A Student Leader Learns to Lead in the Classroom

In NVU-Johnson’s elementary education program, Catie Roman ’20 spends much of her time in the classroom — but it’s often at nearby Morristown Elementary School. There she’s gaining valuable hands-on experience observing classes and sometimes teaching a lesson, and it’s where she plans to student teach as a senior.

“We get so many real-life experiences as education majors,” she says. “We’re able to really connect with schools and see examples of real-life teaching.”

Catie is excited about student teaching. “That’s your life. You have to dedicate everything you do to that. NVU is preparing you for what your career is going to be,” she says.

NVU’s Elementary Education Program is Unique

NVU’s program will prepare her for teacher license endorsement in elementary education (grades K-6) and special education (grades K-8), a combination called inclusive elementary education that’s unique in Vermont. “We focus on specialized communities to make sure we are inclusive in the education environment,” Catie says.

Inclusiveness is part of what drew her to NVU-Johnson. Catie met Director of Admissions Patrick Rogers as a 9th grader at her high school’s college fair, and they connected there the next two years also.

A Close Community with Caring Professors Helps Students Succeed

“Patrick made me feel so special and important that I put Johnson at the top of my visit list. When I visited, I saw how community-focused the campus is,” she says. “Everything clicked really well for me here. The views are unbeatable, and the environment as a whole just felt so good, I couldn’t pull myself away. I visited other schools, but nothing compared to what I felt at Johnson…The accepting, positive, uplifting community is definitely a reason I came here.”

NVU has lived up to her expectations. Catie, of Alexandria, New Hampshire, appreciates the dedicated faculty in her program, particularly her adviser, Hannah Miller. “She will drop everything to write recommendation letters for me. Any time I need to meet with her, she’s very willing to meet. She makes students such a high priority in her life. Students have benefited greatly from her,” she says.

Building Important Skills in Leadership Positions

Catie also has benefited from the many leadership opportunities at NVU. She is president of the campus dance club, which she calls her family. “It’s an extremely inclusive group of people who love to perform,” she says. As a theater minor, she gets a chance to shine on stage at two shows the club presents each year.

She’s also on the Student Advisory Council, which meets with NVU President Elaine Collins and other administrators to discuss how to help students succeed. “President Collins has shown us she is dedicated to hearing what students have to say. She’s always a willing ear,” Catie says.

In addition to two paid jobs on campus, Catie works with NVU’s First-Year Experience program as an orientation leader in the summer for new students, a position she was motivated to pursue because of her own good orientation experience. “The leadership opportunities are going to stick with me for a long time,” she says.

After she graduates, she wants to be a classroom teacher in the area. “Between the experiences I’m getting through NVU and being able to work at home at a school in the summer,” Catie says, “I feel very, very prepared for my career in education.”

A female teacher is reading a book to her young students.

“Learning by doing. The experiences I gained from working in a real classroom are more practical than words in textbooks.”

- Na Zhan '14


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