April 18, 2011
Teaching isn’t easy.
In fact, it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world, demanding much
more than simply preparing lesson plans, assigning homework and
grading exams. It’s been said that all teachers open the door to
learning, but only the very best walk with their students into the
exciting world that lies on the other side.
more than 100 years St. John’s University has been at the forefront
of teacher education, and so it was fitting that four of the area’s
most gifted educators were recognized at the Sixth Annual Leaders
in Education Dinner (L.E.A.D.) on the Queens campus.
Over 130 alumni and friends gathered at this popular event, which
was co-hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and St. John’s The
School of Education. This year’s honorees included:
Elmont Memorial High School
Maureen Enright Flood ’67Ed,
St. John’s Preparatory High School
Stephen C. Lando ’98Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent, Secondary
Great Neck Public Schools
Sr. Kathleen McKinney, CSJ ’90PD,
The Mary Louis Academy
“Teachers are the ones who create all of the good things that
happen in life,” said Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., Academic Vice President
for the Staten Island campus and Dean of The School of Education as
he welcomed everyone to this special evening. “Without teachers
there would be no leaders, and it’s important that we have
celebrations like this to honor the best of them.”
While all of the honorees have achieved great success as
educators, each took a separate journey, with various stops along
the way, before ending up behind the teacher’s desk.
After earning a degree in Political Science, John Capozzi spent
seven years as a furrier before deciding to take his life in a
different direction. “I was working in the fur business and living
in Hong Kong for three years,” he recalled, “and when I came back,
for whatever reason, I realized that I had a calling to become a
teacher. I’ve never regretted it, and as a principal I see what a
great job St. John’s is doing in the field of education. Receiving
this award means the world to me, particularly because it comes
For Sr. Kathleen McKinney, going into the field of education was
never high on her list of possible careers. As a student she always
loved science classes and seriously considered becoming a doctor.
Over time, however, this dynamic future educator came to the
conclusion that she would have a greater impact on more people by
teaching them rather than treating them.
“I was a Chemistry and Physics teacher before going into
Administration, and that really energized me,” she said. “This
award tonight isn’t just about me, it’s a recognition of our entire
profession. Those of us who teach really touch the future. For me,
that’s the best part of what I do.”
Stephen Lando had planned to become an engineer until he spent one
summer working as a camp counselor. A portion of his duties
involved teaching swimming to the kids at camp, which he now
recalls as being an experience that changed his life forever.
“When I went back to school I changed my major from Engineering to
Education, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The
best part about teaching is that we get to do things for the kids
that will hopefully change their lives, and if we’re lucky, they’ll
change other people’s lives because of us.”
As the honorees enjoyed their well-deserved acclaim, they were
quick to express their respect for the profession that allows them
to make a lasting impact on every aspect of society. At the end of
the day, it’s the realization that they’re really making a
difference that means the most to them.
“Getting students excited about learning and having a sense of
improving themselves and becoming productive members of society is
very special,” said Maureen Enright Flood. “I loved being a student
at St. John’s and I know that I’ve carried those feelings
throughout my career. To be recognized for doing something you love
is very humbling.”