• • IJEA membership is now open for the 2024-25 school year! Use our online form or fillable PDF to join for only $25.
  • • Our 2024 Yearbook Contest is now accepting entries through Oct. 15 — get recognition for your students' great work!
  • • Save the date! Our 2024 Fall Conference will be held Friday, Sept. 20, at Illinois State University — more info on the way!
  • • High school seniors! Get your portfolios ready for the 2025 Illinois Journalist of the Year Contest! Entries will be due Feb. 15.
Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

Illinois Journalism Education Association, 2501 Chatham Road, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62704

Illinois JEA

IJEA Hall of Fame

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Honoring Our Trailblazers

Online Nomination Form

Submission Deadline: March 15

The Illinois Journalism Education Association honors individual scholastic media educators who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the success and progress of IJEA and scholastic media education

IJEA Hall of Fame inductees have served IJEA and the education of student journalists in Illinois by contributing to the field of student journalism and achieving personal goals related to student journalism.

Illinois has a long history of exemplary scholastic journalism, and these inductees have preserved and advanced this tradition.

The inaugural class for the IJEA Hall of Fame was inducted at IJEA’s 20th anniversary dinner Sept. 20, 2008, at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. A second group was inducted in 2014, followed by the third group in 2017 and a fourth in 2019.

A permanent display and tribute to the Hall of Fame members is located at the headquarters of the Illinois Press Association/Illinois Press Foundation in Springfield, home of the IJEA since 2019.


Annual Deadline: March 15

Our Hall of Fame induction ceremonies generally take place at the Advisers Breakfast at the IHSA journalism state finals in the spring. The award is not necessarily given each year.


How to Nominate a Candidate

You may nominate a candidate by using our online nomination form below. Please note that we no longer use PDF forms for award nominations.


Online Form

Click here to access the online nomination form for this award.


Meet Our Inductees

To view the IJEA All of Fame inductees, beginning with our inaugural honorees, please scroll down or use these links for quick access:

Jump to 2008 Inductees
Jump to 2014 Inductees
Jump to 2017 Inductees
Jump to 2019 Inductees
Jump to 2022 Inductee

2008 Inductees

Candace Perkins Bowen
St. Charles High School (Kane County)

• Longtime adviser at St. Charles High School
• Co-founder, IJEA
• National JEA president
• 1989 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund High School Journalism Teacher of the Year
• Workshop leader
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• Co-author (with Susan Hathaway Tantillo) of resource book on English and journalism
• Director, Center for Scholastic Journalism, Kent State University
• 2013 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award recipient

Sarah Doerner
Du Quoin High School (Perry County)

• Longtime adviser at Du Quoin High School, now retired
• IJEA president
• IJEA board member
• Regional leader
• 2005 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Dana Ewell
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign County)

• Longtime journalism professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• Longtime director, Illinois State High School Press Association Fall Conference (now IJEA Fall Conference)
• High school outreach director, UIUC
• Reporter and editor, Decatur Herald & Review
• Passed away in January 2003

Melinda Foys
Conant High School (Cook County)

• Longtime adviser, James B. Conant High School, now retired
• Co-founder, IJEA
• IJEA president
• IJEA board member
• 2001 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Diana Peckham
Pekin Community High School (Tazewell County)

• Longtime adviser at Pekin Community High School
• Adviser at Morton High School
• Co-founder, IJEA
• IJEA president
• Workshop leader
• 2006 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
• Passed away in September 2010

Randy Swikle
Johnsburg High School (McHenry County)

• Longtime adviser at Johnsburg High School, now retired
• Co-founder, IJEA
• Two-time IJEA president
• JEA Illinois state director
• Workshop leader
• Certified Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• 1999 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year
• 2003 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Susan Hathaway Tantillo
Wheeling High School (Cook County)

• Longtime adviser at Wheeling High School, now retired
• Co-founder, IJEA
• Longtime IJEA treasurer
• National JEA officer
• Workshop leader
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• Co-author (with Candace Perkins Bowen) of resource book on English and journalism
• 2001 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

James Tidwell
Eastern Illinois University (Coles County)

• Longtime journalism professor, Eastern Illinois University
• Lawyer and media law expert
• Author of definitive text on Illinois media law
• IJEA co-founder
• IJEA executive secretary/director for IJEA’s first 18 years (1988-2006)
• High school outreach proponent, EIU
• Workshop director, EIU
• Proponent and co-organizer of Illinois High School Association state journalism tournament
• Passed away in April 2014

Tom Winski
Monmouth High School (Warren County)

• Longtime adviser at Monmouth High School, now retired
• Co-founder, IJEA
• IJEA board member
• Co-author (with Sheryl Hinman) of journalism textbook
• College journalism educator
• Workshop leader
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• 2015 JEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient


2014 Inductees

Wayne Brasler
University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Cook County)

• Longtime adviser at University of Chicago Laboratory High School, now retired
• 1981 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year
• Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Key recipient
• National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer Award recipient
• NSPA “Brasler Prize” namesake (annual award for best overall NSPA Story of the Year winner)
• Co-author (with Tom Rolnicki) of NSPA newspaper guidebook
• Perennial JEA listserv presence
• National scholastic leader

Linda Kane
Naperville Central High School (DuPage County)

• Longtime adviser at Naperville Central High School, now retired
• Adviser at Danville High School
• JEA Illinois state director
• Certified Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• 1996 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Distinguished Adviser Award recipient
• 2010 JEA Lifetime Award recipient

Cathy Wall
Harrisburg High School (Saline County)

• Longtime adviser at Harrisburg High School
• IJEA board member
• Illinois High School Association state journalism tournament originator, proponent and organizer
• Southern Illinois School Press Association executive director
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)


2017 Inductees

Brenda Field
Glenbrook South High School (Cook County)

•  Yearbook adviser at Glenbrook South High School, perennial Pacemaker book
•  IJEA State Director
• Recipient of the James A. Tidwell Award for Excellence in Scholastic Media Education (2017)
• Speaker and instructor at various yearbook conferences and workshops
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• Spearheaded passage of New Voices Illinois (Speech Rights of Student Jouranlists Act) into law (2016)

Stan Zoller
Lake Forest College (Lake County)

• Longtime adviser at Rolling Meadows High School
• Former JEA Regional Director
• Former IJEA State Director
• Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association
• Distinguished Adviser, Dow Jones News Fund (2011)
• Member of the Chicago Headline Club
• Peter Lisago Award, Chicago Headline Club (2011)
• Master Journalism Educator (certified by national JEA)
• Spearheaded passage of New Voices Illinois (Speech Rights of Student Jouranlists Act) into law (2016)


2019 Inductees

John Gonczy
Marist High School (Cook County)

• Longtime newspaper adviser and journalism teacher at Marist High School in Chicago
• From his 2019 induction:

John Gonczy has been a workhorse for scholastic journalism in Illinois and for the IJEA since 2003. Although he is IJEA president now, often he has worked behind the scenes to make sure advisers and students have good experiences, whether it be at the IJEA Fall Conference or the IJEA Adviser Breakfast at the IHSA state tournament.

• From his 2019 induction:

The IJEA Hall of Fame is for scholastic media educators who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the success and progress of IJEA and scholastic media education. John has done that, in spades. He has served on the executive board of IJEA in several capacities, now as its president. He has been on committees such as membership.

• From his 2019 induction:

He has been a proponent and contributor to the IHSA state journalism tournament, for many years serving as the awards ceremony emcee and as a member of the Advisory Committee. He has been an officer with the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago. In each of these arenas, John has devoted himself to their betterment and to supporting those with whom he works. He is efficient, meticulous and encouraging.

• From his 2019 induction:

John Gonczy belongs on the wall of fame along with our organization’s legends. All were devoted to IJEA and to the promise of high school journalism by recognizing excellence and working to ensure that advisers and their students know they are supported. Congratulations to John Gonczy, a 2019 IJEA Hall of Fame member.

Dr. Dan Kerns
Richwoods High School (Peoria County)

• Longtime newspaper adviser, yearbook adviser and journalism teacher at Richwoods High School in Peoria
• From his 2019 induction:

Dan has been an officer for the organization for many years. Recently he was the meticulous secretary/co-secretary of the IJEA. He has rarely missed a meeting, even going so far each year to hurry to the annual June meeting after running a race in Peoria with his son. He and his wife Barb have hosted the spring board meeting for many years, and he can be counted on to be a calm voice of reason. As a broadcast instructor, he also has been a wonderful announcer at some of our more formal events.

•  From his 2019 induction:

Working to support scholastic journalism throughout our state, Dan has hosted IHSA sectionals, encouraged his students to pursue journalism after high school, including having an Illinois Journalist of the Year and several All-Staters, and many who have gone into the media industry. He has served on the IHSA Journalism Advisory Committee, and he now represents IJEA in those annual meetings with the IHSA. He is always willing to serve.

• From his 2019 induction:

Finally, Dan is an amazing adviser. It goes without saying that he is one of the best broadcast advisers in the state, being the model for how to teach electronic media. His classrooms are a showpiece and advisers and others often visit his facilities to see how it should be done. But he also advises yearbook and newspaper, and he has trained himself admirably in those media, too. He is committed to excellence from his students.

Dave Porreca
University of Illinois Laboratory High School (Champaign County)

• Newspaper and digital news media adviser at University of Illinois Laboratory High School (“Uni High”) for 15 years, from 1995 to 2010
• IJEA president from 2001 to 2004, during which he proposed and developed the concept of an IJEA All-State Journalism Team:

— Established criteria for team selection
— Prepared all nomination and application material
— Worked with Illinois Press Association to set up annual event in Springfield celebrating team members

• Led his Uni High students in making transition from monthly print newspaper to daily multimedia news website
• Adviser of first Illinois high school news website to win a National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Online Pacemaker Award (2006-07)
• Adviser of nine NSPA Pacemaker finalist publications (five print, four online) and six NSPA Pacemaker winners (four print, two online)
• Coach of IHSA state champion journalism team (2009) and IHSA state runner-up team (2008)
• Served on IHSA Journalism Advisory Committee (2008-10)
• Adviser of three Illinois Journalist of the Year winners and one National Journalist of the Year finalist
• Redesigned IJEA’s website and served as IJEA’s first social media director
• Oversaw transition and expansion of IJEA’s Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest from mail-in event to competition done entirely online:

— Created online submission forms for every category
— Created contest home page
— Wrote and/or revised descriptions of each category
— Prepared instructions for advisers and students

• Has administered IJEA’s Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest annually since 2015-16
• Has chaired IJEA Contest Committee since 2015

Carol Smith
Lovington High School (now Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond H.S., Douglas County)

• Longtime newspaper adviser at Lovington High School, now retired
• From her 2019 induction:

During her long career as newspaper adviser at Lovington High School, Carol inspired her students and community. She modeled close relationships with area professional media, she taught her students solid reporting and editing skills, and she stood up for them in various arenas. She is still in contact with many of her former students, and she is continually proud of their accomplishments, whether they stayed in journalism or not. She continued to educate herself on journalism curriculum, ethics and law, and she was an early supporter of the IHSA state journalism tournament––and she even judged two categories last year! Even though there is no more Lovington High School, she insisted that a newspaper class be part of the new consolidated school, and she has worked diligently to ensure its stability and growth.

• From her 2019 induction:

Carol has been a JEA mentor for Illinois since IJEA joined the program in the second wave of states, each year mentoring new teachers from small programs in Illinois, from Chicago and sometimes even from out of state. Her reports are thorough and indicate her commitment to the teachers, their students and their schools. She admirably has represented Illinois in the national training and at national conventions, and she has encouraged her mentees to take advantage of every training and learning opportunity. Finally, on the national level she is a write-off judge in her capacity as a mentor.

