Morristown, N.J. (July 1, 2015) – Nicole Francis, Elementary/Early Childhood and Special Education, '15, was named a New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher by the State Department of Education in late June. She joined 14 other award winners from across the state who received this prestigious award during ceremonies held at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. Two additional CSE students – Jessica Canales, History, '15, and Katie Cooper, Elementary/Early Childhood Education, '15 were among 44 students statewide nominated for the award.
Nicole, who is from Hope, N.J., student taught at Kings Road Elementary School in Madison, N.J., where she had two cooperating teachers, Sara Kolesar and Kelly Hoekstra, who was also recognized with a Cooperating Teacher Award.
"I worked really hard and learned so much from my student teaching experience. I was in a beautiful, supportive school and I had an amazing cooperating teacher who worked with me to help me grow immensely as an educator," said Nicole. "The experience I received throughout the education program at CSE, being placed in all the varying school settings, helped me feel comfortable in a professional learning environment. I felt very prepared, especially in the field of special education."
Representatives of CSE faculty and administration attended the ceremony, including Joseph Ciccone, director of education programs, Patricia Heindel, dean of professional studies, Sister Teresa Bruno, program director, undergraduate teacher education, and Deborah Tulloch, associate professor of education.
"Nicole demonstrates a value-based belief system which is readily seen in her unique, patient mannerisms, her perceptiveness as she values each person, and especially in her commitment to excellence," said Sister Teresa. "She will provide the educational profession the honor and respect needed to make a difference in the learning community and especially in the lives of the children she will teach."
Tulloch added, "Nicole is uniquely dedicated and skilled to meet the diversity of her students' needs in classrooms. She developed and implemented an Honors Program education independent research study on the effects of childhood anxiety on the learning of young children. She not only has an outstanding academic record, but the professional dispositions of the effective contemporary educators that are needed in school settings today and in the future."