Unsung Hero: Janice Regan

Besides being my mother, Janice has an amazing way of connecting with her students and helping them see the best parts of themselves.

She helps students who struggle in her class (math) see that they can do the work if they are willing to put in hard work themselves. She does not give up on her students and goes above and beyond to serve them.

As a child, I can remember her collecting clothing for students who were in need and providing them with materials for the classroom when their families weren’t able to.

She is always respectful to her students even when they do not show her the same respect; and, because of that, students who are not even her students know her to be fair and a great teacher!

There are many times we are out and about and old students come up to thank her for all she did for them.

She is the reason I became a teacher.

She showed me how amazing it is to teach and the possibilities that lie within this field. I could truly not ask for a better mother or mentor!

Janice Regan (L) with daughter Caitlin Regan (R)

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Janice an outstanding educator?

  1. Fair
  2. Caring
  3. Generous
  4. Respectful
  5. Selfless

Janice Regan, Teacher at Sampson G. Smith School, is being recognized by her daughter, Caitlin Regan (Seton Hall University).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Janice, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Dawn Dennis

I was one of those smart under-performing students who loved to learn but didn’t see the value in busywork.

As a first grader, I worked the system to get by with as little work as possible and entered second grade pretty jaded for a bespectacled six year old.

But Mrs. Dennis didn’t stand for my nonsense, and she didn’t judge me by my record.

Instead, she challenged me and accommodated me so neatly that I loved school in second grade.

She let me skip the practice rows on worksheets and just do the challenges. When I finished early in math she gave me tangrams or “helper jobs” instead of more busywork. She encouraged me to read books that were challenging (and way higher levels than second grade).

The best part was that she didn’t single me out; she was like that for all of her studentsloving on us and always encouraging us to do our best.

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Dawn an outstanding educator?

  1. Unending patience;
  2. She never raised her voice;
  3. Outside-the-box engagement;
  4. Age-appropriate challenges; and
  5. Passionate and enthusiastic about learning.

Dawn Dennis, Teacher at Allen Elementary, is being recognized by SarahJean Meyer (Eastern Michigan University).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Dawn, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Hope Conover

Mrs. Conover served as a mentor to me through high school. She is also willing to listen, and she has kept in contact with me to encourage me since high school.

Mrs. Conover was never directly my teacher in a classroom, but I was part of her club in high school: Student Council. She spent hours after school making decorations and donating her time to make our school even better. Mrs.

Conover even included her family in the love of us students. To make sure we could have a Football Homecoming Parade in 2013, her and I (with her kids and my siblings) walked the entire parade route the summer before classes began, getting the written permission from businesses along the route.

Her dedication and giving of her time and effort is not limited by the school bells or school calendar. She is student-centered year-round.

When I was in high school, I was getting sick before a big week of tests and events for student council. Mrs. Conover brought me a gallon of Sunny D to “give me vitamin C.”

She cared enough to bring vitamin C in a tasty form when I was sick, but she also cared enough to listen with open ears when myself or other students were having issues at home. Though she could not fix most of our problems, she heard us, she encouraged us, and we never left without a hug.

Now, I am so excited to have Mrs. Conover as one of my colleagues next year as I enter my first teaching job.

Hope Conover, Poplar Bluff High School

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Hope an outstanding educator?

  1. Dedicated
  2. Willing to listen OPENLY
  3. Encouraging
  4. Caring
  5. Giving

Hope Conover, Teacher at Poplar Bluff High School, is being recognized by Jennie Caswell (Student, College of the Ozarks).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Hope, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Mary Robison

Mary Robison has proof that she is transformative in helping children grow and self-actualize.

Scores of them are in contact with her from across the years giving thanks and testimony to the ways in which Mary’s robust self-efficacy in certainty that she can help kids grow becomes a wonderful contagion in her class.

Mary’s students learn that they can learn anything they want to learn and will pursue. She introduces each child to his or her own wonders of intellect, awareness, and passion for learning.

