa.