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College of Education


Gilda Martinez-Alba, Ph.D. selected as the Provost Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion for a two-year period beginning fall 2015

Dr. Martinez-Alba has been an associate professor in the College of Education's Department of Elementary Education since August 2006. She served as the director of the Reading Clinic from fall 2013 through January 2015, and currently coordinates, teaches, and advises as the director of the graduate reading program. She has created electives that prepare teachers to work with students and families in English as a Second Language programs, and has helped build diversity while serving on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Educators Steering Committee.

Dr. Martinez-Alba demonstrates a commitment to TU's outreach goals through her scholarship on university-school partnerships to promote relationships between schools and immigrant communities. Her service as co-chair of the Latino Faculty and Staff Association, and her willingness to mentor Latino faculty and students, supports the university's efforts to recruit and retain more Latino learners and faculty. Dr. Martinez-Alba has extended that spirit of cultural connection through her study abroad work, connecting students with opportunities in Costa Rica, Portugal, New Zealand and Argentina. She won Towson University’s President’s Diversity Award in 2012, recognizing her efforts to foster greater awareness, understanding and advancement of diversity and inclusiveness at the university.    

Dr. Martinez-Alba earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education-Science from the University of Maryland–College Park in 1996, and then went on to earn her Master of Science in Education-Reading (2000) and Ed.D. in Teacher Development and Leadership (2005) from Johns Hopkins University. 


College of Education, 2015 Awards

Towson University’s 2015 Teachers of Promise –
Awarded each year by Maryland State Department of Education are
 honorees in their performance as pre-service teacher candidates.


Kaitlin Maclay, is a senior in the Early Childhood/Special Education TUNE cohort. Kaitlin has completed internship rotations at Emmorton Elementary School in special education and first grade. Kaitlin has dedicated many hours to planning and implementing a school-wide initiative to encourage character building and positive interactions amongst students.

Kaelii Stout is an Early Childhood Education major who interned in Baltimore County schools.  Kaelii is the founding secretary for Towson University’s chapter of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).

Jessica Sanfilippo is in the Integrated Elementary Education and Special Education program, completing internships in Baltimore County at Catonsville Elementary School and Chatsworth School.  Jessica is a “natural”, teaching from her heart and inspiring her students to love learning - she believes in them and teaches them to believe in themselves.

Kaitlyn Brennan is in the Elementary Education program and interned at Youth's Benefit Elementary School in the first grade.  Katie is an extremely talented, hard-working and reflective student teacher who sets personal goals for continual growth.
Jessica Laatsch studies Middle School Education (English Language Arts and Social Studies) and interns at Middle River Middle School. Jessica engages her students in authentic writing practices that resemble the work of real-world fiction writers and historians. Her plans are innovative, creative, and purposeful, and she self-reflects with a critical eye and a sense of humor.

Frances T. Bond Service Award given to one graduate student
 and one undergraduate student selected from the entire College of Education student body who have substantially contributed to the mission and
goals of Towson University and the College of Education through significant community service on behalf of education.

Leigh Ann Larson (ECED undergrad) is the founding president of the NAEYC student chapter at Towson University. This organization works within our Towson community to promote positive community relationships among early childhood educators and the children and their families they serve. Leigh Ann is student teaching at Reisterstown Elementary in first grade and Campfield Early Learning Center in Pre-k. She enjoys being involved in children's learning and helping them grow into responsible, respectful, and successful individuals.

Erin Richmond (SPED graduate) is undoubtedly one of the most talented special educators in our area. She has graduated from both our undergraduate and graduate programs in Special Education. To meet her is to know that it is her heart and how she continually goes above and beyond to serve her students and families that shines so brightly.  She has been an important contributor to our community in the Teacher as Leader in The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism program here at Towson University.


Irene M. Steele Award given to one seniorundergraduate student from ECED or ELED who has demonstrated the most promise in becoming a highly successful teacher in ECED and/or ELED.

Rebekah Groop (ELED undergrad) is a dual major in ELED and Deaf Studies. Rebekah is well equipped to serve any elementary school.  She recently signed a contract with Baltimore County and is currently teaching at Elmwood Elementary.  She is known to be a thoughtful and reflective teacher who is already making a difference in the lives of the students she is working with.


