About - NIU - Juggling In the Classroom

About Us

Leslie A. Sassone is an Associate Professor of Foundations of Education in the College of Education/Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations. She teaches courses in philosophy of education and education as an agent for change.

Sassone earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies (1994) and a M.S.Ed. in Communication and Speech Education (1988), both at Purdue University. She is the author of the book The Process of Becoming: democratic Nietzschean pedagogy for individualization (Discovery Association Press, 2002).

Gail Gattis is a National Board Certified Teacher (2011), with ESL and Middle School endorsements, and has been teaching elementary education students since 2001. She earned an M.S. Ed. in Foundations of Education at NIU (2007), with a focus on philosophy with children; and a B.A. in Elementary Education at NIU (2001).


Dawn McCusker is a Gifted Talent Development Program Specialist, providing critical thinking enrichment opportunities for underserved students in general education and dual language programs. She is a licensed Elementary Education teacher with ESL and Bilingual Endorsements. She completed the IARSS Gifted Education Seminar in 2016 and is an English Language Learner consultant in the greater Chicago area. She earned an M.S. Ed. in Teaching and Leadership at Saint Xavier University (2002), and her B.A. in Education at NIU (1992).





Thanks to John Carmichael, Richland Texas Community College for sharing his idea of juggling for virtue at the 2007 NISOD International Conference on Teaching & Leadership Excellence.

Thanks to the undergraduate students and elementary school students who practiced the art of learning to juggle in the classroom and illustrated clear connections to the Illinois Social Emotional Learning Standards.  

Special thanks to Principal Jeff Bragg for believing in the teachers and supporting their initiatives.