Meet the Illinois Resource Center Team

Director and Specialists

Josie Yanguas
Josie YanguasDirector
Josie became the Illinois Resource Center Director in 2006. She had served in various capacities at the IRC since 1989, including coordinating the annual State Bilingual Conference and various Title III projects. Josie is the chairperson of the Illinois Advisory Council for Bilingual Education as well as an executive board member of the Illinois Early Learning Council. She serves on the executive board of the Illinois Association for Multilingual Multicultural Education. Josie’s areas of interest include policies and programs related to bilingual education, foundations of bilingual education, and dual language programming.
Email: jyanguas@yahoo.com
Olivia Mulcahy
Olivia MulcahyEducation Specialist
As a Chicago Public Schools teacher in La Villita and later as a leader in the district, Olivia’s practice was rooted in supporting students’ bilingualism and biliteracy, designing inclusive and culturally-responsive curriculum, and integrating the arts whenever possible. Olivia brought her experience, commitment to equitable education for multilingual communities, and ever-expanding interests to the IRC in 2013.

Click here to visit Olivia’s blog .

Michele Yanong
Michele YanongEducation Specialist
Michele is an accomplished educator with over 15 years of experience in classrooms, bringing content to life through innovative instructional practices. Her background also includes teaching graduate courses for EL Methodology, leadership experience in Sheltered Instruction Program implementation and design, and coaching work with teams of educators PreK-12. She provides professional development in academic language support and differentiation (math, literacy, writing), technology integration, co-teaching models, formative assessment, and material/curriculum adaptation for culturally and linguistically diverse schools. Click here to visit Michele’s blog.
Silvia Rogel
Silvia RogelDirector of Strategic Partnerships & External Affairs
Silvia started at the IRC in 2012 as point person for the annual Illinois Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation (ILLCF) Conference. Currently, Silvia works closely with the President to seek and cultivate external relationships with strategic partners. As a member of the senior management team, she participates in strategic planning for all IRC events, manages the Bilingual/ESL graduate course work with National Louis University (NLU) and oversees the administrative support staff. Silvia holds a B.A. and M.S. in Public Service Management from DePaul University.
Tracy Taylor
Tracy TaylorEducation Specialist
Tracy joined the IRC in 2017. She has taught and been a principal in bilingual programs at the elementary level and currently consults on a variety of topics related to best practices for multilingual learners, grades K-12. Her research interests include Culturally Responsive Teaching, MTSS, and creating effective school cultures. Tracy holds a B.A in Elementary Education, an M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum Leadership.
Rachell Anderson
Rachell AndersonEducation Specialist
Rachell joined the IRC in 2018. She has taught in bilingual and dual language programs at the elementary level and was a bilingual program director for the Belvidere School District. Rachell has experience in creating and implementing dual language programs.

Her interests include bilingualism and biliteracy, and equitable access for emergent bilingual students. Rachell holds a B.A in Elementary Education and Spanish and an M.A. in Educational Leadership.

Click here to visit Rachel’s blog.

Cristina Sanchez-Lopez
Cristina Sanchez-LopezEducation Specialist
Cristina collaborates with educators nationally and internationally on supporting multilingual learners with special educational needs; culturally and linguistically responsive MTSS; mathematics; literacy; multilingual education ;and engaging parents. Cristina has taught at the elementary, middle school and university levels in the US and Mexico. Cristina co-authored Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners: Delivering a Continuum of Services (Caslon Publishing, 2013), and Focus on Special Education Needs (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Maggie Essig
Maggie EssigEducation Specialist
Maggie joined the IRC in 2015. Maggie draws upon her background as an EL/bilingual teacher, administrator, and consultant to work with educators that serve ELs to infuse innovation and creativity into curriculum and instruction.

She believes strongly in the power of authentic and meaningful used instructional technology as a catalyst for language development, student engagement, content area achievement, and professional growth.

Click here to visit Maggie’s blog.

Elisabeth Trost
Elisabeth TrostEducation Specialist
Elisabeth spent most of her career at Chicago Public Schools, with 12 years as a self-contained ESL teacher and 3 years as a Bilingual & ESL specialist. She spent 2½ years in Palestine, 2 of which were as the academic coordinator at a private bilingual school in Nablus. She has taught various Bilingual and ESL endorsement courses at local universities as adjunct faculty. In 2005, she won the Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching. She holds an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy, both from UIC. Her interests include refugee and newcomer students, multilingual classrooms and biliteracy development.

Administrative Team

Nina Baginski
Nina BaginskiAdministrative Assistant
Since 1992, Nina Baginski has served at the IRC where she is the project coordinator for the free ISBE-sponsored workshops. Nina also administratively supports endorsement courses and other IRC events including the State Bilingual Directors’ meeting, the Multilingual Conference, the ESSA Conference, and the Bilingual Parents Summit. Her skills in the Polish language and culture are invaluable.
Lynn Osheff
Lynn OsheffProject Manager
Lynn Osheff became project manager of the Illinois Resource Center in 2017 after working on various projects at The Center for 15 years. Previously, she taught ESL at community colleges, coordinated faculty governance at Northeastern Illinois University, and worked in the business world. Lynn holds an M. A. in Linguistics and B. A. in Foreign Language from Northeastern Illinois University.
Phil Costello
Phil CostelloData Specialist
Phil joined the IRC in 2017 as our data entry powerhouse where he is responsible for registration for all of our workshops, conferences and courses.

He is a graduate of DePaul University with a BA in Event Planning. Previously Phil was employed with various other foundations including St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights and Alexian Brothers Foundation.

Marna Rundgren
Marna RundgrenAdministrative Assistant
Having joined the IRC in 2014, Marna is responsible for digital marketing through social media and email channels. She administratively supports webinars, institutes, service requests and job fairs and also assists the State Bilingual Directors’ meeting, the Multilingual Conference, the Bilingual Parent Summit and the ESSA Conference. Marna holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University.
Louisa Finnberg
Louisa FinnbergEditor/Administrative Assistant
Louisa (a.k.a. Luigi) Finnberg has been at the IRC since 1978 and is responsible for production and editing of brochures and programs for various IRC services, courses, and events.

In particular, Louisa is a key contact person for the different conferences organized by the IRC including the State Multilingual Conference, the ESSA Conference, and the Bilingual Parent Summit.

Rosario Garcia
Rosario GarciaAdministrative Assistant
Rosie joined the IRC family in 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Argosy University. She has over 15 years of experience in the administrative field. Her primary role is to assist with graduate-level ESL/Bilingual endorsement courses. In addition, Rosario provides assistance for various IRC events and workshops including the State Bilingual Directors’ meeting, the Illinois Bilingual Conference, the ESSA Conference, and the Bilingual Parents Summit.