posted February 9, 2015- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
“Because of Buffalo State I have grown and become the educator that I am today.” - Miskell
“It is important to me to make every day count not just for myself but for anyone that I encounter.” - King
Jeannine King and Lisa Miskell are two graduates of SUNY Buffalo State who not only kept in touch after college, but also merged their skills to create a dynamic partnership in their field. The immersive experiences Buffalo State provided both inspired and equipped King and Miskell with the tools they needed to open Country Life Programs Success Center, a literacy center in Springville, NY that is committed to empowering children by offering differentiated educational tools.
Buffalo State’s history of producing quality teachers was a draw for King and Miskell.
As students they found their niche within the campus literacy clinic, which allowed them to practice the science and craft of teaching reading to children in individualized settings. King also took advantage of the opportunity to work at the Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education, which expanded her expertise into several locations throughout the city of Buffalo and surrounding areas and allowed her to engage in multiple instructional methods she can now recall and adapt to diverse teaching environments.
Not only did Buffalo State provide hands-on opportunities for King and Miskell to fully engage students into the literacy field, but the college also provided them with many opportunities for collaborating with professors and colleagues in a variety of educational settings.
The deep-rooted network of literacy specialists that Buffalo State supports gives alums a means of sharing academic ideas, interests, and materials that help struggling students succeed.
Prior to enrolling King and Miskell had opportunities to meet professors, such as Dr. Diane Truscott, who gave them extra assurance that they would be receiving an excellent education from the best in the field. After several years at Buffalo State they were further inspired by faculty such as Dr. Maria Ceprano and Dr. Wendy Paterson, who made a considerable impact on their graduate student experiences.
Graduation didn’t cut the ties between the faculty and these two young women; over the years they have stayed in contact. Buffalo State’s networking environment helped King and Miskell establish valuable professional ties with many colleagues, which became a strong foundation as they developed their own business. In addition, the expertise of those professors who shared their time and talents is clearly emulated in the practices of these two graduates.
Although they have encountered many challenges along the way, through Country Life these dynamic women are successfully promoting literacy across the region. King mentions the constant self-evaluative process she and Miskell share each day, and their relentless determination to improve their lessons and strategies. They wish to provide the same quality education to their students that they received from the exceptional faculty in the School of Education.
Despite the difficulty of finding a teaching job in WNY, both specialists still advise future teachers to be selective in their job-hunt. They say that, “[Future teachers should] seek out districts that promote interactive and motivating delivery models of instruction.”
King and Miskell also advise students to volunteer and spend as much as time as possible in schools, day cares and learning environments in order to get a grasp on the philosophies and systems at work, before applying for permanency. A teacher should feel comfortable, supported and in agreement with any system before investing their professional career into it.
King and Miskell look forward to getting more involved within their field and are seeking professional learning opportunities that will challenge them to improve their craft and modify their literacy center accordingly. They enjoy researching and developing new, exciting and fun ways to reach their students and they want to provide the best tools and environment to not only support their passion of teaching, but also to share the skills and passion for reading.
“Teaching children provides educators a chance to be a seed planter. Sometimes you get to see the seeds grow and sometimes you don’t. Teaching is not about where you end up; it’s about the experiences along the way and the memories that are created.” - Miskell