Dr. Susan E. Israel has served as President since its founding.

Israel holds a PhD in Reading and Educational Psychology, MA in Language Education, and a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science. She has authored and edited over 30 works in the area of literacy and Catholic Social Teaching. Her most recent work include Verbal Protocol in Literacy Education (Israel, 2015) and Handbook of Research in Reading Comprehension (Israel & Duffy, 2009) with Volume II of the handbook forthcoming (Israel & Cartwright, 2016/7).

Israel has been involved with Catholic Education since her formative years at St. Jude’s Catholic School in South Bend, Indiana. She was a teacher at St. Luke Catholic School in Indianapolis, Indiana from 1989 – 1999. Prior to receiving her PhD, she was hired by Michael J. Pressley to serve the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame. She continued to work for ACE until being hired by the University of Dayton where she worked through 2007. She continued to develop leadership skills in the area of reading through her publishing company, consulting, and establishment of the Reading Specialist licensure program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Her passion to serve God and promote literacy has guided her inspiration for the mission of University of Our Lady of Grace.

The First Grade Studies research published in the second half of the 19th Century established the framework for Pressley to not send teachers to serve in the primary grades unless necessary to serve schools. Like, Pressley, Israel believes that first grade teachers require special preparation. As a result of this belief, programs through GRACE that specializes in First Grade Studies.

In 2014, UNESCO announced the need for exemplary teachers be prepared to teach in sub-saharin regions of Africa and other literacy-deprived communities. The mission of University of Saint Francis is to serve this need with the goal of increasing literacy at a global level.

Her passion for teacher service programs and expertise in the area of reading and literacy has guided her to establishing GRACE and graduate programs that specialize in first grade literacy studies.

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