Skip navigation

Executive Committee

Shannin SchroederLexey Bartlett, PhD
Associate Professor of English
Fort Hays State University, KS
President

Lexey Bartlett holds a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, an MA in Humanities from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a PhD in Literature from the University of Texas at Arlington. Her specialties include British Literature, Romanticism to the present; World Literature; and Mythology. She has been named as the nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships advisor for her university, and is a member of the National Association of Fellowships Advisors, serves as an Area Chair for the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association for both the Disability Studies area and the Mystery/Detective Fiction area, and serves as an English Literature session chair for the South Central Modern Language Association. She states that the most rewarding part of being involved with Sigma Tau Delta is “helping to create opportunities for students to get more involved in English and its related disciplines, and to connect with likeminded people. I also value working on ways to provide support for students and alumni to achieve their goals and contribute to our mission, whether through scholarship funding or other programs like the Classroom Library Grants.”


 

Lexey BartlettLeigh Dillard, PhD
Associate Professor of English
University of North Georgia, Gainesville Campus, GA
Vice-President/President-Elect

Leigh G. Dillard holds a BBA in Marketing and an MA in English from the University of Georgia and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri. Her primary research interests are eighteenth-century British studies with particular attention to illustration and the novel, book history, and visual culture. She teaches classes in British literature, technical/professional writing, and composition on her home campus, and when she’s lucky, teaches in a summer study abroad program in London. Inducted into Sigma Tau Delta in graduate school, she has been the Advisor of the Alpha Upsilon Phi chapter in Gainesville, GA, since its chartering in 2014.


 

sschroeder.pngShannin Schroeder, PhD
Professor of English
Southern Arkansas University, AR
Immediate Past-President

Shannin Schroeder holds a BA and MA from Truman State University, and a PhD in English from Northern Illinois University. She teaches world literature and creative writing at Southern Arkansas University, where she also directs the Writing Center. Her research areas include magical realism, Frankenstein, popular culture and the American flag, and writing center practice. She has written a young adult novel about Ernest Frankenstein, and she co-authored a young adult novel with Officer at Large Kevin Stemmler. Schroeder reactivated her university's Sigma Tau Delta chapter in 2000. She has thrice served as a convention chair, and before her tenure as Vice President/President, Schroeder served as Secretary/Treasurer from 2007-2020.


 

fitzpatrick3.pngAmiJo Comeford, PhD
Associate Professor of English
Utah Tech University, UT
Secretary

AmiJo Comeford holds a PhD from the University of Nevada, and teaches a variety of English courses, particularly courses in theory, gender, and women’s literature. A founding member of the Whedon Studies Association, her primary research and scholarly interests are currently in the field of popular culture, with an emphasis on gender and Joss Whedon’s work.  She also has served as a member of the judging committee for the Whedon Studies Association’s annual juried award for best scholarship and currently serves as past-chair on the board of Utah Humanities, a state-wide organization that promotes and provides programming in humanities. She has been involved with Sigma Tau Delta since the beginning of her academic career as the founding Advisor of the chapter at Utah Tech University in 2007.


 

kevinstemmler.pngKevin Stemmler, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Clarion University, PA
Officer at Large

Kevin Stemmler holds a BA and MA in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh. He retired as a Full Professor from Clarion University where he taught courses in Modern British Literature, Fiction Writing, Film, Gender, and Nonfiction Prose. He has published poetry and fiction in a variety of journals and anthologies. He worked with students to foster service projects in their communities, particularly with a long-running Reading for the Cure breast cancer fundraiser. He continues to foster the careers of young writers and future academics in the English profession. He has previously served on the Executive Board of Sigma Tau Delta as Eastern Regent, Vice-President/President Elect, President, and Immediate Past-President. Devoted to Sigma Tau Delta for several decades, Kevin received the Society's Delta Award in 2012.

Regents

Felicia SteeleFelicia Steele, PhD
Assistant Professor of English
The College of New Jersey, NJ
Eastern Regent

Felicia Jean Steele holds a BA in English from the University of New Mexico, an MA in English Literature and a PhD in English Language and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include the History of the English Language, American Dialects, medieval and early modern British literature, and the literature of the "Inklings," specifically J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. She has published scholarship on Beowulf, Seumas Heaney's translation of Beowulf, Shakespeare's Sonnets, and pedagogy for the History of the English Language. Steele is also the co-trustee for the Henry Roth Literary Trust.


mnelson.pngMichaelann Nelson, PhD
Associate Professor of English
Utah State University, UT
Far Western Regent

Michaelann Nelson is an Associate Professor of English at Utah State University. She teaches courses in literary analysis, environmental literature, and 20th C. British literature to students throughout Utah over Zoom. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of wilderness in the Southwest. She is the advisor for the USU Statewide chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. She has won the USU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Mentor of the Year award, as well as the English Department Teacher of the Year award. She is also the director for the Writing Center on the USU Price campus. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is one of her favorite books.


