Illinois JEA

IJEA History

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A Brief History of Our Organization

In the mid-1980s, a group of like-minded high school advisers in Illinois, who had been meeting informally at Journalism Education Association national conventions and state regional conventions for years, sometimes under the name of the Illinois Association of Teachers of Journalism, began putting together the foundation for what would become a statewide group organized using the guidelines of JEA.

It was not easy. Illinois is a big state with regional distinctions, but a dedicated group met throughout 1986 and 1987 to develop what would become IJEA.

In those early meetings, there was concern that regional groups would not want to take part in a statewide group, but handwritten notes on hotel notepads tell the story of a dedicated group of advisers who wanted to strengthen Illinois scholastic journalism.

They wanted cohesiveness and help, both practical and legal, for their fellow advisers. They wanted state unity — achieved through a state directory and a newsletter; recognition — achieved through awards; and professional development — achieved through workshops and retreats.


Founding IJEA Members

Some of those advisers included William Colosimo, Addison Trail High School; Jeff Currie, Oak Park and River Forest High School; Melinda Foys, Conant High School; Barbara Fuson, Stephen Decatur High School; Susan Hathaway, Wheeling High School; Sheryl Hinman, Galesburg High School; Randy Swikle, Johnsburg High School; and Tom Winski, Monmouth High School.

Representatives from university journalism programs were involved, too, including Richard Stegeman, University of Illinois, and James Tidwell, Eastern Illinois University — and others offered support.

The advisers, with Winski as their leader, named their new group the Illinois Journalism Education Association with a structure of six regions, each with two elected directors to serve as part of the governing board, and a state director. Bylaws echoing those of the JEA were constructed.

IJEA was incorporated on Aug. 18, 1988.


IJEA Presidents

Keith Carlson

Naperville Central High School
Naperville | DuPage County | IJEA Region 3

John Gonczy

Marist High School
Chicago | Cook County | IJEA Region 3

Brad Bennewitz

Galesburg High School
Galesburg | Knox County | IJEA Region 1

Sarah Doerner (retired at time of service)

DuQuoin High School
DuQuoin | Perry County | IJEA Region 6

Dave Sennerud

Hononegah High School
Rockton | Winnebago County | IJEA Region 2

Dave Porreca

University of Illinois Laboratory High School
Urbana | Champaign County | IJEA Region 5

Randy Swikle

Johnsburg High School
Johnsburg | McHenry County | IJEA Region 2

Melinda Foys

Conant High School
Hoffman Estates | Cook County | IJEA Region 3

Diana Peckham

Pekin High School
Pekin | Tazewell County | IJEA Region 4

Randy Swikle

Johnsburg High School
Johnsburg | McHenry County | IJEA Region 2


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IJEA History