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.
Want to know more? See our faculty profiles, below. Or, contact a professor directly.
Jeanne White, Chair
Ayanna Brown, Associate Chair
Dan Jares, Teacher Licensure Officer
Judith Kaminski, Director of the Satellite Field Experience Network
William Slodki, Director of Teacher Education Admission
Jeanne White, Ed.D.
Professor and Department Chair
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.
Diana Brannon, Ed.D.
Director of the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership
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.
Ayanna F. Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Associate Chair
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 college planning for high school students, most of whom were first generation future college student and collaborating with secondary teachers around curriculum to ensure college readiness. Dr. Brown’s teaching and leadership experience served predominantly African American working class urban communities. 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 she 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. Dr. Brown will serve as the 2013-2014 Chair of the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research.
Lisa Burke, Ph.D.
Dr. Burke was a special education teacher for 16 years before coming to Elmhurst College in 2001. She has experience working with students from elementary age through high school in a variety of special education service delivery options. As a public school special education teacher she was an advocate of inclusive educational opportunities for her students. Dr. Burke received her Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Chicago in special education with a specialization in literacy needs for students with exceptionalities. Her dissertation studied the teaching practices that middle school general education teachers were using to develop content area reading skills in students with autism. Dr. Burke’s research interests include literacy skill development in students with autism, the inclusion of students with exceptionalities in general education, and compensatory abilities and the use of learning strategies for students with exceptionalities.
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, Minnesota. 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.
Director of Early Childhood Education and Special Education
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 over thirty years teaching and leading programs for young children with special needs. 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, along with her responsibility to teach others. Her writing 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 and the Illinois Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. She continues her research on engaging families in the education of young children.
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 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, national, and international conferences. Dr. Fiene is an active member of Kappa Delta Pi and has served 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 and National Reading Conference. Her current scholarship focuses on reading in the content area and understanding how additional courses in reading instruction at the undergraduate level may impact a novice teacher’s pedagogy. Her service includes a partnership with the Niebuhr Center where she coordinates efforts to provide summer literacy instruction for K- 8 students living in the Latino community.
Debra K. Meyer, Ph.D.
Dr. Meyer earned a B.A. from Purdue University in education and psychology, then taught in a 5th/6th-grade team and in a developmental 2nd grade in Mesa, Arizona before earning her Ph.D. from the University of Texas–Austin in educational psychology. Her research examines the relationships among student and teacher motivations, emotions, teaching and learning and the transitions from preservice to inservice teacher. She has presented at national and international conferences and authored over 35 publications. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Experimental Education and Theory into Practice. Dr. Meyer also serves as an editor for the American Psychological Association’s Division 15-Corwin Series, Classroom Insights from Educational Psychology. 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.
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.
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–Champaign. 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.
Beverly Troiano, Ph.D.
Dr. Troiano holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in German literature and an M.Ed from DePaul University in secondary world language education with an ESL endorsement. She has over ten years of teaching experience in preschool through high school settings, teaching ESL/EFL and German in Germany and Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Troiano earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in curriculum and instruction. She worked on Project LSciMAct (Transforming Literacy, Math, and Science through Action Research) for six years as a postdoctoral fellow, project coordinator and research assistant, collaborating with K-8 in-service teachers on action research projects and curriculum development for English learners. Her research interests include teacher education professional development grounded in sociocultural theories of language and learning. Her work uses discourse analysis as a tool for teachers to study their practice and develop curriculum. She has presented her research at state and national conferences and has served as a member of the American Educational Research Association, National Council of Teachers of English, Literacy Research Association and Illinois Teachers of ESOL and Bilingual Education.
Therese Wehman, Ph.D.
Director of the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education
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. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Delta Honor Societies. Dr. Wehman serves as the Governor’s appointed Personnel Preparation Representative on the Illinois Interagency Council on Early Intervention. She has presented internationally and nationally and has published numerous articles, curriculum materials, and a textbook, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Toward Full Community Inclusion (2005, PRO-ED).