- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College

Mount Saint Mary College’s Priya Mendez, coordinator of Student Teaching and Field Placements, and Jennifer Wutz, TPA and Assessment Coordinator, were both recently presented with the Mid-Hudson School Study Council (MHSSC) Educational Leadership Award.

At the end of the Mount’s teacher education program, Mount students spend their final semester student teaching, honing their ability to instruct, assess, and manage a class with the guidance of highly qualified cooperating teachers. 

“At Mount Saint Mary College, student teachers flourish because of the work of Mrs. Priya Mendez and Mrs. Jennifer Wutz, the Leadership Team who work in unison to frame the student teaching experience,” said Sonya Abbye Taylor, associate professor of Education and Chair of the Division of Education at the Mount.

Among other responsibilities, Mendez and Wutz ensure that teacher candidates have the required fieldwork hours and requisite GPA; interview each candidate to get a sense of the qualities they bring to the student teaching experience to match them with the appropriate school and cooperating teacher; and hire student teaching supervisors. 

Mendez and Wutz are in good company: In 2023, Bishop Dunn Memorial School principal and Mount alumna Nancy Benfer ’04 was honored by MHSSC with an Educational Leadership Award as well. Benfer began her tenure at Bishop Dunn 20 years ago as a teaching assistant. She went on to teach fourth grade for several years and was named principal of the school in 2017, a role she continues to thrive in to this day. She also serves as an adjunct professor of education at the Mount.

MHSSC is a non-profit organization whose fundamental purpose is to bring about the improvement of education in its member school districts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. It accomplishes that purpose through the cooperative study of common educational problems, the effective diffusion of educational practices, and the stimulation of active participation of school boards, administrators, teachers, pupils, and laypersons in educational planning and activity.


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