Alumni Society Honors 2014 Award Recipients
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The College of Education Alumni Society proudly announces its 2014 award winners. All recipients are alumni of Penn State’s College of Education and have distinguished themselves in their careers, as well as in the field of education.
Alumni Excellence Award
Outstanding Teaching Award
Leadership & Service Award
Service to Penn State
Outstanding New Graduate Award
Outstanding Student Teaching Awards
D. David Conklin received the Alumni Excellence award—the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the College of Education—at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17. This award recognizes career-long, sustained excellence of contribution and achievement in the nominee’s chosen profession.
Conklin received his master of education in higher education and bachelor of science in secondary education from Penn State in 1967 and 1966, respectively. He earned a doctorate from New York University in 1975.
Conklin has spent his 46-year career providing traditional and adult students with local access to quality, affordable higher education. Conklin served as the president of Dutchess Community College (DCC) in Poughkeepsie, New York, for 22 years, making him the longest actively serving president in the State University of New York system. Conklin is passionate about raising funds for scholarship programs that help about 150 students each year.
Conklin is especially proactive about ensuring both incoming and current students are prepared for college-level work. He oversaw the implementation of new initiatives aimed at prospective and current students in need of extra help. As a result of programs like these, DCC students who enroll full time in bachelor’s degree programs at SUNY four-year institutions have the highest rate of first-year retention rates of community college transfer students.
Conklin has acquired numerous awards and honors, including the DCC Board of Trustees naming a newly constructed residence hall after him in 2012. He is an active member of numerous professional organizations and has authored multiple publications.
Thomas LeGrand, chair of the DCC Board of Trustees and president, said, “In sum, Dr. Conklin is a man of tremendous intellect, character, integrity, and vision. Tens of thousands of students have been positively and profoundly impacted by the results of his commitment, innovation, and hard work, and his contributions to the larger higher education landscape are extensive.”
Glenn Gamble was honored posthumously at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet with the Alumni Excellence award—the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the College of Education—on Oct. 17. This award recognizes career-long, sustained excellence of contribution and achievement in the nominee’s chosen profession. His wife, Nancy, accepted the award on his behalf.
Gamble received three Penn State degrees: bachelor's and masters degrees in agricultural education in 1951 and 1955, respectively, and a doctorate in counselor education in 1959.
He retired in 1990 after 29 years as the director of career services at Rutgers University.
Over the years, Glenn and Nancy, have volunteered countless hours to the College and University. It is truly fitting that we honor Glenn this evening as he was the founding president of our Alumni Society Board of Directors, serving from 1968 to 1971. After his presidency, he continued to serve on the Board from 1974 to 1987.
Glenn and Nancy's philanthropic support of the College includes a trustee scholarship and three other endowed scholarships. They also created endowments in the Center for the Performing Arts and the College of Health and Human Development.
Glenn will always be remembered for his passion for uplifting the lives of students and as a loyal supporter of the College of Education and Penn State University. Dean David H. Monk told the Penn Stater magazine shortly after Glenn's passing that, "Education, in his mind, was the touchstone of how you move forward."
Lisa Talley received the Outstanding Teaching award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17. This award recognizes a classroom teacher. Selection is made on the basis of overall excellence in teaching methodologies, knowledge of subject matter and ability to inspire students.
Talley is a 2002 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She continues her professional development by taking courses at Learning Sciences International.
Talley has spent the majority of her career making a difference in communities in Tanzania, especially for Morogo International School and St. Constantine International School. Inside the classroom, her critical contributions to creating engaging lesson plans have brought to her students key lessons in writing, communications and the arts.
Talley has an extraordinary ability to go beyond the realm of her job description, transforming schools and inspiring her colleagues and students along the way. She voluntarily joined her schools’ advisory councils to help develop professional development programs having to do with instruction, increase parental involvement and create fundraising strategies, like implementing a Tanzanian art and music festival. Talley is a model specimen of a teacher leader.
Gabriel Maldonado Rivera, former headmaster of St. Constantine International School, said, “Lisa is a smart, funny, loyal, respectful, critical (in the positive sense), easy to get along with colleague, who is always willing to help and go the extra mile. She is a joy to work with and she is highly appreciated, trusted, and looked-up-to by her more junior teachers. She is a model experienced, energetic teacher — a mover and shaker… I saw her as a key player of my administration and one of the teacher leaders whom I most depend on to ‘gather the troops and lead the charge.’”
Dr. Joseph H. Clapper received the Leadership & Service award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17. This award recognizes those alumni who have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions—in or out of the field of education— as leaders within a career, a community or to society in general.