• From her 2019 induction:

For our state organization she has served as a director for Region 5 for a number of years, and she has added to the list of responsibilities by serving on the Contest Committee and on the Chicago 2018 Local Committee. For the Contest Committee, she helped revamp the Newspaper Contest to include digital media, and she continues to weigh in on decisions made each year to fine-tune the contest. She is also a presenter at the Fall Convention and at regional writing conventions at Eastern Illinois University each fall, showing teachers how they can incorporate journalist writing assignments into their classrooms.


2022 Inductee

Dr. Sally Renaud
Eastern Illinois University

• Longtime journalism professor, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston (Coles County)
• IJEA executive director for 14 years (2005-2019)
• Longtime host and site organizer of IHSA journalism tournament finals
• Coordinator of IJEA Yearbook Contest for 17 years (2005-2022)
• Tireless advocate for scholastic journalism and student journalists
 Driving force in establishing and maintaining IJEA partnerships with IHSA, Illinois Press Association, JEA, NSPA and other scholastic journalism associations
• Comments on Dr. Renaud from former IJEA board member Dr. Amanda Bright, now a journalism educator at the University of Georgia:

From my perspective, Sally Renaud has always been the heart of the IJEA. Her passion for celebrating student media is so beautifully intertwined with all that the organization does, and she set the tone that turned the IJEA into a family.

The spirit Sally imbued in the organization was encouragement — for both student journalists and advisers. This is no small thing. We all know how challenging student media can be. Sally relentlessly worked to bring positivity to the experience by honoring great work but also being shoulder-to-shoulder in the trenches with the advisers. For Sally, there was no request or task that was too small — no achievement that wasn’t worth celebrating with full-throated joy. I think I can speak for many advisers and journalism programs when I say that she inspired me to keep going through the pressures and obstacles inherent in a student newsroom experience. It was her voracious cheerleading that helped me continue and innovate when things were hard.

Sally not only took care of her advisers and student journalists mentally but also physically and emotionally. She always brought snacks — and good ones. She made sure volunteers had thoughtful gifts, and that advisers had rides or “buddies” for wherever they were going. She listened when we complained, she put her arm around us when we were struggling. Sally is naturally a warm and caring person, but her empathy seemed to overflow when she took care of her scholastic journalism friends. She taught me that striving for journalistic excellence can be done with grace and love.

She simply is, and will continue to be, the person I most want to emulate in my professional and personal life. Through her absolutely tireless work supporting us all through IJEA, she taught us to multiply her impact and compassion in our own spheres of influence, and I will be forever grateful for her mentorship and friendship.

Comments on Dr. Renaud from former IJEA President John Gonczy:

One of the most remarkable aspects of my journey in scholastic journalism is that virtually every individual I met along the way proved to be a really wonderful person. In Sally Renaud, I feel truly blessed to have encountered someone exceptionally wonderful.

The first time we met (and never mind how long ago that was), I knew that I was in the presence of a remarkable human being. The reason is simple. Sally truly cares, first and foremost, about people. Students, teachers, advisers, coaches, professionals, colleagues…the titles or positions don’t matter to her. She is, in an exemplary manner, all about people. For all her intelligence, experience and talent, she is one of the most selfless individuals I have ever known. Her numerous contributions to scholastic journalism in our state helped elevate us to a greater and much stronger position, but her real legacy is the kindness she brought to every single person and every single project with which she involved herself.

I owe a great deal of my success with my students to Sally. Her mentorship and friendship helped me to become a better educator and her example will always inspire me to strive to become a better person. It is with eternal gratitude that I wish her every happiness as she begins her well-deserved retirement.

Comments on Dr. Renaud from IJEA board member Carol Smith:

Dr. Sally Renaud has epitomized all that is right and good in scholastic journalism. Along with her depth of knowledge and the experience gained as a teacher and adviser, Sally also used her other gifts to impact those she worked with, especially as the IJEA executive director.

