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Our Team

The Center for Urban Education Leadership houses a team of researchers, developers, policy advocates, graduate assistants, and student interns. The CUEL team is an assortment of faculty affiliates from departments throughout UIC’s College of Education (COE).  Developers design and/or provide learning experiences for CUEL continuous improvement, organizational development, or leader development projects.

Center Staff

Dr. Shelby Cosner

Dr. Shelby Cosner

Professor and Center Director

Dr. Shelby Cosner leads all aspects of CUEL. She is a qualitative researcher who is recognized as an expert on leadership for school improvement, the development of organizational capacities that support improvement, preparation and development of educational leaders, and the use of continuous improvement to transform leadership preparation.

Dr. Martha Hebert

Dr. Martha Hebert

Researcher

Dr. Hebert is a qualitative researcher and serves as the lead CUEL documentarian, and coordinator for all CUEL development projects.  In this role she has contributed to a wide assortment of past CUEL research and development projects. She currently contributes to CUEL’s mentor support of two university principal preparation programs as part of a $47M 4-year project funded by The Wallace Foundation to transform university-based principal preparation and provides oversight for all site visits to CUEL by other institutions.

Dr. Sam Whalen

Dr. Sam Whalen

CUEL Research Director

Dr. Whalen oversees all CUEL research and has been a part of a broad assortment of past CUEL research and development projects. He is a quantitative and qualitative methodologist with expertise in program evaluation as well as with the design of robust data infrastructures for use with evaluation and continuous improvement (the latter of which contributed to CUEL work recognized by the Spotlight Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). Areas of content expertise include school leadership preparation/development, professional learning, and school-community partnerships.

Dr. Steven Tozer

Dr. Steven Tozer

Professor Emeritus and Founding CUEL Director

Dr. Steve Tozer, who was the founding CUEL Director and is now an Emeritus Professor, remains a key contributor for a range of CUEL continuous improvement and leader development projects. He also broadly engages in policy advocacy for CUEL, both in Illinois and widely throughout the U.S. In this latter role, he serves on the Advisory Boards for the Aspen Institute, the National P-3 Institute, the University of Connecticut/Office of Early Childhood Education PK3 Leadership Program, and Teachers Supporting Teachers. He is a member of The Wallace Foundation Education Leadership Network. 

Affiliated Faculty for Research, Development, Policy Advocacy

Dr. Lionel Allen

Dr. Lionel Allen

Assistant Clinical Faculty and EdD Leadership Coach, Department of Educational Policy Studies; CUEL Affiliate and Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Allen is a key contributor for a range of CUEL continuous improvement and leader development projects. His content expertise centers on leadership coaching, leadership preparation, equity-oriented leadership, and the experiences of and supports for African American principals in urban contexts. He teaches and coaches in EdD program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Allen is a former principal and network-level leader, and he earned his EdD from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Cynthia Barron

Dr. Cynthia Barron

Assistant Clinical Faculty, Department of Educational Policy Studies and EdD Program Coordinator; CUEL Affiliate and Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Barron is a key contributor for a range of CUEL continuous improvement and leader development projects and she has contributed to a broad range of past CUEL development projects. She teaches and coaches in the EdD program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. In this work she has supported EdD candidates through internships and during their novice years as principals, assistant principals, and principal supervisors as well as through EdD doctoral completion. In addition to the EDPS 559 residency course, she teaches the EDPS 553 course, Leading Urban School Systems, part of the UIC superintendent endorsement strand.

Dr. Craig De Voto

Dr. Craig De Voto

Affiliate for Research and Development (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. De Voto is a qualitative researcher with content expertise related to school leadership, leadership preparation/development, and education policy. Craig currently contributes to a collaborative project between UICs Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI) and UICs Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL). This $4.7M 5-year project funded by the National Science Foundation is designed to develop organizational capacities for K-8 mathematics leadership and learning. He has also been a contributor to a number of past CUEL research and development projects.

Kenya Mandeldove-Sadler

Kenya Mandeldove-Sadler

EdD Leadership Coach; CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Kenya Mandeldove is a contributor to several CUEL continuous improvement and leader development projects. She coaches and teaches in the EdD program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. In this work, she ushers UIC aspiring principals through residency including CPS principal eligibility, novice leadership, and the capstone phase of the EdD program. She is a former teacher, principal, and district level administrator in Chicago Public Schools. She has also served as a Deputy Chief of Transformation for several years in Ohio.

