May 09, 2011
Educators often say that the most rewarding part of their job is
watching their students succeed.
That's certainly the case for the honorees of St. John's Third
Annual Leaders in Education Awards Dinner (L.E.A.D.) at the Oakdale
campus. These hard-working and dedicated teachers, professors,
coaches and administrators received awards and recognition for
their outstanding achievements in the field of Education.
This year's honorees included:
Director of Special Education, Eastern Suffolk BOCES
Robert Dillon '74C, '90Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Administration
State University of New York at New Paltz
Executive Director, Mid-Hudson School Study Council
Susan MacDonald '10Ed.D.
Reading/Literacy Specialist, Southampton Schools
Adjunct Professor, Suffolk County Community College
Bill Mitaritonna '94SVC
Social Studies Teacher, Boys Varsity Basketball Coach
Half Hollows High School
Thomas Shea '70Ed, '72GEd, '78PD, '83Ed.D., '89L
Superintendant of Schools
South Huntington Union Free School District
Over 100 guests came out to the dinner, held in the Oakdale
campus's beautiful Bourne Mansion. After a brief cocktail
reception, Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., Dean of St. John's The School of
Education and Academic Vice President for the Staten Island campus,
welcomed the guests and honorees.
are delighted to bestow these awards upon the people who are being
honored tonight," he said. "The honorees all exhibit the competency
and caring nature that has characterized St. John's since its
The recipients appreciated the recognition, but were quick to point
out that their most satisfying accomplishments take place in the
"Seeing my students succeed is something that's even better than
the prize I'm receiving tonight," noted Susan MacDonald '10Ed.D.
"It's great to receive an award, but to know that a child can read
thanks to your efforts – that's truly amazing."
Robert Dillon '74C, '90Ed.D. echoed MacDonald's sentiment.
"It's an incredible satisfaction you get when you help your kids
excel," he explained. "This is especially true when you're working
with students who had a lot less than you growing up. Working with
them and watching them grow really makes the profession worth
Dillon's favorite part of the night was how he was able to
reconnect with old friends.
"I graduated back in '74 with my first degree, and to still have a
relationship with the University and with other alumni is very
special," he said. "It's fantastic that St. John's remembers its
graduates, keeps track of them and has great events like this where
we can get together and reminisce."
anyone knows about staying connected to the University, it's
honoree Thomas Shea '70Ed, '72GEd, '78PD, '83Ed.D., '89L, who
graduated an incredible five times from St. John's. He cites the
University's family atmosphere as what kept him coming back through
"Winning this award is inspirational and reflects the fact that
although St. John's is large and diverse, it really cares about
each individual graduate," he noted. "They remember their former
students in much the same way as we educators look back at our own
students with a sense of accomplishment. That’s precisely why,
throughout my career, I never even thought of attending a different
After the awards ceremony, Linda Faucetta '75Ed, Assistant
Professor and Administrative Director of The School of Education
for the Graduate Division of the Oakdale campus, provided closing
"Our educators are the foundation of this nation," she said.
"Without them, people can't learn how to read, they can't learn how
to write. And the great teachers we're honoring tonight really
deserve this recognition."
She added, "The honorees tonight did not just view their degrees as
a ticket to earn money. They've used their degrees as a ticket to
change the world."