About Us

About Us

The NIU Center for Economic Education was established in 1970 to provide economic education professional development programs for K-12 teachers in the NIU service area. The Center offers teachers, school districts, and community organizations the curriculum resources and training to teach the fundamental concepts and skills students need to understand and succeed in our market economy.

We are part of Econ Illinois and the Council for Economic Education, a network of educators recognized across the country as the premier provider of economic education professional development programs for teachers, curriculum consulting, curriculum materials, and student economic education programs. Our programs integrate the teaching of economics (including consumer economics) throughout the curriculum. We also offer training in economics courses and in providing economics and financial literacy programs to help schools develop a comprehensive curriculum for economics.

Located in NIU's P-20 Center, we serve the 11 counties in the northern Illinois region from McHenry, Kane, and DuPage County School Districts 203 and 204 on the east and west to the Mississippi River and south to I-80. 


NIU Center for Economic Education Region

NIU Center for Economic Education Region

(DuPage County—Naperville School Districts 203 and 204 only)


Who We Are

Stephen H. Karlson, Co-Director

Steve Karlson

Dr. Karlson directed the Office of Economic Education in the Economics Department from 1999 to 2010. He has extensive experience in designing and judging the state Economics Challenge and Personal Finance Challenge, presenting Stock Market Game and Virtual Economics teacher workshops, and judging the regional Economics Concepts Poster Contest held annually for students in grades K-8.

Mary Beth Henning, Co-Director

Mary Beth Henning

Dr. Henning taught high school economics in Toledo, Ohio, before earning her doctorate in social studies education at Penn State. For the past eight years, she has been the senior faculty member in social studies education in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. Upon joining the Department of Literacy Education, she set up a social studies laboratory that includes over 1100 items for the improvement of social studies instruction.

Judith Dymond, CoordinatorJudith Dymon

Judith Dymond brings to the Center for Economic Education extensive experience and background as a K-12 administrator, teacher, and reading specialist, including several years as Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  She is currently researching educational partnerships and community engagement in her doctoral work.

Advisory Committee

A multi-disciplinary Advisory Committee brings a wealth of approaches to the Center’s mission and programs.

Mike Algrim, Business Banker, Castle Bank

Tammy Batson, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

J.D. Bowers, University Coordinator of Teacher Certification

Judith Dymond, P-20 Center, Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development

Dana Gautcher, Office of Student and Academic Success, Office of the Vice-Provost

Mary Beth Henning, Co-Director, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education

Sarah Johnston-Rodriguez, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education

Stephen Karlson, Co-Director, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Cheryl Maness, Retired Business Education and Consumer Economics Teacher, District 427, Sycamore School District

Randi Napientek, Office of Student Academic Success, Office of the Vice-Provost

Beth Towell, Associate Dean, College of Business