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Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Outstanding Graduate Alumni

2015 - Brett Lawless, '91, '96

Brett Lawless earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Eastern Illinois University in 1991 and went to work for Health Alliance Medical Plans in Urbana, Illinois, but a decision to explore the educational field led him back to EIU in January 1995. Brett worked as a graduate assistant in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education while completing coursework toward his teaching certificate and master’s degree. He received his master’s in education in elementary education in 1996 and began his teaching career soon after in East Peoria, Illinois as a 4th grade teacher. A year in East Peoria was followed by fifteen years at Central School District 51 in Washington, Illinois where he carried out teaching and coaching assignments in the 6th-8th grades. In 2012, he completed the graduate program in educational administration at Illinois State University earning his administrative certificate as well as a master’s in educational administration. Brett was hired as the Central Primary School principal in the spring of 2012, and has served the District in that capacity to date.




2014 - Dr. Mary Parker, Ed. D., '76, '85, '99

Linda Brisseden

Mary Parker earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1976, her master’s degree in Elementary Education in 1985, and her specialist degree in Educational Administration in 1999 all from Eastern Illinois University. Mary’s first position after graduating in 1976 was at Neoga District #3. In successive years she was the 1-6 music teacher, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and again fifth grade teacher before earning her certification to become a Title I teacher, and was then a Title I teacher and director at Neoga until 1994. In 1995 she became the Title I director and Integrated Learning System Coordinator for Mattoon Community District #2. In 1997 she also accepted the additional responsibilities of becoming the principal of the kindergarten center and writing grants for the district. From 1998 to 2000, Mary also added to her workload the responsibility of being the elementary principal of elementary school with 43 employees, serving 700 students. In 2000, Mary became the superintendent of the Delavan CUSD 703 K-12 district near Peoria where she remains today. At Delavan Mary oversees a $4.4 million budget while she works with the building principals to serve the students of the district.




2013 - Mrs. Linda J. Brissenden, '79, '92

Linda Brisseden

From undergraduate days at Millikin University where Linda Brissenden first decided to become an educator until now, nearly 50 years later, education has been “a calling”. She has served as a classroom teacher, state and national trainer and educational consultant and, currently, as a Transformation Administrator of an ARRA School Improvement Grant at Sandoval High School. She began her teaching career as a fourth grade teacher in Parkway School District, and was named Outstanding Young Educator in West St. Louis County following her first year of teaching. Upon return to Illinois, she taught in Springfield and Flora where she began a gifted program, coached girls’ tennis, introduced distance learning to Flora High School and became a mom to three children. She then worked as a consultant in Gifted Education and Title I at Educational Service Center 17 under Marilyn Holt, another positive influence. She completed her master’s degree at EIU in Elementary Education in 1979, adding Administrative certification in 1991. She earned a Specialist in Education degree from Eastern Illinois University in 1992. In 1993 she began her administrative career in Effingham CUSD 40, serving as Principal. Following retirement in 2000, she worked as an Educational Consultant where, for 11 years, Ann Schwarm of Regional Office 3, facilitated many opportunities for her to present professional development at area, state and national venues. She has chaired the State Gifted Advisory Council, trained many educators in Standards Aligned Classroom, Gifted Education and ICE21 (mentoring and induction). She served as the Trainer of Trainers for the State Gifted Education Program and co-authored the State Gifted Administrative Module.




2012 - Mrs. Ruth M. Hawkins, '47, '68

Mrs. Ruth M. Hawkins

Ruth Hawkins earned a bachelor’s in education from Eastern Illinois State Teachers College in 1947 and in 1963 she completed her master’s in education from Eastern Illinois University. Her undergraduate degree was in social studies and her graduate degree focused on elementary education. She has retired three times: the first after 20 years of teaching in the public schools, the next after working for 16 years and an elementary education consultant for a major publishing company, and the last after spending seven years as an associate professor in EIU’s elementary education department. After graduating in 1947 Ruth taught in public schools in Illinois and Michigan as an elementary teacher (grades 3 through 12) and completed her master’s degree while teaching. She was a coordinating teacher for EIU’s student teaching program while working in Oakland, Illinois and it during her tenure at Oakland that she was selected as the 1974 Illinois Teacher of the Year. After retiring from the classroom Ruth served as an elementary education consultant for Houghton Miffl in Company, giving workshops and seminars. In 1988 she returned to EIU’s campus as an Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education. Now that she has officially retired, Ruth spends time pursuing her interests in genealogy, gardening, and collecting antiques.




2009 - Mr. David R. Carey

Mr. Carey graduated from Charleston High School in 1969 and Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and a master’s degree in 1978, both in elementary education. In 1984, he received his specialist degree in instructional media, also from EIU, and received his administrative certification in the principalship as well as the superintendency after completing coursework at EIU. He recently graduated from the University of Illinois with an Ed.S. in leadership. Mr. Carey spent 17 years teaching 1st-4th grades in West field, Sullivan, Mattoon and Charleston and was media director for one year in a Mattoon elementary school and two years at the Charleston Junior High before becoming principal/title 1 teacher at Lerna School in 1990. While at Lerna School he trained as a Reading Recovery teacher and helped to bring the Reading Recovery Program to Charleston in 1992. In 1994 he was hired as dual principal for both Lerna and Carl Sandburg Elementary schools and served in that position until 1998 when the Charleston school system was restructured. He and his team helped design and develop the current “centers system” used to organize Charleston’s elementary schools. During his tenure there, he and his staff strengthened ties with EIU as a professional development school. Working closely with Dr. Brian Reid, they developed the goals of providing pre-service teachers increased opportunities for the classroom, teacher and student contact, and also provided classroom teachers and students with additional support and focused assistance. Before retiring in 2007, he and Judy Barford, EIU instructor, worked together to oversee a four-year project entitled the School-based Cohort Immersion Program.




2008 - Noelle Greathouse, Ph.D.

Noelle earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Illinois in 1957. Immediately upon graduating from the U of I her career in public education began and she spent the next 29 years teaching preschool through third grade. In 1970 she earned a master’s in elementary education from EIU and completed her doctorate from Indiana State University in 1991. Upon retiring from the public school system in 1988, she joined the faculty at Eastern in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle Level Education. She retired from EIU in 2003 but when asked by the department to teach for two more years, she agreed. She continues to work as an NCATE Folio Reviewer for ACEI, she has published papers, developed workshops for practicing teachers, made numerous presentations at refereed professional meetings, and been invited to speak at a variety of venues.




2005 - Mr. Joshua Quick

Mr. Quick was a 1990 graduate of Watseka Community High School. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from EIU in 1995 and 2000. Mr. Quick was the principal of Washington Elementary School in Robinson in 2002 until he took the Superintendent position. He was also grant administrator for the school district. He previously was a first-grade and learning disabilities teacher in Casey, Ill. Mr. Quick has been the Superintendent for Robinson Community Unit School District No. 2 since 2008 to present.




Related Pages

Contact Information

Dr. Daniel Carter
MSED C&I Graduate Coordinator

2201 Buzzard
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
217-581-7885


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