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College of Education > News and Publications > 2017: 04-06 news > Praise and plaudits about Jamie Myers come from everywhere

Praise and plaudits about Jamie Myers come from everywhere

Former students, colleagues have nothing but compliments for retiring professor.

Word is spreading that Jamie Myers is just a few weeks away from retiring after 40 years with Penn State's College of Education, and words aplenty came from a sprinkling of the appreciable number of students and colleagues on whom he's had an influence over parts of five decades.

Jamie Myers will retire on June 30 after 40 years with Penn State's College of Education.
Myers is a professor of education and designer of the secondary English portion of the Professional Development School (PDS). Veronica Iacobazzo, an English teacher at State College Area High School and a PDS director, collected thoughts from people who were more than happy to share their feelings about him.

From former student Sarah Rife: "Jamie's influence on my life and teaching has been just like him – quietly profound. I definitely came into the program expecting to be given answers and rules, only to learn that Jamie would challenge us to seek those for ourselves. Jamie's approach to teaching and learning and his wisdom have helped me tackle my greatest classroom challenges much more than any other educational theory and pedagogical knowledge. Jamie perfectly captures the importance of taking thinking and reflection seriously, but still approaching life with a sense of humor."

From former student/adviser/colleague Josephine Pirrone: "I count Jamie as one of my best teachers – he posed the questions that challenged me to think more deeply. Jamie was one of my best advisers – he championed the inquiry projects that led me to practice more intentionally. Jamie was one of my best colleagues – he led the efforts that allowed me to be part of a transformative endeavor that has nurtured so many outstanding teachers and their students. Jamie is the heart of the English Department PDS. I am grateful I had the opportunity to work with him, and humbled that he is my teacher, my advisor adviser and my colleague."

From former student Denise Schwab: "Dr. Myers' ability to use inquiry and reflection to discover and uncover thinking has taught me to overcome roadblocks as both learner and teacher. I thank you for teaching me to be a duck and to let negativity run off my back. I thank you for believing in me. I thank you for caring about my students as if they were your own. I thank you for the time you have for me every time I asked for help. I thank you for making me laugh when I am being way too serious. I thank you for inviting me into this crazy discourse of education. I thank you for being you."

From former student Luke Zeller: "He was one of my first mentors who modeled 'both-and' rather than 'either-or' thinking. Jamie was not interested in red tape when it came to the educational opportunity for his students. He was creative. He found ways to support and engage so many of us in a uniquely rigorous, dynamic and robust program of inquiry into the field of education. He created the context for deep reflection into what actually occurs in classrooms and schools. His questions were always based on authentic, current inquiries that he had. It is because the spirit of inquiry that he sparked in me that I have been able to continually engage in questions of social justice in my practice and in my life."

From former student Lochran Fallon: "I've come to know and appreciate Jamie as a 'wise old sage' in my life. He quietly listens to what others say, considers every word, and is always slow to speak, but when he does, he gets right to a critical point without closing off possibilities for exploration and conversation. Jamie makes listening and guiding others look and feel effortless, and I hope to someday have the kind of patient, subtle capability to guide others to their own potential discoveries and understandings without saying much at all. For me, Jamie represents an embodiment of someone who has mastered the balancing act of distributing capability and selflessness with the application of critical scholarly experience and expertise – a balance that will no doubt take me the rest of my life to achieve."

From former student Angela Single: "He did exactly what I needed in order to show me that I should never settle for what looks good, what everyone thinks they want, but should take what comes to me and then run with it. Penn State and the PSU-SCASD PDS will lose something immeasurable when he retires, because I do not know that I have ever met anyone else who sees people for what they can be instead of seeing them for what they want to me. Thanks for making my life, Jamie, seriously."

From former student Andrew Adamietz: "Anyone would describe Jamie Myers as unique, but I would take that one step further to say that Jamie is uniquely unique. There is never an interaction with Jamie that does not feel special. However casual or formal, whether participating or observing, there is never a lack of thoughtfulness or genuine interest when Jamie gives you his time."

From former student Meghan McGinty: "Dr. Myers reminds educators to focus always on the students. He gently redirects any efforts to prioritize anything but authentic student learning in our classrooms. He encourages us to teach exactly who we are. He grounds us in a philosophy of teaching that centers entirely on inquiry. He pushes us to be more reflective practitioners, and he challenges us consistently to grow as learners. Impossible to predict, yet reliably the same, Jamie Myers is his own man. He stimulates intellectual thinking, profound conversation and genuine laughter wherever he goes. As a student of his, I admired his ability to focus without pretense on the things that matter most in education. As a teacher at State High, I feel grateful for the ways he's inspired me to do the same."

From former student and colleague Danielle D'Ambrosia: "Over the years he has suggested many ideas and alternate paths for students and teachers to pursue, and students and teachers have benefited. His thoughts are always rooted in thoughtful conversation and my favorite thing about him is that he still enjoys time interacting with students best."

From former student Colin Baumgartner: "How does one succinctly describe Jamie Myers? Jamie is State College's own Socrates – though with a vastly superior beard. Jamie has a powerful way to drawing out the beliefs and values of his students with questions; this questioning puts the assumptions that these beliefs are based upon in plain sight. Often, when these assumptions are scrutinized, they don't hold up. Jamie's humor and playfulness are what allows this possibly uncomfortable process to be instead a pleasant and constructive one. Jamie is a social gadfly in the best sense of the word. Though he will certainly be missed at Penn State, he leaves behind him a great legacy and a PDS family that will continue to grow and evolve."