Curriculum and Instruction

ssSara D. Simonson, Ph.D.

Professor & Interim Chair
Curriculum & Instruction
Office: Horrabin Hall, 56
Phone: 309/298-2510

Dr. Simonson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. She teaches graduate courses in secondary reading methods, decoding, vocabulary, assessment, literacy techniques and strategies, and leadership in reading. She has presented at the state, national, and international conference levels. Dr. Simonson is very active with in-service and workshops at the local level. She works with the Illinois State Board of Education, writing and presenting modules across the state to share best practice in reading instruction at a variety of grade levels. Dr. Simonson also writes a column for professional development in literacy for the Illinois Reading Council Journal.

Sara Simonson has been named the interim chair for the Western Illinois University Department of Curriculum and Instruction, effective July 6.

Simonson joined Western's faculty in August 1990, and she was promoted to professor in 2003. Prior to coming to Western, she served as a reading specialist in the Monmouth, IL and Hamilton, IL school districts.

During her time at Western, Simonson has published numerous journal articles in such publications as the Illinois Reading Council Journal, Reading Psychology and Multicultural Review. She has also presented at several international, national and regional education conferences. Since 2004, in conjunction with various colleagues, she has been awarded close to $136,000 in grant funds from external institutions and organizations.

In 2004, Simonson was named the "Most Inspirational Teacher" by the Student Education Association at WIU. In 1995 and 1996, Simonson was honored with the "Outstanding Teacher" award for Western's College of Education and Human Services (COEHS). Also in 1995, she was honored as the first recipient of the "WIU Faculty Excellence in Multicultural Programming" award.

Simonson received her Ph.D. in literacy from the University of Iowa, her master's degree in reading education from Western and her bachelor's degree from Augustana College.