College of Education

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Teacher takes alternative pathway to her dream

April 13, 2022 / by / 0 Comment

Maria Vinch had been a social worker and an office worker, but the kind of work she really wanted was to teach children. In August, she stood in front of a fourth grade class in Sierra Vista, Arizona, for the first time thanks to the Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach program, which helped her learn the skills needed for a teaching certificate. It’s a vital pathway for professionals to get in the classroom and help ease Arizona’s dire teacher shortage. Vinch is part of the second cohort, which already has provided 30 teacher candidates the opportunity.

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She left school to aid sister, returned to set example

December 21, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Aliyah Stanford always knew a college education was a ticket out of her circumstances. But she had to quit. Her younger sister was struggling and needed help. Stanford told her sister to come to Phoenix, where she would get her enrolled in high school and even drive her to basketball games. But it gnawed on Aliyah to return to her studies, and last Friday with her sister cheering her on, she graduated from GCU. “I just wanted to make a difference and be there for her,” Aliyah said. “I didn’t know if I’d ever go back to school. But I didn’t give up.”

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GCU conference aims to heal with character

December 03, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

GCU is known for building community with character. The Building Virtues Conference: Character Education in a Changing World, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13, is another example of its efforts. The College of Education’s free all-day event in GCU Arena is for students, faculty and University partners. Experts and peers will share experiences and strategies to infuse virtues into everyday professional practice. ““Character education is the idea that we can support individuals and communities by teaching character traits, the idea that if we can teach character traits we can help society flourish,” said COE Dean Dr. Meredith Critchfield of the conference, funded by Kern Family Foundation and available via livestream or in person by registering by midnight Dec. 6.

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GCU alum is Instagram hit with students, teachers

November 29, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Shay Quitno was terrified. She couldn’t sleep. It was her first day ever of teaching a class after graduating from GCU last spring. Quitno shared those feelings on Instagram, a project by the College of Education to chronicle the first year of a COE graduate in hopes that aspiring teachers and others can see what it’s like and learn from it. “Life with Shay” has been a social media hit. Quitno had more to say (and film) on a recent day in her classroom at Hermosa Vista Elementary School in Mesa, where it was evident her training overcame rookie teacher anxiety.

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Educators share their passions behind teaching

November 19, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Jason Cantanese, a math teacher at Pueblo Del Sol Elementary School in Phoenix, learned early in his career that the school didn’t offer algebra. He knew his students needed it to succeed, and he came up with a creative way to make it happen. Cantanese was one of four panelists at the College of Education’s Virtual Dean Speakers Series Wednesday, and his story revealed why he wanted to teach, a theme of the event. “If you are in a classroom and see a problem, don’t wait. You can be part of that change,” he said.

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Aspiring teachers wooed at expo — even to Alaska

November 17, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

Most of the Promenade was lined with tables set up by school district representatives Tuesday, eager to hire GCU’s aspiring teachers. Nearly all of the recruiters were at the Lopes Leap to Teach & Lead career expo were from Arizona, but Mark Vingoe stood behind his table covered with a map of Alaska. Sure, the temperature was 4 degrees below zero there on Tuesday, an 85-degree difference from the GCU campus. But they need teachers, and he was promising adventure.

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Wishes come true for alums via Fiesta Bowl Charities

November 09, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

GCU alumnus Kennent Sandoval was discouraged. He had a lot of students at Maurice C. Cash Elementary School who wanted to join band but not enough instruments. He wished for more and made the wish to the right people. The Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers granted him $2,500 in its program that supports teachers who often use their own money to equip classrooms. Sandoval joined 38 GCU alumni granted wishes last week and several who shared their wishes in a celebration on Zoom with COE leaders.

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‘So you walk out with a degree and friends’

October 18, 2021 / by / 3 Comments

An unexpected thing happened on the journey toward walking the stage at GCU Commencement for a group of reading teachers from the East Valley. They became great friends. The group of 11 started their studies for the Master of Arts in Reading Education when the pandemic began, facing tough times of changing classroom arrangements and the shift from meeting in person to online for their GCU courses. Then they started to open up to each other about their struggles and celebrations, including two weddings. On Friday they accepted their degrees together, surrounded by new friends.

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GCU alum wins Diamondbacks’ teaching award

October 04, 2021 / by / 1 Comment

Ali Nelson found herself standing on a professional baseball field Sunday, right in front of high-priced professional athletes warming up for the Arizona Diamondbacks game. She teaches fourth grade at Sunnyslope School in Phoenix. The GCU alumna was among 10 teachers honored as Diamondbacks Most Valuable Teacher in STEM, an award inspired by Honeywell. She was given $1,000 for classroom supplies, a jersey featuring her name and cheers from the crowd in a pre-game fete. But she says it’s what she picked up GCU that helped last year during the pandemic, her first in teaching: It’s all about caring for students and making sure they know you believe in them.

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Cicogna writes and teaches literature of lessons

September 30, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

When Emil Cicogna couldn’t get his students to read as a high school teacher, he brought in copies of his own manuscript. The students were captivated by the story of an 1885 family and learned valuable lessons about the Industrial Revolution. He said half of them had never read an entire book before. Today, as an Online Fulltime Faculty member of GCU’s College of Education, he encourages teacher candidates to incorporate literature into their lessons of history and other subjects. And his manuscript became a published trilogy, recently finding a home in the Lopes for Literacy Multicultural Library.

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