School of Education NewsLink, Spring 2019

School of Education - Newslink Header

Message from the Dean

Dean Kevin Zook with Students

I am currently reading a book about the end of World War II in the Pacific Theater and President Truman’s decision to utilize the newly developed atomic bomb to force Japan’s surrender. Truman’s “decision” actually was to continue the Manhattan Project as initiated by his predecessor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Following FDR’s death in office and his ascendancy to the Oval Office, Truman could have halted the project, preventing the horror and devastation of the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But Truman’s decision not to drop the bombs would likely have prolonged the war’s fierce fighting and resulted in the continuing brutal deaths and casualties of untold numbers of U.S. and allied troops. This was the quandary facing Harry S. Truman – no easy alternatives and no ideal solutions.

Historians, commentators, politicians, and activists continue to debate the merits and consequences of Truman’s decision. They can do so with the luxury of time and hindsight, but Truman had neither. Leaders need to make decisions in real time and space based on the best information available to them, as well as their responsibilities, principles, and convictions. Often they must choose between competing alternatives that are less than ideal, and they don’t have the time or opportunity for second-guessing or Monday-morning quarterbacking. Regardless of how each of us may view Truman’s decision and how history judges its consequences, one thing is indisputable: Truman acted as a leader.

None of us will likely ever be confronted with a tough decision as momentous as the one faced by President Truman. Nevertheless, I hope you view yourself as a leader – one who is willing to take initiative, serve and influence others, work to better the condition of our world, make tough decisions, and act courageously. Truman once said . . .

Men and women make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

The education you are pursuing (or have already obtained) at Holy Family University is preparing you to be a leader in your world. I urge you to embrace the call of leadership and to use your Holy Family education, infused with our core values of family, respect, integrity, service and responsibility, learning, and vision to “seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Your world needs you and your leadership.

Challenge yourself.
Change your world.

Thank you for checking out the latest edition of SOE – NewsLink. In this issue, we congratulate one of our adjunct instructors on winning a prestigious award and one of our full-time faculty members’ obtaining a grant for professional development. We learn about a new book club and welcome four visiting students from Chile. For these stories and more, we invite you to read on!

As always, we'd like to include news of your adventures and achievements, so please send them our way at Let's stay connected!

Kevin Zook

Kevin Zook, PhD
Dean, School of Education

Table of Contents

SOE and Partners Host Film Screening of "Intelligent Lives" | SOE Adjunct Instructor and Alum Recognized as Educator of the Year | Dr. Brian Berry Receives Taylor Award for Travel to Spain | Faculty Spotlight: Brian Berry  | SOE Faculty Help Launch Early Childhood Education Book Club | Alpha House UpdateSOE Hosts Visiting Students from Chile in ClassesSOE Faculty Achievements in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

SOE and Partners Host Film Screening of "Intelligent Lives"

Intelligent Lives - Movie Poster

Question: What does society lose when intelligence is limited to an IQ score?

Answer: Students, faculty, administrators and community members gathered in the ETC auditorium on December 3 to begin a conversation on this question. The School of Education, disAbility  Services and the student group, IDEA, hosted Intelligent Lives, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib.

Intelligent Lives is the story of Micah, Naieer, and Naomie. These pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, the workforce, and intimate relationships. The narrator of the documentary places the lives of these characters in a historical context through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, born with an intellectual disability, as the film unpacks the shameful ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

The ensuing discussion among the viewers in the auditorium questioned what it means to be intelligent and discussed ways to be a part of a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment, and intimate relationships. Keep an eye out for information on an anticipated spring screening!

SOE Adjunct Instructor and Alum Recognized as Educator of the Year

Photo of Kate Sullivan, ASAH Educator of the YearKate Sullivan
ASAH Educator of the Year

Holy Family University congratulates adjunct instructor, Kate Sullivan, for her recent recognition as ASAH Educator of the Year. ASAH (Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped) is a nonprofit advocacy group for New Jersey’s private special needs schools and is committed to supporting the highest standards of education for persons with special needs. Kate, who teaches a graduate class in special education, was awarded the distinguished honor over three other regional finalists representing more than 130 special education schools throughout New Jersey. In addition to teaching at Holy Family, Kate also works fulltime as a special education teacher at Archbishop Damiano School in Westville, NJ. During her impressive tenure at Archbishop Damiano School, Kate has worked with all age groups and currently serves high-school-age students with severe to moderate cognitive delays.

