Dean, College of Education
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Wayne State University
Chair of Graduate Education
Assistant Professor/Graduate Director
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership University of Michigan-Dearborn
M.S. University of Dayton
B.A. University of Michigan
Ed.D. Virginia Tech.
MAT Marymount University
B.S. State University New York NewPaltz
J.D. University of Detroit, M.A. University of Detroit
B.A. Oakland University
Chair of Teacher Education
Ph.D. Oakland University
B.S., M.Ed., Marygrove College
Physical Education Chair
M.A. Wayne State University
M.A. Eastern Michigan University
B.S. Bethel University
Special Education/Director, Graduate Studies in Higher Education and Student Affairs
B.S., M.S., Spec. in Psychological Services, Central Michigan University
Certified School Psychologist
Director of Early Childhood and Child Development
Ph.D. Michigan State University
Master of Arts Madonna University
B.A. Eastern Michigan University
Director, Sport Management Program
M.S.A. Ohio University
B.S. North Carolina A&T State University
B.S. & Masters Eastern Michigan University
Educational Leadership Specialist Wayne State University
Director of Matriculation
James R. Acho
James Acho is a partner at the law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho. He concentrates his practice on sports and entertainment law, labor and employment law, law enforcement defense and plaintiff’s personal injury. Mr. Acho is the former editor of Sports Review Magazine. He is a frequent guest on sports talk radio shows on a national level, and in the Detroit area. Mr. Acho is cited on air and in print as an authority on labor issues as applied to professional and collegiate sports unions and leagues.
Mr. Acho, a nationally respected sports law attorney, has been representing retired MLB players and current and retired NFL players for nearly 15 years. In 2013, he was named top sports law attorney in metro Detroit by dBusiness Magazine and multiple respected periodicals have run features on him, most notably in The Legal News in 2014. In January 2015, out of respect for the work he has done on behalf of NFL Alumni, a prominent group of respected NFL retirees nominated Mr. Acho to run for the position of National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Director.
Mr. Acho has also carved out a reputation for representing municipalities, specifically in police litigation, and he is experienced in the areas of litigation avoidance, collective bargaining, the grievance and arbitration process. Further, he handles employment litigation from both the plaintiff and defense side and routinely garners positive result for all of his clients.
Mr. James Acho teaches SM 4100: Legal & Ethical Aspects of Sport in the Sport Management degree program.
Marci L. Augenstein
Dr. Marci Augenstein is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Education. She joined the adjunct faculty of Madonna University in 2016. She is currently employed full time with the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. She completed her doctoral degree in 2013 and her educational specialist degree in 2007 at Oakland University. She teaches in the areas of educational leadership and administration. Her interests include effective instructional practices, student motivation and engagement, strategic planning, and qualitative methods. She is actively engaged in the public school community through a variety of activities including serving on boards, consulting, and professional memberships within a variety of educational organizations. Her research has been mixed methods research primarily in rural school communities. Dr. Marci Augenstein has expertise in various qualitative methodologies, including: participatory action research, discourse analysis, interpretive methods, and data analysis.
David A. Comsa
David A. Comsa is a graduate of Purdue University, 1975, and a 1981 graduate of Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University College of Law). At Detroit College of Law, David served as Executive Director of the Moot Court Board.
