100% of funding ($1,975,000/year)
is from federal sources.

IHE Partnership Staff

 Meet the Team

Wendy W. Fuchs
Principal Investigator & Co-Coordinator
(618) 650-3487

Wendy W. Fuchs, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Dr. Fuchs is the Principal Investigator and Co-Coordinator of the Illinois IHE Partnership. In addition to her work with the IHE Partnership, she teaches the beginning and advanced reading methods courses for pre-service special educators.

Dr. Fuchs was previously a Regional Coordinator with Illinois ASPIRE under Illinois' previous …

Nancy Mundschenk
Co-Coordinator & TAC at SIUC
(618) 453-1810

Nancy Mundschenk, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  Dr. Mundschenk is Co-Coordinator of the Illinois IHE Partnership project and serves as the Technical Assistance Coordinator for Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  She serves as a member of the PBIS Statewide Leadership Team.  In addition, she coordinates a core course at SIUC designed to prepare elementary and secondary …

Michael McCollum
Budget Coordinator
(618) 650-3815

Michael McCollum currently serves as Budget Coordinator for the IL IHE Partnership.  Prior to this position, Mr. McCollum served as Co-Director of the Illinois ASPIRE South Project at SIUE and SIUC, which provided training and technical assistance in RtI/MTSS to schools in southern Illinois from 2006-2011.  Before working with ASPIRE South, he served as Executive Director of the School Association for Special Education in DuPage County (1995-2006), the TENCO Regional Special Education …

(618) 650-3488

Phillip M. Weishaar
(618) 650-3490

Phillip M. Weishaar, Ph.D., was a dedicated and successful special education administrator for 28 years and a special education teacher for 6 years before becoming assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 2008.  Dr. Weishaar studied and implemented many aspects of RtI/MTSS beginning in the 1990s within his special education cooperative. 

Dr. Weishaar is an accomplished presenter, author of …

Craig Blum
(309) 438-2165

Craig Blum, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Illinois State University in the Special Education Department. His research interests and expertise are in response to intervention (RtI) for social behavior.  He has worked extensively in the state of Washington as a part of a team helping to establish a positive behavior support network within the state. 

Dr. Blum co-authored a self-assessment of essential teacher knowledge and skills for positive behavior …

Mark Swerdlik
(309) 438-5720

Mark Swerdlik, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology, Coordinator of the specialist and doctoral degree programs in school psychology, and a clinical supervisor in the Psychological Services Center at Illinois State University (ISU) where he has been involved in the training of school psychologists over 30 years.  He is a former school psychologist in Michigan and Illinois schools and currently maintains an independent practice of school psychology in the Bloomington-Normal …

Diane Morrison

Diane Morrison, Ed.D., received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Ohio State University, her Masters of Arts in School Psychology from Illinois State University, and her Doctorate of Education from Loyola University-Chicago.  Dr. Morrison started her career in school psychology with the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education in LaGrange, Illinois.  She recently retired as the Director of Support Services for the Northern Suburban Special Education District in Highland …

Vicki Collins
(815) 753-4599

Vicki L. Collins, Ph.D., is a research and assessment faculty member in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment at Northern Illinois University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in special needs assessment, and conducts research on methods for evaluating core curriculum effectiveness. She believes the RtI philosophy has promise for helping educators build and maintain effective programs for all students, and looks forward to serving as a technical …

Christine Malecki
(815) 753-1836

Christine Malecki, Ph.D., is Director of the School Psychology Program at Northern Illinois University.  Christine has been involved in multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) since practicing as a school psychologist at Iowa Heartland AEA 11 in the late 1990's and working at the grass roots level on "flexible service delivery" in Illinois.  Since coming to NIU in 1999, Christine has continued that involvement through training her students, working on the previous Illinois …

Madi Phillips
(224) 233-2492

Madi Phillips, Ph.D., has been working in schools as a school psychologist and professional development consultant since 1995.  Dr. Phillips’ work has focused on implementation of multi-tiered service delivery systems (MTSS/RtI) and evidence-based assessment and intervention.  Passion for this work began at Heartland Area Education Agency 11 in Johnston, Iowa, where she was employed as a school psychologist in a culturally diverse rural district.

As part of her doctoral …

Sara Simonson
(309) 298-2510

Sara Simonson, Ph.D., is a literacy professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Western Illinois University.  She teaches graduate courses in literacy, secondary reading methods, leadership in reading, content area reading strategies and techniques, and effective vocabulary instruction.  She has presented at conferences at the state, national, and international levels.

From 2004-2008, Dr. Simonson served as an associate editor for the Illinois Reading Council Journal and …

(217) 581-5728

Joy Russell
(217) 581-5728

Joy Russell, Ph.D., is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Middle Level Education at Eastern Illinois University.  Her experience includes 11 years as a classroom teacher.  Joy moved from the classroom to administrative positions with the Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education and later worked at Regional Office #11 as Director of Professional Development.  She has conducted numerous trainings and presentations at state and …