As one of the first graduates of USP’s Science Teacher Certification Program, James Donnelly III, BI’92, can attest first hand to the benefits the program offers. Following graduation, Donnelly began his career as a substitute teacher at Enfield Middle School in Springfield Montgomery County. It was not long after that when he received a formal offer to teach at Chichester High School. Today, a mere 16 years later, who would have imagined that Donnelly, at the age of 37, would not only be serving as the High School’s Principal, but would be selected as the 2008 recipient of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School’s Principal of the Year award.
“At a time when there were few job openings for teachers, I was able to find a position quickly. I had very little downtime after college, and I give credit to USP, the Science Teacher Certification Program, and especially to Dr. Lois Peck (the program’s director) for my success,” said Donnelly.
The Science Teacher Certification Program at USP in particular, qualifies its graduates to teach in four different areas of specialization – Biology, Chemistry, General Science, and Environmental Education.
“I have used all four areas of specialization and I am a better educator for having that diverse background,” said Donnelly.
The versatility of the program, in addition to students receiving instructional certification in science in Pennsylvania, makes the degree very portable and competitive. The students also gain plenty of experience in the field in a variety of school settings – urban, suburban, private, and public - starting as early as their sophomore year. Jim will be receiving his award at the Pennsylvania State Principals Conference held this upcoming fall from October 19 to 21. He is also a contender for the National award to be given out October 24 to 25.
“This is such an honor for Jim as well as the University. He has always been very supportive of the Certification Program and our students and I am very proud of his accomplishments at such a young age. I hope that more students will see the value of the program and what it has to offer,” said Peck.