After practicing in a private law firm, David served as the Chief of Human Resources and Legal Affairs for the Flint Community Schools. Since 2007 David has been the Deputy Superintendent for Human Resources and General Counsel for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. He has been an adjunct Assistant Professor at Madonna University since 2010 teaching the graduate course EDU 5890Legal and Ethical Issues in Education. He has authored several articles for the Michigan Association of School Personnel. (MASPA)
Professional Associations • State Bar of Michigan • Washtenaw County Bar Association • American Bar Association and Labor and Employment Section • Past President and Current Executive Board Member of Michigan Association of School Personnel (MASPA) • Michigan Negotiators Association (MNA) • President Elect, Michigan Council of School Attorneys (Board of Directors) • National Council of School Attorneys (COSA) • Adjunct Professor Madonna University • Admitted: United States Supreme Court • Admitted: Michigan Courts • Admitted: US District Court, ED Michigan
Dr. Katie Dodge is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the College of Education. She joined Madonna University as a professor in 2013. In addition to teaching at Madonna University, Dr. Dodge is the Elementary Special Education Teacher Consultant for Livonia Public Schools. She has been working for Livonia Public Schools since 2003 as a general education teacher (grades 2-6) and special education provider (grades 5 and 6). She earned her doctoral degree in 2012 from the University of Toledo. She earned both her MAT and BA at Madonna University. Her interests include special education accommodations, inclusion practices, transition services, self-efficacy, reading comprehension, diversity, social skills instruction, functional behavior assessment, higher education, behavior modification, and assistive technology. She is actively engaged in the community through serving as a board member for Seedlings Braille Books, being an active member of the Livonia Lion’s Club, and participating on the Alumni Advisory Council for Madonna University.
Dr. Hakim Shahid is Chair of Undergraduate Teacher Education and Graduate Director of Literacy Education. As a certified teacher, Dr. Shahid taught secondary science education before joining the Madonna University College of Education in 2009.
Dr. Shahid teaches graduate courses in literacy education, including the state-mandated literacy course for teacher certification. In addition, he teaches undergraduate teacher education courses in the Teacher Education Program. Dr. Shahid is a strong advocate for content area reading skills, disciplinary literacy, culturally relevant teaching, critical literacy, social justice, and culturally responsive teaching. He is a member of various professional educational organizations such as the International Reading Association, College Reading and Literacy Association and the Michigan Reading Association. Dr. Shahid is a frequent guest lecturer at various universities and educational conferences across the nation and in the Caribbean. He supports the charge for authentic, empowering, and transformative instruction for all children to foster a more literate citizenry. Dr. Shahid is a published scholar whose educational offerings deal with the importance of culturally relevant instruction and content area reading strategies.
Mary Ann Ellis
Retired after 33 years teaching preschool special education and Early Intervention from Wayne-Westland Community Schools. Teamed with staff to develop several innovative programs. Consulted with Head Start, GSRP and tuition based programs. Has taught Early Childhood at Madonna University for 14 years and has been an Early On Consultant for Wayne County Early On for professional development and monitoring. Serves on the State Early On Higher Education Faculty Advisory Committee and Wayne County Early On Interagency Coordinating Council. Teaches Working with Special Needs Children in an Early Childhood Setting, Assessment of Young Children and Early Childhood Directed Teaching Seminar.
Molly Funk is the founder and Lead Consultant of Core School Solutions. Molly's highly engaging and practical style is embraced by leaders and teachers alike. Molly works with school leaders, districts, Educational Service Agencies, and education support organizations as a trainer and coach. She has extensive skills in working with leaders and teams who serve urban populations and families of poverty. She was awarded the EMU Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Humanitarian Award for her work with underserved populations.
Molly provides ongoing professional learning services for school principals in partnership with the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. She is involved in initiatives including the Michigan Principal Mentoring Program, Coaching and Feedback for Leaders, Early Literacy, and Educator Evaluations. She is also a NAESP Faculty member and Nationally Certified Principal Mentor. Molly is a field consultant for AdvancED Michigan, providing support and services for schools and districts who are involved in the continuous improvement process and accreditation.
Molly serves on the Executive Board for the Michigan Association of Teacher Educators as a national delegate to the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) and is an appointed member of the President’s Commission on Teacher Self Efficacy.
Tess Kelly is an adjunct professor in the field of education. She joined the Madonna staff in 2010 after retiring from Farmington Public Schools. Her 30 years of teaching have been applied to the development of courses that prepare and inspire her students. She incorporates curriculum, pedagogy, instructional design and research to help students prepare to teach in their own classrooms. Tess considers herself an Instructional Coach as she supervises students during their practicum. She evaluates and advises, helping them achieve success in their chosen career. Tess brings to Madonna the distinction of being Teacher of the Year for Farmington and Oakland County. She also received accolades for helping to open the first Gifted School in Istanbul, Turkey. She trained their staff in curricular models that utilized interdisciplinary techniques. She has had experiences in both domestic and international consultation in the field of Gifted Education, specializing in thematic/interdisciplinary curriculum.
