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Profiles

Preston Green (Ed.D. '95); Jane Katz (Ed.D. '78, M.E. '72); Maritza Macdonald (Ed.D. '95); Joyce Rafla (M.A. '13); Willie C. Robinson (Ed.D. '76)

The Third Degree For Preston Green, the classroom and the courtroom are inextricably linked

Preston GreenWhen his cousin died in 1988 in a drug-related shooting, Preston Green wondered about the kid who pulled the trigger. “How did he end up at this place in life?” asks Green (Ed.D. ’95), now the John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. “What if he had been presented with other opportunities?”

Green saw educational law and policy as one way to create better access to schooling, so after earning a Columbia law degree, he enrolled in Teachers College’s doctoral program in Education Administration. With Bruce Baker (Ed.D. ’97), he subsequently wrote several articles exposing racial inequalities in school funding — a collaboration that helped com­pel Kansas to address decades of discriminatory school appropriations. Green’s article on affirmative action was later cited in an amicus brief filed in the landmark Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, and he wrote the first book to address legal issues related to charter schools.

“As many districts move to all-charter systems, I want to spread awareness that charters argue that they are public in terms of funding but private in terms of teacher and student rights,” he says.

At Pennsylvania State University, Green broke new ground by de-veloping both a summer institute and a joint degree program in law and education. At UConn, his 12-credit online graduate school certificate in School Law enables educators, administrators and lawyers to explore issues surrounding student rights, school technology, disabilities and employment. Next up: a program in which working teachers will simulta­neously obtain a law degree and administrative certification.

“Programs combine law and business or law and health,” Green says. “So why not one for two fields whose issues intersect in so many important ways?” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

Connecting Science to People’s Lives At the American Museum of Natural History, Maritza Macdonald wants people to experience science, not just learn about it

McDonaldWe’re not a ‘don’t touch’ museum.” Maritza Macdonald (Ed.D. '95), Senior Director of Education and Policy at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), gestures at a model of an island village threatened by rising tides. “Every student needs to develop concepts by holding things in their hands and questioning their origins and purposes within a cultural or scientific context.”

With its revamped planetarium and exhibits on poisons and exotic butter­flies, AMNH has long been more than a venerable repository of cool stuff. But it broke new ground with its 2011 launch of the nation’s first museum-based master’s degree program for K-12 science teachers. Macdonald supports the program by developing partnerships with higher education institutions — including TC, where students in the College’s new TR@TC2 residency program are able to take courses at AMNH and vice versa — evalu­ating the effectiveness of museum exhibits and representing AMNH on the National Commission for 21st Century STEM Education and the New York State Regents Work Group.

Raised in a small village in Colombia, Mac­donald wrote her TC dissertation on knowledge required for teaching in a culturally and economi­cally diverse urban classroom and has since been honored as an Equity Champion by the Academy for Education Development. She is co-author, with her former TC advisor, Linda Darling-Hammond, of Powerful Teacher Education: Lessons from Exemplary Programs (Jossey-Bass, 2006). Above all, she believes museums’ visual and tactile components are ideal for educating students from diverse backgrounds.

“Everyone comes from somewhere and knows their own ecosystem,” Macdonald told Life Scienc­es Education. “They can use that prior knowledge to learn about other ecosystems.” At the museum, she believes, “we can all connect science with ourselves.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

Shelter in the Storm

Joyce Rafla is shaping education in Egypt during interesting times

RafiaCairo’s sandstorms have been fierce this year, but as a member of Egypt’s Specialized Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research, Joyce Rafla (M.A. '13) is where she wants to be: reshaping her country’s education system alongside other young, well-educated Egyptians.

“As a minority — young, female, Christian — I never expected such an opportunity to make a difference,” says Rafla, a pedagogy and assessment officer and teacher educator at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

Watching high school classmates mature at widely varying rates, Rafla decided diversity is essential because “it exposes us to different experiences and perspectives.” Working with professors Deanna Kuhn and Herbert Ginsburg in TC’s Cognitive Studies in Education program, she learned how the mind develops its capacity to absorb new concepts — a lesson reinforced by her daily experience.

