About Miss Illinois & 
The Board of Directors

About Miss Illinois

Since its inception on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1921, the Miss America Organization has served to provide scholarship and leadership opportunities for women. Miss Illinois, the official state final to Miss America, was first held in 1927 and saw the crowning of Lois Delander. Though Miss Chicago had competed in the pageant since 1921, Delander was the first Miss Illinois sent to represent the state, and subsequently she won the title of Miss America 1927. Illinois has since had four additional national winners with Judith Ford (1969), Marjorie Judith Vincent (1991), Katherine Shindle (1998), and Erika Harold (2003), making Illinois one of the most successful states in the Miss America Competition.

Today, the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization and its affiliated local programs serve to provide a platform for young women to showcase their talents, public speaking skills and their commitment to community service as they compete to win thousands of dollars in scholarship assistance. We as an organization remain committed to “preparing great women for the world, and preparing the world for great women.”

About Our Board

The Miss Illinois Board of Directors is comprised of a group of individuals from throughout the state of Illinois who share in the commitment to help young women find their path to success. Our directors have knowledge in the area of not-for-profit management as well as extensive experience in roles of leadership, personal development and advocacy.

Our Board of Directors

Kristina Dabrowski - President
Kristina Dabrowski is from Orange County, California but now calls Carterville, Illinois home. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she earned her degree in communication with a minor in business. After graduating, Kristina worked in Human Resources for three years before she decided to switch gears to modular retail design. Kristina was the National Design Manager for 9 years, where she had countless big box retailers, franchises, and mom-and-pop stores as customers. Kristina led her division to be the most profitable division in the company with the most transactions. Currently, Kristina runs their family foundation, Pay It Forward Southern Illinois. The focus of the foundation is to help kids in need. Kristina also serves on the Gala Committee for SIH, where her husband works as an area pediatrician. Kristina was a finalist for the local Miss America competition in Orange, California in 1997 where her talent was a theatrical monologue and her platform was educating children on the dangers of alcohol abuse. Kristina was a judge for the 2021 Miss Illinois Scholarship Competition, where Isabelle Hanson was crowned Miss Illinois and Kylie Ryder was crowned Miss Illinois' Outstanding Teen. Kristina was asked to join the board in 2022.
Lori Stettler
Lori Stettler - Vice President
Lori Lynn Stettler recently retired as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). She served as the senior Student Affairs Officer responsible for providing leadership to a comprehensive division including over 24 departments and 16 programs that served students outside the academic classroom. Before becoming the Vice Chancellor, she served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Auxiliary Services and Student Center Director at SIUC. Prior to that Lori served in positions at Southeast Missouri State University, Purdue University ,the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign , and Wichita State University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Recreation Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master’s of Science in Education from SIUC.

As her roles and responsibilities expanded throughout her career, so did her opportunities to be engaged in key projects, task forces and boards. She continues to mentor current and former students both inside the field and across the nation. As a professional who identifies as a servant leader she understands the difference a leader can make when they lead with awareness, foresight and a commitment to unlock the purpose and ingenuity of their peers and employees. She is passionate about the opportunities that the Miss America Organization makes available for young women to support their educational goals.

Lori is married to Greg and is an avid reader who loves golf and outdoor activities, travel, animals, and mentoring young professionals pursuing their dreams.
Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee - Treasurer
Jennifer is the Development Director for Hospice of Southern Illinois where she manages fundraising efforts for the non-profit organization. In addition, she loves meeting new people as she builds relationships with individuals, groups and local communities within the southernmost 27 counties in Illinois.

Before bringing her expertise to Hospice of Southern Illinois, Jennifer worked for fifteen years as the Southern Region Director of the American Cancer Society and in foster care and adoption services with Lutheran Social Services for four years as their Licensing Coordinator. Prior to entering the professional world of non-profits, Jennifer studied Psychology and Sociology at McKendree University where she was recruited to play basketball along with her studies.

When Jennifer if not attending or planning fundraisers, she loves to spend time with her husband of 23 years, Matt, teenage son, Justus and golden retriever, Rudy Ruettiger. She spends time with friends, exercises and shops for fun, loves everything Peanuts Gang related and is currently obsessed with fairy gardens.
Susan Shea - Executive Director
Dr. Susan Shea graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Western Illinois University-Macomb where she was a baton twirler for the Marching Leathernecks. Her doctorate degree is from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Dr. Shea has been involved with the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization for more than twenty-five years and currently serves as the Executive Director and Travel Companion for Miss Illinois and Miss Illinois's Outstanding Teen. Dr. Shea was selected to be inducted into the Miss Illinois Hall of Fame in 2020 but the presentation was made at the 2021 State Competition because the 2020 State Competition was not held due to the Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

Prior to her retirement, she served as the first female Director of Aeronautics for the State of Illinois for ten years. She resides in Springfield, Illinois, where she is currently on the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport Board of Commissioners.
Nancy King - Secretary
Beth Butler - Director
Donna Manering
Donna Manering - Director
Dr. Donna L. Manering earned a Bachlor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from Southern Illinois University in Special Education and Elementary Education. Her doctorate degree, also from SIU, is in Educational Administration.

