Education Honor Society Bestows Dean with Top Honors
Susann Ragone, Assistant Dean in The School of Education and Counselor of the Staten Island campus Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, has received the society’s O.L. Davis Jr. Counselor of Distinction Award and its Regional Counselor Award for the Northeast Region. Both awards are among the highest honors Kappa Delta Pi can bestow.
Kappa Delta Pi is an international honor society in education, and Dean Ragone has served as Counselor for its Staten Island campus chapter, Alpha Beta Gamma, since its inception in 2003.
Dean Ragone joined the staff of The School of Education on the Staten Island campus in 1999, eventually becoming an Assistant Dean in 2004. As Assistant Dean, she advises freshmen, handles programs and course schedules, and oversees internal and external transfers, among other responsibilities. Dean Ragone also teaches Orientation to Education, a one-credit course for freshman Education majors that reviews requirements for New York State teaching certification.
As Counselor to Alpha Beta Gamma, Dean Ragone identifies qualified students, handles the induction ceremonies, and coordinates events sponsored (or co-sponsored) by KDP. She works closely with the Chapter’s Executive Board as well as Regina Mistretta, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in The School of Education and Associate Counselor of Alpha Beta Gamma.
Focus on Service
Staten Island’s KDP Chapter won Excellence Awards each year they were eligible (2007, 2009 and 2011), and Dean Ragone credited all those who support her efforts for their strong showing. “We’re very active for a small campus and a small chapter. I’m proud to say the students really get involved,” she observed. Dean Ragone noted that there are over 550 chapters nationwide and typically 20-25 chapters receive the honor.
Service is an essential component of a strong chapter, Dean Ragone stressed. For programming, she often partners with other departments and organizations on campus, such as Campus Ministry as well as fraternities and sororities. Members of the KDP Chapter participate in Service Day and the Breast Cancer Walk, in addition to efforts specific to education. “Dr. Mistretta has secured grants that allow us to go out into the community and provide outreach,” Dean Ragone added.
One such program, Literacy Alive, promotes literacy among younger students. KDP members hosted students from Port Richmond High School, and developed a project based on their required reading for Discover New York, a St. John’s course.
Students also volunteered for the “Dr. Seuss Read A-Loud Pajama Party,” an event which hosted 35 families from eight elementary schools. Students worked with the children, reading Dr. Seuss books to them, while Dr. Mistretta gave parents tips on promoting literacy in the home.
KDP students participate in food drives and cell phone collections for soldiers stationed overseas, and have adopted families at Christmas. “We try to get involved with as much as we can,” Dean Ragone stressed. “We have to be creative on a small campus and try not to overburden our active students.”
Originally a lab technologist, Dean Ragone came to St. John’s after a break from her career to raise her children. She received her master’s degree within two years and was appointed an Assistant Dean. “I love it,” she stressed. “I love working with students. It’s something that really attracted me.”
Dean Ragone’s responsibilities require her to be extremely involved in the lives of her students. “My first commencement as an Assistant Dean was very emotional. It felt like they were all my kids,” she explained. “I take pride in the personal service we offer,” at Staten Island, Dean Ragone observed, adding that she knows all her students by name.
Dean Ragone is a graduate of the first cohort of the Vincentian Mission Certificate Program, and sees a strong correlation between teaching and the University’s Vincentian Mission. “They really go hand in hand,” she stressed. “One of the reasons I enjoy the KDP work so much is it’s another way to expose students to the mission and for me to serve.”
Prior to her arrival at St. John’s, Dean Ragone was very active in her community, especially at her children’s school. “When I came here I found ways to continue that part of my life, which I really enjoy. We really try to reach out to the underprivileged on Staten Island. I think it all comes full circle through The School of Education, KDP and the University.”
Assistant Dean Ragone will be presented with the O.L. Davis, Jr. Counselor of Distinction Award and the Kappa Delta Pi Regional Counselor Award for the Northeast Region at their 2011 Convocation, which will take place November 3 – 5 in Indianapolis.