Two USF Alumnae Earn 2024 Golden Apple Award Excellence for Teaching

Alicia Carlisle
Alyssa Milano

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 Earlier this spring, the University of St. Francis (USF) announced that four alumnae had been named finalists for the 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching through the Golden Apple Foundation. The University is proud to announce that Alicia Carlisle 鈥22 (Turner Drew Language Academy in Chicago, Ill.) and Alyssa Milano 鈥11 (Central Elementary School in Plainfield, Ill.) have officially been named 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients. Carlisle and Milano are two of ten 2024 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients.

Award recipients receive a $5,000 cash award and become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.

听鈥淭he College of Education is immensely proud to celebrate the outstanding achievement of our alumnae who have been awarded the esteemed 2024 Golden Apple Award for Teaching by the Golden Apple Foundation. Their recognition not only highlights their individual excellence but also reflects the high caliber of education provided by the University of St. Francis. We are honored to have played a part in their journey and look forward to witnessing their continued success in making a positive impact on the students and communities they serve,鈥 said John Gambro, Ed.D., Dean of the USF College of Education.

Click to read the Golden Apple Foundation鈥檚 official press release on Alicia Carlisle.

Click to read the Golden Apple Foundation鈥檚 official press release on Alyssa Milano.

USF alumnae Alicia Hays 鈥23 (Central Elementary School in Plainfield, Ill.) and Amanda McMonigal 鈥16 (Edgar Allan Poe Classical School in Chicago, Ill.) were also named finalists for the 2024 Golden Apple Award for Teaching.

About Golden Apple

According to their website, 鈥淕olden Apple鈥檚 mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is one in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage. Visit for more information.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 3,300 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Two USF Online Programs Recognized in 2024 Rankings by The Princeton Review

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 The Princeton Review, a national ranking agency that provides admissions resources for college and graduate school-bound students, recently recognized two online programs offered at the University of St. Francis (USF). USF鈥檚 online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and its online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership programs were included in The Princeton Review鈥檚 Best Online Doctor of Education Programs for 2024 and Best Online Nursing School Master鈥檚 Programs for 2024 listings, respectively.

Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

Advanced practice nurses are often called on to assume leadership roles in the profession and in health care delivery. Graduates of the USF MSN program will incorporate their education and research into a practice that is reflective of the dynamic needs of a diverse population.

鈥淥ur Master of Science in Nursing programs offer knowledge, skills, and resources to enhance careers available to members of our community across Illinois and the Midwest by using online learning platforms. The competencies developed in our programs are evident by the care that is given back to the community by our graduates. However, we do not prepare our students just for a career. Our MSN students enhance their passion to actualize the core values of serving others as advanced practice nurses. Besides being well-trained, skilled, and confident in their areas as advanced nurse practitioners, they are compassion-rooted providers at all times, most especially during the most vulnerable times,鈥 said USF Leach College of Nursing dean Yeijin Yeom, Ph.D., RN, CNE.

Visit stfrancis.edu/msn for program information and options. Visit and search the keywords 鈥渙nline Master of Science in Nursing鈥 to view The Princeton Review鈥檚 Best Online Nursing School Master鈥檚 Programs for 2024 listing.

Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership Program

The online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership program at USF brings together practitioner-scholars to support doctoral candidates in learning and scholarship. The program is a combination of research, experiential learning, and shared knowledge about the key skills needed to lead, inspire, and educate. The program degree is designed for master鈥檚 prepared professionals from every career path.

鈥淥ur online programs are designed to provide students from all over the country exemplary learning experiences that equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to advance their careers and contribute to the world in a meaningful way.听 The courses challenge and support the students in the learning process and offer them an opportunity to interact with other professionals and exceptional faculty members. To have our online doctoral program recognized in this manner is an indication and a validation that we are realizing our mission to develop high quality leaders who can have a significant positive impact on their communities,鈥 said John Gambro, Ed.D., dean of the USF College of Education.