In her early professional years, Dr. Manering was an educator and an administrator in southern Illinois and served as a high school principal and a central office administrator. Her teaching career is varied in that she taught first, third and fifth grade students along with implementing programs for special education and gifted students. During her teaching years, Dr. Manering also served as a lecturer at SIU-Carbondale. Throughout her career, she presented workshops for area teachers and administrators and helped to promote professional development within the educational field. For the last ten years prior to retirement, Dr. Manering held various positions with the Illinois Education Association/ National Education Association headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. Dr. Manering was Director of Higher Education serving members at colleges and universities throughout Illinois. She concluded her professional career as the Director of Program Development at the IEA/NEA and was responsible for a department that addressed technology, event planning, lobbying, professional development and various other areas.

Dr. Manering served on various boards throughout the years and served on the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees for six years.

Dr. Manering is married to Gregory Manering and they reside in Carbondale, Illinois. They have two sons and two grandchildren.

Her interests and hobbies include reading, cooking and entertaining, studying Spanish and playing bocce ball and pickle ball.
Bob Foote - Director
Bob has volunteered with the Miss America Organization for 63 years on the state and local level. Along with his wife, Nancy, they began their service in 1959 as Co-Executive Directors of the Miss Macomb Scholarship Pageant, a capacity in which they served for 57 years until Nancy’s passing in 2016. In 2017 Bob was voted to a seat with the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization Board of Directors, a position he currently holds. Bob has judged numerous local pageants in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois and has judged the Miss Iowa Pageant twice. He has also judged the National Sweetheart Pageant and the Illinois County Fair Pageant.

Bob is the recipient of the 2019 Miss America Organization Academy of Honor Award, the most prestigious volunteer award offered by the Miss America Organization. In 2016 he received the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization Lifetime Achievement Award. Along with Nancy in 2010 he received the 50 Years of Service Award from the Miss America Organization and in 2007 was inducted into the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization Hall of Fame.

From 1997 to 2016, under the direction of Bob and Nancy, the Miss Macomb Scholarship Pageant, in addition to numerous non-cash awards and prizes, awarded the highest cash scholarships of any local pageant in the state of Illinois, totaling $142,000. Since 1972 the Miss Macomb Scholarship Pageant has awarded $181,325 in cash scholarships. In addition to their efforts with the Miss Macomb Scholarship Pageant, Bob and Nancy held numerous positions with the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant including Co-Chairmen of Central Headquarters, Members of the Hospitality Committee, Co-Chairman of the In-Kind Scholarship Committee, Co-Directors of Field Operations, Operations Coordinators, and Parade Co- Chairmen for the Illinois delegation at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. Bob also served as a State Field Director for many years.

Bob is a native of Whitewater, Wisconsin and moved to Macomb, Illinois as a Recruiting Sergeant for the US Army and, after his discharge from the Army, took up residence in Macomb where he met Nancy, his wife of 62 years. He is a Korean War veteran, a JCI Senator, a member of the Macomb American Legion and past president of the Macomb Community Theatre and Macomb Jaycees and has been involved in numerous other community and civic organizations. Bob and Nancy have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Bob resides in Macomb with his daughter, Suzie, and their Miniature Schnauzer, Kaitlyn.
Patricia Polk
Patricia Polk - Director
Dr. Patricia Polk has volunteered with the Miss America Organization since 1976, when she became the first African-American to run a Miss America Local Competition. Miss Kankakee has been a paramount program in the Miss Illinois Organization, producing one Miss America (Marjorie Vincent in 1990), three Miss Illinois winners, and many preliminary winners at the state competition. Dr. Polk was honored to be inducted into the Miss Illinois Hall of Fame in 2018 for her years of service to the Miss Kankakee and Miss Illinois Scholarship Organizations.

Dr. Polk has always been passionately committed to young people, both within the MIss America Organization and in her community. She has worked tirelessly for decades to develop their talents and advocate for their educational successes. After more than 30 years as a special education instructor and principal in the Kankakee School District, she continued her mission by serving as the president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Foundation. In addition, she has worked as an ambassador for the Hal Jackson Legacy Committee and was a multi-state director for Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen International for many years. She has also contributed over $300,000 in scholarships to assist young people achieve their educational goals and attend college.

Dr. Polk’s community and civic involvement is extensive. Some of her proudest accomplishments include serving as the Kankakee County Board Commissioner and as an Alderwoman for the City of Kankakee. As a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., she has served as a role model for many young women who are pursuing dreams of bettering themselves and improving their communities.
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