“In Egypt, a girl moves out from her parents’ home when she gets married,” she says. “In New York, I had to cook and care for myself.” As a student commencement speaker in 2013, Rafla celebrated the “borderless les­sons” she’d learned at TC. “We're never alone,” she declared. “We're all interconnected in this world, changing it one human at a time.”

At AUC, where Rafla encourages new teachers to study abroad, a student complained that she never told her the right answers. In a world with challenges bigger than sandstorms, “I don’t want to impose my own views,” Rafla says. “I want to help students shape questions so they can come up with their own answers.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

The Hidden Curriculum

Willie C. Robinson made career decisions based on  elders’ advice. He’s been passing it on ever since

RobinsonIn 1964, Willie C. Robinson weighed becoming a Yale University admissions officer. Robinson’s great-grandfather, a freed slave, was North Carolina’s largest black landowner; his grandfather, a multiple business owner, left land to 16 children. Robinson envisioned running a historically black university. Yale, which dispatched tutors to ghettos, felt wrong. “An older black community leader told me Yale would help me realize my ambitions,” Robinson recalls. “That’s the hidden curriculum — someone trusting your values and goals.”

At Yale, Robinson saw Martin Luther King Jr. honored, wom­en gain admission, leaders denounce the Vietnam War and de­bate over the local trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale. He became President Kingman Brewster’s special assistant while studying higher and adult education at Teachers College.

In 1977, Robinson became President of Florida Memorial University, known for graduating African-American educators. He served in leadership roles with Miami’s Chamber of Commerce and on Eastern Airlines’ and other companies’ boards; cultivated black churches and the Cuban-American community; and helped cre­ate the statewide Black Ph.D. Students program. He retired as President Emeritus having increased enrollment 650 percent and created a congressionally supported Aviation Flight Academy Training Program.

In “retirement,” Robinson bought the first black-owned Denny’s restaurants in five southern states and now owns restau­rant services at Miami International Airport. He’s writing his family’s history and endowing a scholarship in his grandfathers’ names at his alma mater, North Carolina A&T University. “I worked hard to validate people’s trust,” Robinson says. “Now I hope others will benefit.” — SIDDHARTHA MITTER

 

Still Making a Splash

As America ages, aquatic superstar Jane Katz rides a new wave

KatzJane Katz was a member of the American synchronized swimming performance team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and has taught and coached for decades at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Yet at 72, Katz (Ed.D. '78, M.E. '72) is just finding her stroke.

Katz recently founded Water Exercise Techniques (W.E.T.S.) for Vets to help veterans return to ci­vilian life. She works with youth in the juvenile justice system through another program she created, Kids Aquatics Re-Entry. And oh, yes, she won 13 Masters-level medals at the 2013 Maccabiah Games.

“People are living longer, and they don’t just want to sit around,” says Katz, who has developed a senior water exercise program for naturally-occurring retirement commu­nities. “Work is only good when you can also play.”

Katz’s late father and mentor, Leon, who nearly drowned as a young man, encouraged her to see water as “a beautiful, democratic place.” As a girl, Katz had to create her own competitive swimming programs en route to winning All-American and World Masters championships. At Teachers College she earned a master’s in therapeutic recreation for the aging and a doctorate in gerontology, creating a modified progressive swimming program for adults as her thesis (which is still in print, as Swimming for Total Fitness). Her many books, articles and DVDs are available through her website, GlobalAquatics.com.