Teacher Education Excellence Award is given to one graduate student
and one undergraduate student from each department:
The award is given to those teacher candidates who have
substantially contributed
to the mission and goals of Towson University and the College of Education
through their outstanding model of teaching excellence at
their internship placement.

Hannah Frank (ECED undergrad) has interned with distinction in kindergarten at Middlesex Elementary and second grade at Dundalk Elementary in Baltimore County, MD. Her mentor teachers consistently praise her implementation of a variety of lessons. She is already commended for her willing collaboration with teachers, family and her students as well as her participation in various school-wide events during her internships.

Lindsay Kelland (EDTL graduate) is a recent graduate of the Instructional Technology program and immediately put into practice College of Education values in her teaching at Garrison Forrest School where she is teaching courses on Digital Thinking.  She is actively involved in a research study that she implemented during her teaching assignment that critically evaluates technology policies, uses local data to guide decision making, reflects best practices, and utilizes appropriate technologies to provide leadership in the appropriate implementation of technology in the field of education.

Britaney Cosner (ELED undergrad) is an exemplary student intern who is an active student in community service and has presented her undergraduate work at an NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) conference.  She was awarded a grant to conduct research and is the vice-president of the Mathematics Club at Towson University.

Collen Foster-Gill (ILPD graduate) currently holds the position of Advanced Placement English teacher and English Department Chair at Leonardtown High School in St. Mary’s County.  Ms. Gill is a very knowledgeable and dedicated professional.  She is supportive and responsive in her interactions with students, staff, and the parent community.   Her comprehensive knowledge of curriculum, assessment, and instruction has won her the respect of staff members who rely on her for assistance with lesson planning support and curricular implementation.  She truly is a teacher of teachers and they value her guidance in improving instruction and increasing rigor and achievement at Leonardtown High School.     

Monica Cordata (REED graduate) is a leader in the Howard County Reading Council, which provides professional development workshops to local teachers/administrators/parents.  Last year, Ms. Cordata provided a workshop at the Maryland TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Graduate Conference about working with students who are English learners and have visual impairments.  

Danielle Borgia (SMED undergrad)is an outstanding student who seeks to find real world connections between her major and students' lives. She considered their abilities and background of experience as she plans instruction. Her calm, well organized, methodical approach is another essential element of teaching excellence  as well as her mastery of her subject matter. She will be an asset to any school system.

Sean M. Connor (SMED graduate) is an outstanding teacher who focuses on his students and their education.  His lessons, interdisciplinary collaboration, and his drive to be the best teacher support the educational achievement of his students.

 Mary Beth Lingner (SPED undergrad) demonstrates her expertise in teaching and managing a variety of students with special-needs as she develops positive and productive relationships with them, and the professional staff with whom she works. She has devoted much time and energy to a number of community organizations including AmeriCorps, tutoring at Sparrows Point High School, and volunteering at neighborhood homeless shelters.

Ashley Eckman (SPED graduate) teaches at Sparks Elementary and has taught kindergarten for 9 years. Mrs. Eckman is an exemplary teacher. Of particular note is her ability to establish and maintain a supportive, positive and safe learning environment. For example, students spontaneously clap for each other and provide each other specific praise during large and small group settings. They also encourage and help each other without prompting. It is clear they are following Mrs. Eckman's example. She truly lives her favorite quote, "They may forget what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel."

Alumni Excellence Award
Award given to one alumnus/ae from the College of Education
who has contributed to the mission and goals for Towson University
through inspirational leadership, an outstanding model
of teaching excellence, and/or has been part of significant
community service work on behalf of education.
The candidate must be an individual who does not work at
Towson University, but is in the field of education
 in the community at large.

