Meet the Bloggers

Our bloggers include faculty and staff from various departments at Illinois State University including the early childhood program, elementary education program, special education program, theater education program, music education program, laboratory school, and more! They also include our cooperating teachers and principals, as well as current and past students. These men and women have years of experience in the field, passion for working with young children, and insights to share galore! Read below for more info on our guest bloggers as they post here during the 2014-2015 school year.




Dr. Sharon Doubet is an Associate Professor in the department of Special Education at Illinois State University. Sharon’s research focuses on the development of young children ages birth to five, families of young children with disabilities, qualitative research methodology, and the social emotional development of young children. Her main teaching areas at ISU include early childhood special education, early intervention (Birth – 3 years), general special education, and assessment and instruction for young children. Check out Sharon’s past posts:


Dr. Michael Vetere, is an Associate Professor at Illinois State University in the School of Theatre and Dance.  His focus area includes creative dramatics, puppetry, and the arts for early childhood and elementary education. Check out Michael’s past posts:


Dr. Rena Shifflet spent over thirty years in public education as a classroom teacher and district technology coordinator. As an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University, Rena works with preservice elementary education majors and practicing educators. Her research interests include preservice teacher education, professional development schools, and the use of technology for teaching and learning. Check out Rena’s past posts:



Julie Derden is a former elementary public school teacher who found her first real love teaching first graders to read. Her degree in education led her to the business world where she wrote curriculum and served as a trainer for many years before returning to school to get her M.S. in Library and Information Science in 2006. She currently serves as the Teaching Materials Librarian at Illinois State University’s Milner Library where she is responsible for maintaining a PK-12 materials collection for use by education faculty, preservice teacher candidates, and other students. In that role, she also serves as the subject liaison to ISU’s School of Teaching & Learning and subject librarian for Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle Level Education students. See Julie’s past posts: 



Dr. Miranda Lin is an Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education. She has worked with children in various settings and countries. Her research interests include anti-bias curriculum, teacher education, service learning, and home school partnership. Check out Miranda’s past posts:

Killian photo


Killian McIlvain is a 2014 ISU ECE alumna. She currently is a first-year Special Education teacher in a blended, bilingual PreK Classroom at Goethe Elementary in the Chicago Public Schools. Check out her school’s website here. Check out her past posts:



Laurel Schumacher has spent 30 years in early childhood education. She is a first grade teacher at Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School, holds a BA in elementary education, MS in reading and is a certified reading specialist. Laurel has been teaching for “a really long time” and still absolutely loves spending her days with young children! In her spare time, Laurel enjoys an active lifestyle, which includes practicing yoga! You can find her ISU bio here and check out her past posts:



Dr. Anni Reinking is an Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in the Early Childhood Program. Before working in higher education she was an early childhood classroom teacher for eight years internationally and nationally. She taught in private, public, and charter schools throughout her time in the classroom. Currently, as a professor at SIU-E, she teaches methods courses in the early childhood program.  Check out Anni’s past posts:

kyle bio


Dr. Kyle Miller is an Assistant Professor of Child Development in the School of Teaching and Learning.  She has worked in a number of educational settings, as a teacher and student support coordinator.  Her research focuses on lower-income families and strengthening the relationships between families and schools. Check out her ISU bio here and her past posts:



Dr. Sherry Sanden is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Literacy at Illinois State University. She is a former first- and second-grade teacher and child care director. Her research interests include the ways that teachers learn about and use books and reading in early education classrooms. Check out her ISU bio here and her past posts:



Cassandra Mattoon teaches Pre-Kindergarten at Thomas Metcalf Laboratory School at Illinois State University in Normal, IL. She has been teaching in the field of early childhood education for 19 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in ECE and a master’s in curriculum and instruction. She has experience teaching first grade, third grade and been the director of a child development center. Check out her past posts:





A graduate from Illinois State in 2015, this is Julia Spencer’s second year of teaching ECSE (early childhood special education) with one integrated and one self-contained preschool classroom, now at Arbor View Elementary School, in Glen Ellyn IL.  Check out Julia’s past posts:



Andrea Siefert is a 2015 graduate from the ECE program at Illinois State University. She teaches kindergarten at Blackwell Elementary in Schaumburg, Illinois. You can check out information about her school here. Check out her past posts:

Alan Pic Homepage


Dr. Alan Bates is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at Illinois State University. His research interests include children’s mathematical development, teacher’s math self-efficacy, and parent-school interaction. Check out Alan’s past posts:



Kim White received her degree in Elementary Education (K-9th) from Eastern Illinois University in 1991. She’s held a variety of positions, including Child Care Director, Reading Paraprofessional, Library Specialist, Tax Preparer, and Theme Park Hostess. While a Child Care Director, she served as both a member and co-chair on a planning committee, as well as presenting, at several child care conferences. She has currently been teaching 1st grade at LeRoy Elementary for nine years. Additionally, she teaches summer school lab, tutors year round, and is a certified Reading Recovery Teacher. This is Kim’s first year blogging with us! Check out her past posts:



Before entering the teaching profession, Julie Schopp, a second grade teacher at LeRoy Elementary, worked as a cost accountant and then stayed home to raise her four children. She is now in her 13th year of teaching: five years in first grade and eight years in second grade. A few years back, she received a masters degree in reading and literacy. This is Julie’s first year blogging with us. Welcome Julie! Check out her past posts:



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