Wendy Ryerson

  Wendy works as the Chief County Assessment Officer in Lee County. Wendy has been teaching for the IPAI for almost 20 years, and enjoys teaching a variety of courses, but finds the qualifying courses to be the most rewarding. According to Wendy, one of the most difficult parts about teaching is the preparation. However, she says that the sense of satisfaction after completing a course makes it worth it. Especially when former students reach out to her to tell her they enjoyed a particular class or shares their favorite class memories.

Favorite Sports Team: Bears and Cubs
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean & Home Alone
Favorite Band: Chicago
Favorite Vacation Destination: Estes Park, Colorado 

The Illinois Property Assessment Institute (IPAI) instructors come directly from the assessment and appraisal profession into our classrooms. Our instructors are subject matter experts, who offer diverse levels of experience and practical knowledge on Illinois-specific topics.

Ellen Berkshire

Ellen is a Partner & Attorney with Verros, Lafakis, & Berkshire, specializing in Property Tax law. Ellen has been teaching for about five years with the IPAI and teaches the Qualifying courses, Real Estate Law, and Case Studies in the Appeal Process. Ellen's favorite part about teaching courses is getting to pull apart different cases and hearing different perspectives from students. Getting to teach assessment professionals has provided Ellen an opportunity to learn more about the assessment process and gain a deeper understanding of the topics being taught.

Favorite Sports Team: Blackhawks
Favorite Food: Anything spicy!
Favorite Band: Blues or folk. Mostly I love to dance.
Favorite Vacation Destination: Adventure vacations. mountains, kayaking, anything outdoorsy

Mark D. Armstrong

Mark is the Kane County Supervisor of Assessments. Mark has spent the last few years primarily teaching the CIAO Qualifying courses. He enjoys teaching the qualifying courses because they give him insight into the thoughts of the next generation. Mark worked in the real estate appraisal industry, before moving into his position with Kane County, and is currently involved with multiple assessment-focused committees and organizations. Mark’s passion for teaching runs in the family—his mom was a teacher! And he says that the best way to learn a subject more thoroughly is by teaching it. 
Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Cubs & Green Bay Packers (Mark's picture is with Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson)
Favorite Movie: Army of Darkness
Favorite Band/Singer: No one specific, listens to a mix of class and progressive rock and country and classical.

Jerald "Jerry" L. Rudman

Jerry works as the Chief Commercial Deputy Assessor for York Township in DuPage County. Jerry has been teaching for the IPAI for 16 years, and his favorite classes to teach are the either classes with a lot of difficult material or a class with a lot of newer students.

Favorite Sports Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Blackhawks, Rockford Ice Hogs, Elmhurst College Blue Jays
Favorite Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite band/singer: Journey, Supertramp, Eagles

Nora Doherty

Nora is an Illinois property tax attorney with Steve Pearlman & Associates. Nora heads up the firm’s collar county and down-state practice, attends oral hearings before the Cook County Board of Review, and manages the firm’s specific objection docket of cases pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Nora teaches CIAO qualifying courses for IPAI as well as courses focused on law, real estate, and commercial appraisals. In 2016, Nora will receive the IAAO’s Emerging Professional Award. She was recently appointed to the Board of Governors for the Illinois State Bar Association and is the founder of the Women’s Property Tax Association.  

Favorite sports teams: Chicago Cubs
Favorite movie: The Sound of Music and Pulp Fiction
Favorite band/singer: The Indigo Girls

Dale Butalla

Dale  works as a Commercial Appraiser and as a Deputy Assessor in the Joliet Township Assessor’s Office. In his first year with the IPAI, Dale developed the Residential Drawings course and prefers to teach the more technical courses. Dale is looking forward to networking in the assessment community as an IPAI instructor, and working with students in his classroom to share stories and discuss problems and solutions addressing the assessment profession.
Favorite Sports Teams: Team Penske, Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and the Cubs
Favorite Movie: I don’t have a favorite movie, but I enjoy action and comedy the best.
Favorite Band/Singer: Bruce Springsteen 

Anna Wright

Anna is the Director of Communication Education at Illinois State University, Normal, IL. Anna works as a course developer for the IPAI, and she has been teaching the Communication courses for the organization for several years. Her full-time position at ISU puts her in front of a classroom everyday. She teaches a develops and teaches a variety of courses focused in public speaking, interpersonal communication, and communication education. She earned her Master's and Bachelor's degrees from ISU and is currently working on her education doctorate while maintaining a full-time course load.

Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Cubs
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Movie: Pretty Woman
Favorite Vacation Destination: Disney World

Chesney Leafblad

Chesney is the Chief Deputy Assessor in Warren Township. New to the IPAI instructor roster, Chesney enjoys teaching classes focused on mapping and statistics. Chesney likes to tell people she was raised in an assessor’s office. Her parents met at an IPAI workshop, and her grandfather served as an Aurora Township officer (her father still serves as the township assessor there!).
Favorite Sports Teams: Chicago Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks
Favorite Movie: The Boondock Saints, White Christmas, James Bond films (anything action)
Favorite Band/Singer: The Beatles, 311, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Creedence Clearwater Revival