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Alumni Focus

Doctoral Grad Was in #EdTech Before it was Trending NLU Alum spent decades transforming education with technology

John SonnenbergBefore the days of hashtags, smartphones and streaming services, John Sonnenberg ’11 was an educator with a vision for how tech can transform the classroom.

“I got into this technology stuff in the early 80s before schools even had technology directors,” he said.

Sonnenberg’s talents didn’t end at modems and floppy drives. This techie’s passion for innovation matches his experience in the classroom. “I’ve done almost everything in education,” he explained. Continue reading »

Teaching Young Children Among the Trees NLU alum instructs Washington preschoolers in fully outdoor classroom

Teaching students indoors, teaching students outdoors — as long as it’s early childhood education, Judy Derpack ’96 is in her happy place.

For Derpack, it all started inside a National Louis University (NLU) classroom on a campus near her hometown of Naperville, Ill. NLU fit her passions perfectly.

“The school’s philosophy best matched mine. I really wanted an early childhood degree rather than the elementary education degrees at other universities,” she explained.

Continue reading »

Superintendent Caught Teaching Bug from Preschoolers School district administrator got her start as a classroom volunteer

Caletha White ’17 is the new superintendent of schools for Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163 in Park Forest, Ill. beginning July 1, 2018. Well before this new position or even her career in education, White was just a mother volunteering in a preschooler classroom.

The energy of 3- and 4-year-old students and their eagerness to learn was contagious, and it led to White’s career change away from human resources and into education. “The imagination, creativity and excitement of early learners was amazing and I wanted to nurture that passion in children by creating classroom environments that are windows to the world,” she explained. Continue reading »

New Series Offers Beginning Teachers a Support System From Profs You can offer input to 'Advanced Practices for Early Career Teachers' in June 13 livestream Q&A

 

Dominic Belmonte.

Dominic Belmonte.

Standing in front of your own classroom for the first time has been compared to a high-wire act. National Louis University’s National College of Education wants to offer early career teachers support as you move forward in this journey.

NLU is launching the Advanced Practices for Early Career Teachers series to provide ongoing, structured mentoring and professional learning that’s specifically designed to meet your needs as a beginning educator. Continue reading »

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Recognizes NLU Alum’s Employee Excellence Darrell Williams '16 becomes first DISA employee to win two agency awards in the same year

(This story was submitted by Darrell Williams and written by Wendy Liu, public affairs specialist at Defense Information Systems Agency)

Darrell Williams, Mentor of the Year

DISA Director, VADM Nancy Norton top, poses with NLU alum Darrell Williams as he wins Mentor of the Year

DISA and Joint Force Headquarters – DOD Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN) employees around the world recognized outstanding performance and excellence by military and civilian individuals and teams during the 2017 calendar year.

This year, National Louis University alum Darrell Williams received Mentor of the Year and his branch won Human Capital Support Services Team of the Year.

The annual awards ceremony took place March 29 at DISA Headquarters and was broadcasted using Global Video Services, the agency’s video-teleconferencing solution offered as a DOD enterprise service, allowing employees across the agency to participate. Continue reading »

ICE Learning Technologies Conference Crystallizes NLU Audiences Intense planning led to a great EdTech conference experience

Ayn Keneman, Ed.D., Doug Van Dyke, Tori Alland, Mia Gutsell and Angela Elkordy, Ph.D., made a presentation at the ICE conference.

Faculty, students and staff of National Louis University spent weeks preparing for the Illinois Computing Educators conference last week, and it paid off in a successful presentation by three students, an informal faculty meetup with prospective students and a welcome table crowded with both interested prospective students and alums who wanted to talk about their wonderful NLU faculty.

“What made the conference stand out for NLU was that we did a lot of coordination before we went,” said Angela Elkordy, Ph.D.,  chair of the newly formed Learning Sciences program, which offers M.Ed. and Ed.S. Degrees in Learning Sciences with a concentration in Learning Technologies. Continue reading »

NLU Alum Running For Congress in Illinois’ 7th District Anthony V. Clark taking on longtime incumbent Davis

Special education teacher and grassroots community activist Anthony V. Clark ’11, who obtained his M.A.T. in Special Education from National Louis University, is challenging longtime Congressman Danny K. Davis in the March 2018 primary election.

Clark is running in the 7th Congressional district, which includes west suburban Bellwood,  Forest Park, Oak Park, Maywood, and Westchester, as well as adjoining neighborhoods on the West side of Chicago.

According to a Chicago Sun-Times candidate interview with Clark, he works as a special education teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School. Additionally, he started a non-profit called Suburban Unity Alliance, which hosts scholarships, offers assistance to individuals with DACA status, and purchases security systems for churches which are being harassed by white supremacist organizations. Another group the organization formed connects at-risk youth in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood with employers in Oak Park.

Clark, who is a military veteran,  is running against U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, who has represented the 7th district of Illinois in Congress since 1996. Davis serves on the United States House Committee on Ways and Means.

See the Sun-Times story here.

National Louis University makes no election endorsements; this post reflects our ongoing communications of news about notable alumni. 

 

NLU Student, Alum Running for Cook County Board In March Election Gaylon Alcaraz running in 4th district, Angeles Sandoval in 7th

Gaylor Alcaraz, National Louis University student.

Gaylon Alcaraz, a leader in Chicago’s nonprofit community and 25-year activist, is running for Cook County Board Commissioner in the 4th District. She is pursuing a Ph.D. at National Louis University.

In what has been dubbed the “Year of the Woman” for the record number of women seeking elected office, National Louis University student Gaylon B. Alcaraz and alum Angeles “Angie” Sandoval are running for Cook County Board Commissioner slots. Continue reading »

Alum Travels to D.C., Supports Rights of Disabled to Live Where They Choose Lianne Paterson '17 advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities

 

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, left, poses with NLU alum Lianne Paterson as she advocated for residential choices for individuals with disabilities.

After Lianne Paterson ’17 became a mother to three children—two of whom have disabilities—she started testing her wings in advocacy. Paterson earned her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology in 2016 and her Ed.S. in School Psychology at National Louis University in the spring. This month, she leveraged her knowledge as a school psychologist and her advocacy experience to meet with senators and Congressmen in Washington, D.C. Continue reading »

Chronicle of Philanthropy Features Mary Bullock’s $2.5 Million Gift to NLU

 

The late Mary Bullock, who obtained degrees from NLU in 1954 and again in 1964, has donated $2.5 million to the university.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has featured the $2.5 million gift which Mary Bullock ’54 and ’64,  left to National Louis University.

A kindergarten teacher who walked to work even in howling winter weather, Bullock spent 40 years teaching in School District 45, based in Villa Park, Ill. She bequeathed the gift to NLU’s National College of Education, which will use it as an endowed scholarship fund to support scholarships for early childhood educators. Continue reading »