Trio of School of Education Alumni Work Together at The Campus Laboratory of Carlow University Thursday, May 13, 2021
"By having professors that know their students and are willing to have conversations about how to shape their philosophies of education, Point Park helped me to discover who I am as an educator and where I best fit in the world of education."
Kayla Posney '13 is a pre-K teacher in the Reggio Emilia-inspired program at the school. Valerie Patilla '96 is a lead pre-K teacher, and Laurie Laird '00 is a Montessori teacher. In the Q&A below, they share how Point Park's School of Education prepared them for their roles.
Degree earned from Point Park: Master's in Secondary Education with a concentration in grades 7-12 English
Hobbies/interests: Shopping, fashion, British history, London, classic rock, reading, watching TV, traveling, rooting on the Pittsburgh Penguins and spending time with my family, my boyfriend and friends
What does your role entail?
Teaching pre-K allows you to watch children learn and grow each day. We are guiding them in expressing themselves through language, play, artistic creation and in their relationships with their classmates and teachers. Working in the Reggio Emilia classroom has allowed me to document all their creative endeavors, honor their interest in what they would like to learn and give them the tools they need to be happy, safe and confident in the classroom and in life.
How did Point Park help you find career success?
Point Park helped make me a confident, polished and prepared educator. While I went to the University to prepare to become a high school English teacher, everything I learned in my education classes is relevant in my experiences as an early childhood educator. The professors offered fascinating and forward-thinking classes in pedagogy, classroom management, 21st century practices and even online education. Professors like Richard Gutkind, Vincenne Revilla Beltrán, Elisabeth Ehrlich and so many more were instrumental in helping me become creative, inclusive, thoughtful, warm and nurturing in the classroom.
Degree earned from Point Park: B.A. in early childhood education
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, photography and advocating for senior pets
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love building relationships with the children and families. It is a joy watching each child reach his or her potential.
How did Point Park help you achieve your career goals?
The School of Education professors gave me an educational foundation for my teaching career. As a teacher at Point Park’s Children School, I learned implementation of curriculum and philosophy from some of the most dedicated early childhood professionals.
What makes the School of Education stand out from other universities?
There is an atmosphere of collaboration. There is an emphasis on the process of learning and trying rather than on the product.
Degree earned from Point Park: B.A. in early childhood and elementary education
Hobbies/interests: Reading, gardening, traveling and golfing with my family
What impact did Point Park's faculty have on your career path?
As part of an early childhood education methods class instructed by Christal Edmunds, we toured the Montessori classrooms at Carlow Campus School on a Saturday morning. At this point in my schooling, I was becoming fatigued with the course load and had increased anxiety about my upcoming student teaching assignment. I left that classroom visit feeling a sense of renewal and excitement. If I had not had the opportunity to visit and learn about alternative methods of education, I would not have found my love for Montessori education.
By having professors that know their students and are willing to have conversations about how to shape their philosophies of education, Point Park helped me to discover who I am as an educator and where I best fit in the world of education.
What did you like about the School of Education?
Point Park’s School of Education provided me with the opportunity to receive a dual major in early childhood and elementary education. When I first started the in the School of Education, I was solely an elementary major. As my interests began to change, I was able to add the early childhood major. I feel that I benefited from the smaller class sizes in the School of Education and having professors who, like Dr. Chaney, took the time to listen and get to know their students.