Katherine Hudson (SPED Alumna) began her career as a Baltimore County Public School System teacher prior to the birth of her first son, Logan.  Logan is currently an energetic, charismatic, and bright student at Rodgers Forge Elementary, but in the weeks and months following his birth, he was a newborn with numerous medical issues and a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, two things Katie and her family knew very little about.  Katie, along with her family, immediately committed themselves to becoming not only Logan’s best advocates, but advocates for ALL children with exceptionalities. Katie could never have realized how many lives she would touch when she began her second career as a mom of three and community activist.  Katie’s outreach to the community is vast:  she is a guest speaker at local universities, she serves on advisory councils, and she is a school/ parent special education liaison.  She has served on the board of the Chesapeake Down Syndrome Parents Group where she has focused on education and family support, developing materials for hospitals to share with families experiencing a new diagnosis and organizing a Young Athletes program through Special Olympics.  Regionally, she organized the first ever Baltimore Buddy Walk from the ground up, bringing over 1,000 people together to raise awareness for Down Syndrome, and she and her husband Sam have raised more moneythan any single team for the Polar Bear Plunge.  We are so proud to recognize the dedication, commitment and positivity of Katie Anderson Hudson-an advocate for ALL children. 


The Gloria A. Neubert Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Award given to one faculty member from the College of Education
who has substantially contributed to the mission and goals of
Towson University and the College of Education.

Dr. Robert Caples (EDTL) has brought to his teaching in the College of Education’s Department of Education Technology and Literacy a variety of skills and experiences he gleaned from a number of years in a local school system and university. His instructional expertise and technology skills, combined with his sense of humor and personal affect, engage his students to make learning both fun and meaningful. Rob teaches a range of courses from Towson Seminars to graduate courses in Instructional Technology and models technology integration very well in his teaching.

Dr. Lea Ann Christenson  (ECED) is completing her third year at Towson. She teaches ECED 321 Foundations of Reading and Writing and Pre-Primary and Primary Curriculum and Practicum courses. The interns she supervises grow and flourish in schools in a reestablished PDS in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Linda Miller (ELED) is finishing her twenty-fifth year in education.  Fourteen of those years have been at Towson University.  Her concentration has been in the area of Language Arts, specifically reading and writing methods. Linda is well liked and respected by her students.  One of her former students had this to say about her. “Ms. Miller has had a great impact on me as a person and a future educator.  Her passion for teaching is evident and contagious.  Ms. Miller has unknowingly become a role model for me, and I aspire to have the dedication and drive she has in my future career as a teacher.”

Walter Mills  (SMED) is a lecturer in the Secondary and Middle School Education Department.  He is not only an exceptional teacher of the Ethics in Education course, but also a key player in the Middle School major.  He brings over 30 years of public school teaching and administrative experience to his work at TU. Walt was the principal at Middle River Middle School in Baltimore County and was the catalyst in forming our PDS partnership there for the Middle School major.   Professor Mills’ students describe him as engaging, creative, and passionate about what he does. 

Dr. Liz O’Hanlon (SPED) has been a faculty member in the Department of Special Education since 2010.  She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses and is the beloved advisor for the Early Childhood-Special Education major.  Liz is a long-time advocate for students with disabilities and their families and is the University advisor to the Best Buddies Program, which has over 70 active student members.

Dr. Jessica Shiller(ILPD) is finishing her fourth year in Towson’s College of Education.  As a teacher of both graduate and undergraduate courses, she develops leadership skills in veteran and prospective educators so that they can learn to read the policy context which affects public schools and to analyze schooling practices through principles of equity and inclusion.  Dr. Shiller works tirelessly as both scholar and teacher to keep the public in public education. 


Towson University and College of Education Professional Excellence Award
Award given to one staff member from the College of Education
who has substantially contributed to the mission and goals of
Towson University and the College of Education.


Susan B. Turnbaugh has worked at Towson University for over 46 years.  As an office secretary, administrative assistant and executive administrative assistant, she has fielded 6,000,000 questions on the telephone, made appointments for countless faculty and staff, directed complaints to the right departments, purchased supplies, maintained official records (and some unofficial ones!), handled correspondence and contracts, answered emails, ordered food, kept confidences, and performed 10,000,000 acts of kindness for students and staff at TU. She has served as a member of the TU Staff Council and the TU Police Community Relations Council.  She has been a volunteer for the Maryland Charities Campaign and Santa Claus Anonymous. Her exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail have made her the go-to woman in the College of Education.  We count ourselves blessed to have had her as a colleague and friend for over 46 years. She is, as the poet Maya Angelou said, “…is a phenomenal woman.” 





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