Meet Our Faculty
Selima Ani Hargadon, Executive Director – Selima Ani Haragon is a Licensed Social Worker with expertise in education and community support services for individuals with special needs and their families. She has worked in a number of private not-for-profit organizations including Aspire of Illinois Children's Services (formerly The Belle Center), the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, disabilityworks, and at Options, Inc., a provider of residential and transitional services to adults with development disabilities.
Barbara Kite, Assistant Director – Barb has been a special education teacher for 30 years. She received her undergraduate degree in education and master’s degree in school guidance and counseling. Barb has been with the P.A.C.E. program for 16 years, serving as assistant director since 2000. She taught in the public school system for 10 years and continues to instruct classes in special education at NLU.
Adjunct Field Work Instructors
Robin Sowl - Robin Sowl has been working in the special education field for the past 12 years, specializing in vocational rehabilitation. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology, and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Robin has been a Fieldwork Instructor at the P.A.C.E. Program for the past 4 years.
Lauren Kornhauser - Lauren Kornhauser is an RA in the P.A.C.E. dorm, and a Special Education Graduate student at NLU. She received her BA in Psychology and Art Therapy from Milikin University, and has over four years of experience serving adults with diverse ranges of disabilities. Lauren currently facilitates the Art Club at P.A.C.E., and is editor of the program’s student newspaper, P.A.C.E. Press.
All full time instructors teach two classes in the P.A.C.E. Program. The curriculum is enriched through adjunct instructors in specialty areas. They are:
Joe Connelly, Assertiveness Training - Joe Connelly has over 40 years experience in martial arts and is a 6th Degree Black Belt martial arts instructor in Taekwon-do. He is the Midwest regional director of Kidpower International, a padded-assailant violence-prevention skills training organization based in Santa Cruz, Calif.; and director of Connelly’s Academy of Martial Arts, an Evanston, IL. He has designed and taught programs that empower populations with special needs since 1981. His background includes 15 years of work experience in business education with IBM and The Fortune Group International, a training firm serving Fortune 1000 companies. Joe has his Master’s Degree in Human Services.
Janet Lerner, Computer Technology – Dr. Lerner is an adjunct professor in Computer Technology for the P.A.C.E. program. Dr. Lerner received the J.E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Exceptional Children. Dr. Lerner serves as co-editor of the journal, Learning Disabilities: An Interdisciplinary Journal. She has authored and coauthored number articles and books, including the Learning Disabilities and Related Mild Disabilities, which is the 11th edition of this Seminole textbook, published by Houghton Mifflin Co. Dr. Lerner is professor emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University, where she served as professor and chairperson of the Department of Special Education.
Patricia Kessie, Greek Mythology and Shakespeare – Tricia came to teaching after a first career in international travel, and a second as a stay-at-home mom. She taught history and the humanities at the high school level for 17 years, specializing in Shakespeare and methods of teaching classes “In Action!”, many of which were adapted for students in special education courses. These methods were presented in workshops and courses given by members of the staff of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the ‘Shakespeare in the Schools’ projects of both Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, as well as the Folger Shakespeare Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the States. Tricia came to P.A.C.E. in 2004 and has greatly enjoyed working with P.A.C.E. students in “Greek Myth & Legend in Action!” and “Shakespeare in Action!” classes.
The P.A.C.E. Faculty
P.A.C.E. faculty are master’s level professionals committed to giving their students the skills they will need to find success in relationships, on the job, and in the community. The ten full-time faculty, as well as about twelve part-time instructors—all primarily teachers—bring experiences from education, mental health and social work, recreational services and vocational rehabilitation.
Instruction integrates both group and individual teaching across all areas of their students’ lives to encourage growth and learning. The faculty believe that students learn best when they are actively involved in the process—and when teaching is linked directly to events, activities, goals and aspirations in their own lives.
Robert Harth, founder of the NLU P.A.C.E. program, is leading a research initiative, with assistance from the P.A.C.E. faculty, that focuses on three areas:
- A study of the program’s graduates
- Validation of multiple learning disabilities
- Experiences of P.A.C.E. students and their families.
Graduate students whose area of study is learning disabilities and behavior disorders may choose to do their practicum or student teaching at P.A.C.E.. Other college students are welcome to observe as part of their clinical experiences that are required as part of their major.