University News

(Left to right) RIMSD#41 Frances Willard principal Nikki Melody, Former Superintendent Dr. Lawrence, and Jessica Israel
[Download Print-Quality Image]

WIU Alumna Named Frances Willard Assistant Principal After Scholarship Allowed Her to Flourish

June 12, 2024

Printer friendly version

MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University alumna Jessica Israel has been named the assistant principal of Frances Willard Elementary in the Rock Island - Milan School District.

Israel graduated from WIU in 2020 with a master's degree in Special Education and in 2022 with a master's degree in Educational Administration. Israel is an alumna of the Rock Island-Milan School District and has worked as an elementary school special education teacher in the Rock Island-Milan School District for over four years. Before this appointment, she served as the 2022-23 interim assistant principal at Frances Willard Elementary, and to her peers, she has proven time and time again that she can help move things forward.

In addition to her success, Israel was the most recent scholarship recipient of the Grant W. Brissman and Virginia M. Brissman Foundation Milan scholarship in 2022 and 2024.

This scholarship is given to students who reside in Milan and have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5, are enrolled at WIU-Macomb or WIU-QC, have a financial need and have educational goals and aspirations. This scholarship goes to any major undergraduate or graduate students.

"I wouldn't have graduated without the help of the Brisman Foundation," Israel said. "I was attending WIU on a teacher's salary and that was difficult."

She notes that obtaining her degree has helped her improve her skills, which has resulted in better outcomes for her students.

She now lives in Rock Island, serving hundreds of students in the school district she came from, and is a great example of how scholarships and philanthropy can change lives.

For more information on WIU's Education programs, visit For more information on WIU's scholarship opportunities, visit

Posted By: Lexi Yoggerst (
Office of University Communications & Marketing