She causes a fervent love of reading, multiple lifeskills, science acumen, and an inoculation against boredom with history by making those human stories come alive and resonate with today.

Best of all, Mary Robison instills an unshakable sense of confidence in children because she models it daily while bridging them to the hardest, best work they have ever done.

Mary Robison, Westfield Intermediate School

What are 5 characteristics or qualities that make Mary an outstanding educator?

  1. Individualized perception of each child in her care.
  2. Novelty is everywhere in the lessons she creates. It truly is remarkable and memorable.
  3. Compassion drives her core, and she infuses her classes with deep, safe, caring collaboration that supercharges all learning while being time efficient and magnifying of her own self-efficacy.
  4. Authentic tasks, external experts and audiences for student work/exhibition, and a direct, genuine dialogue with students and parents about the lofty goals for their time together.
  5. Unavoidably contagious enthusiasm for all learning and all learners’ interests that can be brought to bear in getting them and keeping them engaged.

Mary Robison, Teacher at Westfield Intermediate School, is being recognized by Scott Robison (Superintendent, Zionsville Community Schools).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Mary, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Kimberly Judice

Mrs. Kim has always inspired me to keep learning and keep trying even when the math (and life) got a little tough.

She would explain math in a way that made sense, and when it didn’t, she would have another way of explaining at the ready.

I remember one day when the calculus class was discussing career options and I had been struggling with my decision of wanting to teach, Mrs. Kim helped me realize that teaching really could be ideal for me.

Even after graduation, I keep in touch with Mrs. Kim, and she always asks how school is going and encourages me to keep going.

I had several teachers tell me not to even waste my time becoming a teacher and that it is not worth it, but Mrs. Kim never did.

She really an amazing teacher who continues to care even after the student leaves her classroom.

Kimberly Judice, Math Teacher at Loreauville High School is being recognized by Emilie Broussard (University of Louisiana at Lafayette).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers like Kimberly, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Ruth Wynn Sadler

A Very Special Teacher

Some teachers make you feel special, and Ruth Wynn Sadler was the teacher who made me feel like I was smart and could accomplish anything during formative years when I never dreamed that college was a possibility for me.

Later, when one of my students compared my smile to the moon and the stars, those words reminded me Mrs. Sadler’s warm, welcoming smile that greeted students in a manner that motivated us to  learn what she was teaching that day in home economics.

She was great about ignoring classroom pranks although the twinkle in her eyes revealed how much she seemed to enjoy a few mischievous pranks as much as any student. I never remember her raising her voice or dismissing anyone from class during the three years I took a variety of the classes she taught.

However, I most remember what Mrs. Sadler did for me during my senior year after I was elected president of the home economics club when I informed her that I would be unable to make the scheduled home economics field trip to the state fair in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I was too embarrassed to tell her my family was experiencing economic challenges. Yet, when I told her that I could not attend the function, she said she would pick me up at my home the Saturday morning of the trip. Later that week, it began to rain excessively in our rural town. In fact, it rained so much that a number of bridges not too far from my home became impassable and were closed.

So, Mrs. Sadler and her husband had to drive at least an hour of unplanned detours through less traveled, graveled backwoods to reach my home. Then, we traveled back to the school bus destination where the other students waited for her and me to arrive before boarding the bus to travel many hours to get to the fair.

I experienced a wonderful day at the fair mingling with my peers because of Mrs. Sadler’s generosity.

That evening, she and her husband retraced the detour to take me back home.

As a teacher, I realized the sacrifice Mrs. Sadler made for me to attend the fair as I sought empower the lives of my students, and during our last two phone conversations, she shared how she was enduring the infirmities of aging. Yet, her conversation was as cheerful, positive, and complimentary of me as what I remembered in high school.

Although Mrs. Sadler passed away last year, her kindness lives forever in my heart.

