May 26, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
A few days before Mount Saint Mary College’s 54th
annual Commencement ceremony, the Division of Education celebrated
the many accomplishments of the graduating teacher candidates, as
well as the illustrious alumni who have come before them.
Four students were recognized for their excellence in
- The Dr. Lucy DiPaola Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Lauren
Skinner of Gardiner, N.Y.
- The Sister Mary Consilia O’Brien Award for excellence in
special education was presented to Kelley Raich of Stormville,
- The James Pratt Award for excellence in secondary education was
presented to Christina Antico of Smithtown, N.Y.
- The Sister M. Thomasina Award was presented to Olivia Proulx of
RIGHT: Mount Saint Mary College’s rigorous education
program has produced two New York State Teachers of the Year in the
last decade: Debra Calvino ‘81 (2010, left) and Dana McDonough ‘91,
MSEd ’00 (2016, right).
Rebecca Quackenbush ’05, MSEd ’08, a teacher at Chester
Elementary School, was one of two keynote speakers. She encouraged
the future teachers to foster a sense of wonder in their
“My two top goals each and every year are to instill in my
students a sense of awareness and acknowledgement of others, as
well as to awaken the seeds of curiosity that are so naturally a
part of what makes us human beings,” she said, noting that these
were some of the core values bestowed upon her during her Mount
The second keynote speaker, Janaina Middleton MSEd ’13,
discussed her experiences as a special education teacher at
Newburgh Free Academy. She said that most of the time, unfocused
students just need a little push in the right direction.
“As long as you treat students with the respect they all deserve
and keep them challenged, they will show you amazing things,”
She added that going to the Mount was “the best decision I ever
made. It was here I learned to come out of my comfort zone, and it
was here that I created some of the best relationships of my life
with my professors.”
The program also honored Debra Calvino ’81 and Dana McDonough
‘91, MSEd ’00, respectively the 2010 and 2016 New York State
Teacher of the Year.
“Being a teacher is more than a great job, it’s a special
calling,” said McDonough. “You are choosing a career that will
position you to make great changes.”
McDonough is a second grade teacher at Fostertown Magnet School
in the Newburgh City School District, where she has served for more
than two decades.
Calvino taught mathematics for 33 years in the Valley Central
School District before transitioning to the school’s director of
curriculum, instruction, and testing about three years ago.
According to Calvino, excelling as an educator requires varied
teaching techniques, learning the students’ strengths, and
improving their weaknesses.
“A great teacher is student centered and focused,” she
The Mount’s nationally accredited education program embeds
fieldwork in coursework beginning in sophomore year, and earns high
marks in preparing students for New York State licensure.
The college recently announced a new addition to its Childhood
Education Grades 1-6 program: dual certification for teaching birth
to grade 2. Teacher candidates who choose to take the program will
earn an extension certification that permits them, upon completion,
to teach in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.