Faculty and Staff

About the Faculty

  • All faculty are professionally and personally involved in the community.
  • Many are consultants for area school districts
  • All hold current Illinois teaching certificates.
  • All are recognized specialists in their field of study.
  • All have practical/applied experience in their field of study and teaching.


Debra Dew, Ph.D.
Professor of Education; Dean, College of Social Sciences, Commerce and Education 

Debra Dew is a former public school music teacher. She teaches secondary education methods courses and directs the Teaching with Primary Sources Program at Rockford University, funded through the Library of Congress.


Jacob Hardesty, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Education

Jacob Hardesty is an Assistant Professor of Education at Rockford University, where he teaches courses in educational history and research methods. He completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University, having previously taught music for four years in public and Catholic schools. His work has appeared in the journals High Ability Studies, American Educational History Journal, Philosophy of Music Education Review, and the edited volume Learning the Left.  His primary research interest involves the historical connections and tensions between popular culture and public education. 


Elizabeth Johnson-Lovett
Licensure Officer


Lynn Stafford, M.S., '14 M.A.T.
Director of Special Education Program; Associate Professor of Education

Lynn Stafford is the Director of Special Education Program which leads to an Illinois State Professional Educator Licensure as a Learning Behavior Specialist 1. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and received the "Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award” at Rockford University in 2013. Lynn has extensive experience in classroom teaching recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education in appreciation of "Those Who Excel” in teaching for commitment and service. She has expertise in the administration and development of special education programs.


Kimberlee Wagner, M.A.T.
Assistant Professor of Education; Chair, Department of Education 


 Office of Graduate Studies Staff

Michele Mehren '13
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs







Sydney Holmgren '14
Training Coordinator/Assistant Manager