Amy Jo coordinates projects spanning cradle to career as the Director of the Center for P-20 Engagement. She leads a highly accomplished, enthusiastic, committed staff in grants, projects and activities that research early childhood program effectiveness, deliver migrant education services, address STEM shortages, improve high school to college transition and promote lifelong learning. Amy Jo's experience in state educational policy and program delivery includes serving as an assistant superintendent for Illinois State Board of Education and regional superintendent in Lee and Ogle counties. Her degrees from NIU include an M.S.Ed. in secondary education and an Ed.D. with an Illinois Superintendent's license. Amy Jo believes that building systems to drive lifelong learning is at the foundation of true educational excellence and the Center for P-20 Engagement is a leader in that work across the state.
Director of P-20 Initiatives
Jason Klein is the director of P-20 Initiatives, which includes facilitating the P-20 Network, collaborating with the Illinois Interactive Report Cards Office and steering the P-20 Research Collaborative. Jason brings to this position nearly 25 years of experience in demographically diverse public school districts as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. His instructional focus has been on transforming learning opportunities for all students so that they benefit from differentiated and challenging problem-based learning. Jason has focused on implementing democratic models of school improvement informed by modern principles of project management, and he has been a leader in using technology to innovate assessment and instruction. Jason has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master's degree and Ph.D. in educational administration from Illinois State University, and an Ed.S. in educational administration from NIU.
Newt is a media associate for the P-20 Center. Newt has an avid interest in rhetoric, specifically regarding gender and sexual identity, but is otherwise an eclectic consumer and producer of media. In this position, they create videos (and sometimes photographs) for promotional, instructional and documentation use. Because visual media are pervasive and impactful, they are interested in creating videos that engage with children of all genders in order to increase interest in STEAM-related fields. They hold an M.A. in communications from NIU, a J.D. from NIU College of Law, and a B.A. in German from Carthage College. Their dog, Bean, is pretty great.
Shelli Solfisburg is the program coordinator for the Illinois Migrant Education Services at NIU and works collectively with the P-20 Center. Shelli's areas of focus pertain to organizational practices, procedural development, NIU processes, financial management and facilitating a one-stop-shop for the Migrant Education Program Local Projects in connection with NIU. Shelli has a bachelor's degree in project management with a minor in information systems.
Jeremy develops content for STEM Outreach programs. He shares his passion for STEM with tens of thousands of students each year as a presenter for STEM Outreach's in-school and STEM Saturday programs. During the summer, he serves as camp director for our STEM summer camps. Throughout the year, Jeremy regularly presents his workshops on using LEGO Robotics in the classroom to high school teachers from all over the country at national meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and loves exploring the intersections of science and music and sharing those with others. Jeremy has bachelor's degrees in both communications and physics education and earned his science teaching certification from NIU.
Kristin is the director of NIU STEAM. She leads efforts to support interdisciplinary STEAM education and technology integration through regional and statewide professional development programs and annual events such as the STEAMing It Up Conference. Kristin also works with state partners to support educators as they use data, technology and open educational resources to support student success. For over 15 years, Kristin has enjoyed helping in-service and pre-service teachers become fearless with technology while they explore innovative ways to impact student learning. She is a former industrial engineer with a M.S. in engineering and an Ed.D. in instructional technology from NIU.
Content Creation Manager
Hollie Rodriguez is a research associate with NIU STEAM and serves as the creative content coordinator for NIU's STEM Read. Rodriguez began working for STEM Read in 2015 as a student worker. Since graduating from the university's English program in 2017, Hollie has come on as a full-time NIU STEAM associate. In her day-to-day responsibilities, Hollie operates and evaluates all of NIU STEAM'S social media channels, as well as the STEM Read Blog. At large community events, she can often be found live-tweeting and snapping photos for future media campaigns. When not working on public-facing promotion, Hollie also assists with STEM Read field trips, lesson plans and professional development.
Judith serves as coordinator for the Center for Economic Education and is an Outreach and Engagement Associate for STEM Outreach. She connects K-12 schools to the university through professional development for educators in economics and she connects adults and students to the university by leading the STEM Cafés program. Prior to coming to NIU, Judy spent 10 years as a K-12 administrator in Illinois and Ohio, and 23 years teaching middle and high school reading and language arts in Illinois and Wisconsin. She holds numerous K-12 certifications including superintendent in addition to a doctorate in educational leadership from National Louis University and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Judy is passionate about connecting K-12 schools and the community to learning opportunities.
Gillian is the director of NIU's STEM Read program, which introduces young readers to the science, technology, engineering and math concepts behind popular fiction books. To do this, STEM Read creates free online lesson plans, interactive games, videos, collaborative writing prompts and live events that bring science and stories to life. She is the author of the Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series (The Toy and the Twister, The Toy and the Tide Pool, The Toy and the Test Drive). These picture books tell fun, fast-paced stories that incorporate STEM concepts aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for kindergarten through second grade. King-Cargile holds a B.A. in film production and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Southern Illinois University.