Clapper received a D.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Penn State in 1992. He also received two degrees from Shippensburg University: a master of education in educational administration in 1984 and a bachelor of science in education in 1978
Clapper has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, supervisor of instruction, assistant superintendent and superintendent among four school districts, including Quaker Valley School District. He has also served at the college level as a field experience coordinator, professor, staff development instructor and assistant professor of education.
Clapper now serves as assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. He is active with numerous professional organizations.
Under Clapper’s leadership, all schools in the Quaker Valley School District were named “National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.” His focus on student achievement led to the development of a curriculum leadership framework as well as an award-winning, research-based model of teacher supervision and evaluation. Under Clapper’s leadership, the District adopted a multiple platform, K-12 technology model. Simultaneously, his critical leadership helped Quaker Valley Middle School during major renovations.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Heidi Ondek said of Clapper, “Such broad based organizational changes require dynamic, focused leadership and a relentless commitment to continuous improvement – all of which Dr. Clapper clearly possesses. Perhaps, however, the most effective and impressive aspect of his leadership is not only his ability to effect change, but rather, his amazing ability to sustain it.”
Robert Abraham '69 Sec Ed
Robert Abraham received the Service to Penn State award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17. This award recognizes alumni and friends who have made significant contributions of time and talent to the College and/or the University.
Abraham is a 1969 graduate of Penn State who earned a bachelor of science degree in Secondary Education while on wrestling scholarship. He continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a master’s degree in education in 1971. In 1984, he earned a juris doctorate from Duquesne University School of Law.
Abraham worked as a high school English teacher for nine years and eventually became an attorney and legal field manager for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, where he worked for over 20 years before retiring in 2008. He now spends his time as a part-time attorney, arbitrator, mediator and lecturer.
Abraham provides pro bono lectures twice each year at seminars offered by the Penn State Greater Allegheny Alumni Student Teacher Network. During these seminars, he provides students with an overview of the Pennsylvania School Code and case law as it pertains to causes for discharge, and he offers advice on how teachers can avoid potentially career-ending situations. In addition, he has given presentations on EdLion, at the Dickinson School of Law, and at Penn State’s Law and Education Institute.
Former colleague William Vitori said about Abraham, “Not only is he a committed and dedicated volunteer to the College of Education and to the student teacher whom he serves, but also to the entire Pennsylvania State University… He bleeds blue and white.”
Christine Franklin received the Outstanding New Graduate award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17. This award recognizes recent graduates who have distinguished themselves in their new careers. Selection is made on the basis of an individual’s advancement and excellence in a new job, in or out of the field of education.
Franklin is a 2011 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in workforce education and development. Before attending Penn State, she studied sociology at Lock Haven University from 1985-1989, earned a cosmetology license in 1993 and cosmetology teachers license in 1994 from Empire Beauty School in Harrisburg and associate of arts degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management as well as a diploma in catering from Harrisburg Area Community College in 2007. She recently graduated from Messiah College in Grantham with a masters of education in special education in August of 2014.
Franklin accepted her first teaching position as a cosmetology supervisor and instructor at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School, where she currently works. Even though she had no teaching experience, she has dedicated her efforts to improving student achievement. One remarkable way she enhanced her program is by including community service work as part of her curriculum, requiring students to organize cut-a-thons that benefit local charities.
Franklin diligently evaluates her students and settles for no less than first-rate work, but not before using multiple strategies to support student learning. Her commitment to helping all students achieve success in the cosmetology industry, including those with learning disabilities, has motivated her to continue her education in the area of special education.
Principal of Perry Area Vocational Technical School Diane Franklin said, “Ms. Franklin is an exemplary teacher who has distinguished herself as a leader in her field as someone who cares deeply about her students and their learning. She not only cares that they master the curricular content of her program and develop the procedures needed to succeed in the field of cosmetology, but that they succeed in life as well.”
Chris Pierangeli, a 2013 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (social studies option), received the Outstanding Student Teaching award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17.
When Pierangeli student-taught five eighth grade social studies classes at Tamaned Middle School in Warrington, Pennsylvania, he confidently displayed his professionalism every day inside and outside of the classroom. Pierangeli exceeded the expectations of the teachers he served as he crafted engaging lesson plans utilizing technology and differentiation. Even though his classroom’s Smart Board was installed only a day before his unit plan, he tirelessly reworked his lessons to integrate interactive activities for his students.
Pierangeli helped supervise homeroom and resource periods, attended faculty and department meetings, experienced the rigors of IEP accommodations, took advantage of the professional development opportunities afforded by the district and volunteered at least three nights a week after school to help coach for the seventh grade soccer team.
