Madilyn Wiley & Michael Dieter, Education Impact

Education is constantly adapting to societal needs, and this transformation will undoubtedly gather momentum in the years to come, according to the World Economic Forum. Now more than ever, teachers, government officials, professionals, and anyone involved with educating children today must learn to adapt and evolve as quickly as our society to properly prepare them for success.

The Lewis University College of Education prepares its students to be successful educators by emphasizing the idea that teaching is a vocation.

“The foundation of work in the College of Education is built on the work of St. John Baptist De La Salle, the patron saint of teachers and founder of the Brother of the Christian Schools,” says the Dean of College of Education Dr. Pamela Jessee. “De La Salle’s mission was to provide education to the poor so they would have access to a better life.  In order to walk in the footsteps of De La Salle, the college focuses on preparing students to be transformative educators, seeking ways to improve both the institution of education and the students who are served through it, and are dedicated to being advocates for social justice and access for all children.”

Madilyn Wiley ’10 and Michael Dieter ’08 are both teachers striving to adapt to the ever-changing lifestyle of an educator, in order to leave a standing impact in the communities they serve. They are determined to positively change the lives of their students inside the classroom and beyond.

Michael attended St. Joseph High School where he felt inspired by Lewis’ Brother Peter Hannon to pursue his love for history in college. He graduated from Lewis with a bachelor’s degree in History, and went on to obtain his master’s degree in Reading and Literacy. Michael is currently working toward a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Lewis while working as a Reading and Writing Coordinator and a Social Sciences Teacher at De La Salle Institute in Chicago, where he completed student teaching eight years ago and has been working full time since.

Madilyn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, after beginning her time at Lewis through the Bridge Program. She had the opportunity to complete two long term substitute positions before launching her full-time teaching career in 2010, as a first grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Maywood.

“My favorite part about being a teacher is the amount of impact that I have on each child’s life,” says Madilyn. “Since I am a first grade teacher, I get the chance to be an integral part of their foundation. I can watch them grow and mature right in front of my eyes.”

Although an educator is a very fulfilling career, individuals who choose this path face several obstacles today. “The biggest hurdle that teachers face today is the politics of education,” says Madilyn. “Teacher’s plates are filled with financial issues, standardized testing, and observations.  “We should be placing our main focus on the goal, which is to educate our children and make them college and career ready.”

According to Madilyn, financial support, pertaining to both home income and community funding, is a huge problem for students today. Michael believes that another thing children lack, in addition to financial support, is hope. “The only thing these children know is failure, due to the lack of exposure, experience, and support in their lives,” he adds. “They lack hope. They lack the ability to visualize a successful future for themselves.”


Both Madilyn and Michael focus on providing opportunities for their students to experience the highest level of education. Michael works hard to pave a path to success for young children by helping them overcome the obstacles they face inside and outside of the classroom, as they prepare for college. Inspired by former Lewis History Professor Ewa Bacon and Director of the Writing Center Dr. Jennifer Consilio Kukler, Michael incorporates much of what he learned at Lewis into his own lessons.

“It is important to meet them at their level and fully understand what they are facing,” says Michael. “From there, I can build the students up and take them to where they want to be and more importantly, can be.”

Through opportunities to experience a broad foundation of knowledge and culture, Lewis helped Madilyn grow into an inspiring educator, teaching not only the students in her school, but in the surrounding communities as well. Coaching the cheerleading team, partnering with the Boy Scouts of America on STEM activities, and volunteering for Big Brothers and Big Sisters are among the initiatives that Madilyn takes to help children grow. 

“Watching every child’s “light bulb” turn on each day based on the activity or lesson is what motivates me,” says Madilyn with a smile. “It gives me hope and inspiration to continue teaching, because I know that each child is waiting in anticipation for me to bring each subject to life.”

Madilyn and Michael work hard as teachers to provide their students with opportunities to succeed. They both agree that the collaboration and communication of all involved in educating children reflects a common goal: to make a difference and leave the world a better place.

October 2016

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