Kate’s many merits include her innovation in the classroom and her constant commitment to advancing her own education. Her notable initiatives include pioneering a SKYPE program to allow her students to communicate with typically developing peers. Kate has also pioneered a program called “Supersibs,” which allows students and their siblings to socialize in an inclusive environment. Last spring, Kate partnered with local dance professionals to launch a free dance program for students with special needs. Through the program, students have the opportunity to create and perform their own dance recitals.

Kate holds an M. Ed. In Educational Leadership from Holy Family University and continues to further her professional development. She recently completed her Expert Level Trainer/Provider certificate in the Developmental, Individual-differences, & Relationship-based model (DIR® Model). This model provides the framework for understanding human development and is known to be effective with students with special needs, including those with Autism. In addition to her professional achievements, Kate has also demonstrated a lifelong personal commitment to those with developmental differences. In 2005, she founded the first inclusive Sunday school program at her former parish, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Over the years, she has also been involved with the Discovery House in Mullica Township, NJ, which provides faith-based retreats for children and adults with special needs and their families. In the past, Kate has also served on the Board of Education for the Audubon School District for several years.

Congratulations, Kate, on your well-deserved award!

Calling All SOE Alumni!

Send your accolades for future editions of SOE - NewsLink to

Dr. Brian Berry Receives Taylor Award for Travel to Spain

Photo of Brian Berry, Taylor Award WinnerBrian Berry
Taylor Award Winner

At the University’s Opening Meeting on January 16, Brian Berry, Professor of Education, was awarded a Ray L. Taylor Memorial Award for Faculty Development. In the Spring of 2018, Holy Family University established a partnership agreement with Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) in Barcelona Spain to facilitate future faculty and student exchanges, primarily in the programmatic areas of Education and Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. The award to Dr. Berry will support his efforts to establish initial contact through a study and collaboration visit in Summer of 2019 with faculty in the Education Program at UIC. This initial visit will set the stage for a longer proposed sabbatical project in Spring 2020.

Dr. Berry recently spent a sabbatical semester traveling to Italy to study services and educational systems and considers his Taylor award a great opportunity to support current efforts to increase cross-cultural study initiated by the School of Education and the University and to help foster a better understanding of educational systems across the world.

For more information on Brian Berry’s fascinating career and interests, read on! Dr. Berry appears next in SOE NewsLink’s Faculty Spotlight . . .

SOE Faculty Spotlight: Brian Berry

Photo of Brian BerryBrian Berry
Professor of Education

Brian Berry joined the faculty at Holy Family University in 1993. He earned his Ph.D. and M. Ed. from Temple University and Bachelor’s degree in creative writing and rhetoric from Binghamton University. Prior to coming to HFU, Brian taught for two years in the Philadelphia School District and also worked in several community service organizations in the area of Supported Employment, which is an approach to facilitating community integrated employment for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Brian had just completed his doctoral degree from Temple and was looking for a Philadelphia-based college to start teaching.  He was inspired to teach in higher education by several of his professors at Temple and was particularly drawn to the field of teacher education.

In his more than twenty-five years of service to Holy Family University, Brian has held many significant roles and responsibilities. Most notably, he has served as Faculty Senate President, Vice President and Treasurer; Coordinator of Student Services in the School of Education; Chair of Graduate Programs; Program Coordinator of Special Education (graduate); and, most recently, Doctoral Faculty member.

During his time in higher education, Brian’s scholarly interests have revolved around increasing inclusive life opportunities for people in typical settings, such as school community and employment. Brian explains, “Often, there is a misnomer that ‘special’ education means something different or distant.  What is needed is thinking about the individualized or unique supports, accommodations or attitudes needed to allow for access to places that already are working for most of us (classrooms, curriculum, home, employment, community). This is what is primary to me when I view my scholarship as a professor.”