Margaret A. Kulas
My true love is teaching effective reading and literacy strategies for Elementary students. I am delighted when my students become excited about reading and exploring the world of books. I've taught all grade levels 1st through 6th and served as a Learning Consultant, Literacy Coach, Reading Department Chair, Camp Read-A-Lot summer school program supervisor, staff development coordinator and Reading Recovery Teacher during my 41 years with the Wayne-Westland and Farmington Public Schools. My passion for literacy learning is hopefully passed on through my 4220 and 3350 classes at Madonna University.
David A. Legg
David Legg taught in public schools for 36 years, primarily at the high school level. His teaching experience was in writing, humanities, technology, debate/forensics, and broadcasting. He has two MAs from Michigan State University: one in Curriculum and Teaching, one in Educational Technology and Curriculum Design. He also has additional graduate-level course work in Communication from Eastern Michigan University. He was recognized by the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association with the Golden Pen Award, and by the Michigan Association of Educational Broadcasters with the Carl V. Jacobson Award. He was honored as a finalist for Michigan Teacher of the Year in 2010. His broadcasting students were often recognized at the state and national levels. His teaching interests include the use of technology in constructivist classrooms, school technology plans and policies, technology as a tool for community-building and understanding, and the use of personal and portable devices to engage students.
Currently, he serves as University Supervisor of Student Teachers and teaches workshops in classroom use of technology.
Michele Lewis Watts
Michele Lewis Watts serves as Director of the Sport Management Program and Assistant Professor, advising, teaching and recruiting students. She teaches introductory sport management and sport sociology courses. Nearing completion of her Ph.D. in Exercise and Sport Science at Wayne State University, her research interests include gender, racial and economic inequalities, socialization, and youth in sports. For her dissertation, she will explore the influence of sport participation levels and type on the gender and athletic identities of middle school girls in Detroit.
Lewis Watts has 20 years of experience in sports and events management, starting her career at the Detroit Pistons and working on both the 2006 Super Bowl XL Host Committee and 2009 Final Four Organizing Committee. She is actively engaged in the community, coaching high school and club volleyball in Detroit, serving on the board of Detroit PAL, and frequently speaking at coaching conferences.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from North Carolina A&T State University (Summa Cum Laude) and Master of Sports Administration from Ohio University. A former collegiate volleyball player, Lewis Watts is also a former member of the semi-professional, 5-time champion Detroit Demolition women’s tackle football team.
Kathy worked for the Farmington Public School system for 32 years. She held positions of Junior High Science Teacher, High School Science Teacher, Elementary Science Consultant, District Science Coordinator, and Middle School Assistant Principal. Since retirement, Kathy has worked for the Oakland Schools Math and Science Center, been a Visiting Professor in Science Education at Oakland University, and taught as an adjunct at University of Michigan Dearborn and Schoolcraft College in addition to Madonna University. At Madonna, she teaches the Behavior Management class and in the past has taught the science methods classes. Additionally, she supervises student teachers.
International education consultant who helps schools with leadership, learning culture, Differentiated Instruction, Project Based Learning, and instructional technology. Blogger for Edutopia and EdWords.
Anne M. Morris
Dr. Anne M. Morris is the Chair of Graduate Education and Graduate Director of degree programs in Educational Technology, Online Teaching and eLearning, Educational Leadership, and Catholic School Leadership. As a certified teacher, Dr. Morris taught in K-12 education before coming to Madonna University in 2006.
Dr. Morris teaches graduate courses in the areas of educational technology, assessment practices, and leadership. Her research interests include organizational culture, faculty motivation, change theory, assessment, accountability, and educational equity and access.
