Leading Lives of Learning

CJ students weren't the only Eagles focused on earning diplomas this past year. Four members of CJ’s faculty and staff earned Master’s degree during the past spring and summer months, and four more received Project Lead the Way certification in order to teach courses in the biomedical sciences and engineering fields.

Those earning master’s degrees include Andy Helms, head football coach and business instructor, receiving his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Mount Vernon Nazarene University; Gina Harrington, receiving her Master of Education Technology from the University of Missouri-Columbia; Erin Bole, ’04, receiving her Master of Education along with a reading endorsement from the University of Portland; and President Daniel Meixner, ’84, who received a Master of Education, Educational Leadership degree from the University of Dayton.

It was important to Meixner to study at UD due to the university's focus on integrating the Catholic mission into the classroom. “My Master of Education degree helped me gain an appreciation for the learning process and has helped me to ask better questions that will allow us to improve the quality of our curriculum and instruction,” he said.

Meixner also stressed the important role CJ faculty and staff play in setting an example for students, showing Eagles that learning shouldn’t ever stop whether inside or outside of the classroom. “This is an educational community of faith and as such, all of us should always be continually learning.”

Assistant Director of Ministry and Service Erin Bole shares that view. “I think it’s important as a staff member to commit to being a lifelong-learner because that is what we try to instill in our students.”

Bole earned her master’s through the University of Portland’s Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE) two-year program. Similar to the Lalanne program at UD, students enrolled in PACE, "earn graduate degrees in education, while serving as teachers in Catholic schools,” according to their website.

Faculty instructing Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses, which offer students engineering and biomedical science classes, must first be certified before they can teach any of the CJ STEMM initiatives. Those receiving certificate’s at CJ include; Brad Kassner, Digital Electronics; Amy O’Loughlin, '86, Medical Interventions; Amanda Ooten, Principles of Biomedical Science (she also received her Integrated Life Sciences teaching license from UD); and Bob Young, Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering.

“CJ students have more practical experience when they leave high school,” Young said. Students in his engineering courses work with computerized 3-D drawings, project management software, and compete in robotics competitions throughout the year.

According to its website, PLTW.org, “graduates of the program are five to ten times more likely than non-PLTW students to study postsecondary engineering and technology, and 97 percent of PLTW seniors intend to pursue four-year degrees.”  CJ is one of roughly 3,500 secondary schools to offer such curriculum nationwide.