Theresa Gillespie

Chair of Graduate Student Retention

Hi everyone, I’m Theresa Gillespie. I’m a Chair of Graduate Student Retention here at AOEU. I connected with Jessica Balsley years ago through a Professional Learning Network and was thrilled to join the team in 2013 and begin my dream job!  I’ve held various positions over the years, including Associate Professor, Faculty Development Specialist, and Lead Academic Advisor to name a few.

I taught elementary art for over twenty years in Northwestern Illinois after receiving my Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education from Augustana College.  I went on to earn my Master’s degree in Education and Technology from Western Governor’s University.  I loved giving my students a chance to let their creativity shine in various art mediums and see the pride on their faces as they learned new techniques and expressed themselves artistically.  I also enjoyed showing students how to use technology as another art tool or medium.

Outside of my work with AOEU, the majority of my free time is spent with my family. My husband and I have three adult children and are raising our two beautiful granddaughters. Our house is filled with dolls and Legos lots of noise, and crayon-marked walls but lots and lots of love!

I’m currently working on my doctorate in Higher Education Leadership.  When I get time for myself, I enjoy listening to audiobooks and creating as much art as possible.  I’ve never met an art medium I didn’t like; however, my current favorites are mixed-media painting and fiber arts.

Professional Accomplishments


  • Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Maryville University (Anticipated Fall 2025)
  • Master of Arts in Education and Technology from Western Governor’s University (2010)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art Education from Augustana College (1992)


  • Leadership Training with Jessica Balsley (2021)
  • Assessment Training with Anne Weerda (2014)
  • PBIS Training (2012-2013)


  • AOEU’s FLEX Curriculum Content Producer (2018)
  • Content Producer for AOEU’s Graduate Course “Studio: Painting – Tempera & Acrylic” (2016)
  • “Empowering Students with Seesaw’s Digital Portfolios” AOE’s NOW Winter Online Conference (2015)
  • “Taking the Mystery out of Augmented Reality” AOE’s NOW Summer Online Conference (2015)
  • “Connecting Math and Art Using Digital and Traditional Media” AOE’s Winter NOW online Conference (2015)
  • Content Producer for AOE’s Graduate Course “Advance iPads” (2014)
  • “Let’s Board the SketchBook Express – Learn to Use the Most Popular App for Artists” AOE’s NOW Summer Online Conference (2014)
  • “Simple Stop-Motion Animation for the Art Room” AOEU’s NOW Winter Online Conference (2014)
  • “Using iPads in the Art Room” AOE’s NOW Summer Online Conference (2013)
  • “iPads in the Art Room” NAEA Convention, Fort Worth, TX (2013)
  • “Using iPads in the Art Room” Moline School District Art Department, Moline, IL (2013)


  • AOEU Academic Governance Committee – 2023 – present
  • AOEU Curriculum Assessment Committee – 2023- present
  • District Technology Team, Moline School District – 2014 – 2015
  • PBIS Behavior Committee, Moline School District 2012 – 2013

AOEU Accomplishments

  • Pillar Award – Pace and Change (2022)
  • Pillar Award Finalist – Lifelong Learning (2021)
  • Faculty of the Year (2020)
  • Legacy Award: 5 years (2020)

Other Awards

  • Moline Public Schools Foundation Award (2013)
  • Board of Excellence Award (2013)