The Rodel Foundation of Arizona has announced that 11 outstanding Arizona educators have been named 2014 Rodel Exemplary Teachers, including seven educators in the Valley – five of whom are Sun Devil graduates.
In an article posted to AZCentral on Nov. 29, reporter Cathryn Creno profiles recipient Tiffany Thompson, a 2009 graduate of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.
As a recipient of the honor, Thompson – along with her fellow Rodel Exemplary Teachers – will receive $5,000 and will mentor future educators in the state for the next three years.
Thompson knows firsthand the benefits of having a mentor in the classroom, as she was mentored by a Rodel Exemplary Teacher during her own student teaching.
“One lesson I learned from my mentor that I still use today is to build a relationship with my students,” said Thompson, who holds a master’s degree in elementary education and now teaches fifth grade at Whitman Elementary School in Mesa. “They are human beings and deserve to be cared about and respected. They have lives outside of school, just like we do, and we may never fully understand what they are going through outside the walls of school.”
Christopher Clark, a research professor in the Teachers College, is also quoted in the article about the benefits of mentorship and mentoring.
“Becoming a teacher is more complicated than it looks,” Clark said. “Becoming a teacher also involves becoming a member of a new culture. A more experienced mentor, who is already an insider in the culture of teaching, can serve as a very helpful guide. A more experienced mentor can provide real-time confidential support that can make all the difference in a new teacher’s and their students’ success.”
Other graduates of ASU’s Teachers College who were named Rodel Exemplary Teachers include:
• Jennifer Lauzon, BAE special education, 1991
• Nathan Maruca, BAE elementary education, 2003 and MEd education administration and supervision, 2009
• Christie Pentkowski, BAE elementary education, 2004
• Tasha Smith, BAE elementary education, 2008
The recipients were chosen from 22 finalists and 40 semifinalists who were nominated from about 300 high-need public schools in Maricopa, Coconino and Pima counties.
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