Visit stfrancis.edu/educational-leadership-edd for program information and options. Visit and search the keywords 鈥渙nline Doctor of Education鈥 to view The Princeton Review鈥檚 Best Online Doctor of Education Programs for 2024 listing.

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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USF Offering Future Educator Academy 2023

Future Educator Academy 2023
Joliet, Ill. 鈥 High School students considering a career in education and who are interested in a unique, on-campus leadership experience are encouraged to participate in the University of St. Francis (USF) College of Education鈥檚 (COE) Future Educator Summer Academy 2023 in June. The USF COE Future Educator Summer Academy 2023 will take place on June 13-14, 2023, on the university鈥檚 main campus in Joliet. The experience will provide opportunities for participants to:
  • explore careers in education and learn what it takes to be a GREAT teacher;
  • network with educators and other high school students interested in teaching;
  • enjoy USF’s challenge course and discover team building as a tool for learning;
  • spend two days and one night in a USF dorm, supervised by adult program facilitators;
  • leave inspired and focused on a plan to become a successful educator, and;
  • earn college credit for participating in this learning experience (credit is optional, parent/guardian approval required).
The program is open to high school students who have completed at least their sophomore year of high school. The cost per participant for the program is $80 and includes accommodations, meals, and a t-shirt. A limited number of scholarships are available to qualifying students. To register, visit stfrancis.edu/real. Space for this program is limited. Contact program coordinator Amy Schroeder at aschroeder@stfrancis.edu with any questions. : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #
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Faculty Members Present at Annual AACTE Meeting

75th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Joliet, Ill. 鈥 University of St. Francis (USF) College of Education (COE) faculty members Karen Blaha, Ed.D., and Erin Evans, Ed.D., presented at the 75th Annual Meeting of the . Their presentation, Supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Candidates in Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs at a Predominately White University, was part of the three-day event, which took place from February 24-26, 2023, in Indianapolis, Ind. The team鈥檚 presentation disseminated the findings of a research study conducted across three focus groups to qualitatively examine the perspectives of BIPOC teacher candidates at a predominantly white, private institution in the Midwest. The research focused on factors that BIPOC candidates consider when choosing a university, perceived challenges faced during their experience and the supports that participants believe are most helpful in boosting retention in teacher education programs. Additionally, the presentation was designed to allow attendees to analyze the perspectives of BIPOC teacher candidates, teacher education alumni, and in-service teachers regarding the challenges faced in pursuing teacher education at a predominantly white institution and the supports necessary to overcome those challenges, and then apply the recommendations from the presentation to their current teacher education programs for curricular and cultural improvement. 鈥淭he USF COE is passionate about equity and inclusion, and being able to develop and implement a research project that allows us to improve our programs is one of the reasons I am most proud to be part of the COE. Sharing our findings on a national platform with 800+ other teacher preparation providers and engaging in collaborative discussion helps us all to move forward in best practices to recruit and retain a diverse group of teacher educators to inevitably make an impact on the field of education in the years to come.听 Working with Dr. Blaha and the rest of our research team, including Dr. John Gambro, COE dean, and Ms. Amy Schroeder, COE instructor, to discuss supports for BIPOC candidates across all COE programs was an honor and I look forward to seeing where our research will continue to lead us in the future,鈥 Evans offered. 鈥淲e were truly blessed to be able to share our research with other educators who also feel inclusive and equitable learning environments are a priority.听 We experienced some wonderful discussions with the participants, and were presented with possible extensions for future research,鈥 Blaha added. About the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education According to the AACTE website, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is the leading voice on educator preparation. AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners. Visit for more information. : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #
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USF Once Again Offering Summer Program for Future Educators

