Notable Alumni

With nearly 54,000 living alumni, the NIU College of Education makes a positive impact on countless lives in Illinois (where two-thirds of our alums live), across the country and around the world. Our graduates lead and succeed in education across the P-20 continuum as well as in business and industry, government, media, sport, advocacy and other professional sectors.

Here are just a few of our alumni whose NIU College of Education preparation has helped them to reach career heights.

  • Sarah Knight Adamson, M.S.Ed. Reading, '84, weekly film critic for the internationally syndicated radio show Hollywood 360 Radio Network
  • Juan Andrade Jr., Ed.S. '95 and Ed.D. '98, Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, president and co-founder of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
  • Bibi Belford, M.S.Ed. Literacy Education, '84, author of the Christopher Award-winning novel "Crossing the Line"
  • Christine Benson, Ed.D. '05, member of the Illinois State Board of Education
  • Peggy F. J. Bradford, Ed.D. Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, '00, president of Shawnee Community College
  • Denise Bunning, M.S.Ed. Special Education, '89, co-founder of MOCHA (Mothers of Children Having Allergies) and member of the Board of Governors for FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education)
  • Robert English, Ed.D Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, '74, Chairman of the Board, PMA Financial Network, Inc.
  • P.J. Fleck, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, '04, head coach of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team
  • Daniel L. Goodwin, M.S.Ed. Education Leadership and Policy Studies, '73, chairman and CEO of Inland Real Estate Group, recipient of the 2018 Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from The Executives' Club of Chicago
  • Cary S. Groth, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, '78, and M.S.Ed. Educational Leadership '99, Director of Athletics, Emeritus, University of Nevada
  • Jan S. Half, M.S.Ed. '80, recipient of the 2016 Silicon Valley Women of Influence Award
  • Ehren Jarrett, M.S.Ed '04, Ed.D '09, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools District 205
  • Anthony L. Kambich, B.S. Physical Education, '59, and Carolyn A. Kambich, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, '60, founders of Deerfield Montessori Schools
  • Cynthia Latimer, M.S.Ed. Educational Administration, '88, member of the Illinois State Board of Education
  • Jordan Lynch, B.S. Kinesiology, '13, Heisman Trophy finalist
  • Byoung-chul Min, M.S.Ed. Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, '91, and Ed.D. Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, '98, professor in the College of International Studies at Kyung Hee University and creator of the Social Media Human Rights Committee
  • Malcolm Neely, M.S. Sport Management, '18, marketing coordinator for the Chicago Bears
  • James B. Pick, M.S.Ed '69, professor and director, Center for Spatial Business, School of Business, University of Redlands
  • Edward "Ted" Raspiller, M.S.Ed. Leadership and Education Policy Study; Ed.D. Leadership and Edcation Policy Study, '98, president, John Tyler Community College
  • Aldo Rodriguez, M.S.Ed. Adult and Higher Education, '12; Ph.D. Educational Psychology, '18, National Director for Language Policies, Administración Nacional de Educación Pública, Uruguay
  • Ann E. Rondeau, Ed.D. Adult and Higher Education, '10, president of the Naval Postgraduate School
  • Yara Santillan, B.S. Kinesiology, '13, and M.S. Exercise Physiology, '14, Physical Education Specialist, Chicago Public Schools
  • Mary Margaret Sharp-Pucci, B.S.Ed. Physical Education '77; Ed.D. Educational Psychology '91; Director and Assistant Professor, Health Systems Management, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago
  • Christine J. Sobek, Ed.D. Adult Continuing Education, '96, president of Waubonsee Community College
  • Jim Suttie, B.S.Ed, M.S., '70, one of the world's best and most respected golf instructors
  • William Renwick Speer, M.S.Ed. Secondary Education with Math Specialization, ’71, director of the UNLV Mathematics Learning Center, former interim dean of the UNLV College of Education and recipient of the 2018 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • John J. "Ski" Sygielski, Ed.D. Adult and Continuing Education, '99, president, HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College
  • Alfred Tatum, B.S.Ed. Elementary Education, '92, dean of the College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • William (Bill) Tessendorf, B.S.Ed. Physical Education, '71, former head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Ravens and member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Hall of Fame
  • Betty Trummel, M.S.Ed. '91, Outdoor Education, polar scientist
  • Litesa Wallace, Ph.D. Educational Psychology, '13, former state representative for the 67th District of the Illinois General Assembly
  • Maria Walther, B.S.Ed. '86, M.S.Ed. '93 and Ed.D. Elementary Education, '98, recipient of the Illinois Reading Council's 2016 Hall of Fame Award
Bob English


Robert English, Ed.D. Leadership and Educational Policy Studies, '74, is the 2020 NIU Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient.

aldo rodriguez

"The NIU College of Education gave me a profound understanding of the processes of how languages are learned and the variables that affect learning. It helped me connect with scholars from other countries and to make mutual contributions in terms of research and teaching. Above all, it gave me a multidimensional understanding of learning, motivation and adult learning."

by Aldo Rodriguez, Ph.D. Educational Psychology, National Director for Language Policies, Teacher Trainer and Professor, Administración Nacional de Educación Pública, Uruguay

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