Yasmina Sefiane has worked with the Northern Illinois University Center for Child Welfare and Education (CCWE) for over 23 years, working to enhance the education of youth in foster care and promote collaboration among the adults who serve these children. She served first as an education advisor directly serving thousands of children and families. After working at the grass roots level successfully for 10 years, she began to assume a managerial position in the organization.
Currently, Yasmina serves as the center’s director. In this role, she develops, implements, and monitors interagency collaborations between DCFS and other state agencies that address issues regarding children in DCFS custody. She also initiates and sustains strong relationships between and among schools, community providers, DCFS staff, Purchase of Service agencies, foster parents and courts. These relationships promote the educational well-being of youth in care.
Further, Yasmina develops and guides professional development for caregivers, schools and educational staff administrators and others. She has conducted workshops and presented at many conferences, including the National Foster Parent Association and ISBE-ESSA/Multilingual Illinois. She has also published several articles, including “The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Education” for Fostering Families Today.
Yasmina’s commitment to help youth in care overcome education barriers and have a clear path to educational success is demonstrated by her decades of ardent advocacy. She finds purpose and meaning in giving voice to youth in care and fighting the educational inequity that’s evident in our communities today.
Before joining NIU, Yasmina taught elementary school for two years and taught English as a second language at the College of Lake County.
Outside of work, Yasmina enjoys yoga, walking, exploring different neighborhoods, cooking and baking. Yasmina has a twenty-two-year-old son who will attend NIU beginning in the fall of 2023.
Senior Education Program Coordinator
Carmen Killingsworth is the senior education program coordinator for the NIU Center for Child Welfare and Education. She has been in this role since November 2020. As program coordinator, Carmen promotes the success of the eight education advisors who make up the center’s Educational Access Project. Carmen applies her educational expertise – gained from more than two and a half decades working as a K-12 teacher and administrator – to assist the educational advisors with planning, coordinating and managing requests for support for youth in care who are under DCFS guardianship. The educational support provided to youth in care is a pivotal component of the overall goal of safety and stability for children and youth who are served by DCFS. We see educational success as their way to a better, brighter future.
Carmen’s previous experience includes 16 years as an elementary and middle school administrator and 10 years as a special education teacher. Carmen holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from DePaul University and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Illinois Chicago. Carmen also has a postgraduate certificate in school administration from Concordia University. Carmen enjoys reading, dancing, traveling and summer outdoor activities.
Emily McRedmond has worked with Northern Illinois University’s Center for Child Welfare and Education (CCWE) for almost five years. In her role as administrative aide, Emily serves as the primary department support person, coordinating personnel, budget, and finance duties, as well as managing confidential data and reporting functions in support of the center’s education advisors. Emily also coordinates special events and serves as a resource for all of the CCWE staff.
Before joining NIU, Emily served in the United States Navy for 10 years as an administrative assistant and quarter master. Emily received the United States National Defense Service Medal for Service During Gulf War 1994, Navy Achievement Medal for collecting $100,000 that was declared uncollectible by the Navy, three Good Conduct Medals over the years for “honorable and faithful service,” and Letter of Commendation for superior performance with implementation of new compass software.
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her two dogs, listening to her favorite band (Depeche Mode), traveling, camping and visiting her five adult children, who live in Texas and Washington.