Judson MacDonald has been named the Appalachian State University Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year.
Reich College of Education (RCOE) dean, Dr. Melba Spooner, and College of Arts and Sciences dean, Dr. Neva Specht, recognized him at the fall Opening Student Teaching meeting on Thursday, August 17, 2017.
MacDonald, who is the son of Jay and Teresa MacDonald, is originally from Cary, N.C. He graduated with his B.S. in Spanish Education in May of 2017. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in Romance Languages as an accelerated admissions student.
As an undergraduate, he was also a James Patterson Scholar. Patterson Scholars are students who show potential to be leaders in education; they receive need-based scholarships funded by the Patterson Family Foundation.
“For Judson, the opportunity to be a positive force in students’ lives is always foremost in his mind, and his enthusiastic belief in the power of education to transform individuals and to transform society is one that we as educators should never lose,” said Dr. Catherine Fountain, associate professor in the Department of Language, Literatures and Cultures, who served as MacDonald’s undergraduate departmental advisor.
Pictured: Judson MacDonald with deans, nominators and award selection members (Left to right: Dr. Neva Specht, Dr. James Fogelquist, Dr. Catherine Fountain, Judson MacDonald, Dr. Tracie Salinas, Dr. Melba Spooner)
MacDonald shared that he believes that student teaching brings together content and pedagogy and lays the foundations of a future teacher’s career.
“Student teaching is the culmination of any education student's undergraduate career,” said MacDonald.
He was able to put his beliefs to the test during his semester of student teaching. MacDonald completed his student teaching in two parts – 13 weeks at Avery High School in Newland, N.C. and five weeks in San José, Costa Rica.
MacDonald student taught three sections of Spanish II at Avery High School under the guidance of Spanish teacher and Appalachian alumna, Meredith Perez.
“Judson was detailed and thorough in his lesson planning and reflections. He created innovative and engaging lessons,” said Perez. “He has a take-charge personality with outstanding leadership abilities in the classroom.”
He completed his student teaching in Costa Rica through the RCOE International Student Teaching program. MacDonald worked with a veteran teacher to teach third grade English language arts and reading.
Pictured: MacDonald in Costa Rica where he participated in the RCOE International Student Teaching program.
MacDonald credits mentors like Perez with inspiring him to pursue teaching as a career. He added that he has been fortunate to work with inspiring educators, who have taught him to incorporate love, empathy and justice into the classroom.
“Teaching hurts. But, students need fearless champions who won't give up on them,” said MacDonald.
Students were nominated for Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year by faculty members and university supervisors. Nominated students were required to write a reflective narrative about their teaching experience and submit at least three letters of recommendation from faculty, university supervisors, cooperating teachers, and/or principals at the schools where they did their student teaching.
MacDonald was also the recipient of the 2016-2017 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year award. This is the first year that the College of Arts and Sciences has given the award.
MacDonald will go on to represent Appalachian in the North Carolina Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (NC-ACTE) Student Teacher of the Year competition. The award recipient will be announced at the annual Fall NC-ACTE meeting, September 20-22 in Raleigh, N.C.