M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership


Diana Brannon, Ed.D.
Associate Professor
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.
Assistant Professor
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 an 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, The History Teacher 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.
Associate Professor
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 future first-generation college students and collaborating with secondary teachers around curriculum to ensure college readiness. Dr. Brown’s teaching and leadership experience serves 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 focused 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 the 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.
Associate Chairperson
Associate Professor
Director of Special Education

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.
Assistant Professor
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 in 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.
Assistant Professor
Director of Early Childhood 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 30 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. Currently she is the director of the early childhood education program at Elmhurst College and 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 an 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.
Associate Professor
Dr. Fiene has taught grades 4, 5, 6 and 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 for Faith and Action 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. She 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 classroom characteristics, student and teacher motivations, emotions and learning, including the professional transition from preservice to inservice teacher. She has presented at national and international conferences and authored over 30 publications. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Educational Psychology for the American Psychological Association (APA), Journal of Experimental Education, Journal of Classroom Interaction and Theory into Practice. Dr. Meyer also serves as a co-editor for the APA 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.

Kathryn L. Servilio, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor
Dr. Servilio earned a doctorate from West Virginia University in special education. Her B.S. in multi-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 technology. She is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Servilio serves as a representative on the executive board of the Council for Exceptional Children. Her current scholarship focuses on co-teaching and impacts of technology on student achievement.

Dennis Smithenry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
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. Dr. 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. Dr. 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.
Assistant Professor
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 10 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.

Jeanne White, Ed.D.

Associate Professor
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.

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