Nyack Alumnus Missionary to Hungary Lauds MS TESOL Program

Posted by Diana.Nygard on Monday June 2, 2014

Nyack Alumnus Missionary to Hungary Lauds MS TESOL Program

Russell Chun is a December 2013 graduate from Nyack College’s MS in TESOL program, studying under Dr. Frank Tuzi. Originally from the Hawaiian Islands, Russell is a retired Army officer, serving from 1981 until his retirement in 2005. At that point, he and his family moved to Hungary as missionaries where they now serve in GoodSports International, having also founded its companion English language school Logos Nyelviskola. The motto of this organization, which serves orphans, widows, and refugees, is “For the body, sports. For the spirit, hope.”

In addition to his MS in TESOL with Nyack College, Russell has also earned a Master of Arts in International Relations with a Boston University overseas program, a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and German with the University of Hawaii in Manoa, and is now taking coursework in Biblical Studies at Nyack College.

We invite you to enjoy the following interview with Russell, some photographs, and a video he shares with us called “New Testament Relevance in GoodSports”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OQKoO3iBO0.

 Russell talks about his ministry in Hungary, and how his MS in TESOL at Nyack College has opened up new doors for him!

1.Please describe your residency in Hungary.

I moved to Hungary in June 2005 upon retiring from the U.S. Army after 23 years. I was a volunteer for many years with GoodSports International (see www.goodsportsinternational.org). Upon retirement, I joined the organization as a full time volunteer and served as the International Director. 

Initially, my wife, Trudy, and Andrea Noelani (Andi, then aged 4) and I moved to Mikepércs, Hungary, a village of 5,000 people south of Debrecen near the Romanian border. Since then we have adopted two children Nikoletta Kalohelani (Niki, adopted at age 6) and then Levente Kekoa (Levi, adopted at age 10).  The children are now all 13, 13, and 13 (yes, they are virtual triplets and I am in need of prayer for the teen years!).

2.What caused you to initiate a relationship with Nyack College and enroll in its MS TESOL program?

I thought that as a U.S. Army Officer experienced in training soldiers I would be able to teach English. After four months in a classroom with 4th graders, I discovered that I was clueless in the classroom! I clearly needed to find an institution that could help me online. Carol Ann Freeman had done a theological paper on missions in Hungary and had included some of my comments. I asked her about NYACK (which I was sure stood for something like New York A…C…K…). The Veterans Administration also updated me and said that NYACK was a legitimate program for my VA benefits (nice).

3.Why did you choose the non-certification track in obtaining your Master’s degree? What opportunities did it open to you? Did it prevent you from taking advantage of any opportunities?

I choose the non-certification track because I was told that this was for missionaries working in TESOL. The TESOL degree has opened many doors for me. 

1)  It has made me a better teacher, and I am better able to plan and organize English lesson plans for children in our sports programs.

2)  As the founder for the Logos Nyelviskola (Language School), it has made me a better support person/resource person for the teachers and staff.

3) Prior to my degree, the local primary school refused to let me work with the English teachers there (the teachers wanted me, but the principal refused). Now I can help the teachers whenever I have the time (or when I have teams who desire to experience teaching English in a primary school setting). 

4) Since I did my Nyack practicum in the Csokonai Gymnasium (High School: 9th, 10th, and 11th grade), I can inform other high schools of my teaching experience there. This makes me more attractive as an English teacher with teaching experience in Hungary. Now there are too many opportunities, and I really have to manage my time so as to not burn out!

5)  Because of the degree I have also been asked to develop the English Curriculum scope and sequence for the new Baptist Talentum School in Teglaskert. I will do an “English Club” for the children at least once a week.

4.How did the MS TESOL non-certification program prepare you for teaching outside of the United States? Or, how did the program better equip you to serve overseas?

It enabled me to provide schools with my degree qualifications. While this does not necessarily meet with government approval (meaning that I am not a qualified teacher according to Hungarian standards), most schools seem to be comfortable with the Nyack degree format. Now that I am a qualified teacher, I am able to get top price for my English Teaching Services.  All the money I make goes into GoodSports Hungary as a donation and goes to paying the staff of our Language School.

5.You are involved in several ministry venues in Hungary. What are they and what do you do? How did you go about getting involved with these ministries?

There are two primary ways that we reach out to kids/parents/communities.

  1. GoodSports Hungary has developed a hybrid English/Sports camp for summer.  This combination invites kids who want to play and allows parents to spend money on something that may have an educational benefit. 
  2. Because summer must come to an end, the Logos Language School was developed to find and engage students where they are – in the schools! The TESOL program has introduced me to several schools, administrators, and teachers who now give me (and Logos teachers) access to their students.

