Bill Kenney – President, Treasurer, Founding Director


Bill Kenney founded the Northern Illinois Historic League in February 2015. Bill holds a BS in Finance and a Masters in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Bill has served in a number of capacities involved with Crystal Lake nonprofits dating back over 25 years. Some of these include Little League baseball, the CABA Baseball World Series, Crystal Lake Historical Society founding director (along with wife Diana), and office support for the Salvation Army McHenry County Red Kettle seasonal campaign. Bill had worked for many years with Zurich-American Insurance in Schaumburg in Finance and Information Technology. Bill has substantial background in building and perfecting networks, evidenced by what we see today as the Northern Illinois Historic League.


Sheila Ryan – Vice President, Founding Director


Sheila Ryan is an experienced archivist and public historian affiliated with the Apple River Fort State Historic Site. Throughout her career, she has worked to share her love of history with a wide audience, striving to ignite sparks in the public imagination and to promote historical awareness while maintaining high standards of accuracy and integrity. Sheila has worked for major historical societies, university and public libraries, and museums, along with corporate and organizational archives. Sheila has curated major exhibitions on the histories of the Chicago Public Library and Chicago's Goodman Theatre; elsewhere in the state she has written and directed grant-funded regional history projects.


Roxanne Cheney – Secretary, Founding DIrector


Roxanne Cheney MSN retired from the VA Health Care System after 35 years as an RN. She served in all levels of the hierarchy from Head Nurse, to Acting Facility Director. She enjoyed working in Quality Improvement the most. During this time, she also served on several boards:    St Mary’s University in Oakland, CA, Community College in San Leandro, CA, Homeless Family Consortium in Reno, NV, and the United Way in Lexington KY. After her retirement she worked briefly as a free-lance health care writer, founded the Friends of Roper Lake State Park, and also founded the Ray Bradbury Waukegan Carnegie Library Board, on which she served as Secretary and Vice President for almost a year. Currently, she is the Secretary on the Northern Illinois Historic League Board.  


Peggie Stromberg – Founding Director


Peggie Stromberg has been executive director of the Elgin Public Museum for 18 years.  During her time at the Museum, it has changed format to bring in new exhibits at least 3 times per year.  She has been doing independent exhibitions and those developed from Northern Illinois University, the Field Museum and a relationship with the National Museum of Mexican Art. During her time there she has served on national, regional and state committees and boards.  Prior to working for the museum she was a newspaper editor.  She also served nearly 25 years on the Marengo, Il. library board, serving as president most of that time.  She was also president of the Northern Illinois Library System. Peggie also serves as the chairperson of the Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Tina Beaird – Director


Tina Beaird is the Genealogy/Local History Librarian at the Plainfield public library and owner of Tamarack Genealogy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a specialization in Archives/Preservation from Dominican University in River Forest, IL. Over the years she has been awarded several digitization grants to scan and preserve historic records. Tina is a governing board member of the Oswego Heritage Association and volunteers for other groups extensively. Tina lectures on topics including genealogical research, archival preservation, and Illinois history at national, state and local conferences. She has provided professional research assistance for more than a decade and has been researching her family’s history, as time permits, for over twenty years.


Sarah Cain – Director


Sarah Cain is the Curator of Manuscripts at the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University.  She is also the interim Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections through June 2018. Sarah has earned her Digital Archives Specialist Certificate through the Society of American Archivists and oversees electronic and born-digital records for the Distinctive Collections at NIU. Prior to coming to Northern, she worked in Rare Books and Special Collections at the St. Louis Public Library where she managed the St. Louis Media Archives. Sarah has held various positions in archives, museums, and rare books and special collections throughout her career.


Ron Arnold – Director

Ron Arnold retired from Robert Morris University after 35 years of service as faculty and as high level official.  He is on the Chicago Loop Alliance Board as well as the Chicago Central Area Committee Board. He actively participated in the Central Association of College and University Business Officers and the National Association of College and university Business Officers.  During this time, he has served on the Comprehensive/Doctoral Institutions Council.  Locally, he has served on the boards of the Crete and Monee Area Chambers of Commerce and was appointed to the Financial Oversight Committee of Crete-Monee School District 201U.  Ron represents the Monee Historical Society. Ron holds a BS in Finance and a Masters in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.+


Leslie Goddard - Director


Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., is an award-winning living-history interpreter and public speaker who has been portraying famous women in history for more than a dozen years, appearing before audiences in more than 15 states. A lifelong resident of Illinois, she is the author of two books on Chicago history and currently works full-time as a living-history performer and lecturer. She holds a master’s degree in theater from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in American studies and U.S. history from Northwestern University. She served as director of the Graue Mill and Museum in Oak Brook, IL, before founding her own business as a full-time solo performer and lecturer.


Gabriel Piemonte – Director


Gabriel Piemonte is a civic advocate living on the South Side of Chicago, in the Woodlawn community, with his wife, daughter, and grandson. He co-founded the Coalition to Save the Shrine and Save the Shrine, NFP, and is actively involved in the fight to manage change in Jackson Park. Piemonte has worked as a journalist and a writing and editing coach and is on the board of the St. Martin de Porres House of Hope, a women’s shelter in the Woodlawn community. He co-founded and runs Woodlawn Voices and Visions, a program for high school-aged South Side residents to learn videography and develop critical consciousness. He has lived on the South Side for 17 years.