Using her strong people skills, Sally brought out the best in both students and other journalism professionals. I met Sally at the first IHSA state tournament contest. That was the first time I had stepped off of my small high school journalism island. Sally was there with doughnuts, welcoming the advisers, both experienced and newbies. She saw this as an opportunity to introduce the advisers who were not members of IJEA to those who were. She encouraged us all to become involved and stressed nominating our outstanding staff members for the IJEA All State Team.

When one of my students who was planning to attend Eastern expressed an interest in journalism as a major, Sally met him and helped prepare him for his freshman year. My student earned a place on the all state team his senior year and even received a scholarship. She kept in contact with me as a new IJEA member, making sure I felt like a part of the group. When a board position opened in my region, Sally encouraged me to fill it. From similar stories of other students and advisers, I know my experience was not unique. Sally cared about helping other people develop what she saw as their gifts, too. When I retired from teaching, Sally encouraged me to become a JEA mentor for new journalism advisers around the state and in other states. All of this was a lifechanging experience.

Making people feel valued for their contributions was another of Sally’s gifts. She believed in the power of positive reinforcement, whether for those rewriting the IJEA constitution or for those winning coveted positions like Journalism Adviser of the Year. She drove miles to present many of those awards to the advisers at their schools.

Sally also used her organizational skills to help groups run smoothly. She worked closely with the IHSA in hosting the state journalism contest finals. In addition to helping with designating rooms, getting necessary equipment, obtaining judges, etc., she arranged a breakfast for all advisers who were present and used that as a time to present special awards, giving all a chance to hear winners share their stories. 

Sally has the knack for helping guide people in filling the responsibilities of their positions. She aided them in the planning the yearly fall institutes at the U of I. She worked closely with those in charge when Illinois’ hosted the national JEA convention in Chicago. She also helped the two chairs of the IJEA committee responsible for Illinois’ becoming one of 14 states to pass the Speech Rights of Student Journalists Act.

Flashing her heartwarming smile, Sally shared her special gifts generously, and she also usually shared snacks both at meetings and for the road trips home. We were and still are blessed by the contributions Sally made to journalism in Illinois. She deserved to be named a 2018 NSPA Pioneer Award winner.

Comments on Dr. Renaud from former IJEA President Brad Bennewitz:

Sally has been a vigilant crusader for scholastic journalism. Her enthusiastic support for both advisers and student journalists stands out among her years of dedication to the field.

Many times at our IJEA board meetings, Sally would share stories about high school teachers around the state whom she had supported after they reached out for help amid rough waters. She regularly provided a steady, calming, and strong voice of reassurance for advisers in need. She knew when to get IJEA directly involved in difficult situations and when to simply provide guidance. Sally has firmly advocated the philosophy that no adviser should ever feel that he or she was “on an island,” relentlessly promoting that IJEA and its statewide team of colleagues were ready and able to provide support. 

More than anything, Sally loves to celebrate the work that people are doing in the field of Journalism. For Sally, as the saying goes, it’s all about the kids. She wants to honor their work. She wants to reward students for their good products — their stories, their photographs, their layouts. Sally never wants anyone to feel that they are not appreciated for their efforts, whether it’s with a trophy, a plaque, or even an ‘honorable mention” certificate. The same is true for advisers. I remember frequent conversations where she would ask the IJEA board for ideas to provide advisers with fun gifts at workshops and competitions. I can still hear her say, “It’s all about the swag,” as if she were standing right next to me. Even at our IJEA board meetings, Sally frequently had a goodie bag full of snacks and other fun tokens because she wanted to make our (sometimes) long drives home a little easier.

As we celebrate Sally, I have to credit her (and longtime retired adviser Susan Hathaway Tantillo) for getting me involved with IJEA. When Susan introduced me to Sally at the national convention in St. Louis, Sally was so enthusiastic and happy to meet me and welcome me as a journalism adviser that I found myself unable to say “no” when she suggested I should get more involved with IJEA. Who wouldn’t want to be around someone like Sally Renaud who has so much love and passion for the journalism profession and for the teachers and students who are creating it.


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IJEA Hall of Fame