Maureen Spelman

Professor of Education; Coordinator of Character Initiatives


+1 630 637 5735

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Dr. Maureen Spelman currently serves as a professor in the North Central College educational leadership program, as well as the coordinator for character initiatives related to the Kern Family Foundation Grant. She has held P-12 professional roles ranging from that of an elementary and junior high school teacher to department chair and principal. In the years Dr. Spelman has been in higher education, she has taught in a variety of education undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, she has co-authored numerous grants to support professional development and coaching programs for educators and school leaders in the Chicago metropolitan area. The research resulting from those many years of working to facilitate changes in school culture confirm her belief that . . . “transforming and sustaining a positive school culture is critically dependent on the school leaders."

As a parent, teacher, administrator, consultant, and professor Dr. Spelman has had numerous opportunities to observe the positive impact of high-quality teaching, strong school leadership, and school culture on student outcomes. Her vision is to build the capacity of leadership candidates so that they can go forward and bring Cultures of Character practices into the heart of their school communities. Her service and research agenda examines effective teacher preparation programs, recent trends in professional development practices, data driven interventions and instruction, and most recently the impact of character interventions on the development of educational leaders.

Reflecting on North Central’s Educational Leadership curriculum, she states, “North Central College’s Educational Leadership program’s purpose is to develop leaders who foster educational environments where all individuals can flourish. Our curriculum is designed to guide candidates in meeting the Illinois state standards and requirements – but we have an equal emphasis on the development of competence and character as the building blocks of effective and sustainable leadership. Our goal is to prepare candidates who will lead with a moral compass.” 

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Selected Scholarship

Conference Presentations:

Using Authentic Ethical Dilemmas in the Formation of Graduate Students M. Spelman KPCEL 2023 Convening, April 18-20, 2023.

Cultivating Leaders of Character. M. Spelman. KPCEL Summer Convening 2022, June 27, 2022.

Assessing the Impact of Character-Based Interventions in Aspiring School Leaders. M. Spelman, S. Wysoglad, & M. Hahn. 3rd Annual Higher Education Character Convening, May 11 -12, 2022.

Engaging With and Learning from Ethical Dilemmas. M. Spelman.  3rd Annual Higher Education Character Convening, May 11 -12, 2022.

Case Study: Assessing the Impact of character-based Interventions in aspiring school leaders. M. Spelman 2022 Conference on Academic Research in Education (CARE) March 21-22, 2022.

Approaching moral leadership through the lens of Brofenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. M. Spelman 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Moral Education. October November 5-7, 2021.

Assessing a Post Graduate Character Education Intervention through Reading Reflections & Oral Interviews. M. Spelman 2021 Conference on Academic Research in Education (CARE) June 14-15, 2021.

Preparing to Lead in a Culture of Character. M. Spelman 46th Annual Conference of the Association for Moral Education. October 28-November 1, 2020.


Spelman, M. (June 2023). Ethical dilemma reflection framework. Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues – Teaching character: A practical guide. Available at:

Spelman, M. (2022). Fostering virtue formation in aspiring school leaders: One institution's journey. AXIS Journal of Lasallian Higher Education. 13(1), 75-88.

Spelman, M., Bell, D., Thomas, E., & Briody, J. (2016.) Combining professional development & instructional coaching to transform the classroom environment in prek-3 classrooms. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 9(1), 30-46. LaJolla, CA: National University Publications.

Thomas, E., Bell, D., Spelman, M., & Briody, J. (2015). The growth of instructional coaching partner conversations in a prek-3rd grade teacher professional development experience. Journal of Adult Education, 44.

Rohlwing, R., & Spelman, M. (2014). Characteristics of adult learning: Implications for the design and implementation of professional development programs. In L. Martin, S. Kragler, K. Bauserman, & D. Quatroche (Eds.), Handbook of professional development in education: Successful models and practices, PreK-12. New York: Guilford Press.


Courses Taught

MEDU 500 Mission Driven Leadership

MEDU 601 Data-Driven Decision Making

MEDU 620 Curriculum & Program Assessment

MEDU 691 Educational Leadership Internship I

MEDU 692 Educational Leadership Internship II

MEDU 693 Educational Leadership Residency

MEDU 696 Educational Leadership Capstone