Building the Best

Gabby

Building the Best
by Jill Fishbaugh

MMU’s education partnerships deliver classroom success, and Gabby Granadillo '18 MA is named one of Iowa's top teachers.  

Maria (Gabby) Granadillo ’18 MA was elected as an Iowa finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching—considered the nation’s highest honor in education.

From Mount Mercy’s inception in September 1928, teacher education has always been a major focus. Eleven of the first 21 students registered to study at Mount Mercy Junior College majored in teacher training. Today, the university enrolls 125 undergraduate students and 40 graduate students in its education programs.  

MMU’s graduate programs in education have seen growth in the past two years because of new partnerships Mount Mercy has built with three local school districts and its emphasis on teacher leadership and effective teaching. 

MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS

Educators in the College Community, Cedar Rapids, and Linn-Mar school districts have the opportunity to join a cohort of co-workers to work toward their Master of Arts in Education at MMU. Through these partnerships with the school districts, MMU works with administrators to determine district needs then builds a specific curriculum to meet them.

“We develop a core set of courses specific to each district’s requisites that are immediately applicable in the classroom,” says Dawn Behan, professor of education, who directs graduate programs in education. “We work hard to meet the needs of the teachers.”

Connie Starr, Cedar Rapids Community School District’s teacher development facilitator and MMU liaison and adjunct, agrees.

“Our district worked alongside Mount Mercy staff to create a unique program of study for Cedar Rapids teachers, aligning coursework to district initiatives, vision, and goals,” Starr says. “This specially designed program provides flexibility for teachers in the cohort to fulfill requirements for Mount Mercy and, at the same time, allows district personnel and teacher leaders to become adjunct professors providing district-aligned courses.”

ONE OF IOWA’S BEST

Maria (Gabby) Granadillo ’18 MA, who taught math at Cedar Rapids’ McKinley Middle School, participated in the district’s cohort to complete her master’s with an emphasis in effective teaching. She says the best part about getting her master’s degree at MMU was that her job and her school district’s goals matched.

“Through the partnership, our graduate work directly applied to what I was doing in the classroom and what we are trying to accomplish in our district.”

Selected as an Iowa finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching—considered the nation’s highest honor in education—Granadillo is a recognized leader and role model for her students and colleagues. 

Currently, Granadillo shares her knowledge and extraordinary skills as an instructional coach for first- and second-year teachers through the Mentoring and Induction Consortium sponsored by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency (GWAEA).

“By sharing what I learned in my graduate studies and being focused on the vision of the induction coach program, I’m able to support new teachers, ensuring social, academic, and emotional growth for their students,” Granadillo says.

Becky Thorson, GWAEA math curriculum consultant, says Granadillo sees continuous learning as not only vital, but also necessary, to her practice. 

“Gabby pushes students to think deeply about the tasks she places before them and encourages them to learn from each other and work collaboratively,” Thorson says. “What she brings to the table is a rare find in education.”  

 


 

Maria


Maria (Gabby) Granadillo'18 MA
was elected as an Iowa finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching--considered the nation's highest honor in education.