Diane Goluboff, university supervisor of the Penn State College of Education Office of Curriculum and Instruction Field Experiences said, “Christopher Pierangeli shows all the early signs of becoming an exceptional educator… He is ready to take on the challenges and responsibilities of his own social studies classroom and work cooperatively with peers and other educational professionals for the well-being and education of the children under his care.”
After graduation, Pierangeli gained employment substitute teaching at Tohickon Middle School in Central Bucks School District. While he was there, he also coached the seventh grade baseball team. Pierangeli will return to Central Bucks School District in a split position between the high school and two middle schools.
Carly Kleinfeld, a 2014 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in childhood and early adolescent education (pre-kindergarten through fourth grade option), received the Outstanding Student Teaching award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17.
Kleinfeld displayed high levels of professionalism, positivity and determination while student-teaching at Standing Stone Elementary School in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. In addition to attending professional development offerings, participating in curricular events and creating thorough lesson plans for her students, Kleinfeld went beyond the minimum requirements of a student-teacher.
Kleinfeld independently researched the “Give With Target” grant through Target Corporation and raised $332 for a school program that sends food and supplies to students in need.
Kleinfeld endured a trying circumstance in the final weeks of the school year when her mentor teacher had to leave the classroom because of a tragic family situation. Kleinfeld collaborated with the school guidance counselor to explain to the students what happened, allow them to express themselves and ask questions and create cards for their teacher. Kleinfeld became the primary teacher for the remainder of the year.
Helen Kidd, Kleinfeld’s teacher mentor, said, “Carly showed her maturity and strong character during my absence when my husband unexpectedly passed away. Through all of these challenges, she remained positive, flexible, and determined to meet the needs of the students… Her dedication and devotion to the students, coupled with her desire to better herself clearly indicate that she would be a welcome asset to any school district.”
After graduating in May, Kleinfeld was a substitute teacher in a district close to her home in New Jersey. She spent her summer working as a camp counselor at Spring Lake Day Camp in Ringwood, New Jersey. Kleinfeld is now employed as a guided study math teacher at Kiel Elementary School in Kinnelon, New Jersey, and is optimistic that it will lead to her dream of becoming a classroom teacher.
Andrew Cordrey, a 2014 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (social studies option), received the Outstanding Student Teaching award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17.
Cordrey completed with distinction his student-teaching practicum in social studies in two seventh-grade classes and three ninth-grade classes at Tamanend Middle School in Warrington, Pennsylvania. Cordrey attended faculty and team meetings, dealt with Individualized Education Program accommodations, worked with special education support staff, attended parent conferences and took advantage of professional development opportunities. Additionally, he assisted coaching the seventh-grade boys’ basketball team.
Cordrey connected with his students through his interactive lesson plans, especially one that sent his students around the school building, interacting and exchanging goods as though they were traversing on the Silk Road. Cordrey built assessment into activities so he could adjust the plan for greater student learning as needed.
John Heisey, Cordrey’s teacher mentor, said, “I can say with utmost confidence that his broad knowledge of pedagogy, his relentless worth ethic, his affinity for children and content, and most importantly, his ceaseless desire for learning and self-improvement will make him an asset to any school district fortunate enough to have him.”
Cordrey is currently teaching ninth grade western civilization and tenth grade cultural studies at Unionville High School in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Meredith Semion, a 2014 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in childhood and early adolescent education (pre-kindergarten to fourth grade option), received the Outstanding Student Teaching award at Penn State University’s College of Education Alumni Society Awards Banquet on Oct. 17.
In addition to attending school functions, in-service days and faculty meetings, Semion developed an excellent rapport with the students of Marion-Walker Elementary School during her student teaching assignment. Semion mastered the skills of positive reinforcement, classroom behavior control, effective communication and sensitivity to students with special needs.
Semion’s creativity in making lesson plans significantly motivated students to actively participate. As a result, she conducted a classroom where all children felt confident to work together, share and learn. Specifically, Semion’s individual work with a student with autism transformed his learning outcomes.
University supervisor Kathleen Sillman said, “Meredith began her student teaching with a natural ability and disposition to be a teacher, and continued to develop these skills to help children learn as much as possible. Overall, Meredith is very creative, insightful, respectful, responsible, caring, and professional. She will be an excellent addition to any classroom where her children enjoy learning, and her colleagues will benefit by working with a true team player.”
Semion is currently teaching first grade in Lancaster, California. She plans to obtain a masters in administration in the future.
By Samantha Schwartz (October 2014)