From volunteer to full-time, teacher found his calling at TU

Colby Cronise’s decision to enroll in education courses laid the foundation for a promising career in teaching.

Colby Cronise and students in class

Colby Cronise’s first degree in homeland security and emergency management was an admirable pursuit, but not destined to be his career choice. “I just could not see myself working in the field for the rest of my life,” admits Cronise. Following a break to rethink his career path, Cronise took a few education courses to test his interest in teaching.

“As part of my elementary education course, I needed to spend 15 hours volunteering in an elementary school. I volunteered 50 hours,” says Cronise. “The course was life-changing for me, and I knew then I wanted to be a teacher.”

After receiving an associate’s degree in education, Cronise transferred to TU to major in elementary education and special education. “Teaching put me on a path I never felt possible,” he adds.

“The cohort of the 15 students in my classes created a super-helpful community,” recalls Cronise. “My instructors were fantastic and learning about the roads they took to teaching careers was inspirational.” Special Education Assistant Professor Gregory Knollman was one of his biggest advocates and mentors. “He connected me to TU Outreach, which pairs students with intellectual disabilities from Baltimore County Public Schools with TU students in the special education program,” Cronise describes. “That experience made me see the impact I can have as an educator.”

Volunteering in an elementary school was life-changing for me. I knew then I wanted to be a teacher. ”

Colby Cronise

Outside the classroom, Cronise served on the Dean’s Advisory Council. As a council member, he met with the dean to discuss future plans for the College of Education and worked on a climate survey of transfer and commuter students that resulted in a weekly email providing construction updates and other information to ease their travel to campus. 

Cronise’s career kicked off this fall when he began teaching at Westchester Elementary School in Catonsville, Maryland. One piece of advice Cronise offers:  “If you feel like you are even remotely interested in teaching, give it a try.  Education is the most important part of an individual’s life.”

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