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TC Honors Alumni Achievements

Not all learning takes place in a classroom, and this year's six recipients of alumni awards are prime examples of the variety of ways educators reach out to students and the world at large.

The Alumni Awards Dinner that took place on November 12 at the Columbia Club honored four alumni who received Teachers College Distinguished Alumni Awards and two who received Early Career Awards in recognition of their achievements.

The Early Career Award is a relatively new category of distinction which made its debut at the 1998 Academic Homecoming. Two alumni who have graduated within the last ten years, are selected each year to be recognized for their achievements with this award. This year's winners, Angela Santomero ('95, M.A. Developmental Psychology) and Alice Wilder ('98, Ed.D. Educational Psychology) met at Teachers College and now work together to research and produce the award-winning children's television program, Blue's Clues.

Santomero, who is one of the creators of the program, brought Wilder in as Director of Research and Development from the very beginning because, she said, "We needed someone who was completely smart who could understand the kids and the show and bridge the gap between research and production." Wilder saw it as her opportunity to "take what I was learning about kids and apply it to the medium of television."

The show has been honored with two Television Critics Awards for Outstanding Children's Show in the last two years. It has also been nominated for 6 daytime Emmy awards, a Cable Ace Award and a T.V. Guide Award. Research on the impact of Blue's Clues has shown that viewers have more kindergarten readiness skills than non-viewers.

Media education is the field of one of the Distinguished Alumni Award winners, as well. Robert Lefranc ('47, M.A. Curriculum) was honored for his work as one of the most renowned media educators in Europe. Shortly after World War II, he was chosen by the Ministry of Education in Paris to develop a national audiovisual system, and became a pioneer in that country for using media and multi-media in education. Since 1963, he has been instrumental in the creation of distance education centers in France. His work extended to other parts of the world through his creating and managing educational technology centers in North and Central Africa and Eastern European countries. He also served as Secretary General of the International Council for Educational Media, bringing together the member countries for conferences on educational technology.

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Edith Brenner Everett shares Lefranc's trait of expanding education in other countries. Everett ('50, M.A. Student Personnel Administration) and her husband Henry founded and support the Everett School in Hatzor, Israel, the only school in that country that houses grades one through 12. They are also responsible for having brought orphans from Uganda to TC to perform music and dances for children from care centers such as Head Start. The Everetts also established the Everett Children's Adventure Garden within the New York Botanical Garden, to provide children and their families with the opportunity to learn about the natural world in a hands-on way.

As a member of the board of trustees of CUNY, Everett voiced her concern to make higher education available to everyone, and she helped establish English language immersion courses for students needing remedial assistance.

The Everetts' generosity has been experienced by Teachers College in the redesign and renovation of the Student Lounge, now known as Everett Lounge.

In addition to her work in providing educational opportunities to people here and abroad, Everett is an activist for public health, particularly in the fight against smoking. She is a member of STAT (Stop Teenage Addiction to Tobacco).

The other two Distinguished Alumni Award winners are also involved in health and education issues. Bonnie Leadbeater ('86, Ph.D. Developmental Psychology) works with adolescents at risk to find the key to resilience in their lives. Leadbeater has researched how adolescent mothers were able to balance adversity with their resources and end up doing well. She also looked at depressed middle school students and examined the differences between boys and girls in their vulnerability to stressful times in their lives.

One way Leadbeater was able to reach out to help adolescents at risk was by creating a video in conjunction with Rock Solid Foundation, called Rock Solid: Children, Youth and Adults Creating a Responsive Environment for the Prevention of Youth Violence." The video provides parents and other adults with an action plan to take in the face of youth violence.

Margaret McClure was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award for her contributions to nursing administration and health care services ('65, M.A. and '72, Ed.D. Nursing Service Administration). Twenty-five years ago, McClure was a prime mover in the creation of the current legal definition of nursing practice. That definition legitimized nursing as an independent practice discipline. A retired Colonel in the United States Army Nurse Corps Reserve, McClure has served in a number of leadership positions in several major medical centers over the last 30 years. Recently, she created Health Information System, a patient-care system that is enhanced by technology.

The winners were each presented with a certificate noting their achievements, and each winner's name was mounted on the Distinguished Alumni wall that connects Main Hall and Russell Hall.

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