Felician College Student Named New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher for Third Consecutive Year

For the third consecutive year, a Felician College School of Education student has been named a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher. Out of 66 nominees from every student teaching program in the state, Karen Heintz-Marron, who resides in Ridgewood, New Jersey, was one of only 15 to win the prestigious award. Karen graduated with her Master of Arts in Education degree in May.

Dr. Rose Rudnitski, Dean of the School of Education at Felician College said, “This is a very prestigious award. There are many colleges who have never had a winner. We are honored to have had a Felician student win the award three years in a row. Karen is exceptional! Every faculty member who has had her in class has said it. All of us believe this award is well deserved. We are very proud of her.”

“It was obvious right from the beginning that Karen was going to be a distinguished future teacher,” remarked Dr. Karen Pezzola, Felician College Instructor of Education. “She was knowledgeable, passionate, committed to her work, and already actively involved in the school system as a substitute teacher. She has lots of drive and has taken nothing for granted. It was a pleasure having her as a student. I often thought of Karen more as a colleague because she was so knowledgeable.”

Heintz-Marron was nominated, along with fellow classmates, Alysia Arcona from Hackettstown, New Jersey and Jessica Delahanty from Garfield, New Jersey, by her instructors at Felician College. Each school is allowed up to three nominations to submit for the award. “We discussed as a group who we thought in our program were the best representatives of who we are as a college and who we are as the School of Education. By consensus, we agreed that these three individuals were who we wanted,” said Dr. Michelle Anderson, Felician College Assistant Professor of Education.

Each nominee was required to submit a resume, a philosophy of education and letters of recommendation from their professors. After the scores were received, reviewed and verified, a selection committee appointed by the New Jersey State Department of Education (NJDOE) and the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NJACTE) then chose the 15 award recipients.

When asked what makes Heintz-Marron a distinguished student teacher, Anderson said, “Karen stood out to me from the beginning. I remember thinking when I had her in class that I would want to be a student in her classroom. She just has natural teacher instincts and is always striving to make things better. Her attitude and willingness to adapt and change to meet the needs of different students puts Karen ahead of the rest.”

“It was an honor to be nominated for the Distinguished Student Teacher of New Jersey award and a very nice surprise to find out I had won,” said Heintz-Marron. “The education program at Felician College is great. The instructors definitely prepared me for the real-world experience of being in a classroom. The Program is rigorous, well-planned and nurturing. After the first day in the classroom as a student teacher, I knew this was the profession for me. All the teachers I know who are employed, graduated from Felician College. I took that as a very good sign and decided Felician was where I needed to go. I am very glad I did.”

A reason the students of Felician’s School of Education continue to stand out among the rest may have to do with one of its principle teaching philosophies. Felician students begin gaining experience from the first day of class. “From the time our students say they want to be a teacher, we have them in the classroom,” stated Anderson. “Each semester they get a taste of what it’s like to be a teacher. We give them urban experience, suburban experience, Catholic school experience, special education experience, so by the time they are a junior or senior, they have a good idea about what area and kind of student they want to teach.”

When asked how she would define the education program at Felician College, two words quickly came to Anderson’s mind. “I would describe our education program as caring and compassionate,” she said. “It is one of our goals and is within our strategic plan to create, not only competent, but caring and compassionate teachers. It is part of our accreditation process through the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and we have the data to prove that we are accomplishing this goal.”

For information on the School of Education at Felician College, visit the website at www.felician.edu or contact the Office of Admissions at 201-355-1465.