Nyack’s School of Education: A SALT Shaker
by Dr. Michael G. Scales
This year, the School of Education, under the exceptional leadership of Dr. JoAnn Looney, celebrates two milestones—on the Rockland campus, we mark the 50th anniversary and in New York City, the 20th anniversary.
The modern translation of Matthew 5:13 in The Message translation reads: “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.” What could be a better job description for the Christian educators prepared at Nyack’s School of Education? SALT is in the very DNA of the School’s faculty and students. In fact, S.A.L.T. is the conceptual framework of the division, an acronym for Service, Academics, Leadership and Teaching, coined by the former School of Education Dean, Dr. Bennett Schepens, (who is now our assistant provost and director of institutional assessment) and Prof. James Nichols.
Our School of Education holds accreditation from the prestigious National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the profession’s vehicle for establishing high quality teacher preparation. Nine programs offered include bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and dual bachelor’s/master’s degree—with specializations in English, social studies, math, childhood education, special education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)—are all nationally recognized by professional agencies.
So after leaving the Nyack School of Education, a virtual salt shaker, where do our graduates go to serve? They go to the inner city, rural and suburban schools. They circle the globe to teach English. They are school board members, administrators, school developers and researchers.
Our alumni leave with more than a professionally accredited degree, their spheres of influence are seasoned with Nyack’s core values of being academically excellent, globally engaged, intentionally diverse, personally transforming and socially relevant.
Partnerships beyond our campuses have been forged by our faculty and include students and alumni. Among those alliances are The Cause, a Christian educator support group and Inwood Academy Charter School for Leadership, both in Manhattan; International School of Tegucigalpa in Honduras; Riverview Nursery School in Nyack, NY; and Ridgeway Nursery School and Kindergarten in White Plains, NY. These liaisons broaden our impact to infuse today’s dialogue and decisions in education with Christ-centered values.
The Great Commission is fulfilled by our educators. For this past half century and for the decades ahead, we are grateful for God’s favor that empowers them to be SALT and light.