Catching up with Brian is not easy! When not on campus for classes, committee meetings, and other responsibilities, he likes to keep moving: "Travel is the operative word for what I do in my spare time. I travel by car, by plane, but mostly by bicycle. It is the daily, small trips on my bike on the beautiful Bucks County roads that keep my head clear.  Bicycling is great therapy for many ills."

Brian and his wife, Audrey, reside in Newtown, Bucks County. When he first started working atHoly Family, their children were almost one and three years old.  They are now 26 and 28. Both live in the West, their elder daughter in Denver and younger son in Salt Lake City. Brian explains, “It was the mountains and snow from earlier ski vacations that got them hooked on high country living. At least we have great places for travel.”

Indeed you do, Brian! Enjoy your trips westward and to Spain!

SOE Faculty Help Launch Early Childhood Education Book Club

Trish Joergensen and Kim HeuschkelTrish Joergensen (left) and Kim Heuschkel

Drs. Kim Heuschkel and Trish Joergensen, along with Alison Angelaccio (Bucks County Community College faculty) and Pat Miller (Coordinator of Quality Child Care Coalition—QCCC—of Bucks County) have been a core group for a book club focused on early childhood. Beginning in the summer of 2018, the group read The Most Important Year: Pre-Kindergarten and the Future of Our Children by Suzanne Bouffard. The group’s discussion was rich and the topic of pre-K remains a strong area of interest. During the fall of 2018, the group read Deb Curtis’ Really Seeing Children. This wonderful collection of classroom stories and teacher reflections reminds readers that children are the most important part of early childhood education.

At the December meeting of the QCCC of Bucks County, the winter book selection was announced: The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Dr. Nadine Harris Burke. Dr. Harris Burke is a pediatrician with a background in public health, and The Deepest Well is a response to the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. This study found links between adverse childhood experiences and health outcomes later in life. While the ACE Study reports sobering and often painful statistics, Harris Burke offers interventions that can address some of children’s early adverse experiences. For more information about Dr. Harris Burke’s work, check out The Center for Youth Wellness./p>

What have you been reading? The book club is always looking for good recommendations. If you would like to join the group or start a book club with your friends and colleagues, let us know at


Alpha House Update

Photo of Mary BeckerMary Becker
Director of Alpha House

Alpha House welcomed 110 students on September 10th, 2018 to begin a new school year. We had a number of new families and were happy to see our many returning families. The first half of the year was busy with settling in, getting to know each other and enjoying each new adventure.

In October, we had a visit from the fire truck and learned about Fire safety from one of our firefighter Dads. Our scholastic book fair and first Home and School meeting on Parenting met with great success. We collected meals for Aid for Friends, welcomed parents to our Fall Festival Art Show and celebrated Halloween.

In November, we began our very special toy drive for Children’s Hospital, and Mr. and Mrs. Weiss brought a carload of toys to the children. We had Stem Day, “A Day on the Farm,” where we met a live pig who came to our schoolyard, got to milk a pretend cow, had a barn raising, a sorting experience, and a technology lesson on counting with a farmyard theme. We finished up with a snack from our very own produce stand. Our Kindergarten class made beautiful baskets to give to two families in need for Thanksgiving, and we celebrated Mass with beautiful songs taught to the children by Sister Evy, a great way to begin the holiday season.

December was here in the blink of an eye as we prepared to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our Christmas Tree lighting was great fun, and the children decorated the tree with ornaments they made in class. We watched as the Kindergarten began rehearsing for their Christmas show and nursery and Pre K got a chance to see the dress rehearsal. We learned many new lessons, songs and stories throughout the month.

Our partnership with the University School of Education continued to be a very important resource for us. We had observers from the first year experience class, as well as some from a few of the professors’ classes. This is a wonderful connection for the University students, our children and our teachers—everyone benefits from these interactions. Dr. Agnew invited a student from her class who presented a very informative professional development presentation on sensory rooms and how to use them in a way that is most beneficial to the students. This was a very informative meeting, and our teachers were impressed with the presentation and implemented some of the suggestions immediately. We are planning a Family Math night for the Spring with Dr. Joergensen, and we have another professional development session on assessment scheduled for January.