Mrs. Ruth Wynn Sadler is being recognized as an Unsung Hero by Dr. Sherrill Rayford.

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Unsung Hero: Dr. Jill Hutcheson

Growing up, I never liked getting up in front of people to speak about anything.

Dr. Hutcheson looked past my shyness by providing me with encouraging advice that has helped me grow and develop into the person I want to become. She assigned a project where we had to create a lesson plan and present it to the class for twenty minutes.

When I got up in front of my class, she could tell that I was scared out of my mind, yet saw my potential when I presented the music videos I created to educate students about colors. After that, Dr. Hutcheson continued to complement my voice, while questioning what I do with my voice.

After I told her how I work with individuals who have disabilities through music and movement, she allowed my students to perform at a Kappa Delta Pi meeting.

Dr. Hutcheson also nominated me to create a poster about what I do for the Student Research Symposium at Lindenwood University, where I won first place through the education department.

Dr. Hutcheson is also the Assistant Dean of the Education Program at Lindenwood University. She is also an advisor for students who are elementary majors, and has led and created many programs and opportunities.

Everything that Dr. Hutcheson has accomplished and provided to make Lindenwood University’s Department Of Education program what it truly is has allowed many university students with the chance to learn how to educate, advocate, and create awareness throughout the university.

If it were not for Dr. Hutcheson, the program, and opportunities to allow students to grow, learn, and become the best teachers they can become, they would not be as incredible as they are today.

Dr. Jill Hutcheson, Lindenwood University

What are 4 characteristics or qualities that make Dr. Hutcheson an outstanding educator?

  1. Dr. Hutcheson cares about what her students want, and need by providing support for anything and everything she possibly can, so her students know that they can and will succeed.
  2. Dr. Hutcheson always listens to my hopes, and dreams while providing me with opportunities to reach my highest potential.
  3. Dr. Hutcheson believed in me before I believed in myself.
  4. Dr. Hutcheson loves and respects everybody who enters her classroom whether students want to be in her class at 8:00 am or not. Dr. Hutcheson always makes learning fun, and meaningful to allow us to share what we learn with our students as future teachers.

Dr. Jill Hutcheson, Associate Professor at Lindenwood University, is being recognized by Amy Shapiro (Student, Lindenwood University).

Click the above image for more information about Unsung Hero Week 2017.

To support KDP’s work to retain effective teachers, make a tax-deductible donation today.

Voices for Change

Last week I had the privilege of witnessing a culture of peace.

There was a message delivered with urgency for global education at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The meeting was called “Conversation with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Malala Yousafzai and Young People about Girls’ Education.”

Yousafzai, who was appointed as the youngest UN Messenger of Peace, emphasized that education is a basic right that every child should have.

She believes that the youth are changemakers and therefore should believe in themselves.

Guterres agreed with Yousafzai that the voices of girls are important and should be heard. When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, she simply stated, “Believe in yourself. Believe in your ideas.”

As a woman and educator, I see the need for girls to build confidence in their abilities and skills as students and community members.” This is where we, as teachers, must step in and solidify the connection between education and opportunity. Guterres reminded us all to carry into the future the same passion for learning that we have now.

He continued on to say, “So many of us are afraid to speak up.”

We have the job of helping the youth build a voice.

There are instances when girls mute their thoughts because they are too intimidated to stand out.

However, now is the time to transform those thoughts into words and give them life through speech.

Join the movement for change.

“I decided to speak up.” -Malala Yousafzai

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a senior at St. Francis College, with a major in Childhood Education and a concentration in English. Currently, she serves as the Co-Event Coordinator for the Xi Rho Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. As an aspiring Literacy Specialist, she chose to become a UN Youth Representative to offer a unique approach to education.

Refugees: The 21st Century Challenge – KDP at the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations Conference

mavrek-chakraborty-cardarelli-2

Srecko Mavrek, Dr. Basanti Chakraborty, and Dr. Rose Cardarelli (L-R)

Dr. Rose Cardarelli is a Kappa Delta Pi NGO Representative to the United Nations.

