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Cathy Smeltzer Erb

EMU-trained teachers earn high marks in local school systems

More than 500 alumni living in the City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County work in education, though only two-thirds of these seem to be employed in their home districts, according to EMU’s alumni database. “The teachers we hire from the EMU teacher education program rank as being some of the best,” says Scott R. Kizner, superintendent of Harrisonburg City public schools. “I ...More

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Successes That Don’t Show Up in School Test Scores

From the moment the eighth-graders left Montevideo Middle School for their annual field trip to Baltimore until they returned hours later, Nathan Medlin was every bit a part of the crowd. His classmates greeted him enthusiastically in the morning, included him in their clusters around the tanks at the National Aquarium, and made sure he had as much fun as they ...More

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Two-Day Workshop Inspires Future Teachers

Six students were selected to represent Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) at the Teachers of Promise Institute, March 22-23, 2013, a two-day workshop designed to recognize and support the best prospective public school teachers in the United States, according to their website. EMU students that participated included: Allison Bontrager, mathematics ...More

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Alumna Was Early Leader in English as a Second Language Education

The focus on teaching English to non-native speakers in Harrisonburg, Va., began when a ’64 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) was tapped to address the needs of the city’s growing group of students who were fluent in other languages, but not English. This assignment put Linda Heatwole Bland “on the fastest learning curve in my life.” Initially hired as a reading supe ...More

EMU education graduate Steven Rittenhouse

Newly Minted Math Teacher Loves Middle School

Steven Rittenhouse ’11 recalls a student-teaching “aha!” moment – a turning point both for himself, then an Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) undergraduate, and for a boy who dropped into his classroom during a planning period at Thomas Harrison Middle School (THMS). “He was visibly frustrated with his math homework. We worked with it together, and I helped him see he misunder ...More

Art Teacher Award

EMU Alum Named Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year

Kelley Shradley-Horst, an art teacher at Harrisonburg High School and 2006 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, didn’t get her hopes up. Even after scoring one of five regional nominations on her way to becoming the Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year, she was skeptical about actually winning the honor. “I kind of had a stigma that no one from Harrisonburg ...More

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Bilingual Grad Enlivens Elementary Spanish Classes

Fifteen kindergarteners file into Camila Pandolfi’s classroom at Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Va., and take seats in the illustrated rows they recognize by such names as triángulo, corazón, estrella (triangle, heart, star). They enthusiastically repeat descriptions of storybook creatures Pandolfi displays: caballo az ...More

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EMU Alumni Among County Teachers of the Year

Karen Komara, a 1994 Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) alumna, was named the Lucy F. Simms Educator of the Year in June 2012. Seven other alumni were recognized at an end-of year appreciation dinner by Rockingham County Public Schools. In an interview with Bob Corso of WHSV-TV3, Komara, a fifth-grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary, said she was honored to be chosen for the award. ...More

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EMU Boasts Teachers of Promise

Six students were selected to represent Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) at the Teachers of Promise Institute, Mar. 24-25, in Richmond, Va. The Teachers of Promise Foundation, which sponsored the event, seeks to recognize and support the best prospective public school teachers in the United States, accor ...More

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Pastor Pairs Love of Church, People with Disabilities

Courtesy Bluffton University Having an adopted brother with tubular meningitis has made a huge mark on the Rev. Paula Snyder Belousek’s life. “Early on, I became interested in what role people with disabilities play in the church setting,” she said last week at Bluffton University. While majoring in special education ...More