Educator Making a Difference: Dr. Todd Allen of Grove City College

GCC-Professor-Todd-Allen

Dr. Todd Allen, professor of communications studies, is making a difference in the classroom at Grove City College and beyond.

Dr. Todd Allen, professor of communications studies, is making a difference in the classroom at Grove City College and beyond.

Allen teaches courses in persuasion, rhetoric, culture and communication, civil rights/public memory and crisis communications, but his work as an educator isn’t limited to the classroom.

In 2006 he founded The Common Ground Project, a community based non-profit group dedicated to promoting an understanding of the Civil Rights Movement, and for more than a decade, in partnership with the PNC Foundation, he’s led an annual “Returning to the Roots of Civil Rights” bus tour, which visits many key Southern sites of the movement’s history.

“Unfortunately for many, the civil rights movement is a chapter of history that has received minimal coverage at best in their educational experience,” Allen said. “I view my teaching as a bridge between the past and the present historical moment in hopes that we will learn what it means to live together as sisters and brothers.”

Allen said there is power in going to the places where this history happened, which often includes interacting with the veterans of this historic struggle for freedom.

“Being present in these places with those who lived this history brings these stories of the past to life in a very unique and compelling way,” he said. “In remembering these sites and people we remember that we too in this present day have an obligation to make this nation a better place for future generations.”

Allen is a great example of how Grove City College faculty combine academic excellence and a passion for making the world a better place. To learn more, visit www.gcc.edu.

April Educators Making a Difference

Feb14 NC web banner-3

By Marianne Reid Anderson

In this, our fourth installment of highlighting a few of our region’s Educators Making a Difference, we at Northern Connection our proud to continue featuring these incredible individuals who continually go above and beyond in helping students and families. [Read more…]

March – Educators Making a Difference

Feb14 NC web banner-3

By Marianne Reid Anderson

In this, our third installment of highlighting a few of our region’s Educators Making a Difference, we at Northern Connection our proud to continue featuring these incredible teachers who continually go above and beyond in their devotion to educating the future generation. [Read more…]

Educators Making a Difference – February

By Marianne Reid Anderson

In January, we at Northern Connection magazine, began to highlight a few of our region’s Educators Making a Difference and we are proud to continue to highlight amazing teachers that continually go above and beyond in their devotion to educating their students.

Jennifer Brown-Clair

Jennifer Brown-Clair

Jennifer Brown-Clair of Providence Heights Alpha School Jennifer Brown-Clair is a certified K-12 art teacher who, over the past 13 years, has created and developed the current art program at Providence Heights Alpha School.  What distinguishes her in her field of expertise is her strong commitment to continually enhance the art curriculum through constant growth and change.  Over the years, Jennifer has coordinated an elaborate art show; most recently exhibited at the La Roche College Cantellops Gallery, and has overseen art projects involving every student which are proudly displayed throughout the school.  Her lesson plans incorporate a cross curricular connection, art history background and pertinent art vocabulary with each hands-on project.  Several large scale lessons such as The Talking Art Museum and the Pinwheels for Peace installation artwork were also featured in local publications.  As an educator it is important to Jennifer to make a difference.  Her ability to think outside the box and incorporate a wide variety of art media and themes creates a meaningful and enriching art experience that makes a lasting impact on her students. To learn more, visit http://www.alphaschool.org.

Eric Carlini

Eric Carlini

Eric Carlini of A.W. Beattie Career Center – Eric Carlini is a Carpentry instructor for 10th, 11th and 12th grades at A.W. Beattie Career Canter. Mr. Carlini is in his 5th year teaching but has been a carpenter and in the carpentry industry since 1987. Mr. Carlini explains, “All the instructors must come from and have an extensive background in industry first and foremost, then, as with myself, we receive our educational training and certifications through Indiana University of Pennsylvania and their Vocational Education program.” This program serves vocational instructors throughout Western Pennsylvania. “All the students get both academics and real-life experience working on job sites such as, the new McCandless Museum where we will be framing, roofing and doing finishing work on the building; but, we are also sure to combine academics with skills, particularly math and science,” continues Mr. Carlini. The students learn how to read blueprints, stage construction sites, triangulate measurements, write contracts and much more. So, the program is actually more of a pre-engineering program with students choosing either to enter industry or go on to a college or university to study architecture and engineering. “The great thing about teaching the students is that I know for sure, that I am preparing them for their future and giving them valuable skills that will serve them throughout their lives, no matter where they choose to go.” To learn more, visit http://www.beattietech.com.    

 

Dr. Theresa Doerfler PhD of Oakland Catholic – Dr. Doerfler earned her Bachelor degrees in English and French at the University of Notre Dame and earned her Masters and Doctorate in English from Ohio State University. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she moved to Pittsburgh almost twenty years ago with her husband. As a proud mother for four daughters, Dr. Doerfler has been an active parent with Oakland Catholic for many years prior to joining the staff. Her eldest graduates from Oakland Catholic in 2011, the second, just this past year in 2014, the third is currently a freshman and the fourth is currently in 8th and will be enrolling next year. Dr. Doerfler had been working as an editor and an adjunct for many years. “I was working on my Masters in Education at Duquesne and was absolutely delighted to receive a position with Oakland Catholic,” explains Doerfler. Dr. Doerfler teaches Freshmen and Sophomore English and finds the academic curriculum essential for preparing the students for college by requiring extensive research papers and integrating innovative technology and writing applications such as blogs and other media with traditional, classic writing skills.  “It is particularly great to teach right here in Oakland – where we are surrounded by cultural performances of all types, and enjoy integrating them into the classes,” says Doerfler. To learn more, visit http://www.oaklandcatholic.org.