Future Educator Summer Academy 2022 registration information
Joliet, Ill. 鈥 High School students considering a career in education and who are interested in a unique, on-campus leadership experience are encouraged to participate in the University of St. Francis (USF) College of Education鈥檚 Future Educator Summer Academy 2022 in June. USF鈥檚 Future Educator Summer Academy 2022 will take place on June 14-15, 2022, on the university鈥檚 main campus in Joliet. The experience will provide opportunities for participants to:
  • explore careers in education and learn what it takes to be a GREAT teacher;
  • network with educators and other high school students interested in teaching;
  • enjoy USF’s challenge course and discover team building as a tool for learning;
  • spend two days and one night in a USF dorm, supervised by adult program facilitators, and;
  • leave inspired and focused on a plan to become a successful educator.
鈥淭he Future Educator Summer Academy program is crucially important for two reasons. First, it allows high school students who are either dreaming of, or considering the possibility of, becoming a teacher have their dreams validated. Second, it inspires students to go into this profession with eyes wide open through inspiring and challenging activities,鈥 said Future Educator Summer Academy program coordinator and USF reading program coordinator Amy Schroeder. 鈥淚n 2021 over 6,200 education positions in Illinois remained unfilled. It is the College of Education’s mission to provide the students of Illinois with the best teachers around, and recruiting the best and brightest from high schools is the first step,鈥 Schroeder added. The program is open to high school students who have completed at least their sophomore year. The cost per participant for the program is $80 and includes accommodations, meals and a t-shirt. A limited number of scholarships are available to qualifying students. To register, visit stfrancis.edu/education. Space for this program is limited. Contact program coordinator Amy Schroeder at aschroeder@stfrancis.edu with any questions. : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #
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U.S. News Recognizes USF on Its 2023 Best Education Schools Listing

Joliet, Ill. 鈥 U.S. News & World Report released its 2023 Best Education Schools listing today, and the University of St. Francis (USF) is proud to announce its inclusion in the annual publication. According to USF College of Education dean John Gambro, Ed.D., USF effectively prepares teachers to excel as they begin their respective careers. 鈥淲e focus on excellence and prepare teachers to excel on their first day in the classroom. Our graduates have confidence that allows them to be successful in helping students reach their fullest potential. USF has one of the best teacher education programs in Illinois with 100% pass rates on all required tests. This reputation for excellence sets our graduates apart and results in USF teacher candidates being highly sought-after for employment after graduation,鈥 Gambro said. Although the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have a lingering effect on the teaching profession, Gambro believes the preparation that USF teaching students receive positions them to succeed even as the needs of students, parents and schools change. 鈥淧reparing the next generation of teachers is more important now than ever before. Due to the pandemic, the challenges that educators face require that they are highly skilled in differentiating to meet the academic and social emotional needs of students.听 This level of skill requires a student-centered approach that affirms and values the diversity and individual differences that each student brings to a learning experience. To that end, our programs develop teachers who educate the whole person and design developmentally appropriate learning environments that allow all students to maximize their potential,鈥 Gambro said. 鈥淲e place a high priority on real-world experience and getting students involved in actual teaching as soon as possible.听 After their first semester freshman year, students are able to complete a field experience in a classroom every semester.听 That鈥檚 a very unique feature not available in other schools,鈥 Gambro added. Visit for more information on USF鈥檚 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Click for more information on U.S. News & World Report鈥檚 2023 Best Education Schools listing. About U.S News & World Report鈥檚 Ranking Methodology According to U.S. News & World Report, the organization 鈥渆valuated education schools on research activity, academic excellence of entering students, faculty resources, and opinions on program quality from education school deans and school hiring professionals. In fall 2021 and early 2022, U.S. News collected statistical and reputation data directly from education schools for the overall Best Education Schools ranking. The data was also used for nine distinct rankings in education specialty areas and for populating each education school’s individual directory page. Altogether, 457 schools granting doctoral education degrees were surveyed. Among them, 274 responded, providing the data needed to be eligible for inclusion in the overall graduate education rankings.鈥 Additional details are available . : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #
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