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Honors and Awards

Alum Halle Rubin Named Early Childhood Educator of Year She's hailed for making teachers, staff, parents, kids feel valued and heard

It’s clear now that Halle Rubin, who earned her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Administration from National Louis  University in 2016, was never meant to sell janitorial supplies to schools.

Rubin, who recently won the 2018 Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award,  took that sales job after she got her bachelor’s degree, but after just three weeks, she realized she loved interacting with the kids in the schools. Selling chemicals, not so much.

Rubin told The Preschool Podcast the story of coming to the realization that she wanted to become a teacher. It’s a podcast from HiMama, a software company for the early childhood education field.

‘Best decision I ever made’

“So I, instead of getting another bachelor’s degree, I was like, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s go get my master’s.’ And I decided to enroll in National Louis University, and I graduated with my Master’s in Early Childhood Administration. It was the best decision I ever made and I’m so, so happy with the career that I chose,” she said on the podcast.

She taught two-year-olds and pre-schoolers, and then was asked to become assistant director at the center where she worked.

‘Cannot stress how much she does for us’

Kinga Tomczyk, a teacher at the school, wrote this about Rubin in nominating her for the award: “Each and every day, Ms. Halle radiates with love and passion for the field. Not only does she work long, and stressful hours, but comes in on weekends and holidays to make sure all of her classrooms sparkle, teachers have the right materials to make their lesson plans come to life, and to ensure the school is looking its best.

“Even after receiving her Master’s, Halle continues to further her knowledge in the field so that she can share her knowledge with her staff. She pushes her staff to think in different ways and challenges themselves as educators, but also finds ways to be comforting and supportive to the personal needs we each have. I cannot stress how much Ms. Halle does for us. She has only been our Director for 9 months, and to many of us, she has become our angel of inspiration, ultimate support, and light of positivity.”

The Early Childhood Educator Award received 111 nominations for the 2018 award from around the globe. The public voted to whittle them down to 10 nominees, and experts from the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Zero to Three, Child Care Aware America and other esteemed organizations selected Rubin as the winner.

Hear Halle Rubin on The Preschool Podcast

Learn more about National Louis University’s Master’s in Education programs

Golden Apple Finalists for Principals’ Award Include NLU Alum Roscoe Golden Apple bestows the Stanley C. Golder leadership award on principals, heads of school

Jim Roscoe, National Louis University alum.

Jim Roscoe, who earned his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at National Louis University, has been named a finalist for the Golden Apple Leadership award.

After the Golden Apple Foundation named three National University alumni as finalists this year for its highly-coveted teaching awards, it announced it has selected another NLU alum for its leadership award, bestowed on a principal or head of school.

Golden Apple named James Roscoe, Ed.D., a 2011 graduate of NLU’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program, as one of eight finalists for its  Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Leadership, presented in honor of founding Golden Apple board member Stanley C. Golder. Continue reading »

NLU Among Top 50 Universities for Non-Traditional Students College Factual again ranks NLU highly for adult and returning students

Mentioning the term “college student” in conversation used to conjure up a distinct image for many people:  an 18-21-year-old upper- or upper-middle-class student.

That’s rapidly changing as the number of non-traditional students rises dramatically and now rivals the percentage of 18-21-year-olds. Today’s college students may just as likely be in their later 20s, or 30s or 40s, trying to earn degrees after years of not being able to afford tuition. Or perhaps they raised children, started careers or amassed a patchwork of college credits but never graduated.

In addition to these adult students, non-traditionals may be military veterans or young lower-income people of color, who are overcoming financial barriers to earning college degrees.

NLU Ranks 26th out of 1,159

National Louis University has been at the forefront of accommodating non-traditional students through its flexible evening and weekend scheduling, online and blended classes, affordable tuition, financial aid programs and advising for adult transfer, returning and first-time students.

College Factual, an informational website which accrues and reports data on universities, has ranked National Louis No. 26 out of 1,159 colleges and universities it analyzed on factors helpful for non-traditional students. That places NLU in the top 5 percent of schools in the nation in College Factual’s rankings, for the second year in a row.