Kerri is a STEAM Educator with NIU STEAM. She assists with curricular resources for NIU STEAM's STEM Read, STEM Outreach and STEAMing It Up, as well as for the Illinois Migrant Education Program and international clients. She helps to provide professional development to educators throughout Illinois, bringing NIU STEAM's educational philosophies and resources to a growing number of schools and districts offering STEAM education to their students. Kerri holds a B.S. in elementary education from St. Xavier University and a K-9 professional educator license through the state of Illinois. She was previously a third-grade teacher and has substituted in classrooms ranging from pre-k to 12th grade.
After 26 years in the classroom teaching biology and human anatomy & physiology, Ann joined NIU STEAM as a STEM educator in 2020. Her responsibilities involve developing curricular resources and providing professional development to educators around the state of Illinois. In addition to a B.S. Ed. in biology education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, she holds an M.S. Ed. from Northern Illinois University in outdoor teacher education and an M.A.T. from Miami (OH) University in biological sciences with an emphasis in inquiry-based learning. Ann’s philosophy is that science is a hobby. She promotes this by encouraging everyone, especially girls, to get involved with citizen science projects and spend time outdoors.
Susana DasNeves is the director of Illinois Migrant Education Services at NIU and serves as principal investigator for the Migrant Education Program contract and Rochelle local program. Her responsibilities focus on the coordination of services to support the seven local Migrant Education Program grantees from the Illinois State Board of Education. Prior to her director position, she served in the NIU Center for P-20 Engagement as the Parent University coordinator to meet the needs of Latino parents in the DeKalb/Sycamore area. She also developed a College Prep Boot Camp to assist parents and students with the transition to post-secondary education. Susana has experience as a bilingual counselor, academic advisor and administrator in student and academic affairs at the university and community college levels.
Through the years, she has developed partnerships with colleagues and community organizations to provide all students, including undocumented students, a smooth transition to four-year institutions. She is an advocate for access to education for all students and has presented at state and national conferences on the importance of college readiness for students and parents. At NIU, she has served on various committees and the Presidential Task Force for the Support of Undocumented Students, and as faculty advisor to several student organizations. In 2010, she joined the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE) executive board. Susana holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from the Universidad de Monterrey (México), a Master of Science in guidance counseling from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is pursuing a doctoral degree in adult education at NIU.
Identification and Recruitment Coordinator
María Dominguez coordinates the Migrant Education Program's recruitment efforts in the state, providing training and technical support to the state's recruiters. María also represents Illinois in the Identification and Recruitment Rapid Response (IRRC) and Graduation and Outcomes for Success for Out of School Youth (GOSOSY) consortiums. For over 28 years, María has strived to have a positive educational impact on migratory parents and children in Illinois.
Reina Franco is a first-generation Mexican American, fluent in English and Spanish. She has lived in Elgin, Illinois, and Cuernavaca, Mexico. She earned her bachelor's degree in communications and management from Judson University and her associate of applied science degree from Elgin Community College.
On June 5, 2019, she began working as the new state recruiter for Illinois Migrant Education Services at NIU. This position allows her to do what she does best, help others. Her role is to seek out students who qualify for the Migrant Education Program; provide support to different directors and recruiters in Illinois; network at different school districts, farms, nurseries, stores and universities; and advocate for the children of migrant workers. This program provides students support with their educational, legal and medical needs. The program works particularly with the children of agricultural workers to support their educational advancement and prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Reina is also an active board member of the Elgin Hispanic Network and the Elgin Youth Leadership Academy and an entrepreneur who founded a company that provides interpretation and translation services. She plans to begin working towards her MBA in 2020.
Maria Rodriquez reviews and approves all migrant students' Certificates of Eligibility based on eligibility requirements defined by the Office of Migrant Education. She is a former migrant student and parent. She enjoys gardening and photographing colorful sunsets.
Educational Program Evaluation Coordinator
Gloria Rosales brings over 20 years of experience working with the Migrant Education Program (MEP) in the state of Illinois. Gloria's responsibilities entail monitoring compliance and quality assurance related to services provided to migrant program eligible children, and delivery of the annual training to MEP staff for online data collection. Gloria is also responsible for data systems and quality control of reports provided to the Illinois State Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Migrant Education, and she provides help-desk support for the maintenance and accuracy of data entry conducted throughout the state. In addition to her work, Gloria is a lifelong learner. She is currently pursuing an accounting degree in the College of Business at Northern Illinois University. When she is not working or studying, Gloria enjoys watching and attending soccer games.