Meet Your Faculty and Directors
All programs in the Division of Education at Edgewood College are offered within the context of a liberal arts educational framework and in keeping with the Dominican values of truth, compassion, justice, partnership and community. We invite you to learn about our faculty and directors here and, better yet, to contact them if you have questions or wish to get to know them.
Julie C. Luecke, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for the Division of Education, received her BS in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her M.Ed. in Curriculum from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was an elementary classroom teacher for nine years before moving into higher education. During her graduate studies, she took a year off to volunteer at Ongwediva College of Education in Namibia. Julie joined the Edgewood faculty in 2006, teaching undergraduate courses in educational foundations, courses in children's literature for the undergraduate program and Advanced Certification Elementary (ACE) graduate program, and a course for the Edgewood College COR program, The Conception of Gender. This class grows out of Julie's research interests in building support structures for gender creative students and their peers, both through educational policy and practice and through children's and young adult literature.
Sara Jimenez Soffa is the Director of Educational Leadership Programs, including the Ed.D. and Master's in Educational Leadership, and an Associate Professor of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ripon College, a master’s degree in Instructional Design and Adult Education from Alverno College, and a Ph.D. from UW-Madison in Educational Leadership specializing in higher education administration. Sara is an accomplished researcher specializing in research design, data analysis, and outcomes-based assessment. Sara began her work in the doctoral program as the Coordinator for the Higher Education concentration of the program. As the Director of Research Sara has been responsible for developing and teaching the research sequence of the program, both in blended and online formats. Her research interests include exploring research self-efficacy in students navigating the doctoral experience, cultivating inclusive collegiate classrooms through the implementation of multicultural pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, and exploring features of quality graduate programs that prepare leaders in all educational settings (PreK-20). Outside of the classroom, Sara lives in Madison with her husband Gerardo and three beautiful boys and is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running marathons and triathlons. She believes by modeling her commitment and enthusiasm for education, her boys will become lifelong learners as well.
Tom Holub is the Director of the department of Curriculum and Instruction and a professor in the Division of Education. He routinely teaches Education 306, 614, 671A, and 616. Tom has facilitated a partnership with Cabrini Green, in Chicago, IL and has hosted two Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction grants at Edgewood. Tom recently returned from a visiting scholar experience at the U.S Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and is interested in patterns of oppression toward individuals with disabilities.
Coordinators and Faculty Members
Dr. Kirsten Brown’s research agenda engages topics of disability, educational access, and postsecondary outcomes. Dr. Brown is interested in neurodiversity and practices that support the retention and success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education. Selected publications include a co-authored book, Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach and articles in the Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of Community College Research and Practice and Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. Dr. Brown’s teaching background is in Higher Education Administration, Sociology, and Disability Studies; she teaches research methodology courses for the Ed.D. Program. Dr. Brown is active in several professional organizations and has presented nationally at ASHE, AHEAD, and ACPA. She holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University.
Brian S. Busler is a recently retired school superintendent from Oregon School District and has over thirty-five years of experience as an administrator. He holds an undergraduate degree in Finance and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. His researched focused on strategic planning, decision-making and school culture. He has taught graduate classes at Edgewood College and other universities for the past thirty years. His public-school experiences include improving educational outcomes for all students, leading numerous school/community planning sessions, advancing equity work, leading school referenda and construction projects, mentoring and training school administrators and a special interest of serving as a Schools of Hope mentor in his previous district. In his free time, you can find him spending time with his wife and adult children, training on his bicycle and fly fishing in Wisconsin and Montana.
Lisa Carey is the Coordinator of the Advanced Certification Elementary Program. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education which she earned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from Loyola University. She teaches social studies methods courses for the ACE program as well as courses for undergraduate education programs.
Jim Hollar is a faculty member and coordinator for Secondary Education and the Accelerated Secondary Program (ASP). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Division of Education. Prior to working at Edgewood College, Jim was an Assistant Professor at Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI and Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. He received his PhD in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on Multicultural Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to his graduate studies, Jim also taught middle and secondary English/Language Arts for seven years in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. His research interests include integrating Afrofuturism materials in schools and using critical co-constructed autoethnography to reflect with both students and colleagues on the social justice efforts undertaken by higher education institutions.
Fran Johnson is the Coordinator of the Cross-categorical Special Education Program. She earned her master’s from the University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education while teaching in the Madison Metropolitan School District where she served as a Special Education teacher, Program Support Teacher, and Positive Behavior Support Team Middle School Teacher. Fran was an investigator on several Federal Grants, designed and implemented administrator and faculty staff development on K-12 Language Arts Standards, changes in IDEA (1991, 1997, 2001 & 2004) and developed and taught multiple Professional Development courses for general educators and special educators. During her public school career, Fran served as Cooperating Teacher, Teacher Trainer and Supervising Teacher to many students and teachers. In addition to her work at Edgewood, Fran serves as a trainer and consultant in the area of Positive Behavior Supports for area school districts. Current research focus is on Brain Targeted Teaching, Executive Function Strategy Instruction, and Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices.
