Mount education students graduate to the classroom

May 16, 2012

Newburgh, NY -

Mount Education Students

Mount Saint Mary College education grads – having logged more than 100 hours of fieldwork plus months of student teaching -- are ready to take on their own classrooms.

And one alumna is even poised to become national Top Teacher.

Danielle Greco (left), a ’98 Mount grad who majored in English/education, was selected as one of five national finalists in the Top Teacher Search by the morning television show “Live! with Kelly.” Greco appeared on the show Monday, May 14, and viewers will vote for Top Teacher.

Greco, a special education teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage, NY, was selected from viewer nominations.

Greco commented: “Mount Saint Mary College was instrumental in making me the teacher I am today. The Mount gave me the foundation of my teaching career academically and inspired me to be a teacher who really cares and takes interest in her students.”

Graduating senior Meghan Stackpole (right) noted that the Mount taught her skills which “help me feel comfortable and confident teaching in a classroom.”

Following graduation, Stackpole will be employed as a teaching assistant in the Pine Bush Central School District in Orange County, NY.

“I’ll be working in a self-contained special education class with third, fourth, and fifth graders,” said Stackpole, who majored in social sciences.

A resident of Pine Bush, NY, Stackpole chose the Mount because of the “great reputation of its education program.”

While student teaching at Pakanasink Elementary School in Circleville, NY, Stackpole “learned behavior and time management, two vitally important skills for a teacher to possess in order to have a successful learning environment in her own classroom,” she said.

And completing 120 hours of fieldwork definitely prepared her well for student teaching, she added.

Mount Saint Mary College’s education program is distinctive in that fieldwork -- embedded in coursework -- starts in the sophomore year, said Reva Cowan, chair of education.

“We start earlier than many other colleges getting our students in actual classrooms while providing a very supportive environment for our teacher candidates,” said Cowan.

Karen McCaffrey, a mathematics/education major, will pursue graduate studies in education at the Mount. She will also work on campus as a graduate assistant for the student affairs office.

“I’ve learned so much at the Mount, both academically and professionally,” said McCaffrey of New Windsor, NY, adding that she “flourished” during her four years here, while “falling in love with teaching.”

James Tompkins, a history/education major, is a young man who will head west to continue his education. The Marlboro, NY resident, will attend California State University, Long Beach, for a master’s degree in social and cultural analysis of education.

Student teaching at Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, NY, prompted Tompkins to “become interested in the educational policies that affect classroom teachers,” he said.

“My long term goal,” noted Tompkins, “is to obtain a doctorate degree in the social science and comparative education program at the University of California at Los Angeles.”

And Brittney Botta (middle), an honors mathematics/education major, was recently selected by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) to participate in the association’s prestigious undergraduate research workshop.

A Warwick, NY resident, Botta’s primary research interest is motivation among adolescent girls to pursue careers in mathematics and engineering.

The Mount’s education program earns high marks in preparing well qualified teachers and administrators with the aggregate pass rate on the content specialty tests required by New York State for licensure at 98 percent. New York State requires at least an 80 percent pass rate.

Debra Calvino, who graduated from the Mount with a mathematics degree in 1981 and teaches at Valley Central High School in Orange County, was named New York State 2010 Teacher of the Year.

Top Teacher nominee Greco, in commenting about the Mount, said the small class size “helped me thrive, and professors took an interest in both academic success and the family each student left behind.”