waggoner_kassia_003-200x200.jpgKassia Krone, PhD
Associate Professor of English
Friends University, KS
High Plains Regent

Kassia Krone holds a BA in English Education and an MA in English from Hardin Simmons University and a PhD in English from Texas Christian University. She is the co-author of Yours in Filial Regard: The Civil War Letters of a Texas Family. Her work also appears in Mississippi Quarterly. Her research interests include Southern literature, disability studies, digital humanities, epistolary studies, film, and women and gender studies. While at Texas Christian University, she won the distinguished teacher of the year award twice; she was twice nominated for the Jean Giles-Sims Wise Woman of the Year Award; and she received the Women and Gender Studies Research Award. She teaches a wide range of English courses, including American Literature surveys, Southern Literature, Gothic Literature, Advanced Composition, Digital Humanities, and Film Theory, in addition to general education classes at Friends University.


amygates.pngAmy Gates, PhD
Assistant Professor of English
Missouri Southern State University, MO
Midwestern Regent

Amy Gates holds a BS (English, emphasis in linguistics and minor in Russian studies) and MA (English) from Truman State University and a PhD (English Studies) from University of Illinois at Chicago. She teaches courses in British Romantic and Victorian literature, Shakespeare, medicine and literature, global arts and culture, literary theory, and composition. She has presented papers at numerous conferences and has published work in the Keats-Shelley Journal and Women’s Writing. She has been the Advisor of the Lambda Xi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta at Missouri Southern State University (founded in 1978) since 2018.


hwilliams.pngHeidi Williams, PhD
Assistant Professor of English
Tennessee State University, TN
Southern Regent

Heidi M. Williams holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition with a concentration in Writing Program Administration and has almost 20 years of experience teaching in Higher Education. Dr. Williams has dedicated her career to cultivating classroom spaces that enhance experiential educational opportunities through active learning environments that are dynamic, practical, and have larger civic implications. She has taught at three college institutions and in Zhejiang, China. Dr. Williams is deeply committed to education in multiple capacities. Outside of the institution, she homeschools her two daughters and is heavily involved in the Tennessee homeschool community.


smbrown.pngSonia Brown, PhD
Associate Professor of Language and Letters
Philander Smith University, AR
Southwestern Regent

Sonia Mae Brown was born in the United Kingdom and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Masters in English with a focus in Creative and Professional Writing from Long Island University and a PhD in English from Howard University. She is currently the chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities at Philander Smith University, where she is an Associate Professor within the Department of Language and Letters. Dr. Brown joined the Tau Rho Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta in 2002 as an undergraduate student at SUNY Potsdam (New York). She has chartered the Alpha Psi Delta Chapter at Langston University in December 2021 and the Alpha Omega Theta Chapter at Philander Smith College, (now University) in March 2023. Dr. Brown was awarded the Sigma Tau Delta Elaine W. Hughes Outstanding Advisor Award in 2020-2021. Under her leadership, her chapters have been awarded the Chapter Project Grant in 2019 and the Classroom Library Grant in 2020.

Staff

Matt Hlinak, JD, MFAMatt Hlinak, JD, MFA
Sigma Tau Delta Executive Director
Northern Illinois University, IL

Matt Hlinak has served for the last eleven years as Assistant Provost for Continuing Studies & Special Initiatives at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. For the last eight years, he has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Alpha Sigma Lambda, the national honor society for adult learners, including a term as Society President in 2019-20. He previously managed professional development programs at Northwestern University and has taught courses in English, communications, and legal studies at Dominican, Northwestern, Ellis University, and the University of Illinois. Matt holds a JD from Illinois and an MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern. He lives in River Forest with his wife, two daughters, and two geriatric cats.


Christopher T. LockwoodChris Lockwood, MPhil, MEd
Director of National English Honor Society
Northern Illinois Univrsity

Chris Lockwood has spent the last twelve years as the Head of English, Bilingual and Chris Lockwood has spent the last twelve years as the Head of English, Bilingual and International Education in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico, and as the Upper School Principal at the American School Foundation of Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. He taught upper-level classes on Modern Drama, the Contemporary Novel, and Shakespeare. He has been an NEHS Chapter Advisor, an educational travel consultant, and translator. Chris holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Keele (Keele, England) and Loyola University New Orleans (New Orleans, LA), an MPhil (Cantab) from the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England), and an MEd from the University of Buckingham (Buckingham, England).


jeannine.jpgJeannine Szostak
Director of Society Operations
Northern Illinois Univrsity

