Mary Baldassarre '16 Credits Connections Made at LVC for Teaching Success
Alumna Mary Baldassarre ’16, graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a degree in mathematics and a teaching certificate in secondary education. While she appreciates her time at The Valley, she openly recalls it was not her first choice for college.
“I was set on attending another college and only visited LVC because a friend of mine convinced me to visit the Math Department,” Baldassarre said. “I attended the open house and felt as though I was already a part of the LVC family. Both the Math Department and Education Department impressed me with how seriously they took the classes and how personable the professors were. I already felt at home after just a few hours on campus.”
The connections made from her initial visit at LVC set Baldassarre up for a successful four years of college and early professional success. Impressively, she was nominated for a Teacher of the Year Award during her first year of teaching.
“I was in secondary classrooms starting in my first semester,” Baldassarre said. “Observing different teachers and working with them exposed me to different teaching styles, activities, and other strategies. I incorporate something from each of the teachers in my own classroom. Student teaching at Palmyra Middle School with Melanie Myer was by far the best preparation for teaching.”
Baldassarre is in her second year at Dinwiddie County Middle School in Dinwiddie, Virginia, where she teaches seventh and eighth grade advanced math. She made an immediate impact, earning a nomination for the Dinwiddie Middle School Teacher of the Year award last year.
She attributes a lot of her success to the many professors she had at LVC.
“I don’t think I had a favorite professor,” Baldassarre said. “I learned so much from all of them, and they were all a part of getting me where I am today. I still keep in touch with many of them.”
During her undergrad experience, Baldassarre took advantage of the many on-campus activities, and joined a multitude of clubs. These clubs helped her explore new opportunities, and gave her a variety of leadership roles. Among other activities, she was a Valley Ambassador co-chair of Colleges Against Cancer.
The confidence gained from these experiences provided a strong background as Baldassarre presented at local conferences and national education conferences.
“I am a confident presenter, both in and out of the classroom,” Baldassarre said. “Every education class stressed differentiation. Every day I try to find new ways to present, practice, and assess material. I presented at our county conference on worksheet alternatives.”
Baldassarre presented at the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) Conference in November. This conference allows for professional development and opportunities to network with other attendees. Baldassarre also donated back to LVC, helping send six current education students to the conference.
Along with presenting at conferences and symposiums, Baldassarre also has publications on Differentiation and Understanding by Design, which evolved through projects she worked on at LVC with Dr. Karen Walker, director of secondary education. Baldassarre is currently working on her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Grand Canyon University.
-- Veronica Pettyjohn, Marketing & Communications Intern