Stephanie C. Cugini 2012 Outstanding Roddenberry FellowMajor: Master of Education, Curriculum and InstructionFaculty Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Cornett
Stephanie Cugini is a teacher at Sandalwood High School where she has taught Algebra, Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Serving as Sandalwood's Math Department Chair, Stephanie has played a key role in developing strategies to facilitate learning in the classroom. In addition to her role as Math Chair, Stephanie serves as the Early College Club sponsor, secretary on the Shared Decision Making Committee, leads one of the Professional Learning Communities and commits herself to being an after-school tutor.
Last year, most of Stephanie's students improved one or two levels on the FCAT Math 2.0 and all of her Early College students demonstrated college-readiness in mathematics by the end of the school year. She believes that, "Our students' performance in math classes today directly affects their future academic and career success, and it is our responsibility to empower them to become independent, critical thinkers and problem solvers."
Sandalwood's Assistant Principal Wayne Chandler, says that Stephanie, "...has distinguished herself as one of the most valuable members of the Sandalwood faculty ...I have no doubt Mrs. Cugini will continue to excel in our profession and be a model for students and teachers alike."
Erica D. Dobson Major: Master of Education, Educational LeadershipFaculty Mentor: Dr. Sandra Gupton
Erica Dobson is beginning her ninth year teaching in Duval County Public Schools. She currently serves as the Math Coach at Henry F. Kite Elementary School. In this role, Erica conducts model lessons for new and veteran teachers, guides weekly grade-level trainings and actively participates with weekly Leadership Team meetings. In her spare time, Erica serves as an after-school tutor and works closely with The United Way, IMPACTJax and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Deirdra Johnson, principal at Kite Elementary, describes Erica as, "an intuitive instructional leader who bridges the gap between teaching children and leads her colleagues with poise and consideration". She continues by saying, "She is a model teacher who has had an incredible impact on the rigorous instructional focus for teachers and students."
Erica's commitment to teaching and improving her community comes from many of her life's experiences. "I believe that I can continue to make a difference through my teaching and through community service projects that focus on serving the indigent and the youth of our communities." After graduation, Erica plans to become a principal, which she hopes will allow her to, "share my passion and love for education with students, teachers and parents alike".
Katheryne Heller Major: Master of Education, Counselor EducationFaculty Mentor: Dr. Carolyn Stone
Katie Heller's mother and father are educators, so she has been immersed in teaching her entire life. For the past seven years, Katie has taught eighth grade American History at Oceanway Middle School.
She considers the subject of history to be important in the development of society because it helps students understand the present and how the present impacts the future. Katie believes in hands-on learning and encourages cooperation between parents, educators and administrators to ensure the success of her students.
Katie understands that even as a teacher, she never stops learning and truly enjoys the process. "As a teacher you have the ability to inspire and mold young minds. It's an amazing job, and not one that should be taken lightly." She regularly participates in professional development training and workshops centered on reading competency. She has coached volleyball for five years and enjoyed making an impact on students both on and off the court.
Wendy Dunlap a Guidance Specialist at Duval County Public Schools says, "Katie is not afraid to accept challenge and is receptive to learning new ideas. She is an asset in everything she is involved in."
Marla Hollan Major: Master of Education, Educational LeadershipFaculty Mentor: Dr. Judy Poppell
Marla Hollan is entering her fifth year as an educator in Duval County. She is an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher for kindergarten to fifth grade students at Mandarin Oaks Elementary School.
She has also served as the School Technology Coordinator (STC) for three years at Mandarin Oaks. In her role as the STC, she instructed other teachers and maintained all of the technology used. Marla continues to assist teachers with technology, however she has focused more time on her own education and family life at home. Her experiences working with technology in schools, have given her the desire to educate herself further in the ever-changing world of technology in the classroom. "I want to have an influence in making education better through the use of technology."
Rebecca Mackin, fellow teacher at Mandarin Oaks Elementary, says of Marla, "She loves to teach others how to integrate technology into the classroom, thus expressing her love for technology and children. She has been an inspiration to anyone who knows her and her willingness to share knowledge is very valuable to our school."
Marla believes that the Roddenberry Fellowship will allow her "the opportunity to advance in life and use that advancement to better the education of students and the future of our country". After earning her master's degree, Marla hopes to become a technology leader in a school.
Kelli Rennert Major: Master of Education, Counselor EducationFaculty Mentor: Dr. Carolyn Stone
Kelli Rennert teaches third grade at Richard L. Brown Elementary School and is committed to modeling best teaching practices. For her, this means creating effective planning and classroom management; building a solid relationship with the community by attending neighborhood events and being available to parents.
Kelli also serves students outside of the classroom. She tutors before and after school, makes home visits whenever necessary, hosts a monthly family math night, serves on the guidance advisory committee, is the grade level chairperson and is an active member of the Parent Teacher Organization. By the end of her first year as a teacher, she had visited every child's home and developed friendships with moms who continue to volunteer in her classroom.
Melody Campbell, Guidance Counselor at R. L. Brown Elementary, says that Kelli is, "extremely passionate about increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap ...Ms. Rennert motivates students towards reaching their potential and reaching their goals".
After earning her graduate degree, Kelli would like to become a professional school counselor and "uphold the position as one of advocate, change agent and social justice leader".
Kristin A. Schad Major: Master of Education, Elementary EducationFaculty Mentor: Dr. Katrina Hall
Kristin Schad has taught both first and third grades at Greenland Pines Elementary School and first grade ESOL at Kings Trail Elementary School. She participates in activities aimed at improving her teaching skills that will ultimately benefit her students. These activities include professional development workshops and taking graduate classes in order to pursue a higher education degree. In addition, she also helps her students by traveling to the Jacksonville Public Library on a bi-weekly basis to check-out books for her students to read.
Chiquita Rivers, former principal at Greenland Pines Elementary School, describes Kristin as, "an incredible teacher and a true asset to our school ...Miss Schad's conscientious and hardworking spirit has enabled her to do a phenomenal job in modeling best practices, collaborating with colleagues, and differentiating instruction to enhance teacher and student effectiveness". She notes that Kristin has a special way of connecting with students and parents. "Her ability to build small learning communities within her classroom is amazing!"
Kristin hopes to become a reading specialist in the future, giving her a chance to work with struggling readers that need individualized assistance in the classroom. Kristin believes becoming a reading specialist will help her "instill a love of reading in her students".