Jeannine has spent the bulk of her career in education, serving as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist/Vision Rehabilitation Therapist for students of all ages who are blind and visually impaired, as well as teaching undergraduate, graduate, and not-for-credit courses focusing on safety/disaster planning. She previously worked as the Assistant Director for the National Safety Education Center and as Assistant Director for NIU’s Affirmative Action office, where she earned certificates in both mediation and Title IX, and has served in private industry as a Construction Risk Manager and national recruiter in the energy sector. She holds a BA in Psychology, two MSEds focusing on blindness/vision impairments, and an MS in Industrial Safety/Disaster Planning, all from Northern Illinois University. She has four children, two boys and two girls, and an extremely social, 12-lb Pomeranian named Sherlock.


katie-mudd.jpgKatie Mudd
Director of Marketing & Communications
Northern Illinois Univrsity

Katie Mudd holds a BA in English from the University of Kentucky, an MA in English from Eastern Kentucky University, and is a PhD candidate in English at Northern Illinois University where her research centers on women, beheading, and social order in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. She has taught developmental writing and freshman composition, as well as film and literature courses. Before returning to higher education, Katie was a copy editor and librarian for Thoroughbred Times, a weekly news magazine dedicated to the Thoroughbred racing industry. While with the Times, she worked on both the daily and weekly publications, as well as the annual Thoroughbred Times Racing Almanac and the book Foundation Mares: How Outstanding Female Families Shaped America’s Breeding Industry. Katie joined Sigma Tau Delta during her time at EKU and was Vice President of the Sigma Epsilon Chapter. In 2015 Katie began working with the Central Office as a Graduate Assistant and became a full-time member of the team in 2016. She particularly enjoys the student-facing aspects of her job.


jmccole.pngJessica McCole
Project Coordinator
Northern Illinois Univrsity

Jessica has spent her career in education, teaching (mostly) high school English for fifteen years. Her love for English actually began when she met Ernest Gaines at the Sigma Tau Delta convention when she was fourteen years old. Because of that encounter, she was inspired to join Sigma Kappa Delta and Sigma Tau Delta when she went to college. She also chartered a chapter of National English Honor Society in 2018 and has been a member of the NEHS Advisory Council for the past four years. She holds a BA from the University of Montevallo, and in her free time, Jessica enjoys listening to audiobooks, rewatching comfort-comedies with her husband, singing in the car with her two daughters, and snuggling with her two Boston Terriers.


jeanette-gommel.jpgJeanette Gommel
Accounting Specialist
Northern Illinois Univrsity

Jeanette Gommel retired from Northern Illinois University after twenty three years, thirteen in the Accounts Payable Department and then ten years as Research Compliance Coordinator in the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships. After four years of retirement, she realized she missed working and returned to work part time as the Bookkeeper for Sigma Tau Delta/NEHS. She holds a BS in Biology from the University of Illinois and an MPH from Northern Illinois University.

Managing Editor of Publications

Carie KingCarie S. T. King, PhD
Clinical Professor, Associate Director of Rhetoric
The University of Texas at Dallas
Managing Editor of Publications

Carie King holds a BA in English (minor journalism) from Baylor University, an MA in Technical Writing from the University of North Texas, a PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric from Texas Tech University, and a postdoctoral year at the Center for Spirituality & Ethics at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She teaches rhetoric, technical communication, public speaking, and ethics. She has published a monograph, The Rhetoric of Breast Cancer, as well as several peer-reviewed articles in medicine, intercultural communication, and pedagogy. She was a medical editor for 14 years before returning to school and she has served as the editorial assistant of Technical Communication Quarterly as well as a reviewer for multiple communication journals. She was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta in 1989 and is a Chapter Advisor.

Executive Director Emeritus

William C. JohnsonWilliam C. Johnson, PhD
Sigma Tau Delta Executive Director Emeritus (1982-2022)
Northern Illinois University, IL
Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus

William Johnson holds a BA in English from the University of Chicago, an MA in History/English from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. His specialties include 16th/17th Century English Literature and the English and Continental Reformation. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, attending concerts, visiting museums, and (of course) reading. He is involved with National Council of Teachers of English, Modern Language Association, 16th Studies Conference, American Society of Association Executives, and the Association of College Honor Societies (of which he is a past president). He is proud that not only is Sigma Tau Delta one of the largest honor societies, but that it is one of the most active. He created and developed Sigma Kappa Delta (2-year English honor society) and the National English Honor Society for high school students (NEHS), and “grew” Sigma Tau Delta from 200 chapters 30+ years ago. He notes that he is “rewarded by the amazing achievements of our students, Chapter Advisors, Board of Directors, and the outstanding Central Office staff.”

NEHS Director Emeritus

Dave WndelinDave Wendelin, MA
Director of National English Honor Society Emeritus (2005-2022)
Jefferson County Public Schools, CO (retired)


Dave Wendelin holds a BA and MA from the University of Northern Colorado, and Principal Licensure from the University of Colorado—Denver. His specialties are Secondary Education and English Education. He serves as Parliamentarian for the National Council of Teachers of English, and states that the most rewarding part of his involvement with the National English Honor Society is “being able to support students and educators passionate about English studies at multiple levels.”