Posted by Jim Coffey on Jan 11, 2018
     Dr. joan e. kole brings past RI experiences to her latest role as one of our newest members.  During her tenure as a previous member, she was our club’s Youth Exchange Officer; chaired the Service Above Self Committee (mentored by Charles Holzworth); and she may also have served on a Nominating Committee.  She presented a program in conjunction with Elaine Harrington (some of you may remember Elaine) on distance learning (thank you David Byrnes) and did complete her doctoral degree work (2005 - 2009) and was awarded her Ph.D. from Union Institute & University.    
A theatre actor/director, Dr. kole has acted/directed in more than 100 shows in a variety of theatre settings:  equity, professional, community and educational.  Regionally, her theatre credits include work at the former NAT and community theatres in DeKalb, Belvidere, Pecatonica, and Freeport.  Byron Civic Theatre has yet to discover her talents!  Currently she is Juror #10 in [usual] Suspects production of Twelve Angry Men which runs for 4 weekends in February.
     Dr. kole is not new to community service.  She chaired the Littleton Public Library Board while residing in Littleton, and was a member of the Town and Scroll, a group of community residents and members of Arapahoe Community College where she served as a speech professor and theatre director.  She was successful in getting the college theatre named after Houston Waring, a local newspaper editor and one of the Littleton residents whom she deeply admired.  Nationally, she chaired the Workshops, Leadership Development, and Adjudication Review Committees for the American Association of Community Theatre as well as presenting workshops on diversity at national theatre festivals.  Additionally, she represented community theatre throughout the state as a member of the Illinois Theatre Association board of directors. 
     She is the founder and artistic director of AgeQuake Theatre, the only theatre company in northwestern IL devoted strictly to those 55 and older. Other theatre work focused on other special populations:  DD adults and those with low vision.  She is looking for ways to get other “special populations” on stage in order to change the face of theatre.
     Now: a 27-year resident of Rockford.  In our community she once again served as a trustee on the RPL board of directors (appointed my former Mayor Box) and led the move to “modernizing the library for its customers, not its patrons.”  Other organizations to which she has contributed her time, talent, and penchant for fairness include Womanspace, Transform Rockford, Rockford Network of Professional Women, and the Main Street Players of Boone County (past president). You name a college in our area that offers Speech 101, and she has been an adjunct instructor for that course.  Currently she is the Holy Family Family-2-Family team lead.  Last August she was appointed to the RPS 205 Education Committee.
     RI provided her with the opportunity to become acquainted with some of Rockford’s finest, and they always made her feel welcome and their equal.  Ask her about some of those exchanges when you see her.
     In the future?  Getting involved with Rotary Academy?  Nominating Committee?  Rockford Reads?  High school scholarships? 
     She loves wearing jewelry – the real stuff – and high heels!  And laughter and fun play major roles in her life.  She is married to Carl for more than 35 years (she picked him up in a grocery store in Littleton CO) and shares their home with 4 dogs:  two standard poodles and two Parson’s Jack Russell Terriers.