By Linda Relyea
Assistant Director of Communications

Consider it the honor roll: Adam’s State’s acclaimed Teacher Education Department achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the Praxis exam for all TED program completers in 2019-2020, including students in the elementary, secondary, and K-12 licensure programs.  

Abdi Shongolo, who graduated in the spring of 2020 and began working for Denver Public Schools as a high school PE teacher in the fall of 2020, was one of those students. “A lot of my classes covered the questions on the Praxis exam,” he said of the teacher preparation he received at Adams State.

Curtis Garcia, Ph.D., chair of the Teacher Education Department, attributes the success to several efforts the department has made in the past three years which include stronger enforcement of program policies and state licensure requirements, and the launch of a Praxis testing site at Adams State, which the department administers, to provide local option for students who need the test. 

“The implementation of stronger supports and interventions for teacher prep students coming through the program is now provided by our high-quality faculty and staff,” Garcia says.

Another spring 2020 graduate, Hector Ramos Garcia, received his degree in English secondary education and began teaching English and journalism at Sargent School District. He filled a vacant position with the school district just before graduation.

ASU TED faculty and staff
Pictured, left to right: Carolyn Casale, Ed.D., Bev DeVore-Wedding, Ph.D., Michele Mann, Ph.D., Chrissy McKinney, Curtis Garcia, Ph.D., Angela Madrid, Kieran Nduagbo, Ph.D., and Joaquin Vilá, Ph.D.

“Thanks to the preparation from both the English and Teacher Education Departments, I was able to serve as a teacher of record as I completed my final semester of college.” 

Hector Garcia says the professors in both departments demonstrated and taught rigorous preparation and high expectations, which served as excellent training to prepare for the complex nature of the Praxis exam. He says he appreciated the leadership by Teacher Ed Chair Garcia, who played an integral role in preparing teacher education students for their profession. 

“He genuinely cares for every student.”

Shongolo and Hector Garcia both credited Adams State for preparing them for their careers.

 “At Adams State we had to create seven-page lessons plans. I am now required to write one-page lesson plans. I can do that in my sleep,” Shongolo says.

For Hector Garcia, the expertise and strategies shared by his professors included modeling professional attitudes of being punctual, prepared, reliable, and exhibiting good communication skills. “They prepared me well for the expectations of my profession.” 

The Adams State Teacher Education faculty have a wide-range of experience and expertise. The faculty includes Curtis Garcia, Carolyn Casale, Ed.D., Bev DeVore-Wedding, Ph.D., Michele Mann, Ph.D., Kieran Nduagbo, Ph.D., and Joaquin Vilá, Ph.D. Chrissy McKinney, program coordinator and student advisor, and Angela Madrid, administrative assistant, provide support to students and department faculty.

Casale and Nduagbo were very supportive during Shongolo’s senior block classes. Hector Garcia says McKinney did everything in her power to ensure he would graduate in just three years. 

“She also went above and beyond to consistently provide us with resources to help with studying, scheduling, and taking the Praxis exam.”

Along with the value of classes, Hector Garcia was encouraged by professors in both departments to present to staff and faculty on race and inequality. Through Casale’s guidance, he became the founding president of the Adams State Educators of Tomorrow Club. 

“The ability to feel like I was involved in my education and important decisions and events made for a comfortable and effective learning environment,” he says.

And that, more than anything else, will earn Adams State an “A.”