coE-News: March 4, 2011, Vol. 6, No. 3

March 4, 2011                                                                                                                 Vol. 6, No. 3 You’re reading coE-News, an electronic newsletter produced several times a year by the College of Education News & Communications Office to keep faculty, […]


March 1, 2011



March 4, 2011                                                                                                                 Vol. 6, No. 3

You’re reading coE-News, an electronic newsletter produced several times a year by the College of Education News & Communications Office to keep faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends up-to-date on college news, activities and achievements.

GOT NEWS? We want to hear it. Submit individual or unit news and calendar events of collegewide interest to for publication consideration. All submissions must be in writing or via e-mail and must include contact information for follow-up questions.


Dean Emihovich to step down in August, will remain on faculty

UF College of Education Dean Catherine Emihovich (right) has announced she will step down from her leadership post in August to return to full-time teaching and research as a tenured professor on the COE faculty. (more)

Teacher leadership degree program, used in Master Teacher initiative, earns national distinction

The college’s popular Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) graduate degree program, a key component of UF’s groundbreaking Florida Master Teacher Initiative, recently won the Association of Teacher Educators’ coveted 2011 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award. (more)

Visit the college home page for links to these and other reports about College activities, accomplishments and faculty-staff-student-alumni news and achievements.

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College News & Notices

Capitol Hill summons Brownell (again) to weigh in on special ed legislation

For the second time in recent months, federal lawmakers have sought the expertise of UF special education professor Mary Brownell (right), inviting her to Capitol Hill in early January to deliver a policy brief on controversial federal legislation that allows states to classify teaching interns as “highly qualified” teachers–so they can meet a standard set in the federal No Child Left Behind law. Critics have assailed the new amendment, saying the less experienced interns are disproportionately assigned to schools with mostly poor and minority students. (more)

George Lucas Foundation blog cites UF as model for innovative teacher education

Teacher preparation programs across the nation “have been taking a lot of heat” lately. But education blogger Anne O’Brien, deputy director of the Learning First Alliance, in her recent blog on the George Lucas Foundation’s “edutopia” website, cites UF’s teacher education model as an innovative example of preparing teachers the right way. The blog cites UF’s statewide university-school district partnerships and its heavy emphasis on clinical experiences from a student’s very first semester, when pre-service teachers work one-on-one with low-income and minority children who live in public housing neighborhoods. O’Brien also describes UF’s partnering with several districts around the state serving larger populations of ESOL students, so its graduates will be better equipped to serve them. Here’s the link to the complete blog:

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Awards & Appointments


Sondra Smith-AdcockUNC-Greensboro taps Smith-Adcock for alumni excellence honor

The counseling and educational department at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro has chosen UF counselor education associate professor Sondra Smith-Adcock to receive its 2011 Alumni Excellence Award. The annual honor recognizes graduates whose professional activities and achievements exemplify excellence in the field. Smith-Adcock earned her Ph.D. from UNC-G in 1997 and joined the UF faculty in 1999.

Maureen ConroyConroy named editor of Behavioral Disorders Journal

The Council for Children’s Behavioral Disorders has appointed Maureen Conroy, UF professor of special education and early childhood education, as co-author of Behavioral Disorders Journal, its flagship publication. CCBD is a division of the Council for Exceptional Children. Kevin Sutherland of Virginia Commonwealth was named co-editor.


Global reading association honors doctoral student for outstanding dissertation

UF doctoral student Jennifer Manak, from STL’s language, literacy and culture program, has been chosen to receive the International Reading Association’s Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award. For her dissertation research, she examined the impact of interactive read-alouds of mentor texts on the writing of third graders during writing workshop. Professor Linda Lamme, who retired last year, was Manak’s doctoral committee chair. An article based on Manak’s dissertation will be published in an upcoming issue of Reading Research Quarterly. While working toward her doctorate, Manak is an assistant professor in elementary and early childhood education at Bridgewater (Mass.) State University. Jennifer Graff, a 2007 EduGator graduate, won the same award two years ago.

Alumni & Friends

Ronald Blocker

Blocker named superintendent of year

COE alum Ronald Blocker (MEd ’76, EdS ’76, marriage and family counseling), the superintendent of schools for Orange County since 2000, has been named Florida’s 2011 Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. Blocker is president-elect of the association.

EduGator who nearly dropped out of school is named county’s top teacher

A UF College of Education alumnus who almost dropped out of high school is Alachua County’s 2011 Teacher of the Year. Michael Testa (MEd ’05, social studies ed, EdS ’09, ed leadership), a social studies teacher at Gainesville’s Buchholz High, was named the top teacher for the school district in UF’s home county. He will represent Alachua County this summer in the Florida Teacher of the Year program. (more)

(See related story in The Gainesville Sun

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P.K. Yonge Update

Extreme makeover will transform UF’s lab school into ‘technological powerhouse’

It won’t take a magician to make the G-wing of P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School disappear. A ground-breaking ceremony Feb. 14 marked the official start of demolition of the elementary wing to make way for the school’s new elementary building. The project is the first phase of a total campus revitalization that will transform the college’s K-12 laboratory school into a model “21st century technological powerhouse.”  (more)

‘Hairspray’ tickets still available for March performances

"Hairspray" art logo

Advance tickets for “Hairspray,” the upcoming spring hit musical staged by the PKY performing arts program, are going fast but are still available. Evening shows at the school’s Performing Arts Center are scheduled for March 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26, with afternoon performances at 2 p.m. on March 20, 26 and 27. Ticket information is available on the PAC website or by phone at the PAC box office at 352-392-1850. Order now while seats are still available!

Gotta Twitch?

If you just can’t wait until the “Hairspray” performances, you can catch the PKY High School Thespians’ award-winning one-act production of “Twitch!” next Thursday or Friday, March 10-11, at 7 p.m. at the Nadine MacGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion (Studio G15), adjacent to UF’s Reitz Union.

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