Katz has been honored with Coach of the Year and Distinguished Teaching awards from City University of New York and John Jay. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she received a Certificate of Merit from the International Olympic Committee organization FINA, and this past summer the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It’s just so meaningful to see this field of work being appreciated,” Katz says. She’s more committed than ever to passing on her father’s legacy. “It feels great to be doing something from the heart and ben­efiting so many others in the process.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

Published Wednesday, Jun. 10, 2015

Profiles

The Third Degree For Preston Green, the classroom and the courtroom are inextricably linked

Preston GreenWhen his cousin died in 1988 in a drug-related shooting, Preston Green wondered about the kid who pulled the trigger. “How did he end up at this place in life?” asks Green (Ed.D. ’95), now the John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. “What if he had been presented with other opportunities?”

Green saw educational law and policy as one way to create better access to schooling, so after earning a Columbia law degree, he enrolled in Teachers College’s doctoral program in Education Administration. With Bruce Baker (Ed.D. ’97), he subsequently wrote several articles exposing racial inequalities in school funding — a collaboration that helped com­pel Kansas to address decades of discriminatory school appropriations. Green’s article on affirmative action was later cited in an amicus brief filed in the landmark Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, and he wrote the first book to address legal issues related to charter schools.

“As many districts move to all-charter systems, I want to spread awareness that charters argue that they are public in terms of funding but private in terms of teacher and student rights,” he says.

At Pennsylvania State University, Green broke new ground by de-veloping both a summer institute and a joint degree program in law and education. At UConn, his 12-credit online graduate school certificate in School Law enables educators, administrators and lawyers to explore issues surrounding student rights, school technology, disabilities and employment. Next up: a program in which working teachers will simulta­neously obtain a law degree and administrative certification.

“Programs combine law and business or law and health,” Green says. “So why not one for two fields whose issues intersect in so many important ways?” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

Connecting Science to People’s Lives At the American Museum of Natural History, Maritza Macdonald wants people to experience science, not just learn about it

McDonaldWe’re not a ‘don’t touch’ museum.” Maritza Macdonald (Ed.D. '95), Senior Director of Education and Policy at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), gestures at a model of an island village threatened by rising tides. “Every student needs to develop concepts by holding things in their hands and questioning their origins and purposes within a cultural or scientific context.”

With its revamped planetarium and exhibits on poisons and exotic butter­flies, AMNH has long been more than a venerable repository of cool stuff. But it broke new ground with its 2011 launch of the nation’s first museum-based master’s degree program for K-12 science teachers. Macdonald supports the program by developing partnerships with higher education institutions — including TC, where students in the College’s new TR@TC2 residency program are able to take courses at AMNH and vice versa — evalu­ating the effectiveness of museum exhibits and representing AMNH on the National Commission for 21st Century STEM Education and the New York State Regents Work Group.

Raised in a small village in Colombia, Mac­donald wrote her TC dissertation on knowledge required for teaching in a culturally and economi­cally diverse urban classroom and has since been honored as an Equity Champion by the Academy for Education Development. She is co-author, with her former TC advisor, Linda Darling-Hammond, of Powerful Teacher Education: Lessons from Exemplary Programs (Jossey-Bass, 2006). Above all, she believes museums’ visual and tactile components are ideal for educating students from diverse backgrounds.

“Everyone comes from somewhere and knows their own ecosystem,” Macdonald told Life Scienc­es Education. “They can use that prior knowledge to learn about other ecosystems.” At the museum, she believes, “we can all connect science with ourselves.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

Shelter in the Storm

Joyce Rafla is shaping education in Egypt during interesting times

RafiaCairo’s sandstorms have been fierce this year, but as a member of Egypt’s Specialized Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research, Joyce Rafla (M.A. '13) is where she wants to be: reshaping her country’s education system alongside other young, well-educated Egyptians.

“As a minority — young, female, Christian — I never expected such an opportunity to make a difference,” says Rafla, a pedagogy and assessment officer and teacher educator at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

Watching high school classmates mature at widely varying rates, Rafla decided diversity is essential because “it exposes us to different experiences and perspectives.” Working with professors Deanna Kuhn and Herbert Ginsburg in TC’s Cognitive Studies in Education program, she learned how the mind develops its capacity to absorb new concepts — a lesson reinforced by her daily experience.

