The Saint Mary’s University chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the Education Club, hosted the Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Amy Hewett-Olatunde, Ed.D, last Thursday, Sept. 10 as she spoke to a room full of undergraduate and graduate education students about the importance of advocating for students.
Hewett-Olatunde’s own students come from very diverse backgrounds and gather together at LEAP High School in Saint Paul. All of these students, ranging in age from 15 to 21, are English Language Learners with backgrounds in Chinese, Nepali, Karenni, Bhutanese, and many other languages. Ms. Amy, as her students call her, teaches English at this high school. Despite the language and cultural challenges, she reaches students through poetry, storytelling, and other art techniques.
An important message and challenge of advocation and service came through in Hewett-Oltunde’s presentation to Saint Mary’s students: “We are not giving our students of different colors, races, religions, ethnicities the same opportunities as other students. Teachers need to be held accountable for this.”
Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Amy Hewett-Olatunde, speaks to Saint Mary’s education students.
Photo by Ena Moats
When asked why ASCD felt it important to bring the Teacher of the Year to Saint Mary’s, ASCD president and junior education major, Cortney Beckman, said, “Ms. Amy brings in a new perspective of education when she talks about English as a Second Language and diversity in the classroom. It’s important that all the education students consider this perspective.”
ASCD’s next event will be held in October and will allow Saint Mary’s students to get to know the education department faculty.