6.How do you see a connection between your work in Hungary and your MS in TESOL through Nyack College?

MS in TESOL has given me greater access in primary schools, high schools, and colleges. In the Hungarian Reformed Seminary, theological students will now be given the opportunity to participate in an English Conversation Class. Without the MS degree they would not even have given me the appointment to pitch the concept. But we start in September! All around, I am more QUALIFIED and thus a valued commodity in a “degree focused” society.

7.What advice would you give prospective students about pursuing a Master in Education degree of any type at Nyack College?

FOR MISSIONARIES: If you have the time (and money), it might be nice to go for the certified program at Nyack. In hindsight, I wish I had considered this option sooner. At some point most missionaries return to the States, and having this already done would be a boon. However, many missionaries intend to stay overseas forever, so it is all case-dependent.* But at the same time, the time spent on these studies did take me away from missions work. Trying to balance the mission work and school work – PLUS family life was VERY difficult. It is essential that your spouse, family, and coworkers understand the stresses of the degree program. They really will need to be supportive.

* Editor’s note: Since the matter of teacher certification is so case-dependent, all prospective Education students are advised to discuss program options with their admissions counselor and advisor about the best program suitable for them.

MSE Program Celebrates Lovely Hooding Ceremony on May 9, 2014

Posted by Diana.Nygard on Thursday May 22, 2014

MSE Program Celebrates Lovely Hooding Ceremony on May 9, 2014

The School of Education celebrated its annual Master of Science in Special Education Hooding on Friday, May 9, 2014 with graduating students receiving their hoods from education faculty. The 2014 MSE class honored graduates in Master of Science in Childhood Special Education, Master of Science in Childhood Education, and Master of Science in TESOL Education.

The Master of Science in Childhood Special Education graduates are Steven Astor, Rebecca Collins, Shannon Darby, Lavern Dawson, Caitlin Gallagher, Lisa James, Heesun Jang, Carol King-Grant, Pandora LaLumiere, Kaitlin Mathis, Jennifer Miranda, Rebecca Rodriguez, and Lorena Williams. The Master of Science in Childhood Education graduates are Laraine Isaac and Lillian Torres. Master of Science in TESOL Education are Russell Chun, Sharon Gibbs, Natasha Harris, and Jose Martinez.

Dr. Christine Buel, Director of the Master of Science program, and Dr. Frank Tuzi, Director of the Master of Science TESOL program, shared warm words of welcome to students, faculty, parents, and other guests.

Special speaker for the ceremony was Ms. Hazel Joseph-Roseboro, Principal of University Heights High School in New York City. Ms Joseph-Roseboro was a 1995 Nyack College School of Education graduate. She shared an inspirational and sometimes humorous message with the graduating class based on her experiences as principal and teacher.

Dr. Bennett Schepens, Assistant Provost and Director of Institutional Assessment, explained the School of Education acronym SALT, which stands for Service, Academics, Leadership, Training.

Professor Christopher Beirne shared the scripture readings revolving around Proverbs of wisdom.

Dr. Schepens gave the faculty’s presentation of Outstanding Student Awards to students. The award is for education students who achieve a GPA of 3.85 and above. Dr. Nicholas Holub gave gifts to students.

Students knelt before the audience to receive their hoods from Dr. Tuzi and Dr. Buel.

Please enjoy the photos from this celebrated event, taken by Mr. Eric Nygard.

The International Educator Website Provides Opportunities and Resources for Interested Teacher Candidates

Posted by Diana.Nygard on Thursday August 29, 2013

The International Educator (TIE) has a very resourceful website for teachers and teacher candidates to find international employment, access resources, learn about advanced degrees and career development, participate in message boards, and read articles and reflections on the field of education in the international realm.

From the website: “The International Educator (TIE) is a non-profit organization committed to matching the best educators with the best international schools around the world. For more than 25 years, TIE has been the most comprehensive service for securing a job overseas. TIE is the marketplace for international education by providing the venue where schools can find exceptional candidates, and teachers can find exceptional jobs. Let TIE be your path to an international school career!”

Interested educators can open an account for job seeking, posting resumes, and subscribing to articles and resources by visiting TIE Online: The Marketplace for International Education at http://www.tieonline.com/


Summer Update on State Certification Tests for Graduate Students

Posted by Diana.Nygard on Tuesday July 2, 2013

Summer Update on State Certification Tests for Graduate Students

Please keep in mind that the certification exams for New York State change this Fall.  You will need to prepare yourself for the costs and dates.  There are still many unknowns, but what we do know is available on the test provider's website (www.nystce.nesinc.com).  Some of the highlights have been reprinted here, along with their implications for you.