“In Egypt, a girl moves out from her parents’ home when she gets married,” she says. “In New York, I had to cook and care for myself.” As a student commencement speaker in 2013, Rafla celebrated the “borderless les­sons” she’d learned at TC. “We're never alone,” she declared. “We're all interconnected in this world, changing it one human at a time.”

At AUC, where Rafla encourages new teachers to study abroad, a student complained that she never told her the right answers. In a world with challenges bigger than sandstorms, “I don’t want to impose my own views,” Rafla says. “I want to help students shape questions so they can come up with their own answers.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

The Hidden Curriculum

Willie C. Robinson made career decisions based on  elders’ advice. He’s been passing it on ever since

RobinsonIn 1964, Willie C. Robinson weighed becoming a Yale University admissions officer. Robinson’s great-grandfather, a freed slave, was North Carolina’s largest black landowner; his grandfather, a multiple business owner, left land to 16 children. Robinson envisioned running a historically black university. Yale, which dispatched tutors to ghettos, felt wrong. “An older black community leader told me Yale would help me realize my ambitions,” Robinson recalls. “That’s the hidden curriculum — someone trusting your values and goals.”

At Yale, Robinson saw Martin Luther King Jr. honored, wom­en gain admission, leaders denounce the Vietnam War and de­bate over the local trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale. He became President Kingman Brewster’s special assistant while studying higher and adult education at Teachers College.

In 1977, Robinson became President of Florida Memorial University, known for graduating African-American educators. He served in leadership roles with Miami’s Chamber of Commerce and on Eastern Airlines’ and other companies’ boards; cultivated black churches and the Cuban-American community; and helped cre­ate the statewide Black Ph.D. Students program. He retired as President Emeritus having increased enrollment 650 percent and created a congressionally supported Aviation Flight Academy Training Program.

In “retirement,” Robinson bought the first black-owned Denny’s restaurants in five southern states and now owns restau­rant services at Miami International Airport. He’s writing his family’s history and endowing a scholarship in his grandfathers’ names at his alma mater, North Carolina A&T University. “I worked hard to validate people’s trust,” Robinson says. “Now I hope others will benefit.” — SIDDHARTHA MITTER

 

Still Making a Splash

As America ages, aquatic superstar Jane Katz rides a new wave

KatzJane Katz was a member of the American synchronized swimming performance team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and has taught and coached for decades at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Yet at 72, Katz (Ed.D. '78, M.E. '72) is just finding her stroke.

Katz recently founded Water Exercise Techniques (W.E.T.S.) for Vets to help veterans return to ci­vilian life. She works with youth in the juvenile justice system through another program she created, Kids Aquatics Re-Entry. And oh, yes, she won 13 Masters-level medals at the 2013 Maccabiah Games.

“People are living longer, and they don’t just want to sit around,” says Katz, who has developed a senior water exercise program for naturally-occurring retirement commu­nities. “Work is only good when you can also play.”

Katz’s late father and mentor, Leon, who nearly drowned as a young man, encouraged her to see water as “a beautiful, democratic place.” As a girl, Katz had to create her own competitive swimming programs en route to winning All-American and World Masters championships. At Teachers College she earned a master’s in therapeutic recreation for the aging and a doctorate in gerontology, creating a modified progressive swimming program for adults as her thesis (which is still in print, as Swimming for Total Fitness). Her many books, articles and DVDs are available through her website, GlobalAquatics.com.

Katz has been honored with Coach of the Year and Distinguished Teaching awards from City University of New York and John Jay. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she received a Certificate of Merit from the International Olympic Committee organization FINA, and this past summer the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It’s just so meaningful to see this field of work being appreciated,” Katz says. She’s more committed than ever to passing on her father’s legacy. “It feels great to be doing something from the heart and ben­efiting so many others in the process.” — KELSEY ROGALEWICZ

 

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