School of Education Faculty and Staff

Department Leadership

Dr. MeShelda Jackson

Department Chair and Associate Professor


Phone: 630-829-6282  |  Send Dr. Jackson an Email

 MeShelda Jackson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Health Services and Chair of the School of Education where she has been a faculty member since 2006. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh in Special Education, Educational Specialist in School Clinical Psychology, and Masters degree at Nova South Eastern University in Computer Education and her undergraduate degree at Alabama A&M University in Speech-Language Pathology . Dr. Jackson taught as a teacher and administrator in public and private schools from 1982 to 1995. After receiving her Ph.D., she has been teaching in higher education for the past 17 years. Her research interests lie in the area of special education and school psychology. Dr. Jackson serves on national, state, and local committees related to education.

Dr. Richard Campbell

Assistant to the Dept. Chair, Licensure Officer


Phone: (630) 829-6462  |  Send Dr. Campbell an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 266


Dr. Elizabeth Bell

Assistant Professor


Phone: 630-829-1892  |  Send Dr. Bell an Email

 Dr. Elizabeth "Beth" Bell joined Benedictine University in 2010. Dr. Bell is the Program Director of the Physical Education and Exercise &Sports Studies programs. Dr. Bell earned her Doctorate of Education from Tennessee State University in Education Administration with a concentration in Higher Education and a Master's Degree in Athletic Training from California University of Pennsylvania. Her previous experience was serving as a Curriculum Director of the Athletic Training Program and as a Physical Education teacher for a Catholic elementary school.Dr. Bell's research includes how technology may be utilized within the health and fitness professions. She has presented at the National SHAPE convention on this topic. Other areas of interest include higher education administration and incorporating Benedictine values.Dr. Bell serves as the academic advisor for all students majoring in both Physical Education and Exercise &Sports Studies. Her areas of teaching include foundational courses to the major, growth and development, and kinesiology. Dr. Bell received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching in 2015.  

Dr. Sunil Chand

Center for Higher Education and Organizational Change


Phone: (630) 829-1930  |  Send Dr. Chand an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 264

 Dr. Sunil Chand is Professor and Director of the Ed.D. program in the Center for Higher Education and Organizational Change at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. The Ed.D. seeks to prepare mid-career professionals for leadership positions in higher education. He came to Benedictine in 2009 having served as President, College of DuPage, in Illinois, and Executive Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio. Prior to that, in the UK he was Vice President, Academic Services, at Richmond, The American University in London, where he went after ten years at Triton College, Illinois, serving in the developmental education program and later as Dean, Arts and Sciences. He came to the US having been a faculty member and Head of the Department of English at St. Stephen's College, Delhi, India. Professional contributions include conference presentations, publications, and commission service and leadership development at local, state and national levels. He earned his doctorate in Literature from Kent State University, Ohio, and earlier degrees in English from Delhi University, Delhi, India.

Dr. Joyce Jeewek

Associate Professor


Phone: 630-829-6286  |  Send Dr. Jeewek an Email

Dr. Joyce Jeewek joined the school of education faculty full-time in 2006. Formerly, she worked as an elementary teacher, reading specialists, special education intervention manager, principal, district curriculum director, and an adjunct faculty member for Northern Illinois, Lewis and Benedictine Universities. Dr. Jeewek's passion is education! Dr. Jeewek earned her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, a Masters of Science in Education for Language Arts and Reading, and a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Mainstreaming from Northern Illinois University. In 2010, Dr. Jeewek added an ESL endorsement from Benedictine University to her resume.

Dr. Jeewek's research interests include qualitative studies where teachers, as practitioners, examine ways to improve student learning. Her areas of interest include: reading and the language arts, assessment driving instruction, differentiated instruction, effective reading comprehension and writing strategies, family literacy, English Language Learners, children's literature and family literacy. Her work is published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Illinois Reading Council. Dr. Jeewek delivers numerous presentations at local, state, and international conferences. Dr. Jeewek has also had her students present at various conferences. She teaches children's literature, reading and the language arts, and reading assessment courses to both undergraduates and graduate students.

Professional development is important to Dr. Jeewek. She is currently president of the Prairie Area Reading Council and is a voting board member of the Illinois Reading Council. Dr. Jeewek is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi, international education honor society Chapter Services Committee, in charge of developing strategic plans for the organization. She also is a member of both the International Reading Association's Arbothnot and Jerry John's Award Committee and the Illinois Reading Council's Barack Obama Literacy Award Committee. In 2009, Dr. Jeewek was awarded an Honorable Mention Award by the Barack Obama Literacy Fund and received a small library to use in her children's literature courses for future educators. As a Prairie Area Reading Council board member for the past seven years, Dr. Jeewek has been a part of a council that has received both Honor Council and Council of Excellence from both the Illinois Reading Council and the International Reading Association. She has also received numerous membership and speaker grants and membership idea awards from the Illinois Reading Council.

