Meet the New Balanced Literacy Team

Who We Are

The New Balanced Literacy program has been defined, developed, re-defined, and evolved over many years of hard work and collaboration. The dedication of numerous professionals within the field allowed this program to exist and continue on over 30 years. Below you will find a list of passionate and determined individuals who have played a special role in shaping the New Balanced Literacy program into the successful and influential program it is today. Additionally, there are many individuals who have also dedicated a piece of their time to this program and although this is not an extensive list of all those individuals, we do want to note that without the literacy coaches at our partner schools, the administrators, principals, evaluators, graduate students, and publishers at Captstone, this program would not be possible. The New Balanced Literacy team sends a huge thank you to all of you!

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Margaret Mary Policastro, Ph.D.

Professor of Language and Literacy

Director, Language and Literacy
Principal Investigator, Illinois Improving Teacher Quality Grant
Roosevelt University
College of Education


Dr. Margaret Mary Policastro is a professor of language and literacy at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, where she directs the language and literacy program and is the founding director of the Summer Reading Clinic for children. Dr. Policastro has more than 30 years of experience teaching both undergraduate and graduate students in language and literacy at Roosevelt University. She has worked more than 10 years on grant funded literacy projects in Chicago Public Schools and is currently the principal investigator of the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), funded by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Dr. Policastro grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and attended Indiana University where she received her B.S. in art and elementary education and her M.S. in reading. After teaching art and reading in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, and earned her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in reading and language. Dr. Policastro’s research interests currently focus on access to books for parents, children, and teachers and ongoing professional development for teachers and what effects these have on student learning. She has co-authored The New Balanced Literacy School: Implementing Common Core and Formative Assessment in the New Balanced Literacy School and authored Living Literacy at Home: A Parent’s Guide.


Becky McTague, Ed.D

Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and Elementary Education
IBHE Literacy Coach
Roosevelt University
College of Education


Diane Mazeski

Adjunct Faculty, Education
IBHE Literacy Coach 
Roosevelt University 
College of Education


Melissa Marquino Peterson

IBHE Literacy Coach
Roosevelt University
College of Education


Marlene Levin 

IBHE Literacy Coach
Roosevelt University
College of Education 



Jeanne Barnas

Director, COE Office of Community Engagement
Roosevelt University 
College of Education


John MacDougall

Director of Assessment and Grants
Roosevelt University 
College of Education