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Class of 2009: Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

May 02, 2014

From taking risks to obtaining new degrees, two Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College alums from the May 2009 graduating class talk about where they are today.

Taking risks for professional growth

Two-time Sun Devil Katherine Miller is passionate about the field of education. She graduated from ASU in May 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, history, and in May 2009 with a master’s in education administration and supervision – a degree she earned while teaching middle school social studies.

In 2010, after five years of teaching, Miller took a position as assistant principal of Desert Heights Charter School in Glendale, Ariz. She said the transition, from a district to a charter school and from teaching to administration, was her greatest professional risk.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision,” said Miller, who rose in the ranks again in 2011 to her current position as principal of Desert Heights. “I work in a family-oriented and community environment, which is what I was looking for in a school.”

Perhaps in recognition of the value of her own education, Miller also encourages the professional growth of her staff. She said their current focus is on the areas of “Common Core, curriculum development, rigor, analyzing student work and developing rubrics.”

Applying teaching skills in a library setting

Kelee Pacion earned her master’s in curriculum and instruction, secondary education, from ASU in May 2009. After four years working in public and charter high schools, she enrolled at the University of Arizona to pursue a second master’s in information resources and library science.

“As a result of both degrees, I was able to obtain a librarian job just as I was finishing my last year teaching high school,” said Pacion, who is now the instruction coordinator and undergraduate life sciences librarian for the Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University. “Not only did I get a job, I got a job at a prestigious library at an Ivy League university.”

Pacion said her master’s degree in education has played a significant role in her professional success.

“I believe the reason I was hired for my current job is as a result of having a master's in education,” she said. “This degree has prepared me to look at library teaching from outside of the librarian point of view, and to incorporate standards in education within the library environment.”

She added: “Although I did not stay involved as a teacher, teaching is still a major component of what I do.”