On January 27, 2017, Kappa Delta Pi representatives attended the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations conference on the theme “Refugees: The 21st Century Challenge.” This conference brought together more than 700 educators from the United States and around the globe to learn about the primary challenges confronting refugees, and especially issues concerning education.

A refugee is a person who is forced to flee their home country to escape persecution, war, or violence. Per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 21 million people worldwide are classified as refugees, with half that number under the age of 18. An additional 10 million people around the world are stateless, meaning they may have been denied access to any education.

As educators, we are aware that education can empower and transform lives, reduce poverty, provide employment skills, and facilitate better health opportunities.

Education can change lives, communities, and countries. Therefore, the plight of these refugees should concern all of us.   

Highlights of the conference included the following sessions:

  • The opening session consisted of a discussion on current challenges confronting refugees. Panelist Ninette Kelley (UNHCR) provided background information, Bob Clark (Rockefeller Archive Center) contributed historical perspective, and Maher Nasser (UN Department of Public Information) shared his thoughts about growing up as a refugee from Palestine. The panel stressed that because of the challenges facing youth refugees, educators were vital and UN influence was critically important. To address how educators could help, the panel suggested activities such as including refugee issues in curriculum, pursuing advocacy and scholarship, and celebrating World Refugee Day to enhance awareness. Nasser said that refugees ultimately want to return to their homeland and stated, “Education is the best response to the most vulnerable—when they go to school, they can make a difference.”
  • The morning panel on refugee issues was moderated by Rima Salah (UN Secretary-General’s Panel on Peace Operations) and included Bill Frelick (Human Rights Watch), Emily Garin (UNICEF), and Mark Harris (ELS Educational Services and Berlitz, emeritus). Frelick stated, “We need bridges, not walls, and engagement, not containment.” The panel also discussed the risks refugees face, such as family separation, disappearance, death, statelessness, social exclusion and discrimination, disrupted education, violence, exploitation, and abuse. Harris shared how challenging it could be for educators who had refugees in their classrooms because they needed to understand the students’ language, observing, “Language is the key to opening the doors to education, and a common language enhances understanding.”
  • Several students from Kenya, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Burundi spoke about being refugees and the invaluable educational opportunities provided by UN programs. They also discussed how difficult it was to attend school while in a displaced situation. Sometimes they had to choose between having water, food, or an education because not all were always available. If schools were provided, there would be no distinction between or separate classrooms for different grades. Power and toilets were not always present. As one student stated, “Everything becomes difficult.”
  • Additionally, conference awards were presented for Excellence in Education and students’ graphic art posters. KDP representative Dr. Basanti Chakraborty was one of the award recipients recognized for the poster competition at the conference, on behalf of students from Balasore College. KDP was also acknowledged for its participation in the conference.

The following is a sample of some of the services and resources identified at the conference. They can assist educators in learning about the circumstances affecting displaced students and the related challenges to obtaining a quality education. (Inclusion is not necessarily an endorsement.)

KDP members are encouraged to review the UN website for NGO relations, where there is a wealth of information and resources enabling educators to cultivate global citizenship in their classrooms.

A teacher, a Falcon, and a Kadelpian for life.

A few weeks ago, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, Dr. Dawn Shinew, contacted me and asked if Kappa Delta Pi members would be interested in meeting Muriel Hutchinson Strebe and honoring her at a Classroom Dedication ceremony.

After some inquiring, I learned that Mrs. Strebe was a successful elementary school teacher and had made Bowling Green State University the beneficiary in her estate plan as well as established the Muriel Hutchinson Strebe Scholarship for students entering the College of Education. So, naturally, I agreed, looking for any opportunity to demonstrate Kappa Delta Pi’s support of fellow educators.

