Professor Prepares Students to Become 21st- Century Education Leaders
Since joining the St. John’s faculty in 2000, Regina Mistretta, ED’87, Ed.D, Associate Professor of Education and Program Coordinator of Staten Island Undergraduate Programs, has devoted herself to advancing her alma mater’s reputation as a cutting-edge training ground for future teachers.
“Dr. Mistretta has introduced new approaches to teacher education that are ahead of the curve,” said Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., Dean of The School of Education (SOE). “In fact, she has played a major role in furthering the School’s reputation as a progressive teacher education center that produces professionals who educate the whole child.”
Her contributions include raising corporate funding to create model classrooms — two Teaching and Training Labs — that were installed on the Staten Island campus. The state-of-the-art classrooms stay ahead of the learning curve in teacher education.
In addition, Dr. Mistretta recently launched an exciting new parent-student program called "In Collaboration." It is designed to allow parents of Catholic School fourth- and fifth-graders to productively help their children with their math and science classes. “Our graduate students have told us that the program gives them an understanding of the underlying issues complicating parent/student school-related interactions,” she observed. “This understanding, in turn, aids them in helping parents give their children constructive feedback.” Dr. Mistretta has written an article about the program that will appear this fall in the Journal for Mathematics Education Leadership.
She was also instrumental in creating the Internship Placement Project, providing nonprofit internship opportunities to all SOE undergraduates. Inspired by Dean Ross who recognized the need for future teachers to familiarize themselves with the challenges facing the urban needy, the initiative is broadening student understanding of the psychological and social factors impacting school-age children. “This knowledge will ensure that our graduates will be able to make their courses relevant to 21st century, multicultural students,” said Dr. Mistretta.
It was precisely because of this holistic approach to teacher education that Dr. Mistretta initially decided to come to St. John’s as an undergraduate. “Even then, the SOE was known for its progressive educational philosophy,” she recalled. This philosophy was also what convinced her to return to St. John’s to pursue her career as a professor of education.
“It definitely was the right move,” she said, “St. John’s is enabling me to craft visionary educational programs. I am glad I decided to come home.”