Pegeen H. Jensen, M.S. '89, CGS/Teacher Leadership '12
For more than two decades, Pegeen Jensen has been a highly respected teacher of children in grades K through 3. She is also a well-known instructor and mentor to her colleagues in guiding young children how to write.
Jensen has taught in the primary grades at the South Colonie School District for 24 years and started her twenty-fifth year last fall as a third grade teacher. She also is the literacy facilitator and Summer Literacy coordinator for her building, Saddlewood Elementary. In fact, according to University at Albany Department of Reading Chair and Associate Professor Virginia Goatley, Jensen is one of a generation of “teacher leaders” recognized for their “strong content knowledge and for providing professional development.”
Goatley continued: “Pegeen exemplifies the concept of a teacher leader in numerous ways. For example, though she did not need any additional graduate coursework, she enrolled in our UAlbany Certificate of Teacher Leadership program to learn more about how to teach teachers. Her goal was to make sure she continued to reflect on her practice and revise her professional development offerings to draw on recent and current models of practice.” Pegeen's coursework has allowed her to lead colleagues through curricula”r challenges while keeping student needs in the forefront.
In addition, she plays an active role in UAlbany’s M.S. in literacy degree. Over the last 10 years, the University has placed graduate students in her classroom to provide them with a field experience in learning how to teach children to write. Pegeen’s classroom is an excellent example of effective instruction on writing and our students always come back with numerous examples to share with their peers,” Goatley added. In recent years, Jensen also has taught the writing course in the M.S. program.
Peter Johnston, Vincent O’Leary Professor in UAlbany’s reading department, said: “I’ve spent a lot of time in her classroom, and I’ve documented some of the terrific ways she engages her students, particularly the language she uses in the process. … Because of Pegeen’s wonderful writing instruction and her grasp of the theory of teaching writing, my department asked her to teach our graduate-level class Teaching Writing, B-6. Her students rated her as an instructor as a 5.0 on a five-point scale.” One student-evaluator commented, “Pegeen is one of the most amazing teachers I have had throughout my entire school career!” Another said, “I learned so much new information, I cannot wait to apply it to my future classroom.”
A recipient of the New York State Reading Association (NYSRA) Literacy Educator of the Year Award, Jensen serves her district in many capacities, including grade level coordinator and member of Saddlewood's Site Base Committee and the Language Arts Instructional Council. She leads South Colonie teachers in a wide variety of study groups, in-services and book clubs. Other Capital Region schools, such as Guilderland and Scotia-Glenville, have turned to her for professional development for their teachers.
“I have met many excellent teachers,” Johnston concluded, “but Pegeen is the embodiment of what we want our alumni to stand for.”
Ellen McCarville Sullivan M.S. '79
As an educator, Ellen Sullivan interacts with teachers, principals, superintendents, New York State Department of Education staff, state lawmakers, business leaders and others who support schools and students. But she is also “a visionary who is always looking five years ahead to plan for the possibilities and challenges that will confront teacher education,” said Virginia Goatley, chair and associate professor in the Department of Reading at the University at Albany.
Sullivan is assistant in Educational Services at the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) where she coordinates NYSUT’s implementation of the Federal Investing in Innovation grant on teacher evaluation and development. “Almost ten years ago, I presented at a session where Ellen raised ideas about National Board Certification that unfolded as the years progressed,” Goatley remembered. “Her views about professional development for teachers have been profound and insightful. She is always thinking ahead and enacting plans that lead to the next steps for education.”
A Department of Reading alumna and former classroom teacher, Sullivan “has used her excellent background, knowledge, and range of community qualities effectively for many years,” added Goatley. “Ellen has an enormous capacity to stay current on policy, grant opportunities, professional development programs, national initiatives, and other critical components of education.” Goatley said that she and many other education professionals seek out Sullivan for information and for her “insightful reflections.”
As longtime director of the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center, Sullivan “was knowledgeable about many of the supporting structures, such as budgets, finance, grant writing, and regulations that are critical components of new policies and practices,” said Goatley. Prior to joining the Center, Sullivan was the education director for the Junior Museum of Troy, education coordinator for the Albany Institute of History and Art and instructor and education assistant at Hudson Valley Community College. She also has been an adjunct professor at the College of St. Rose teaching business communication.
Lynn Macan, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for upstate New York’s Cobleskill-Richmondville School District, has known and worked with Sullivan for more than 15 years. “Ellen has served education in so many different aspects: from teaching to administration, children to adults. … In an era when teacher leadership has become essential, and wherein leadership does not have to equate to becoming an administrator, Ellen has been such a resource and supporter for teachers who strive to lead, and to make a difference.”
Macan described Sullivan as “a visionary,” adding that the educator’s work in National Board Certification and her longtime service with the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center “catapulted many a teacher into deeper and more meaningful work – the kind that was part of their calling to become educators. Additionally, she has influenced the growth of countless administrators, including me, by the example that she has set in interactions, the resources that she has brought forth, and the projects that she has collaboratively brought to fruition with assorted administrators. Ellen is unique in the reach that she has had throughout her career.”