2015-2016 Alumni Updates

by John Conroy

The Alumni Updates article was originally featured in our fall 2016-winter 2017 School of Education News magazine.

Judith Summerfield (BA ’63), an emeritus professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York, published a new book, A Man Comes from Someplace: Stories, History, Memory from a Lost Time, through Sense Publishers. Summerfield has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants for teaching, scholarship, and research and has written extensively about rhetoric, composition, narrative studies, and education.

Jane Bluestein (BS ’73, MAT ’74, PhD ’80) wrote a new book that was published in August 2015, The Perfection Deception: Why Trying to Be Perfect Is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage. Bluestein heads Instructional Support Services, Inc., a consulting and resource firm in New Mexico; has written 12 books; and is a speaker who works with counselors, health care professionals, parents, childcare workers, and educators.

John Degidio (MEd ’75) retired after a 40-year career in health care, including working with the U.S. Army as an alcohol and drug specialist and as a caseworker at the Mon-Valley Health Center.

Heriberto Dixon (PhD ’75) retired from the New School as an associate professor of human resources management and as an adjunct lecturer in strategic management at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He devotes his time to researching his Native American ancestry and participating in various Native American conferences and reenactments.

Debra K. Sullivan (MEd ’77), who retired as principal of Charleston Catholic High School, was appointed to the West Virginia Library Commission by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The library commission consists of nine members who are appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the state senate. Commissioners serve a four-year term.

Darlene Zellers (MA ’88, PhD ’13), was appointed associate vice chancellor for academic career development, Health Sciences, at the University of Pittsburgh. Zellers was director of the Office of Academic Career Development (OACD) since 2003, and she assumed the additional role of associate dean for postdoctoral affairs in the Pitt School of Medicine in 2009. In 2011, she became the founding director of the OACD Center for Postdoctoral Affairs in the Health Sciences.

Aaron Dunbar (MEd ’98) published his second novel, A Wish for Giants, about a 9-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor who has one wish: to find Bigfoot. He is donating some proceeds from his book sales to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy teacher Edwina Kinchington (PhD ’97) was awarded the 2015 Pennsylvania Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. The honor, given annually since 1961, identifies a teacher from each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Canada who has made valuable contributions to the profession and to his or her students.

Susan Lephart (PhD ’96), joined the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Equine Programs team as an executive in residence and research coordinator. In this role, Lephart provides leadership support to further develop and implement the organization’s new strategic plan and its emerging initiatives. She also provides community outreach and engages in sponsorship support and fundraising for infrastructure and facilities.

John Saras (MAT ’99), assistant principal at Baldwin High School, Baldwin, Pa., and School of Education Alumni Society Executive Committee member, was named one of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest for 2016.

Shannon Balch (MEd ’00), principal of First Street Elementary School in the Canon-McMillan School District, had her school honored as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School for “achieving superior standards of academic excellence.”

Donna Imhoff (PhD ’06) was named president of Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma, Ohio. Imhoff had spent the previous four years as president of the Allegheny Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh. She worked at CCAC for 30 years.

Kurt Kondrich (MEd ’07) and his daughter, Chloe, were named finalists for the 2015 Health Care Heroes Awards, a program honoring individuals and organizations in Western Pennsylvania’s health care industry.

Macrina C. Lelei (PhD ’02) received the 2016 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Diversity and Inclusion. Lelei is interim director of the African Studies Program within Pitt’s University Center for International Studies.

Joseph W. Pasquerilla (EdD ’08) was named superintendent of the Bethel Park School District.

Troy Ross (MEd ’08), director of housing and residence life at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, was honored with the 2016 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Community Impact.

North Allegheny School District Acting Superintendent Robert Scherrer (EdD ’09) has been named the district’s top administrator. He was named acting superintendent of schools in December 2015 following a six-month stint as substitute superintendent. He was first hired by North Allegheny in 2013 as assistant superintendent of K–12 education.

Timothy W. Wagner (MS ’09, EdD ’13) was named associate high school principal for program planning and innovation by the Upper St. Clair School District on July 1, 2015. Wagner began his teaching career in fall 2007 at Upper St. Clair’s Streams Elementary School, teaching first and second grade.

Elizabeth Bishop (PhD ’13) had her first book, Becoming Activist: Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing, published through Peter Lang Publishing Group. Bishop currently serves as deputy director of the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia University Law School.

Megan Marley (BS ’15) and Mark Onorato (MEd ’16) were both recognized by the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) and the School District/University Collaborative, a consortium of Western Pennsylvania teacher preparation programs and PPS, for excellence in student teaching at PPS sites this year. Marley was at Pittsburgh Langley K–8 and Onorato was at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School.

Julie Moore (EdD ’15), principal of McCormick Elementary School in the Moon Area School District, had her school honored as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.
The school was nominated in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category.

Lindsay Pfister (EdD ’15) was hired by the West Jefferson Hills School District as its director of human resources. Pfister started her career as a teacher, teaching kindergarten through eighth grade for 12 years in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. She then became principal of Our Lady of Grace School before becoming director of human resources for the Penn Hills School District.

Stacey Synder (EdD ’14) was named school psychologist/director of pupil services by a unanimous vote of the Southmoreland School District board and began the role in October 2015.

Elizabeth Stoyle (MEd ’15), who works as a graduate administrator in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, was honored with the 2016 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Early Career Achievement.

Joel Thompson (MAT ’11) was unanimously approved as the new Unit I principal at Mt. Lebanon High School. He previously taught social studies at Fort Couch Middle School in the Upper St. Clair School District and at Greensburg Central Catholic High School.

Joelleen Yerace (MEd ’08), senior director of constituent relations at the Pitt Office of Institutional Advancement, was the recipient of the 2016 Chancellor’s Staff Award for Mentoring.

JOHN CONROY is manager of marketing communications for the Pitt School of Education.