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Education College Honors New Class of Darden Fellows

Seated: Brigitte Valesey and David Bradley; standing: James Roberts, Nicole Sneddon and Warren Stewart.

Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education on Nov. 18 recognized the achievements of five of its graduates, who have gone "above and beyond their duties," during the Darden Fellow awards luncheon. The annual event, part of the college's observance of American Education Week, was sponsored by the ODU Alumni Association and held at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The Darden College of Education Alumni Fellows program honors one graduate from the various departments for their outstanding efforts. This year's fellows - David T. Bradley, James T. Roberts, Nicole Sneddon, Warren Stewart and Brigitte Valesey - were nominated by their academic departments and selected by the department chairs and the ODU Alumni Association.

"The charge of providing quality education to American children is not an easy one. Often, those who dedicate themselves to this endeavor go unrecognized and at times fade into the background. Old Dominion believes that it is important to identify and recognize those individuals who have made this commitment," said Linda Irwin-DeVitis, dean of the college.

In addition to being honored, the new class of fellows shared their life experiences with students and faculty during scheduled sessions throughout the day.

The 2010 fellows are profiled below:

David T. Bradley (M.S.Ed. '79)

Bradley has been a member of the Arizona State House of Representatives for the last eight years, representing District 28 in Tucson. He has served on the Health, Human Services, Banking and Insurance, and Higher Education committees, as well as various ad hoc committees. He has received numerous awards for his advocacy of children and families during his legislative career and has the reputation for being a reasonable, thoughtful and articulate legislator who can reach across the aisle to work in the best interest of Arizona.

A Navy veteran, Bradley served eight years in Iceland, Spain and on the East Coast, working in communications with the Naval Security Group.

He has been the CEO of La Paloma Family Services Inc., a nonprofit child welfare agency, for more than 18 years. He has worked in child welfare and mental health services for more than 30 years, practicing as a licensed counselor and administrator throughout southern Arizona.

He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. He is the author of "Management by Essay," a compilation of essays written to his staff over a 10-year period, and "Pursuits of Justice," a collection of speeches, editorials and essays written during his tenure in the legislature.

James T. Roberts '69

Roberts began his career in public education more than 40 years ago. Although he has served his chosen profession in a variety of capacities over the years, one belief has remained constant - that every student can be successful.

Roberts has devoted his entire professional career to the children and citizens of Hampton Roads. In 1969 he joined the staff of Norcom High School in Portsmouth as a first-year social studies teacher. In addition to teaching the content, his goal was to have a steady, positive influence on the young lives entrusted to his care. As he pursued this goal, administrators and colleagues in Portsmouth Public Schools quickly recognized his leadership skills. He soon became the social studies department chair at Woodrow Wilson High School, and in 1979 he was promoted to his first administrative position as assistant principal at Manor High School.

In 1995, Roberts joined the Chesapeake Public Schools as the division's director of budget. After serving with distinction in this position for nine years, he was appointed assistant superintendent for personnel and support services, and in July, became Chesapeake schools superintendent.

Roberts earned three degrees from Old Dominion: a bachelor's and master's in secondary education, and a Ph.D. in urban services with a concentration in education.

Nicole Sneddon (M.S.Ed. '08)

Sneddon was the WHRO 2008 Elementary Technology Educator of the Year. She is a sixth-grade teacher at Gildersleeve Middle School in Newport News Public Schools, where she teaches reading and writing to her students through nontraditional novel studies that link to present-day context.

She facilitates progress through student blogs and bubble-map graphic organizers in Kidspiration. Rough drafts are shown on smart boards with student peer review and editing. Students then create videos using their own voices as narration over images selected to educate the public on serious societal issues.

Sneddon is described as a teacher "who can extract the best from each student regardless of their perceived ability." She also supports, encourages and instructs her colleagues in the use of technology in their classrooms.

The bottom line is this: she gets results. Last year, her fifth-grade students had the highest achievement level in the division on the state SOL test in reading: 98 of 99 students were proficient, including all 16 of her special education inclusion students. She has a degree in secondary education with a concentration in instructional technology from ODU.

Dr. Warren Stewart (M.S.Ed. '75)

A Norfolk native and Granby High School graduate, Stewart earned his undergraduate degree from Guilford College in 1968 and received a distinguished graduate award in 1998. He completed his doctorate in education at the University of Virginia in 1989.

Stewart served as the superintendent of Goochland County (Va.) Schools from 1991 to 2000 and is the current AARP Virginia state president and president of Norfolk Crime Line. A longtime community volunteer and advocate, he has also been a board member and held leadership responsibilities for the Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs since 1997.

He is a 2005 winner of the Liberty Bell Award, an honor bestowed each year by local bar associations in conjunction with Law Day to honor outstanding citizens within the local community. Stewart's wife, Nancy Evans, is a 1981 ODU graduate.

Brigitte Valesey (M.S.Ed. '81)

Valesey is assistant provost for teaching, learning and assessment at Widener University near Philadelphia. She earned her master's degree in IAVE education (now STEM educational and professional studies) from ODU, a B.S. from SUNY College at Oswego, a Ph.D. from Ohio State University and a certificate from the Harvard Graduate Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.

Valesey began her education career as a secondary industrial arts teacher in Hampton Roads and has served since then in K-12 and college-level teaching, administrative and association roles. As a technology teacher, she received numerous honors, including the 1998 Maryland Governor's Citation for High School Program Excellence.

Shortly after joining the Widener staff in 2004, Valesey established an office for assessment, where she coordinates institution-wide reporting of assessment of student learning; provides consultative support to faculty and administrators for assessment and accreditation; and collaborates on matters related to institutional effectiveness.

Recently, her office has expanded services to provide leadership to faculty for innovation in teaching and learning and for sponsored research. Valesey has presented, published and consulted on assessment models and practices in higher education.

This article was posted on: November 16, 2010

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