Inside Moravian
e-Newsletter of the Moravian College Campus Community 11/12/13
Luke Shafnisky, Bob Gratz and John Pappas smile while standing next to the bar of the Edge Restaurant.

ABOVE: Among those in attendance at the Education Department’s Oct. 30 reunion of alumni holding educational leadership certification were (from left) Luke Shafnisky, principal of William Allen High School; Bob Gratz '75, a retired New Jersey school superintendent and current director of leadership giving at Moravian; and John Pappas '70, also a retired New Jersey school superintendent.


On the Cutting Edge of Educational Leadership

The lounge of Bethlehem's Edge Restaurant was abuzz with talk of cutting-edge, research-based teaching practices on the evening of Oct. 30 for the Education Department’s inaugural reunion of Moravian alumni holding educational leadership certification. The gathering brought together men and women at the top of their craft to network, bridge generations, and trade ideas about how to create technology-rich, inquiry-based 21st century teaching and learning environments. Rounding out the gathering were current administrative certification candidates, picking up tips, making connections, and socializing among the nearly two-dozen principals and other school administrators in attendance.

Of course, the gathering wasn't all business. There was a parade of seared tuna, pork dumplings and puff pastries – compliments of the Graduate Education Alumni Advisory Council – which were supplemented by a few cocktail-hour beverages and convivial conversation. It proved to be a great opportunity to form some new bonds.

 “As our educational leadership programs have matured, with our recent graduates accepting challenging new principalships and leadership positions, we wanted to connect new candidates with the women and men who out there leading schools and making a difference, proudly representing Moravian,” noted Joseph Shosh, associate professor of education and chair of the Education Department.

Lisa Lynch '85, Carrie Beleno '95 and Erin Oleksa '05 stand around an elevated table. While standing up, Denise Torma talks to Bob Gratz.

ABOVE: Lisa Lynch '85, Carrie Beleno '95 and Erin Oleksa '05, all of whom work as school principals, were in attendance..

ABOVE: Alumna Denise Torma '77 (right), assistant superintendent at East Penn School District, speaks with Gratz.

Examples of this positive interaction were easy to find during the evening. Lisa Pluchinsky ’10, M.Ed. alumna and now principal of Bethlehem's Dual Language Charter School, chatted with fellow alumna and current administrative certification candidate Stephanie Deemer ’00, ’11. Peter Mayes, partnering principal from Nitchmann Middle School, shared ideas with current M.Ed. candidate and aspiring principal Tom Ruhf ’07.

Teacher certification alumnus Luke Shafnisky, the new principal of William Allen High School, and alumna Erin Kratzer Oleksa ’05, the new assistant principal at Raub Middle School, gleaned a little wisdom from Robert Gratz ’75, a retired New Jersey school superintendent.

"Moravian assembled a pretty impressive crowd,” noted Master of Arts in Teaching Candidate and longtime sportswriter Peter Richmond. “If the success of a program is measured by the level of expertise it has sent into the workplace, this event felt like being around an all-star team.”

 “It's crucial that the educational leadership programs continue to grow and flourish with the support and guidance of Moravian alumni who are themselves school administrators,” added Shosh.

Perhaps the truest gauge of the evening's success was the formation of a brand new Moravian Administrative Certification Alumni Advisory Board with its first business meeting set for the spring. Sushi will be optional.

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