“Foundational to Your Career”: What Alumni Are Saying About the School of Education’s Student-Centered Faculty

School of Education faculty are expert scholars and teachers who lead in inclusive and antiracist practice, equity-driven research, and experiential learning rooted in campus and community partnerships. Strongly dedicated to student-centered instruction, for undergraduate and graduate students alike they become close advisors, valued mentors, and research partners.

In their own words, faculty describe their teaching philosophy as “empathy-centered, empowering students to become transformative educators and advocates” (Professor Dawn Johnson) and “heart-centered, focusing on environment and place, and cultivating student voice” (Professor Nicole Fonger). In turn, here’s what former students have to say about the School of Education’s thought-leaders.

Carol Willard headshot“The School of Education helps you understand the relationship between the science of teaching and the art of teaching. Its excellent mentors are student centered, reflective, committed to teacher preparation, and open about their teaching practices. They lay the foundation for preparing highly effective and dedicated school personnel.”
—Carol Willard G’15, Ph.D., Teaching and Curriculum


Ashley Smith-Purviance headshot“Having faculty of color who looked like me and who took the time to understand what my experience was like as a first-generation student was important to me.”
—Ashley Smith-Purviance G’14, Higher Education


Marcia Ranieri headshot“The School of Education offers amazing professors, dedicated field experiences, helpful mentors, constructive feedback, welcomed reflection on practice, and dedicated time to learn your craft.”
—Marcia Ranieri G’09, Educational Leadership


Phillandra Smith headshot“I know my professors always have 10 million things to do, but I never felt like I was less of a priority whenever we spoke. I aspire to emulate this.”
—Phillandra Smith G’22, Ph.D., Special Education; CAS, Disability Studies


Rachel Pastrich headshot“The experience you get from the School of Education will set you up for success. The professors want to see you succeed, and they are there for support.”
—Rachel Pastrich ’15, Selected Studies in Education; G’16, Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation


SOE Pennant“A student should choose Syracuse University School of Education because the teachers are great, the classes are very helpful, and you learn so much that you can apply to everyday life. SOE helped me become the professional teacher I am today.”
—Jane Arold G’16, Early Childhood Special Education


Ashanti Hunter headshot“I am grateful to my professors. They present information with no filter, even though some of it’s rather heavy. They create a safe space for us to learn what we—and our future students—need to be ready for.”
—Ashanti Hunter ’22, Inclusive Early Childhood Special Education


Katie Rowan Thompson headshot“Everybody at Syracuse—my professors, coaches, and teammates—helped make me who I am today. I couldn’t be more grateful to them.”
—Katie Rowan Thomson ’09, G’10, Inclusive Elementary and Special Education


SOE Pennant“The School of Education is foundational to your career—professors guide you onto the correct career path and support you on your journey!”
—Amanda Van Auken ’08, Selected Studies in Education; G’09, Early Childhood Special Education


Rebecca Groat headshot“At the School of Education, I had excellent professors who were honest with their feedback and realistic in their instruction. I got to know myself better as an individual and a leader.”
—Rebecca Groat G’06, CAS, Educational Leadership


Nkenge Bergan headshot“SOE ensures educators are able to go into any educational setting fully prepared and extremely confident. The programs are innovative, intentional, and focused on current learners, and they are taught by world-class, highly skilled practitioners.”
—Nkenge Bergan ’95, Inclusive Elementary Education


Heather Waymouth headshot“There is not one aspect of my current job that I wasn’t prepared to handle, thanks to the School of Education. I think the most important component was—and continues to be—the very close relationships developed with faculty and my peers.”
—Heather Waymouth G’19, Ph.D., Adolescent Literacy


Dana Zeidler headshot“SOE faculty are exceptional scholars, tempered by insightful awareness of the practical realities and concerns of K-12 and higher education. Students will be able to tap the rich resources of a diverse faculty and carve a meaningful path that will impact their schools and students.”
—Dana Zeidler G’78, G’82, Ph.D., Science Education