Education Alumna Amanda Ardinger '13 is an Award-Winning Special Education Teacher Alumni Profile
Meet Amanda Ardinger '13
- Job Title & Employer
- Special education teacher, New Brighton Area School District
- Education Pre-K – 4th Grade
- College Activities
- Point Park women's volleyball, Capital One Academic All-District Volleyball Team, women's softball, Capital One Academic All-District Softball First Team, orientation leader, Pi Lambda Theta, Chi Alpha Sigma NAIA Scholar Athlete
- Moon, Pa.; Moon Area High School
- Now Living In
- Coraopolis, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Softball, volleyball, traveling, live music, outdoor activities, reading and spending time with family, friends and my dog.
“Amanda exudes the qualities of an outstanding middle level educator. She truly values our students both as learners and as individuals. Point Park has clearly created a student-first educator in Amanda.”
"Point Park gave me the opportunity to be a student, an athlete, a friend, leader and young professional all at the same time. The professors at Point Park are knowledgeable and friendly. I felt that the education that I received in the classroom prepared me for my future career and gave me the confidence I needed to run my own classroom."
What have you been up to since graduating from Point Park University?
Since graduating from Point Park, I have held many positions in schools around the Pittsburgh area and in northern Michigan. In June 2016, I attended the American Wilderness Leadership School in Jackson, Wyoming, where I learned to use the outdoors as a classroom, how to incorporate conservation education lessons into existing curriculum content, learned survival skills and gun safety and got certified in archery by the National Archery in Schools Program. In 2018, I pursued a master's degree in special education from California University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors in 2020. Outside of education, I have volunteered with the Special Olympics and the Tim Tebow Foundation. I also coach volleyball and softball at the Junior Olympic, middle school, and high school levels.
Describe the award you won at the 2022 Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education State Conference.
I was honored to receive the Lincoln Investment/PAMLE Promising Practitioners Award: New Teacher Award, which recognizes teachers who are just beginning their middle school careers and are making a positive impact in their school and community. Teachers put so much work into their job, and we wear many hats. Our job doesn’t end at the end of the work day. Education has been especially difficult during the pandemic. I’ve also put many years in as a long-term substitute teacher before finding a permanent position. It feels good to be recognized for my hard work and dedication in education.
How did Point Park's School of Education prepare you for career success?
Point Park gave me the opportunity to be a student, an athlete, a friend, leader and young professional all at the same time. The professors at Point Park are knowledgeable and friendly. I felt that the education that I received in the classroom prepared me for my future career and gave me the confidence I needed to run my own classroom. As an education major, we had many opportunities for field experiences all around the Pittsburgh area. We were able to observe different schools and classrooms and had plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience to put our practice into play in actual classrooms. Additionally, I made professional connections that have been beneficial for me in my career.
Were there any specific faculty, courses, or field experiences that had a positive impact on you?
Every single one of my professors at Point Park had an impact on my life. Darlene Marnich, Ph. D., in particular, has had a very positive impact on me. Her door was always open, and she was consistently there to help and support me. She made me feel valued and important. Dr. Marnich, along with her family, chaperoned me and a group of other education students to study abroad in London, England. She and Virginia Chambers, Ed.D., planned the program, which provided a memorable and valuable experience as an educator and person. To this day, Dr. Marnich is a close mentor and friend who I still keep in touch with. I am forever grateful for her companionship and guidance.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student interested in becoming an educator?
At Point Park, I was not just a number. Because of the small class sizes, I was able to make connections with my professors and get to know them on a personal and professional level. It was easy to contact a professor and get help when I needed it. In addition, I was a two-sport athlete. This, along with studying education and fitting in field experiences, is usually unheard of at other universities. I was recognized and celebrated for who I was and encouraged to follow all of my dreams. Since Point Park is in Downtown Pittsburgh, there were many opportunities to visit all types of schools and gain experience with different cultures and curriculum.
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