The College of Education at Illinois State University will induct three alumni into its Hall of Fame on Friday, October 20 during the University’s 2017 Homecoming celebration. An additional three teachers will be recognized with the college’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Hall of Fame inductees
J. Michael Durnil ’83, M.S. ’84, earned his bachelor’s in biological sciences and master’s in educational administration and foundations from Illinois State in 1983 and 1984, respectively. He is a proven leader of both higher education and nonprofit organizations. Durnil currently serves as president and CEO of the Simon Youth Foundation, making high school education accessible for students unable to succeed in traditional classroom settings.
Ardith Kleindienst ’73 earned her bachelor’s in education from Illinois State in 1973. She devoted her career to enhancing supports for students with emotional, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities, developing landmark special education programming for each of the districts she served. Her former roles include: special education teacher, training coordinator, program developer, and school and district-level administrator in Illinois, Indiana, and California.
Pamela Rosa ’86, M.S. ’92, earned her bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s in educational administration from Illinois State in 1986 and 1992, respectively. Over the past 31 years, she has served as a teacher, coach, school and district-level administrator, and consultant. In 2012, she established Rosa Educational Consulting, Inc., which delivers high-energy, engaging workshops to P-12 educators across the U.S.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients
Rachel Hughart ’13 earned her bachelor’s in middle level education from Illinois State in 2013 and is pursuing her master’s in teaching and learning from the University. The fifth-year teacher is a trusted educational technologist who is lauded for her classroom management strategies at Evans Junior High in Bloomington. She has presented her approaches to educators at more than a dozen conferences.
Rebecca (Gilbert) Gonzalez ’12 earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from Illinois State in 2012. She is a teacher and member of the leadership team at Rudyard Kipling Elementary, located on Chicago’s South Side. Gonzalez has engaged with numerous community organizations to bring innovative science, technology, engineering, arts, math (STEAM), and restorative justice curriculum to her school and classroom.
Ashley Wolinski-Norton ’07 earned her bachelor’s in special education from Illinois State in 2007 and is also pursuing her doctorate in special education from the University. She served as a learning and behavior specialist and administrator for seven years at Lara Academy in Chicago. In 2014, Illinois State hired her to help prepare future educators as a clinical assistant professor and Chicago field-base coordinator.