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Recent Alumna is Honored with the NJ Distinguished Student Teacher Award

07/01/2013, 02:32 PM

Hackettstown, N.J. – Michelle  McElwee, a resident of Chester and a May 2013 Centenary College alumna, was one of 15 individuals honored with the New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award recently at Rider University in Lawrenceville.  This is the second year in a row that a Centenary graduate has been selected for this prestigious title.

The ceremony was hosted by the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the awards were administered by the New Jersey State Department of Education. 

McElwee was nominated for this honor, along with two other Centenary students.  Dr. Linda Schwartz Green, Professor of Education and Graduate Program Director of Special Education at Centenary College, felt strongly about nominating McElwee for this opportunity.

“I have worked with countless student teachers in the past 23 years and Michelle is one of the best,” says Dr Schwartz Green.  “She has distinguished herself as a student teacher in so many ways.  Michelle is creative and intuitive, and has a wonderful way of understanding individual learning needs, and designing instruction to meet those needs.  Her commitment to education and to children goes beyond the classroom.  I am thrilled, but not at all surprised, that she was selected for this coveted honor.”

According to McElwee, who did her student teaching and practicum at Allamuchy Township School in Allamuchy, under the direction of Ms. Chickey and Mrs. Sabol, she felt it was important to teach like she would want to learn. 

“I feel that it is important to make the whole learning process one that is interactive,” says McElwee.  “I really emphasize thinking outside of the walls of the classroom, not just teaching straight out of a textbook.”

She incorporates technology within the classroom through the use of iPads in a variety of lessons to meet the needs of her students and help bring lessons alive.  She has also used innovative methods of collaboration by connecting her fourth grade students with two sections of Dr. Green’s Language Development, Literacy and Communication in Special Education class to engage in meetings with the college students on how to better their editing and writing skills and, as a result, fostering a mutually beneficial learning experience for both parties.

McElwee graduated with a 3.996 G.P.A. and was honored with the Welsh Prize Award from Centenary College for having the second-highest grades in her class.  Always inspired by learning, she knew since she was in first grade that she wanted to become a teacher. 

“I told my first grade teacher to save a spot for me,” says McElwee.  “She inspired me so much that I knew then that I wanted to come back to teach!”

She graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts and Elementary Education and holds a Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certificate.  It is her goal to secure a teaching position for September.

Whatever the future holds for Michelle McElwee, one thing is certain, she is destined for a bright future in the field of teaching!

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary College’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.

Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for study abroad.