Dr. David Mayrowetz

Dr. David Mayrowetz

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies; CUEL Faculty Affiliate for Research and Development (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Mayrowetz is a qualitative researcher with content expertise related equity-focused instructional leadership, distributed forms of school leadership, and instructional reforms.  He currently contributes to CUEL’s mentor support of two university principal preparation programs as part of a $47M 4-year project funded by The Wallace Foundation to transform university-based principal preparation and provides oversight for all site visits to CUEL by other institutions. He has also been a contributor to a number of past CUEL research and development projects.

Mayrowetz has received recognition for his teaching in UICs PhD and EdD programs in the Department of Educational Policy Studies.  He teaches in the areas of educational policy, organizational theory, leadership theory, educational law, instructional reform, instructional leadership, and case study research. Dr. Mayrowetz earned his EdD from Rutgers University in Educational Administration.

Dr. Stephen McClain

Dr. Stephen McClain

EdD Leadership Coach; CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Stephen McClain contributes to several CUEL continuous improvement and professional development projects. He coaches and teachers in the Ed.D. program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. McClain is a former school and network leader in Chicago, Illinois and earned an EdM from Harvard Graduate School of Education and EdD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Dr. Jason Salisbury

Dr. Jason Salisbury

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies; CUEL Faculty Affiliate for Research and Development (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Salisbury is a mixed methods researcher with content expertise related to equity-focused instructional leadership and distributed forms of school leadership that engage teacher leaders and youth in equity-oriented school improvement. He currently contributes to CUEL’s mentor support of two university principal preparation programs as part of a $47M 4-year project funded by The Wallace Foundation to transform university-based principal preparation and provides oversight for all site visits to CUEL by other institutions.

Salisbury teaches in the EdD and PhD programs in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. He teachers in the areas of equity-focused instructional leadership, organizational change/theory, and educational leadership. His research focuses on anti-racist school leadership practices that support school or team wide usage of culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies in high schools, how principals and other formal leaders can nurture the transformative leadership capacity of marginalized youth to enact equitable school improvement practices, and why existing equity-minded improvement efforts often fail. Dr. Salisbury is a former CPS high school teacher. Dr. Salisbury earned his PhD from UW-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Dr. Joe Schoffner

Dr. Joe Schoffner

Assistant Clinical Faculty; EdD Leadership Coach; CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Joe Schoffner contributes to several CUEL continuous improvement and professional development projects. He is a leadership coach in the Ed.D. program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. Schoffner is a former CPS principal, and he earned his EdD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 
Paul Zavitkovsky

Paul Zavitkovsky

Retired EdD Leadership Coach; CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development) and Policy Advocate

Mr. Zavitkovsky is a contributor to several CUEL continuous improvement and leader development projects and he has contributed to several past CUEL research and development projects.  Zavitkovsky is an expert with the design of data systems and infrastructures for continuous improvement.

Additional Developers 

Dr. Patty Brekke

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Brekke is a high school principal in Chicago. She earned her EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Laquita Louie

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Laquita Louie is a central office leader with the Chicago Public Schools and former elementary school principal. She earned her EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Patrick McGill

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. McGill is a central office leader in Glenbard District 87 and a former high school principal. He earned his EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Nate Pietrini

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Pietrini is the Executive Director of High Jump and is a former award-winning principal of CPS elementary school.  He earned his EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Paul Riskus

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr Riskus is an elementary school principal in CPS. He earned his EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Allison Tingwall

CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development)

Dr. Allison Tingwall is a central office leader with the Chicago Public Schools and former high school principal. She earned her EdD degree (urban education leadership) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Graduate Assistants

Meagan Richard

Meagan Richard

Graduate Assistant

Meagan Richard is a contributor on several CUEL research and development projects. She has extensive experience in survey design and administration, advanced statistical analysis, and in-depth interviewing.  

Undergraduate Student Intern

Angela Staples

Web Design and Content Marketing and Management Intern

Angela is the Content Marketing and Management intern at the CUEL. Angela researches and gathers information for the center and also contributes to the design of web and print-related materials.