Please read everything carefully.


Important Announcement About Paper-Based Testing for Some NYSTCE Tests

Posted June 6th on the NYSTCE website:

"Effective September 1, 2013, the following NYSTCE tests will be offered only on computer at Pearson computer-based testing centers. They will no longer be offered at paper-based administrations. The last paper-based administration for these tests will be July 20, 2013. See "Test Dates" for information about registration deadlines. To find a Pearson computer-based testing center near you, go to www.pearsonvue.com/es/locate .

  • Multi-Subject CST
  • Students with Disabilities CST"

Keep in mind that the computer-based testing is more convenient but also more expensive (Details: http://www.nystce.nesinc.com/NY17_testfees.asp). The ESOL CST exam will remain paper-based for now.


2013–2014 Test Dates

2013-2014 test registration has not opened yet, but now is the time to prepare.  Please note that passing scores on certification exams are required before admission to Internship/Student Teaching.  For those of you looking to complete Internship/Student Teaching in Spring 2014:

  • All Spring 2014 Interns must be prepared to register by September 13th for both the new Academic Literacy Skills Test and Educating All Students Tests, since that is the paper-based test registration deadline.  There may or may not be a computer-based option for either test--that level of registration information has not yet been released on the new tests.  The new edTPA based in Internship/Student Teaching is estimated to be $300, so please plan for that too. 
  • Spring 2014 TESOL Interns: the only paper-based test administration in the Fall for the ESOL CST requires registration by September 13th.   
  • Spring 2014 Childhood Ed/Special Ed Interns: the computer-based CST(s) must registered for by September as well so passing test scores are received in a timely fashion.

Those of you in the Additional Certification programs should only need to take the CST(s) for State certification.  You will be constructing the edTPA during Practicum as a College culminating project but will not need to officially submit it for certification purposes, as it is an initial certification requirement.  Take the CST(s) near the end of your final semester/Practicum so you are best prepared.


Spring 2013 Master of Science in Special Education Hooding

Posted by Diana.Nygard on Thursday May 30, 2013

The School of Education celebrated its annual Master of Science in Special Education Hooding on Friday, May 10, 2013 with graduating students receiving their hoods from education faculty. The 2013 MSE class is Eleisha Dickson, Mark Goracy, Arleen Gutierrez, Aimee Jimenez, Shatia Lindsay, Amisadai Martinez, Keyla Nunez, Johanna Rodriguez, Shoshana Rosenberg, Katherine Shinners, and Jamila Williams.

Dr. Christine Buel, Director of the Master of Science program, and Dr. David Turk, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, shared warm words of welcome to students, faculty, parents, and other guests.

Special speaker for the ceremony was Mr. Ethan Smith, a sixth grade math teacher at Nyack Middle School. Mr. Smith was a 1997 Nyack College School of Education graduate and the 1997 Apple Award winner for Student Teaching. He shared an inspirational message with the graduating class based around the scripture Proverbs 3:3-6 – “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Professor Kristen Luba shared the scripture readings that support the School of Education acronym SALT, which stands for Service, Academics, Leadership, Training. She emphasized that the students standing before the assembly are Nyack College’s representation of SALT.

Dr. Jim Nichols and Dr. Frank Tuzi gave the faculty’s presentation of Outstanding Student Awards to students. The award is for education students who achieve a GPA of 3.85 and above.

Students knelt before the audience to receive their hoods from Professor Nicholas Holub and Professor Kristen Luba.

Professor Christopher Beirne bestowed the blessing on the assembly.

The hooding ceremony was enhanced by a prelude, processional, special music, and recessional played on piano by student Grace Yi Jusu. Special music was Toccata in G major, BWV 916 Johann Sebastian Bach I. — (1685-1750).

Dr. Buel shares her thoughts on the event. “I was blessed to orchestrate this hooding ceremony since it was my first official graduation as the director of the M.S. Childhood program.  The ceremony was a culmination of prayers asking God to help each student negotiate the many hurdles of New York State Certification.  I am especially proud of each student when I realize the sacrifices and great effort it took to complete the program.  Although I enjoy teaching in the undergraduate program, there is something special about working with adult learners who have chosen to put many aspects of their lives on hold to go back to school. They just have such a strong drive to succeed at all costs.”

Please enjoy the photos from this celebrated event.