New York State English Council (NYSEC) award winner from Adelphi.

by Brett Spielberg

At the 62nd Annual New York State English Council (NYSEC) Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 19, Diana M. Feige, Ed.D., was one of two University-level educators awarded the Educator of Excellence Award. The award honors teachers who are leaders in the classroom, collaborators with colleagues and mentors for teachers new to the profession.

“The award for me, as I interpret it, was to acknowledge my work and the work of the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education in partnership with our wonderful colleagues at Mineola High School and Mineola Middle School,” Dr. Feige said.

The collaboration has grown during the past eight years from what would be considered a more traditional placement of teacher candidates, to a far more genuine give-and-take between the needs and interests of the schools as well as the University.

The teacher candidates are part of the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education model program, in which they immerse themselves in the school for a full year, one day a week in the fall semester and five days a week in the spring semester.

Diana Feige and Maryanne Beach, of Mineola High School, received Educator of Excellence Awards from the New York State English Council.“Teacher candidates are always graciously met by the school principals and instructional leaders prior to student teaching and their matching is always a matter of conversation between the teachers, school administrators and me,” Dr. Feige said. “In the end, the awards honor the partnership between myself, our teacher candidates and colleagues, particularly Ms. Maryanne Beach [pictured right].”

Ms. Beach, of Mineola High School, has worked closely with Dr. Feige to coordinate this collaboration over the past eight years. She received the Ruth S. Everett Excellence in Teaching Award at the NYSEC awards as well.

“The collaboration has been really mind and world changing for my students,” Ms. Beach said. “Many did not have college on their radar screen before talking to Adelphi students. In the past they didn’t see school past high school graduation, but now so many are going on to further education and taking courses while working, doing so many different things. It’s really changed their world.”

Each year, several cohorts of Mineola High School students come to Adelphi to spend a day visiting classes. They meet both professors and students, make pottery with Professor Anti Liu in the Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts or play soccer with the men’s soccer team on Thomas F. Motamed Field.

On the morning of November 15, Ann Zaffarese ’80, M.A. ’85, along with Al Cavalluzzo ’97, both Adelphi alumni and Mineola High School teachers, chaperoned Ms. Zaffarese’s Reading and Writing for College and Career Preparation class of graduating seniors on their trip to Adelphi.

“They get to see where their teachers come from,” Jennifer Scully, an Adelphi teacher candidate and fifth year Scholar Teacher Educator Program (S.T.E.P.) student said. “My cooperating teacher is amazing: She’ll let me jump in and assist whenever there’s an opportunity. My fellow candidates’ experiences are the same; they really incorporate us into the classroom.”

Every year, several cohorts of Mineola High School students come to Adelphi to spend a day visiting classes.Just as graduate students assist in the classroom within the Mineola UFSD, the high school instructional leaders and cooperating teachers are often guest lecturers in Adelphi University classes.

“They contribute their expertise from the kindness of their hearts and their shared commitment with the university in the education of future teachers,” Dr. Feige said. “It’s a mutual sense of responsibility for the well-being and quality of future educators.”

The commendations for Dr. Feige and Ms. Beach recognize the unique partnership that has been fostered between Adelphi and Mineola UFSD to prepare future educators for the professional environment. It’s a shared success recognizing an ongoing, uniquely progressive partnership.

“I honestly have to say my sense of self as an educator, and particularly, mentor of teacher candidates, has been transformed because of this relationship and partnership with these marvelous, committed school teachers and administrators,” Dr. Feige said. “I am forever grateful to them.”

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Todd Wilson
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