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NCE Welcomes New Faculty and Leadership

NCE welcomes new fulltime faculty and leadership this fall, who bring expertise, experience, and represent an unprecedented opportunity for us to build upon the college’s community impact.

NCE Dean's Office

picture of Kristi Stricker

Kristi Stricker joins us from Concordia University, where she most recently served as interim Dean and Associate Dean, College of Education. As NCE’s new Associate Dean, Kristi will lead the College on all matters related to academic quality, portfolio management, faculty development, and instructional excellence. She brings extensive experience in curriculum and program development, accreditation and assessment, and instruction. In addition to overseeing licensure and accreditation, Kristi brings a student-centered and faculty development focused perspective to her work. As a teacher and faculty member, she’s been deeply engaged in the preparation of early career and advanced educators. Kristi holds a Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University, an M.A. in School Leadership from Concordia University, an M.S. in Geography Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from South Dakota State University.

Teacher Preparation

picture of Kathleen Kotel

Kathleen Kotel joined NCE as Assistant Professor in Special Education. She holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum Development from DePaul University and an Ed.D. in Disability and Equity in Education from National Louis University. Before joining NCE as a fulltime faculty member, Kathleen served as an NLU adjunct for ten years, taught middle school, and worked with early childhood students with autism. As the parent of a child with disabilities, Kathleen founded ROAR, a high school club for students with disabilities and their peers, and BEST220, a parent advisory board. She was one of the founding parents and director of GiGi's Playhouse, an achievement center for people with Down syndrome and their families, and a director for an employment program for adults with disabilities.

picture of Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham, a former middle school English Language Arts teacher, brings her experience with middle grades students, schools, and curricula to her role as Assistant Professor and Program Chair of Middle Grades Education. Hannah holds an M.S.Ed from the Bank Street College of Education, an M.S.W. from the University of Chicago, and will be conferred her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall. Her work and research focus on teaching practices that promote collaboration and communal learning across contexts. Prior to joining the faculty at National Louis, Hannah served as an instructor and pre-service teacher supervisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Bank Street College of Education in New York, a curriculum consultant with multiple programs in Chicago, and as a professional development leader across the country through the YMCA of the USA and WebbAlign. Her co-authored book, Restorative Justice in the English Language Arts Classroom (Winn, Graham & Alfred, 2019), was recently published by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

picture of Lee Tate

Lee Tate joined NCE as Assistant Professor and Coordinator for the Teach for America Corps Members. Lee holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education with an Early Childhood Special Education Approval, as well as an Ed.S. in Adult Learning with an emphasis on Higher Education from Walden University. His experience as an educator includes teacher of prekindergarten through primary grades, Education Coordinator, Disabilities Coordinator, Curriculum Specialist, cooperating teacher, new teacher mentor, Adjunct Professor, and Educational Consultant. In addition, he has written and presented many professional development workshops for teachers of children birth to age 8.

picture of Vishodana Thamotharan

Vishodana Thamotharan holds an M.Ed. and subject credential in Chemistry from Stanford University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from the University of Southern California. Vishodana joins NCE as an Assistant Professor and Director of STEM Initiatives. She brings her experience as a high school chemistry teacher, science department chair, cooperating teacher, new teacher mentor, district science teacher leader, assistant teaching professor, and associate director of secondary STEM education to her new role in NCE. Her research interests include teaching identity and teacher practice beliefs.

picture of Kavita Venkatesh

Kavita Venkatesh, our new Residency and Alternative Pathway Program Director, joins NLU having worked most recently as an instructional coach specializing in universal design for learning, teacher and educational consultant. Kavita will be leading our expanding teacher preparation residency program team to build, sustain, and expand our teacher preparation opportunities in CPS, D189, D187 and beyond. Previously she served as Executive Director of Instructional Research and Development for Boston Public Schools, and Executive Director of School Innovation at ThinkCERCA, a Chicago-based edtech company. A former teacher, instructional coach, NLU adjunct professor, Kavita holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and Teaching English Language Learners from Boston College.

Advanced Professional Programs

picture of Colleen Hamilton

Colleen Hamilton, brings her expertise in language development in children and youth, bilingualism and schooling, and culturally and linguistically diverse populations to NCE as a new Assistant Professor in ESL/Bilingual Education. Colleen holds a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied bilingual and immigrant youth in the US and their experiences of languages and schooling on the path to college. Before joining NCE faculty, Colleen served as Language Program Director at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

picture of Pamela Radford

Pamela Radford
, earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Western Michigan University. She brings her strong applied behavior analysis background to her new role as Assistant Professor. With a focus on implementing evidence-based practices and data-driven decision making over the past decade, Pam has served as a school administrator, school psychologist, and professional development coach. As the Director of Professional Learning for Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, Pam provided ongoing training, coaching, and technical assistance to districts in the development of practices to promote academic and behavioral growth. Pam supported the implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) practices across Illinois as the Statewide Administrator for the Illinois Response to Intervention (RtI) network, formally known as I-ASPIRE. Providing ongoing leadership at the national level, Pam sits on the planning committee for the MTSS Innovations Conference, a long-standing education conference in scaling up MTSS implementation.

Educational Leadership

picture of Christine Nelson

Christine Nelson joined NCE’s Educational Leadership faculty as an Assistant Professor. Her career as an educator includes teaching and administrative experience in urban, suburban, and rural public school districts and serving as an adjunct faculty member for NLU, Northern Illinois University, and the University of St. Francis. Her experiences as an Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Student Services, Director of Special Education, and Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning provided her with practical and current experiences in many facets of leadership. Christine earned her teaching credentials through Northern Illinois University, an M.Ed. in Urban Leadership through University of Illinois Chicago, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum Leadership from Northern Illinois University. Christine’s research interests include the impact of cultural capital on school and family relationships particularly in the realm of special education, and how implicit bias influences educational practice, policy, and relationships.

picture of Tracee Farmer NCE Centers

Tracee Farmer joins our Reading Recovery Center for Literacy as an Assistant Professor. She is working on a Ph.D. in Reading at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and will complete a year of post-doctoral work to earn the national credential of Reading Recovery® Trainer of Teacher Leaders. Before joining NCE, Tracee served as the Reading Recovery Teacher Leader and Summer Academy Administrator in Quincy, IL. She also brings her former teaching experience in elementary special education classrooms.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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