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English Education Program to Honor Teacher Candidates, Community Educators, and Alumna

English Education Program to Honor Teacher Candidates, Community Educators, and Alumna

Posted: April 25, 2017

Buffalo State’s English education program will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduating teacher candidates, alumni, faculty, and partner teachers at its spring banquet, Thursday, May 11, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, 76 Pearl Street.

English education majors who have completed student teaching during the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters and cooperating, mentor teachers from local districts will be recognized at the event. The careers of retiring English Education faculty, assistant professor Theresa Harris-Tigg and lecturer Dennis Wojtaszczyk will also be honored.

“This event is an opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks to the professionals who help make our program the leader in Western New York English teacher preparation and to celebrate the incredibly important profession they are committed to,” said James Cercone, assistant professor and coordinator of the English education program.

“We want to recognize the hard work and success of Buffalo State's English education community including our students, faculty, and the dedicated classroom teachers we work with.” 

Renowned author, educator, and alumna Nancie Atwell, ‘74 (pictured), will deliver the keynote address and receive both the English Education Student Association Lifetime Achievement Award and Buffalo State English Education Alumni Award.

Atwell graduated from Buffalo State with a bachelor’s degree in English and taught middle school in Tonawanda, New York, before moving to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in 1975. In 1987, she published her groundbreaking book In the Middle: Writing, Reading, and Learning with Adolescents, which describes her signature teaching method, the writing-reading workshop.

In 1990, she founded the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), a low-tuition, nonprofit demonstration school in Edgecomb, Maine. CTL steeps students in literature, writing, and critical thinking, beginning in kindergarten. It also reverses the paradigm of assigning books and writing topics.

“When students decide what they’ll read and what they’ll write about, they become authentic readers and writers,” Atwell explained in an interview for 1300 Elmwood. “They understand what literacy is good for.”

In 2014, Atwell received the Varkey Foundation’s inaugural Global Teacher Prize. She donated the entire $1 million prize to CTL, to keep the school solvent for the future.

The work of several Western New York community education partners will also be recognized at the event.

The Western New York Network of English Teachers Second annual English Teacher Awards

  • Administrative Leadership - Dr. Michael Gruber, Buffalo Public Schools Olmsted
  • Lifetime Achievement - Tom O'Malley, Saint Francis High School
  • Experienced Teacher Award - Paul Endres, Depew High School
  • Early Career Award, Natalie Schnorr, Tapestry Middle School
  • New Teacher Award, Felice Brandy, Buffalo Public Schools, McKinley High School

The event is open to the general public. Tickets are $25 (includes dinner and dessert). RSVP by Friday, April 28, to Cercone at

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