Dr. Eileen Kolich



Phone: 630-829-6285  |  Send Dr. Kolich an Email

 Dr. Eileen Kolich is a Professor and full-time faculty member in the Ed. D. program in the Center for Higher Education and Organizational Change. During her 25 years at Benedictine University she has received numerous service awards, including the Blackburn Award for Exemplary Administrative Leadership (2004), the President's Award for Leadership (2003), and the President's Award for Innovation (2000). Prior to her current position, she served in a number of administrative roles, which included Chair of the Education Department and Division, Dean of the School of Education, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs and Founding Dean of the Moser College of Adult and Professional Studies. She earned her BA at Rutgers University and her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in Curriculum &Instruction: Reading, Communication, Language Education, and Instructional Systems. Her area of expertise is in Curriculum Development in Higher Education.

Dr. Cynthia Kuck



Phone: 630-829-6297  |  Send Dr. Kuck an Email

 Cynthia Kuck earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago in the area of Public Policy Analysis. Her focus of scholarship is in education policy, especially as it impacts urban education. Prior to coming to Benedictine University as the Director of Graduate Education Programs, she taught in both public and nonpublic schools in Chicago and served in the central office as the Math and Science program coordinator for School District 64, Park Ridge. She then served at Concordia University and Argosy University as the Dean of the Colleges of Education.  

Dr. James Pelech

Associate Professor


Phone: 630-829-6283  |  Send Dr. Pelech an Email  |  Office: KN 256

After a thirty-year career as a high school math teacher, Dr. James Pelech joined the school of education in June of 2003. Dr. Pelted has earned a Doctorate in Curriculum and Social Inquiry from National Louis University, a Certificate of Advanced Studies from Concordia University, a Masters of Business Administration from Governors State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Saint Norbert College.

As a mathematics teacher at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois, he was instrumental in working with the writing across the curriculum initiative and the new teacher mentoring program. He was the first mathematics teacher at the school to participate and complete the “Content Area Reading Program.” Additionally, Dr. Pelted initiated cross-curriculum activities in which he worked with pilots to demonstrate how mathematics is used in flying and navigating a plane. This resulted in receiving a grant to enhance this program, and also led to the introduction of Problem-Based Learning in all of his classes. He was a member of the school’s North Central Accreditation Team, and in 2003 was Richards High School’s nominee for the “Excellence in Education Award.”

Here at Benedictine, Dr. Pelech is using action research to enhance student learning, including the application of the Constructivist philosophy in his classes. He has had two books published by Information Age Publishing. The first one, The Comprehensive Handbook of Constructivist Teaching: From Theory to Practice, examines how to incorporate the Constructivist philosophy into one’s daily teaching. The second book, Guide to Transforming Teaching Through Self-Inquiry, examines the use of the Constructivist theory to monitor such teacher activities as personal journal writing, research, and professional development. He has had articles published in the Mathematics Teacher, the Journal for the Practical Application of Constructivist Theory in Education, and the Journal for Research in Education. He also serves as a peer reviewer for numerous professional journals.

In terms of professional development, Dr. Pelech is very involved in a wide range of professional activities and organizations. He is President of the Association for Constructivist Teaching, an international organization comprised of teachers, administrators, and researches from America, Mexico, Poland, and China. He has presented at conferences across America and in Mexico. He has worked as a professional developer with teachers from California and upstate New York. He was one of the founding members of the Benedictine/Saint Ethelreda partnership. In this capacity he works with teachers to improve their teaching; this includes co-teaching at different grade levels. He is also President of the Saint Ethelreda School Board, this past year the National Catholic Education Association awarded the Saint Ethelreda Board the "Outstanding Board" Award..

Dr. Alandra Weller-Clarke

Associate Professor


Phone: (630) 829-6295  |  Send Dr. Weller-Clarke an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 255

Dr. Alandra Weller-Clarke is an associate professor and educational psychologist in the School of Education. She came to Benedictine the first time as a graduate student after receiving her bachelor’s degree at Elmhurst College in Special Education. She spent a year completing her master’s degree here in education and went on to Loyola University of Chicago for her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Psychology. She returned to BU in 2002 as an assistant professor, where she has taught 11 different courses in both education and psychology for both undergraduate and graduate programs.

