Jennifer Gartin

Each year, faculty in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) come together to select an outstanding student in their program to receive the honor of being named as their program award winner. Students selected for this award embody the very best of their program: they excel in their studies; they demonstrate leadership in classes and internships; and they have a genuine and tenacious passion for their discipline.

Jennifer Gartin
The College of Education and Human Development faculty in International Education have chosen

Jennifer Gartin

as the

2021 Outstanding Student in Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional Learners – International Elementary

Q & A with Outstanding Student in Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional Learners – International Elementary:

What part of your Mason experience are you most proud of?

I did it! As any teacher candidate will affirm, licensure is a complex process. Thankfully, Mary Slone, Marie Champagne, and Mandy Jenkins were my indefatigable and patient guides. I earned my BA in 1998 and my first Master’s in 2001. Needless to say, it had been a while since I was a student. To qualify for elementary licensure, I had to go back to school in more ways than one. My CEHD coursework was amazing; I was slightly less enthusiastic about acquiring missing undergraduate credits in geography and math. And then there were the licensure exams . . . Somehow, this all came together despite living in three different countries and four houses since I started this program in 2018.

What are your future plans, goals, and dreams?

I am in my first teaching job now and plan to be here for two more years before my family and l move back to the U.S. I look forward to teaching at home. Also, I can’t quite believe it, but I am already thinking about what I want to learn next. The Reading Specialist certificate is calling me. 

What is your favorite memory from your time in the College of Education and Human Development?

My first course: EDUC 511, Child and Adolescent Development in Global Contexts, taught by Dr. Mattix Foster. It was a revelation and felt like a dream come true. For years, I had thought about teaching, but taking the leap from one career to another was slightly terrifying. When that course began, I instantly knew I had made the right decision. I have been lucky to take several more courses with Dr. Mattix Foster. She is an amazing mentor.

What advice do you have for fellow CEHD students?

First, I want to encourage career switchers like me. We may be the oldest students in the class, but I believe we bring something unique and valuable to this profession. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Second, teaching is a profession with a tremendous amount of power. I think we need to embrace that power, but also closely interrogate the biases we may unwittingly bring to our classrooms. Families place an almost sacred trust in us and we need to be worthy of that trust.

Would you like to give any shout-outs to those who supported you along the way?

Yes! Dr. Mattix Foster and Dr. Ramos are transformative educators and I am blessed to have learned from them. The teachers and administrators at Kyiv International School in Kyiv, Ukraine–especially Mrs. Bateman and Mrs. Petrenko-Agdi–who inspired me and let me hang around for more than a year, well past my required fieldwork hours. Most importantly, I am grateful to my two children who sacrificed untold hours with me, and my husband who did all he could to make up for my absence. I would never have done this without them. Thank you!

Congratulations and best of luck, Jennifer!