After rallying the KDP members that were available during the day on a Friday, we made our way to a personal meet and greet with Mrs. Strebe, taking our seats at a round conference table on the fourth floor of the Education Building, waiting for this generous woman who was being honored throughout the College of Education.

Then she walks in.

Muriel Strebe.

Dressed in orange with a large golden medal hanging around her neck.

Helping her in is Dean Shinew, along with the college assistants who have been with her the whole day. She smiles at us and laughs, explaining that golden medal meant that she was a “Golden Falcon,” an award she won for being an involved alumnus.

She is remarkable, so excited to talk to fellow education students—students to whom she has given so much.

14457321_1659164627728061_5365316323270890690_nAfter she sits down, I introduce myself and tell her that I am President of our campus chapter of Kappa Delta Pi.

She said, “Yes, I was a part of this chapter when I went to school here.” I look at her, astonished, and then I look at the dean. I couldn’t believe it. This incredibly gracious woman was a part of OUR chapter. The Delta Phi Chapter! I was so excited. No one in this room knew that she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi before that moment.

I motioned for the next KDP members to introduce themselves, while I scanned my mind for ways to recognize this woman as a KDP member.

“The Binder!” I thought.

The Chapter binder that every KDP initiate has signed for decades. Her name was probably in it! What better way to welcome her home than by showing her the binder she signed more than 65 years ago.

I excused myself from the conference room and ran across campus to get it. It was in our KDP office, only 5 minutes away.

I unlocked the cabinet and went to the very back of the binder. Loose-leaf papers were ripped and aged, with some barely hanging on in the binder. I saw that the pages went back only to 1958, and so the years 1958 down to 1947 were either never documented or were missing. I knew our chapter was more than 75 years old, so Muriel Hutchinson Strebe would more than likely have been initiated her freshman year.

It saddened me that I couldn’t present to her the initiation page she signed so long ago. It was time to be creative and find a way to honor this remarkable woman through Kappa Delta Pi.

Then I see them, the blank certificates in the cabinet. Maybe I could re-initiate Mrs. Strebe and honor her a second time. I knew she was worthy of it, for who better exemplified the words of the Kappa Delta Pi creed?

Mrs. Strebe has lived the ideals of Fidelity to Humanity, Science, Service, and Toil. She has inspired and strengthened others and is the essence of Knowledge, Duty, and Power.

I grabbed the binder, a blank certificate, and a creed. I quickly walked back to the conference room, knowing exactly what I was going to do.

I entered the room while the members were wrapping up their introductions. I looked at Mrs. Strebe and told her that our records had been misplaced, and I couldn’t find her signature—but, if she would be okay with it, I would like to re-initiate her so she can be added to our binder.

She laughed and said that she would be honored!

I placed the binder on the table and read a small portion of our ceremony ritual.

14441184_1659164567728067_1479710292263504065_nI then handed her a pen, and she signed our Society Charter for a second time.

We all clapped after she signed, and I held her hand, thanking her for agreeing to sign our book and be a part of the Kappa Delta Pi Class of 2016.

While she was in another meeting, I went to our Technology Resource Center and printed a fresh Kappa Delta Pi certificate with her name and the date on it. When I saw her after the classroom dedication, I gave her the folder with the certificate and the creed.

I thanked her for everything she has done for education students and asked if we could take a picture with her.

This picture includes Kappa Delta Pi members old and new, as well as Freddie and Frieda Falcon, with Muriel Hutchinson Strebe in the center.

This picture includes Kappa Delta Pi members old and new, as well as Freddie and Frieda Falcon, with Muriel Hutchinson Strebe in the center.

A teacher, a Falcon, and a Kadelpian for life.

Kristen Tabesh is a 4th year student at Bowling Green State University and the President of the Delta Phi Chapter of KDP. She is a Middle Childhood Education major with concentrations in Language Arts/Reading and Social Studies. Kristen has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember, and she absolutely cannot wait to have a classroom of her own.

Read more of this story on the Bowling Green State University page.