Four senior education students and one recent graduate from Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) were selected to attend the March 24-25 Teachers of Promise Foundation Institute in Richmond, Virginia. The annual event brings together 100 outstanding pre-service teachers from Virginia for recognition, mentorship and professional development.
EMU Teachers of Promise are
- Erick Luna: Elementary Education major from Harrisonburg, Va.;
- Amy Nussbaum: Special Education graduate (Dec. 2016) from Union, Michigan;
- Dorothy Hershey: Elementary Education major from Waynesboro, Va.;
- Rebekah Hertzler: English Education major from Harrisonburg, Va.;
- Miranda Lyle: Elementary Education major from Blue Ridge, Va.
Professor Paul Yoder enjoyed hearing EMU students share about their student teaching experiences and plans for the future. While at the conference, Yoder was delighted and surprised to see his former fourth-grade teacher who had taught at Waterman Elementary School. “Mrs. Amy Jackson has lived in Tennessee for almost 20 years so it was very unexpected,” Yoder said. “I loved telling her that my wife, Katrina Martin ’07 Yoder now teaches fourth grade at Waterman.”
Miranda Lyle was inspired to see so many people willing to “support us on our journey as teachers. I was reminded of all of the strong relationships I have built with my professors and friends in the education department. I look forward to joining the education profession during a period of unification and determination in creating equity for ALL students.”
A highlight for Dorothy Hershey was seeing so many committed professionals. “I will look back on this conference as a token of encouragement and a reminder that I am never alone. Even when the hardships momentarily outweigh the joys of teaching, I can count on my fellow educators to support me through the journey.”
Erick Luna said, “Hearing about the experiences of so many world-class educators, I was energized by their passion and commitment to education and to, most importantly, the children. I left knowing more than ever that this is my calling.” The event also made him thankful for educators at EMU as well as Harrisonburg High School teacher Phil Yutzy, who “believed in me when others did not.”
The honorees “exemplify strong potential for impacting students in the classroom, high academic standing, commitment to the teaching profession, and embody EMU’s teacher education mission to ‘teach boldly in a changing world through an ethic of care and critical reflection,’” says department chair and professor of education Cathy Smeltzer Erb. “I am confident that these future teachers will positively influence the lives of each student in their classrooms as they create and advocate for just and equitable learning environments.”
EMU’s education program values experiential learning, offering early practicum experiences that help candidates determine their professional path. Teacher candidates choose from 17 different licensure programs.
The education program is one among five private colleges in Virginia accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.