 

Katie Matlak

Katie Matlak

Katie Matlak of Quigley Catholic High School – In this, her 7th year with Quigley Catholic High School, Mrs. Katie Matlak teaches religious education in all grades. Mrs. Matlak earned her degree in Catechetics and Theology from Franciscan University in Stubenville, Ohio. Mrs. Matlak was recruited by Quigley and from the first time she stepped into the school, she says, “I felt an overwhelming pull at my heart, to care for and serve the students here. I knew this was the place, I wanted to be.” In addition to teaching religious education, Mrs. Matlak is director of campus ministry where, in addition to liturgy services, she organizes retreats, special events to help serve both the school community and the community at large such as visiting nursing homes, March for Life trips, and religious retreats for upper classman. Mrs. Matlak is also particularly dedicated to helping teenagers through any crisis they may be having in their faith or spirituality and helping them to grow in both their personal and Catholic identities. According to Mrs. Matalak, “the students and staff here at Quigley are truly a family, a family that has a deep and beautiful light that keeps growing stronger each year and it is wonderful to see the older students welcome and be so incredibly helpful to the younger students.” To learn more, visit http://www.qchs.org.

 

Jeanne Riley of Saint James Catholic School in Sewickley – Jeanne Riley teaches 4th and 5th graders Social Studies and Reading at Saint James in Sewickley. After graduating from Duquesne University in 1972 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, Mrs. Riley continued at Duquesne and earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education and has been a strong advocate for a liberal arts education, ever since. Mrs. Riley taught at Cannon McMillan for several years, prior to marriage and adopting an orphan child from Russia. When time came to send her child to school, Mrs. Riley, being an educator herself, was very particular and did a great deal of research and even volunteered at Saint James for a year. From the very beginning of finding Saint James, Mrs Riley was impressed with the wonderful feeling of teamwork among the staff and for the caring and nurturing environment. According to Mrs. Riley, “I was immediately struck by how fair everyone is, how all the children are treated the same and how everyone together represents the heart and soul of the school and providing the best possible education.” Now in her 15th year with the school, Mrs. Riley continues to help welcome all children coming to the school and teaching the 4th and 5th grades. “The kids are where my heart is,” explains Riley. To learn more, visit http://stjamesschool.us

Lauren Sarazen

Lauren Sarazen

Lauren Sarazen of Vincentian Academy – Lauren Sarazen, English Faculty Member at Vincentian Academy and Director/Choreographer for Performing Arts Program at Vincentian Academy, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a Minor in Theatre and Dance at Clarion University.  This North Hills native has successfully combined her two passions: Education and the Arts.  Sarazen starred as a child performer in the performance group, North Star Kids. One of her brightest moments as a North Star Kid was singing back-up to Celine Dion while Dion was touring in Pittsburgh. At Clarion University, Sarazen developed an ensemble called Show Choir where she wrote, directed, casted and choreographed students to perform regionally and nationally.  From there she became the Choreographer to the North Hills Senior High School musical No, No, Nannette, and continues in that role today.  Sarazen soon became the Director and Choreographer at Vincentian Academy and has produced shows including Once Upon a Mattress, Wizard of Oz, Grease, and this year’s Vincentian Academy musical Into the Woods (Feb. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28) at Pittsburgh Masonic Temple in Ross Township.  Sarazen teaches English and the Theory of Knowledge at Vincentian Academy and brilliantly brings the written word to life.  She chooses literature plays, like Macbeth, for her classes that illicit thought-provoking ideas, “Students connect better to what the message is in written material if it becomes tangible.  Reading becomes more powerful,” says Sarazen.  In summer 2014, Sarazen performed as a featured dancer in the Broadway production of Swing, with the Ocean City Theatre Company in New Jersey.  Along with performing she held the position of Assistant Choreographer at Stage Door Manor in New York City, where she worked alongside professionals from London, Wales, New Zealand and Ireland.  There, she was able to use her teaching skills to instruct some of the most talented student artists in the country. Sarazen’ expertise on the performance stage and in the classroom is evident every day, right here in the North Hills of Pittsburgh at Vincentian Academy, as students are excelling at tremendous heights because of her exceptional teaching ability! To learn more, visit www.vincentianacademy.org.

If you know of an educator, administrator, or counselor making a difference, contact us by emailing NorthCon@consolidated.net or by calling 724-940-2444.

 

Educators Making a Difference

Dec14 NC web banner-3

LT: Denise Baker; TM: Tracy Coll; TR: Dr. Maria E. Diaz PhD; BL: Dr. Tina Johnson PhD; BM: Cynthia McNulty; BR: Dr. Ted Yeshion PhD

By Marianne Reid Anderson

Here at Northern Connection magazine, we have the tremendous honor of working with many of our area schools, schools that are populated with incredible educators, administrators, and counselors that go above and beyond on a daily basis, devoting countless hours and boundless energy to their students, their schools and their own professional development. Beginning with this issue and continuing in future issues, we proudly highlight a few of our region’s Educators Making a Difference: [Read more…]