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SU Alumna Earns Nation's Only Exemplary Mentor Teacher Award From NAPDS

SU Alumna Earns Nation's Only Exemplary Mentor Teacher Award From NAPDS

SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University partners with dozens of schools, hundreds of teachers and thousands of students in Maryland through its Professional Development Schools network each year.

As part of the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS), SU is a part of a large organization with tens of thousands of pre-service teachers being mentored throughout the U.S.

SU alumna Clara Outten ’00 M’06, a first-grade teacher at Snow Hill Elementary School, has served as mentor to more than 30 SU interns over the past 20 years. She recently was recognized for her outstanding work, a the only mentor in the nation to receive the NAPDS Exemplary Mentor Teacher Award at the organization’s annual conference in Jacksonville, FL.

She has been active in the teacher education field at the regional and national level while serving as Snow Hill’s PDS co-site coordinator since 2002. 

Professional Development Schools are analogous to teaching hospitals in the medical profession. Teacher education institutions like SU partner with select local schools in the preparation of new teachers. Candidates for the profession work collaboratively with experienced mentor teachers during their clinical experiences, culminating in a year-long student-teaching internship in the senior year. 

The mentor teacher’s role is crucial in this process as interns learn to tackle the challenges of leading a classroom on their own. Outten’s interns have earned multiple honors, including the E. Pauline Riall Award as SU’s outstanding elementary education candidate, and Maryland’s Teachers of Promise recognition. Many have gone on to distinguished teaching careers in Worcester County and in schools throughout the region.

The Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award is just the latest national accolade for SU’s PDS program, including four that have involved Snow Hill Elementary School. The program was cited for Exemplary PDS Achievement in 2011 and 2017, and participating teacher Shelby Ennis Matassa was recognized as an Emerging PDS Leader in 2018.

For more information about PDS at SU, visit the program’s webpage.

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