Karen L. Obsniuk
Karen L. Obsniuk, Ph.D., is the Dean of the College of Education. She joined the full time faculty of Madonna University in 1996. Previously, she was an adjunct faculty, while working in K-12 schools as a teacher and school administrator. She completed her doctoral degree in Administration and Supervision, with a cognate in curriculum, and her M.A. in English Literature, at Wayne State University. She teaches in the areas of educational practice and action research. Her interests include educational change, K-12 student behavior, literacy intervention with at-risk students, and quality of work life issues for teachers. Her research has been mixed methods research primarily with pre-service and in-service teachers, school administrators, and EL learners. She is actively engaged in the field of education through her work at the State and local levels, serving on State committees and a local board.
Jill M. Robinson
Dr. Jill Robinson is the Director of three graduate studies programs in special education: Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She is also the Co-Director of the Education Specialist Program in Educational Leadership. Upon completion of her doctoral studies, she started her career at Madonna University as an adjunct in 1995, and joined the full-time faculty at the university in 2003. Dr. Robinson has been in the field of special education for over 35 years. Her favorite courses taught are The Exceptional Learner in the Classroom, and Educational Psychology. Her research interests include the parent component in the educational process, and maximizing student engagement in the learning process.
Steven Schwartz JD, NCSP Dr. Schwartz has served as an associate professor of education at Madonna University for the past 8 years. He teaches in the MAT programs in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Learning Disabilities as well as courses in human development in the child development and psychology departments. Dr. Schwartz has more than 35 years of experience working with special needs students as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. He is also a licensed attorney specializing in special education law. Dr. Schwartz has served on the executive committee of the special education advisory board, advising the State Board of Education on special education issues. He has also served as the Michigan delegate to the National Association of School Psychologists and is on the executive board of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Schwartz is a past president of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists.
Ms. Stellema is the department chair for Physical Education. She has worked at Madonna University for the past 6 years. She teaches Physical Education and Health courses at Madonna. She also teaches at a local high school where she is also the assistant Athletic Director and has coached several sports.
Her interests include making fitness fun for students. With the health problems in the United States at an all-time high, Ms. Stellema strives to get kids interested in physical activity and fitness. She is involved in state and national organizations that focus on Physical Education and Health. She has written both the major and minor programs for Physical Education for Madonna University. She has also served on several committees working on updating and revising curriculum and teacher testing standards.
Mary Tomczyk has served as the Director of the Child Development and Early Childhood Programs and the Graduate Director of the Masters in Early Childhood since 2009. Her dissertation centered on the event of parent-teacher conferences and the impact of student teachers’ cultural lenses on the roles they enact when participating in these events.
Dr. Tomczyk has a passion for the field of early childhood, particularly emergent literacy and also creating strong bonds between home, school, and the community to support young children’s growth and development. She has published two books, “Shapes, Sizes, and More Surprises”, winner of both the Parents Choice and Director’s Choice Award from Early Childhood News, and “Early Learning Skill Builders: Shapes, Numbers and Letters”. Her books provide ideas for enjoyable learning experiences for parents and caregivers of young children. She has also been an educational columnist for 121 newspapers and several local magazines.
She teaches courses on infant and toddler development, preschool curriculum, and creating positive partnerships with parents of young learners. She serves on several Advisory Boards for organizations supporting young children’s development, and develop workshops with other faculty for teachers of young children in the Detroit area.
Diana G. Wilcox
Diana Wilcox came to Madonna University in 2006 as the Field Placement Coordinator in the College of Education following a career in a local public school district. Diana retired from the Public School system after many years of teaching experience in general education and special education elementary classrooms. She retired as an early intervention specialist. During her career she was awarded the Flag of Liberty and Learning award and the Golden Apple Teaching Award. As the field placement coordinator Diana is responsible for placing pre-student teachers and student teachers in public, private and parochial schools. Diana teaches early childhood and child development classes. Working with child development students at Madonna University has been a rewarding experience. Diana teaches a preschool curriculum class, a class that focuses on young children with exceptional learning needs and the seminar for the preschool practicum.