Top 5 percent in Illinois

Similarly, NLU ranked second in Illinois, out of 49 colleges and universities, placing in the top 5 percent. College Factual said it based its rankings on degree completions as well as flexibility and financial attainability.


Tribune’s Critic’s Choice Award Goes to Kendall Alum Jennifer Kim Chicago Tribune critic Phil Vettel named her 'Rookie of the Year'

Jennifer Kim.

Detail from Chicago Tribune photographer E. Jason Wambsgans photo portrait of Kendall College at National Louis University alum Jennifer Kim.

Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel has been impressed with Jennifer Kim’s restaurant Passerotto ever since he first reviewed it last summer, 10 weeks after its opening.

This week, he bestowed his Chicago Tribune Critic’s Choice award on Kim, an alum of Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University. She earned his “Rookie of the Year” award for Passerotto’s debut. Continue reading »

Golden Apple Selects 3 NLU Alums as Finalists for Teaching Award Prestigious non-profit selected just 32 teachers in Illinois as finalists


Golden Apple, a prestigious Illinois nonprofit which bestows highly-sought-after awards for exemplary teaching, has selected three National Louis University alumni as finalists for its 2019 awards.

For the first time, the organization has expanded the eligibility for its Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching to include all of Illinois. In a highly competitive process, Golden Apple received more than 550 nominations of excellent high school teachers from 71 Illinois counties. The organization asked master teachers, who recognize instructional best practices and professional standards, to narrow the pack down to  32 high school educators selected as finalists for the award. They represent just  6 percent of the nominees. Continue reading »

Prof Honored by Shriners for Hospital Fundraising Richard Schak, chair of NLU's Criminal Justice program, receives award

Among many National Louis Faculty who volunteer their time for worthy causes is Richard Schak, chair of the Criminal Justice program. By volunteering with the Medinah Shriners, Schak helps raise money to fund the Shriners Hospitals, which care for children in the areas of orthopedics, cleft lip and cleft palate, burns and spinal cord injuries. Schak’s activities primarily support the Chicago hospital.

This month, Schak was named the outstanding Shriner of the Year for 2018, as well as the  Chief of the Medinah Police Unit. This unit provides security and assistance for the organization’s fundraisers and activities throughout the year. In addition, Schak was appointed to the Chicago Shriners Hospital advisory board. Continue reading »

Influential ‘A Better Chicago’ Features Student Devine Drakes The nonprofit identifies true change-makers in providing access to education

Devine Drakes at National Louis University.

A Better Chicago profiled National Louis University student Devine Drakes, who is studying to become a bilingual psychologist.

Devine Drakes is not only an enthusiastic junior and student ambassador in National Louis University’s undergraduate program, she’s also part of #ABetterChicago, both literally and figuratively. Continue reading »

Alum Receives Fulbright Award To Teach English in Algeria Kennan Daoudi, M.A.T. 2015, will be helping to build cultural connections

Kennan Daoudi

Kennan Daoudi ’15, who received his Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, received a Fulbright award to teach English in Algeria.

Congratulations to National Louis University alum Kennan Daoudi, M.A.T. ’15, whose love of teaching, foreign languages and international cultures is taking him far.

Daoudi, 27, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  He will be working with local teachers in Algiers, Algeria at its polytechnic school helping Algerian university students improve their English. His mission also includes strengthening cultural connections between the U.S. and Algerian people.   Continue reading »

Find Out Who Won NLU Teaching, Staff Excellence Awards NLU presented four teaching awards, two staff awards

Congratulate the winners of National Louis University’s annual Excellence awards for faculty and staff. The University announced them Sept. 7.

Excellence in Teaching Award

National Louis University Professor Kristin Lems, Ph.D., second from left, holds her Excellence in Teaching award. Also pictured are Leslie Katch, Ph.D., assistant professor, at left, NLU President Nivine Megahed, Ph.D., and Assistant Provost Michael Carr, Ph.D.

Kristin Lems, Ph.D., professor of ESL/Bilingual Education in NLU’s National College of Education, won the Excellence in Teaching Award. Continue reading »