Kristen Dailey ’13

Maturín, Venezuela, Secondary School Teacher

Kristen Dailey“I found the process of choosing a school a bit intimidating. Where are you supposed to begin when the online world has so much to offer? Since I’m not in the United States—when I began the program I was teaching at a small international school in Taiwan and now I’m at an international school in Venezuela—I was unable to commit to a program that required attending classes in person. The more I researched, the more Western New England University’s program seemed to meet all the things I was looking for. It was a good decision.

I enjoyed the online experience. I pride myself on a certain level of tech savvy, and was grateful for the opportunity to further develop these skill sets. I appreciated how typing something allows a level of poise and precision that I might lack as a speaker. I welcomed the opportunity to present my ideas in a particular way, and to think about the ways I wished to articulate my thoughts.

Today I am still in the classroom but I have a reduced course load and more administrative duties, including serving as the department chair, a mentor teacher, and the homeroom coordinator. I am also taking a leadership role in the implementation of the core curriculum standards. I feel strongly that a good administrator needs a solid understanding of curriculum and learning and I am confident that this program has provided me with a strong foundation to build upon to make myself a stronger administrator in the future. After 10 years in the classroom, I was excited to add to my bag of tricks.”

Amy Heneghan ’12

Holyoke, MA, Elementary School Paraprofessional

Amy Heneghan“I wanted a program that would fit in my lifestyle. I needed something that would be flexible. The option of an online program was perfect for me. I always say that I learned more in these 14 months at Western New England than I ever did in any other schooling.

This program gives you real life skills that you need in the field of education. It really has made me into a master teacher. I have taken away so many great techniques and ideas that will benefit me and my students in the future.

I loved that I was able to collaborate with other teachers all over the world—literally! I had people in my classes who were teaching students in China and another student who traveled all over the world educating college students. I really didn’t expect to become connected to anyone in this program because it’s online. But now that I am done, I am going to miss the daily insights from others and the constant encouragement that everyone gave each other week after week. We really did become a family.

I want to become a licensed teacher and this program has given me the knowledge and confidence I needed to do so. I finished school on a Friday and by Monday had started getting calls for interviews.”

Michelle Jurkowski ’12

Ludlow, MA, Elementary School Teacher

Winner, 2013 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Michelle Jurkowski“I was looking for an online or accelerated program that I could participate in without having to give up my full-time job. I researched a few other programs, but Western New England just fit me and my schedule the best. I was still able to take part in my after-school clubs while completing my graduate assignments later in the evening.

My experience was very positive. I learned more than I thought I would. I also was exposed to many different online applications that made learning more fun for me and provided me with tools to use in my classroom with my own students. I loved the faculty. The professors and facilitators were prompt in their responses and always there to help when needed. Even though this program was solely online, I still felt as though I developed relationships with the faculty.

Almost every course I took required some sort of group work. We had a project to complete together and became each other’s sounding board to bounce ideas off of, or became each other’s critics. We were challenged to push and motivate each other to a whole new level. I honestly didn’t think that would be possible through an online program, but Western New England did a wonderful job!

I have added a few other activities since getting my degree. I am currently a member of my school’s Instructional Leadership Team. I co-run a new afterschool science club, and this past school year I also was a facilitator to our student referral/problem-solving team, and was a mentor to two new teachers in my school.”

Jim Warnock ’12

Enfield, CT, Secondary School Teacher

Jim Warnock“I was really happy with the program. I was familiar with the traditional bricks and mortar set-up, so it was a little bit of a transition in getting used to the online format. But once I did, it was awesome. I was so happy with what the program offered and it had a direct impact on what I was doing in my classroom. I’ve reshaped and rewritten some significant curriculum for next year, based on what I got out of the program. It has definitely impacted how I’m teaching my subjects.

The biggest thing was getting out of my normal routine. It was a beneficial professional learning community, where people were like, ‘this is what I do in my classroom,’ or, ‘this is how I see this topic impacting my class.’ It was particularly interesting to hear from people in different subject areas.”

Trish Wileczek ’10/G’12

Baltimore City, MD, Middle School Teacher

Trish Wileczek“I think many people enjoy the idea of an online program because of its flexibility but are apprehensive about its effectiveness. When I decided I wanted to complete my master’s degree online, the only reason I did was because it was through Western New England University. I trust the program and the professors and I knew I would receive a quality education that would help me improve my teaching career.

Sometimes you sit in a class, whether physically or online, and think how you will never use what you’re learning. This wasn’t the case with the classes in this program. I would often learn something from my class and recreate a lesson the next day in order to share what I had learned with my own students. That wasn’t always obvious. When I took a course in mentoring new teachers, I wasn’t sure how what I was learning would benefit me when I was teaching eighth graders about literature and writing. This upcoming school year, however, I will be the grade-level team leader, which is the first step on the administration track. Now I’m reviewing my notes and textbook from that class so I’ll be prepared to work with the other teachers in my grade when school starts. The class has helped prepare me for this new promotion and leadership role in ways I never thought possible.”

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