Richard J. Witkowski
Dr. Richard Witkowski, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Education, joined Madonna as an adjunct in 2004. He completed his doctoral (1984) and master (1970) degrees in education at the University of Michigan. He also earned a Master of Science in Accountancy at Walsh College in 1997. He teaches in the areas of public school finance and data analysis for school administrators. Dr. Witkowski served as Superintendent of Schools for the Garden City School District for seven years and Chief Financial Officer of the school district prior to his appointment as superintendent.
His interests include support for adequate funding for public schools, funding for special education programs, and data analysis for school improvement. Dr. Witkowski has acted in the capacity of a financial consultant for various school district programs and charter schools. His research was primarily in the area of special education where he conducted research to analyze the acquisition, retention, regression and recoupment rates of Autistic and Severely Impaired populations and how breaks in programming and pupil-teacher ratio affected these rates.
Dr. Witkowski is active in various civic and service organizations that provide financial and other support to schools within the community.
Stewart Wood is the Associate Dean for University Assessment, Professor of Education, and Chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee. He joined the full-time faculty at Madonna University in 1994. Stewart was a school teacher in West Yorkshire, UK, for seven years prior to coming to the United States. While studying full-time for a master’s degree at the University of Sheffield, he was awarded an international scholarship to study at the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in educational psychology and educational research. Stewart was co-chair of the 2006-08 McGregor Grant: ‘Information Literacy as a Tool for Lifelong Learning.’ He is a regular presenter at local, state and national conferences and enjoys conducting workshops on grading. Dr. Wood served on the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan Hospital Preschool. Besides assessment, his main research interest is in achievement motivation. He is an active member of the American Educational Research Association and serves as a reviewer for the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching. Dr. Wood has published articles in Phi Delta Kappan and the Journal of Early Adolescence.
Richard R. Benedict
Research and Publications Benedict, R. R., Obsniuk, K., & Wood, S (with Gee, L.). (2008, September) Developing and Sustaining Constructivist Practice. Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching, Traverse City, MI Wood, S., Benedict, R. R., Obsniuk, K. & Checkoway, M. B. (2006, April) Supersize My Educational Psychology: The Struggle to Find the Main Ideas in Educational Psychology Classes. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA. Benedict, R. R., Obsniuk, K., Wood, S. (2006, January). Best Practice and College Teaching: If It Matters, How Do We Do It Better? American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, San Diego, CA. Benedict, R. R., (2002) Creating Consensus. Principal Leadership. 3(3), 67-70. Benedict, R. R (2001). What “Types” of Students are Majoring in Education at Madonna University? The Madonna Mind 1(16), 3-8. Benedict, R. R. (1999). Tenacious Inequalities. Secondary Education Today, 40(3), 20-23. Benedict, R. R. (1992). Trashcan Kids. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Benedict, R. R. (1988). Enterprise High: Where Students Profit from Education. The Entrepreneurial Economy, 6(9), 9-10. Benedict, R. R. (1983). A Child at Risk. Educational Leadership, 41(2), 62-63. Benedict, R. R. (1982). The Facilitative Teacher-Student Relationship and Selected Educational Outcomes. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Benedict, R. R. (1981). The Kotter Key is No Joke! Educational Leadership, 38(7), 573-574. Benedict, R. R. (1980). The Kotter Key to Educating Disadvantaged Students. Educational Leadership, 37(7), 594-595. Awards 1970 - Eligible for Nomination to Academic All-America Football (Michigan State University) 1986 - "George Washington Honor Medal" - Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge (their highest honor - not awarded every year) 2013 - Professor Emeritus - Madonna University
Karen L. Young
Karen currently works for Livonia Public Schools as the Principal of Niji-Iro Japanese Immersion School. A dual immersion magnet school. Previously Karen taught in traditional Elementary Schools as well as for K12 online charter schools in both California and Ohio. She has held various administrative roles throughout her career such as Master Teacher of Curriculum and Instruction, Accreditation Coordinator, Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Coordinator, and At-Risk Administrator.