Release Date: 8/28/2013
As University of the Ozarks enters its 179th year, the University's Division of Education is celebrating its status as one of the most well-respected teacher education programs by sponsoring its first event specifically for high school students interested in teacher education.
Ozarks' first Future Educator Day is scheduled for March 12, 2014, and will allow high school students interested in teaching to meet the education faculty at Ozarks, tour campus, and meet with current U of O education students.
Dr. Glenda Ezell, chair of the Division of Education, said the faculty and staff in the teacher education program at Ozarks are excited about the opportunity to showcase the program.
"Ozarks has the reputation of having the best teacher education program in this region," Ezell said. "We are very selective in admitting candidates who have the knowledge and skills required to uphold the legacy. We have small classes, therefore, faculty members are able to give each candidate the guidance and feedback needed to hone their teaching skills. Our candidates have multiple field experiences with excellent teachers who share their expertise with them."
The proof that Ozarks' education program provides a solid foundation for its students comes from graduates who are in the field using their skills and knowledge.
Tadera Garland, a 2012 graduate, is entering her second year as a special education teacher at Lamar Middle School in Lamar, Ark. She said Ozarks' faculty helped prepare her for what she would face in the classroom.
"Education isn't just a program you graduate from in college; it's a promise of lifetime learning that you have to fulfill," Garland said. "Ozarks' teacher education program provides you with the tools necessary to become an effective educator. Ozarks has two of the best teachers I have ever had. Dr. Ezell and Dr. [Shelli] Henehan are both wonderful professors who have taught in numerous settings. Their vast experiences and array of knowledge concerning education is phenomenal. I have learned so much from them."
2012 Ozarks education graduate Tadera Garland (center) poses with Ozarks teacher education faculty (from left) Dr. Michael McManus, Dr. Glenda Ezell, Dr. Shelli Henehan and Janie Chappell following the 2012 Commencement. Garland is beginning her second year of teaching at Lamar (Ark.) Middle School.
Kelli Welsh, a 2008 Ozarks graduate, spent the last few years teaching at the American School in Kuwait before returning to her home state of Texas this year to teach second grade in the Dallas Independent School District
"My favorite thing about the Ozarks' education program was that it had small class sizes, and our professors cared a lot about us," Walsh said. "The class sizes and personable faculty made our classes extremely interactive. We also had plenty of time to observe classes in the school districts, and our professors made a point to check in with us and have their office doors open to talk."
According to Ezell, school administrators are familiar with the education program at Ozarks and want graduates from Ozarks working in their schools.
"I work with superintendents and administrators from all over this region and I consistently hear from them that they choose to hire Ozarks' teacher education graduates whenever possible," Ezell said. "They know Ozarks' graduates are very well-prepared and can assume the duties required of an effective educator from day one."
Part of what makes Ozarks education graduates so effective is the teacher education program's commitment to staying up to date with the latest standards and technology.
Jake Lee, a 2012 education graduate, currently teaches eighth grade science at Lamar Middle School. He said he felt prepared for his teaching duties as soon as he graduated from Ozarks.
"I was well prepared for my first year of teaching because my professors discussed and implemented many of the new standards and ideas that were just coming out," Lee said. "It made me feel like I was a step ahead. When I interviewed for my current job, one of the gentlemen interviewing me said that he was familiar with Ozarks' education program and that, if I made it through that, then I would definitely be prepared for a job in this profession."
More information regarding Future Educator Day will be made available as the event gets closer. Anyone interested in attending Future Educator Day should contact the Admission Office at 479-979-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.