Alpha House is thriving, thanks to our families, our faculty, and the School of Education. We are looking forward to the spring semester and all the exciting learning experiences it will bring!


SOE Hosts Visiting Students from Chile in Classes

Photo of Visiting Students from ChileLeft to right:
Juan Andres Gallardo, Franco Gonzalez, Dr. Janet McNellis (SOE Associate Dean), Cynthia Urbina, Constanza Olivares

The School of Education welcomed four international exchange students from Chile for the spring semester through the Exchange Student Visitor Program. Juan Andres Gallardo, Constanza Olivares, Cynthia Urbina, and Franco Gonzalez are seniors majoring in English Pedagogy at their home university, Universidad Arturo Prat in Iquique, Chile. The students are currently participating in several education classes for the semester as recipients of full Becas de Chile Department of Education Scholarships.

SOE Newslink asked Franco Gonzalez for a bit of background on himself, his career aspirations, and goals for his time here in the United States and at Holy Family University. In Franco's own words . . .


I'm from Alto Hospicio, Iquique, Chile. It's a small-town part of the city, Iquique, and it looks like a mini desert. My career goal is to be a good teacher, and to possess enough experience and knowledge to successfully accomplish the art of making someone understand something. If I get to do it as a freelancer who travels around the world, even better.

Honestly, the U.S. wasn't exactly at the top of my list of desired countries to visit but wasn't exactly at the top of my list of desired countries to visit, but since the scholarship gave me the opportunity to be here, I'm grateful and happy anyways. One of my reasons for coming here to the U.S. and Holy Family is that I always want to improve my English in every possible way. Holy Family University has a pretty good relationship with my home university (UNAP), and some teachers of mine recommended it to me as well. I think that what I want to accomplish the most is to improve my English little by little every single day, and hopefully to make some friends along the way.

This is my first time in the U.S. (even the first time out of my home country) and one of the things that have surprised me the most is the weather, which is extremely different from what I was used to in Chile, and also the fact that here it gets dark around 5 pm, while in Chile that usually happens around 8 or 9 pm. While I am in the U.S., I would like to establish meaningful relationships with the people around here and to get to know their culture deeply. Also, I would like to visit many interesting places that I know thiscountry has while balancing study and duty.

Thank you, Franco, for telling us about yourself. We are so glad that you, Juan, Constanza, and Cynthia are here! We hope your time with us is meaningful and you depart with many new friends from Holy Family!


SOE Faculty Achievements in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

Roger Gee attended the 2nd International Conference on Corpus Analysis in AcademicDiscourse held from November 14-16, 2018 at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria., Spain.  Dr. Gee’s presentation, A Comparison of the Lexical Bundles in L1 and L2 Thesis Abstracts, was based on research conducted with Meng Lyu, a visiting scholar in the School of Education from North China University of Water Resources andElectric Power in China.

Patricia Joergensen and Kim Heuschkel delivered the presentation, Preparing Responsive Teachers: Social and Emotional Development and Mental Health Issues, at the annual Fall 2018 Teacher Education Assembly of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE), in Harrisburg, PA.

Patricia Joergensen and Jennifer Fisler (Messiah College) presented Cooperating Teachers and College Supervisors Weigh in: Using Voices from the Field to Inform Our Model of Student Teaching at the annual Fall 2018 Teacher Education Assembly of the Pennsylvania Association of Teacher Educators (PACE-TE), in Harrisburg, PA.

Roseanna Wright attended the Online Learning Coalition (OLC) Accelerate Conference in Orlando, Florida in November 2018. While there she facilitated the virtual attendees' participation in the conference as well as participating in numerous workshops and presentations.Dr. Wright returned with new ideas that will help support HFU’s efforts to move to a greater number of blended and online course offerings.

Kevin Zook and collaborators, Gwen Price (Clarion University), Amy Rogers (Lycoming College), and Juliet Curci (Temple University) presented the paper, Defining and Evaluating the Professional Achievement Agendas of Teacher Educators, at the February 2019 annual conference of the Association of Teacher Educations (ATE), in Atlanta, Georgia.