In the fall of 2006, Dr. Clarke was appointed the Chair of the Institutional Review Board by the Provost, and has since worked diligently to make the IRB process not only smooth, but user-friendly for students and faculty. Currently, Alandra enjoys mentoring undergraduate, graduate and dissertation students in their research pursuits, and has completed over 40 theses, a few of which she has presented and co-presented at the prestigious AERA (American Educational Research Association), HICE (Hawaii International Conference on Education) and the University of Oxford. Dr. Clarke’s primary research interests include educational psychology, teaching with technology, adolescent wellness and improving the outcomes and education of adolescents with behavior disorders. In the past five years, Dr. Clarke has presented numerous internationally peer-reviewed presentations, published several articles and book chapters, and continues her research/advocacy on issues including social justice and incarcerated youth.

Dr. Ovid Wong

Associate Professor


Phone: (630) 829-1151  |  Send Dr. Wong an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 261

Dr. Ovid Wong is an associate science education professor with Benedictine University since 2007. He has a joint teaching assignment in the College of Science and the School of Education. He received his B.Sc. and Dip. Ed. from the University of Alberta (Canada), his M.Ed. from the University of Washington (Seattle), and his Ph.D. in science education from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

His experience in public education spans over twenty years from the inner city classroom in Chicago to the suburban office of the assistant school superintendent. For twelve years he was the lead science instructor at the Center for Gifted and Talented Development at Northwestern University. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, Dr. Wong was invited by Dalian Nationalities University in China to train young faculty members representing twelve academic departments in pedagogy and andragogy. In 2013, he was invited by Shenyang Normal University in China to conduct cross-cultural training for faculty and students. The China trips were supported by the Foreign Expert Exchange fund of the Chinese government.

In 1989, Dr. Wong received the National Science Foundation’s Outstanding Science Teacher in Illinois award and the National Science Teaching Achievement Recognition (STAR) award by the National Science Teacher Association. In the same year he visited the former Soviet Union as the environmental science delegation leader with the student ambassador program. He was the first recipient of the outstanding alumni award by the University of Alberta in 1992 and also the first recipient of the distinguished alumni award by the College of Education at the University of Illinois in 1995. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his significant achievements in research at Benedictine University.

Dr. Wong is the author of thirty books. He has received the Midwest Book Author ward from the Children’s Reading Roundtable of Chicago. He has written twelve books dedicated to coaching teachers and students to effectively prepare for the state mandated examination across the nation with specific editions for Illinois, Michigan, New York and Ohio. His recent ten books include Using Data Analysis to Improve Student Learning: Toward 100% Proficiency; Pivotal Strategies for the Educational Leader: The Importance of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War; Prioritizing Money and Power: Equalize Student Achievement; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments for ISAT; Elementary Science with Classroom Experiments for ESPET; High-Poverty, High-Performing Schools; An Instructor Primer for Adjunct and New Faculty: Foundations for Career Success; Life Decision; and To Learn is To Do: Evangelism ABC.


Mrs. Joyce Cecchi

Preclinical Specialist

Public Health and Education

Phone: (630) 829-6215  |  Send Mrs. Cecchi an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 249

I began my career at Benedictine University in December of 2001 with the College of Business with the MPH Program. After the 911 attack in New York Dr. Alan Gorr had the foresight to incorporate Disaster Management into the MPH Program.  Benedictine University was one of the first education institutions to have such a program.At that time I did not have a Bachelor’s degree but I became very interested in disaster management and sat in the first graduate disaster management class to see what it was all about.I began taking adult undergraduate classes so I could earn the certificate in Disaster Management.I earned the Citizen Emergency Response Term (CERT) certificate which heightened my interest in Disaster Management.I was presented “The Tradition of Hospitality Award” (March 2007) here at Benedictine.Also in 2007, my oldest son, Vince, and I walked together at commencement as the first mother/son to graduate from Benedictine University and was on my way to earn the Disaster Management certificate which I did in May 2009. I now have earned more than 20 FEMA certificates covering a vast majority of emergency preparedness related topics.My other son, Anthony, also graduated from Benedictine University.From the city of Naperville, I earned the Citizens’ Fire Academy certificate (2011), a hands-on program learning everything that firefighters do in an emergency.  I am a volunteer for the Emergency Operations Center for Naperville, IL. I am also the Planning Section Chief for the ERRT (Emergency Response and Recover Team) here at Benedictine University and have assisted and opened our emergency shelter during the flooding of April 2013.I can also open a shelter for animals. I earned an Exceptional Achievement Award from the HealthierU Program (May 2012) beating out several faculty and staff members of Benedictine University. I am now enrolled in the Police Academy here at Benedictine University.  Outside interests include shopping, HGTV, and, of course, helping our undergraduate and graduate students.

