GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — A student teacher recognized by the state Department of Education credits her mentor at Southern Regional High School for the accomplishment, preparing her for when she has her own classroom someday.
“She (Kathleen Cornelius) has truly inspired me to continue to learn and reflect on my work so that I can be the best teacher that I can be for my students,” said Jalynn Pagano, who graduated summa cum laude in May from Stockton University , with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics.
Pagano, of Bayville, Ocean County, was one of 15 student teachers honored last Wednesday during the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern of the Year ceremony, a part of a collaborative program between the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Department of Education .
The program highlights top graduates at New Jersey’s 25 colleges and universities preparing to become the state’s future educators. Each school, since 1985, delegates its top three student teachers, and 15 are chosen by an independent board of educators and named distinguished clinical interns, Stockton said Tuesday.
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The university’s other nominees this year were Erin Flynn, of Beach Haven Crest, and Chelsea Williams, of Millville.
Flynn earned her certification in Early Childhood Education and worked with mentor Katelyn Micek, a second-grade teacher at Beach Haven School. Williams worked at the Fairfield Township School to earn her certification in Elementary Education. Her mentor was Shawna Beals-Rivera, a 2005 Stockton graduate, who also earned her master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from the university in 2009.
“We are extremely proud of Jalynn and all of our nominees,” said Claudine Keenan, Stockton’s dean of the School of Education. “This is a very competitive achievement, as it also includes graduate education students. This continues to be a challenging time for educators, and we appreciate the dedication of our student teachers, their teaching mentors and our partner school districts in helping guide the next generation of educators.”
Cornelius adored having her “true math geek” instruct her students. Pagano said the Southern Regional teacher exemplified the importance of building relationships with students and supporting them inside and outside the classroom, something Pagano may not have learned until she was given control of the chalkboard.
“I won the lottery when Jalynn was assigned to me,” Cornelius said. “She is enthusiastic, driven, smart, responsible, professional and most important – she cares deeply about kids and their educational experience.”
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