Department adds three new members

Three new faces in the Department of Teacher Education are, from left, Twila Lukowiak, Susie Stear, and Jana Hunzicker.

March 4, 2010

Dr. Jana Hunzicker, Dr. Twila Lukowiak, and Susie Stear are the newest members to join the Department of Teacher Education.

Hunzicker enjoys working with ‘older’ students

When Dr. Jana Hunzicker, Department of Teacher Education assistant professor, left her elementary school students after spending 16 years as a language arts teacher, dean of students, and elementary school principal, she thought she would miss the interaction.

“I thought I would miss interacting with kids when I transitioned into higher education, but now I get to work more directly with students than I did as a principal,” said Hunzicker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration from Bradley. “They’re just a little older!”

At Bradley, Hunzicker teaches the middle school endorsement courses, language arts methods, and two graduate courses in teacher leadership. Prior to completing her doctorate in curriculum and instruction through Illinois State University in 2006, Hunzicker taught eighth-grade language arts in Pekin District 108 for seven years, served as dean of students at Thomas Metcalf School in Normal for three years, and worked as an elementary principal in East Peoria District 86 and Washington District 52 for a total of six years.

Hunzicker is actively involved in Illinois Women in Educational Leadership (IWEL), Peoria Grow Your Own Teachers (PGYO), and the Bradley-Peoria District 150 Kemper PDS Partnership. Additionally, she is currently co-conducting action research with Dr. Twila Lukowiak to better understand their teaching effectiveness in terms of pre-service teachers’ engagement in classroom learning activities.

Hunzicker lives with her husband, Greg Wilson; her nephew, Jace; and her stepson, Mitchell. She enjoys reading historical fiction, doing Body Pump, and watching her kids perform in chorus and swimming.

Lukowiak joins department

Dr. Twila Lukowiak joined the Bradley University family in August 2008 as an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education. Her passions include her family, teaching, writing, and assisting students with emotional and behavioral disorders and their families.

Before coming to Bradley, Lukowiak lived in Lubbock, Texas. She originally began her career as a seventh-grade reading teacher. Even though she loved her middle school students, she quickly discovered that her true passion was teaching students with exceptionalities. She was offered and enthusiastically accepted a position as an elementary special education behavioral teacher, teaching students with emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. She held this position for nine years and fondly reflects on the life experience stating, “This teaching experience assisted me in becoming a better person—a more patient, kinder, loving person. I helped to change my students’ lives, and they certainly changed mine. I would not have taken anything in the world for it.”

Lukowiak has been married for 15 years to her amazing and loving husband, Chris, who still makes her laugh every single day. They have two sons: Christian, 13 years old, and Nathan, 10 years old. They also have two pets who are members of the family. Alfred is a black Labrador retriever, and the newest member of the family, Mittens, is a spirited kitten that gets into everything! Whether they are spending a quiet evening at home watching a movie or cheering on one of their sons at a baseball game, everything is as it should be as long as they are together.

Even though Lukowiak loves to conduct research and write manuscripts for possible journal publications, she also enjoys other types of writing as well. A longtime desire of hers has been to write children’s books. “What a joy it would be to write books that would teach children important life lessons in an entertaining and fun manner!”

One of her continuing goals at Bradley University is to provide her students with the knowledge, encouragement, and foundation they need to become exceptional professional educators. She also strives to teach them that learning is a lifelong process that does not end once they graduate.

Having the responsibility of teaching the educators of tomorrow is a meaningful and momentous responsibility—one that she devotedly and enthusiastically welcomes.

Stear eases advisors workload

Susie Stear joined the Department of Teacher Education in fall 2008 as the advising coordinator. This position was created to help ease the workload of the advisors and also coordinate advising activities.

Bradley is not a new place for Stear, who majored in elementary education and graduated from Bradley in 1986. Over the next 20 years, she taught both early childhood and elementary students in Farmington and Dunlap. Her most recent positions included kindergarten and fourth-grade at Wilder-Waite Elementary School in Dunlap. While teaching, she returned to Bradley and earned her Master of Arts degree in curriculum and instruction. This experience was just what she needed, and it encouraged her to step out of the classroom and try something new.

Now in her second year at Bradley, Stear loves her job. She especially enjoys meeting prospective high school students at Visit Day Programs and sharing with them the opportunities here at BU. She also finds meeting with individual students and working through conflicts and answering their questions to be very rewarding.

In addition to working for the Department of Teacher Education, Stear is a project specialist for the Center for STEM Education and teaches Effective Teaching Strategies (ETE 205). She feels that she is a perfect fit for this class because she knows what it is like to be in the classroom and has recent experiences to share with her students.

Outside of Bradley, Stear enjoys spending time with her husband, Tim; her four kids; and her chocolate lab. She also adds that another benefit of her new job is seeing her daughter, Shera Stear, who is a Bradley student majoring in advertising.