Ting-Lan Ma, remote assistant professor in the Division of Education, received her PhD in Human Development, Educational Psychology, with a minor in Prevention Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was also a former visiting scholar in the School of Education at UC Irvine. Ting-Lan’s research interests focus on the influences of multiple ecological systems on adolescent psycho-social development including culture, parenting practices, and peer relations. Her most recent research focuses on in-school and cyber bullying across childhood and adolescence, organized activities among ethnicity minority youth, and cross-cultural differences in adolescents' responses to school bullying. Her research interests also include tracking longitudinal youth social-emotional developments that predict subsequent mental and health outcomes. Her CV can be found here.
Gerardo Mancilla is an Assistant Professor of Education and the Coordinator of Undergraduate Elementary Education. He holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction, M.S. in Counseling Psychology, and Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at Edgewood College, Gerardo was working for the Madison Metropolitan School District where he was a Dual Language Immersion teacher. Gerardo teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at Edgewood College. Gerardo’s research interests include Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, the school-to-prison pipeline, bilingual education, and immigration. Gerardo has also been active in the Madison community for many years.
Michael Meissen, a native of Madison, is a second-generation educator who has served in public education for 38 years as a classroom teacher, guidance counselor, coach, athletic director, middle school principal, high school principal, college level adjunct professor, school superintendent and, educational leadership consultant. Dr. Meissen earned a doctorate degree in educational administration and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, both from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Meissen joined the Edgewood College Division of Education in July 2019 and serves as the Associate Director of Clinical Experiences.
Meissen’s daughter, Katelyn, BA ‘10, School of Education – Edgewood College, is a third-generation teacher in the family.
Dr. Nieves graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2019 with her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Her area of expertise is Curriculum Theory and Research with an emphasis on the history of race science in Puerto Rico and the United States. Her teaching interests include Curriculum Theory & Research, Social & Cultural Foundations of Education, and Critical Pedagogy. Dr. Nieves has 7 years of teaching experience at the middle school, high school, and college level. She has taught in college prep programs aimed at recruiting and retaining first-generation college students, and she has taught multicultural education courses for pre-service teachers. In her new graduate advising role, Dr. Nieves will provide student academic advising and mentoring for prospective and admitted students in graduate licensure and MA programs in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. She will also work to create resources to support early-career teachers who have graduated from Edgewood College. Dr. Nieves enjoys helping graduate students achieve their professional, academic, and research goals. If you have questions about your career path at Edgewood College and beyond, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2011, in her role within the EdD program, Angela assists doctoral students with academic advising, the dissertation process and publication, along with program administration tasks including marketing, enrollment management, and assessment. Angela is enrolled with Cohort 19 in the Higher Education and Leadership Studies (HEALS) doctoral concentration and has her M.S. in Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University. Together with her husband, Angela is raising two boys with curious minds and open hearts in Sun Prairie.
Suzanne brings over 20 years teaching experience that spans from 6th grade to post-secondary education and in diverse settings. She teaches courses in both the Higher Education and Leadership Studies and Doctoral Completion concentrations and she serves as the writing specialist in the program, providing direct consultation and academic writing programming. Suzanne’s research interests focus on gender inclusive leadership, ethical leadership, and ethical leadership development. She earned Ed.D. from Edgewood College.
Drew Silver, Clinical and Advising Coordinator, received her bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in Biology and Italian, her master's degree from the University of Florida in Botany Teaching with a certificate in environmental education, and is writing her PhD dissertation at UW-Madison on anti-racist science teacher education, where she also served as a student teacher supervisor and program coordinator. Before coming to Wisconsin, Drew worked in science teacher professional development at the University of Florida and was a high school math and science teacher for students with nonverbal learning disabilities in Connecticut. She focuses on equity and social justice in her work with teachers, particularly in decentering whiteness in teacher education programs.
Donna Vukelich-Selva received her Ph.D. in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. She also holds a Master of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from UW-Madison. Before coming to Edgewood College in 2008, she taught at a K-12 bilingual school in Managua, Nicaragua, where she also founded and ran a study abroad program for US college students. Vukelich-Selva teaches both undergraduate courses in the Division of Education, as well as bilingual and ESL education graduate courses in the Language and Literacy program. She also teaches in Edgewood’s COR program for first year students and piloted a course on the history of immigration in the United States that is cross-listed with Ethnic Studies. Among her college responsibilities, Donna serves on the advisory board for Edgewood’s Center for Multicultural Education. Donna’s research interests include critical race theory, education and immigration, bilingual education and restorative justice. She has been active in the Madison community for many years.
Justin Wilder holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and earned his K-12 music teaching license from Edgewood College. Justin has taught general and choral music with the school districts of Madison, New Glarus and Middleton-Cross Plains.
Justin is currently the professional undergraduate advisor for the Divisions of Education and Business at Edgewood College. He really enjoys making connections with students and helping them achieve their academic goals. If you have questions about majoring in education or business, please contact Justin at email@example.com
Emily Zoeller is passionate about leading for equity by developing teachers of language learners at Edgewood College. Emily earned a B.A. from University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from University of San Diego, and her doctorate at Edgewood College. Prior to her role at Edgewood, Emily worked as an instructional coach at Nuestro Mundo Community School and promoted collaboration and reflective practice. Emily developed expertise in emergent literacy through her work in Descubriendo la Lectura/Reading Recovery in Madison Schools, where she trained reading specialists throughout the school district. Her current research interests include biliteracy development, educational leadership, and teacher preparation. A fluent Spanish speaker, Emily is happy to be raising her three daughters bilingually in Madison, Wisconsin.