Mrs. Erica George

Assistant to the Dean


Phone: (630) 829-6084  |  Send Mrs. George an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 258

 Erica George has worked at Benedictine for 10 years as Assistant to the Dean. She also coordinates the TIDE (Teacher Inservice DuPage Educators) program with the DuPage County Regional Office of Education (ROE). She has a master's degree in Hospital and Health Administration from The University of Iowa and a bachelor's degree in English from Macalester College. She was a Donald W Cordes fellow at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. She has worked in higher education for most of her career including clinic administration, budgeting, grant projects and personnel resources. Her favorite service project at BU is assisting students in Kindlon Hall with their name cards and hoods at commencement. "It is so fulfilling to see them excited, uncertain and moving forward at the same time when we clap as they leave the building."

Ms. Mary Jeffery, M.A.T.

Assessment and Preclinical Coordinator


Phone: 630-829-6401  |  Send Ms. Jeffery an Email  |  Office: KN 258

Ms. Mary Jeffery is the Assessment and Preclinical Coordinator in the School of Education. She came to Benedictine University as an adjunct instructor and student teaching supervisor in January 2011 after teaching and administrating in secondary public schools for over 15 years. After receiving her bachelor's degree at Illinois Wesleyan University, Ms. Jeffery followed her love of adventure and moved to Arizona where she worked to develop alternative education programs for high school students. She moved from Arizona to Michigan and completed her Masters of Arts in Teaching K-12 Reading at Saginaw Valley State University. Her current position marries her varied background and interests;her administrative experience guides her interest in assessment and her teaching experience guides her interest in working with preclinical candidates. In addition to working full-time in the School of Education, Ms. Jeffery is currently a full-time student at Aurora University where she is pursuing her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction.


Mrs. Sally Shore

Office Assistant


Phone: (630) 829-6280  |  Send Mrs. Shore an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 263

 Mrs. Sally Shore joined Benedictine University in 2002 serving as Office Assistant to the School of Education. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education, Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees from GA Southern University. Prior to joining Benedictine, she taught in public and private schools and in later years has been employed in the clerical field. Outside of work, Sally is very active in her local church serving in the altar, bookstore and hospitality ministries.

Dr. Jan Writer

Director, Student Placement


Phone: (630) 829-6293  |  Send Dr. Writer an Email  |  Office: Kindlon Hall 258

Dr. Jan Writer joined the School of Education in 2008. She serves as the Director of Student Placement and teaches courses in the area of special education. She was previously an Associate Professor of Education at Elmhurst College and on the Education faculty at the University of San Diego and the University of Arizona, where she coordinated graduate teacher education programs in the areas of severe disabilities, orthopedic impairments, and multiple sensory impairments. She holds a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in severe/multiple disabilities, a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Southern Methodist University, and a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing therapy from Indiana University.

Dr. Writer has been working in the field of special education for more than 40 years. Prior to joining BU, she was employed as a speech pathologist, a classroom teacher, the coordinator of programs for students with moderate and severe disabilities for a 16-district special education cooperative, a state education agency staff development specialist, a multi-state Deaf-Blind Regional Center education coordinator, an independent evaluator of students with disabilities, an onsite technical assistance provider, a teacher educator, and a parent advocate. Over the past 38 years, she has consulted to programs serving persons with severe disabilities in over 34 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the U. S. Pacific Trust Territories, and American Samoa.

Dr. Writer is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children, International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Autism National Committee, Autism Society of America, National Coalition on Deafblindness, TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps), Autism Society of Illinois, and Arc of Illinois. A specialist in public school inclusion and the education of children and youth with low incidence disabilities (autism, orthopedic impairments, intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, sensory impairments, and deafblindness), she serves on leadership committees for multiple national and international organizations in the field of special education. She has further presented at more than 300 regional, state, national, and international conferences on topics specific to the quality education of students with moderate, severe, and low incidence disabilities.

Meet our Faculty

Accredited by the Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE.

College of Education and Health Services
Benedictine University

Ethel C. Ragland, Ed.D., MN, RN
Dean of the College of Education and Health Services

Erica George
Assistant to the Dean

Phone: (630) 829-6084

Hours: 8:30 a.m. -  4:30 p.m.

By Mail:
Benedictine University
5700 College Road
Kindlon Hall, Room 258
Lisle, IL 60532

Fax: (630) 829-6281