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Raider Educator Day keynote will be from alumna Katherine Holden

Raider Educator Day with SOU’s School of Education

(Ashland, Ore.) — A keynote address from Katherine Holden, a nationally recognized alumna and principal of Talent Middle School, will highlight the second annual Raider Educator Day, hosted on Saturday, March 9, by Southern Oregon University’s School of Education. The event, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union, will serve as a platform for prospective and current students, and recent alumni, to connect with seasoned education professionals, gain insights into the field and explore career opportunities.

Holden, who also taught high school for 10 years at the Ashland School District’s Wilderness Charter School and served seven years as associate principal at Ashland Middle School, has earned acclaim for her innovative contributions to education – particularly in areas including grading reform and equity, diversity and inclusion. She was named the 2022 National Assistant Principal of the Year in recognition of her transformative work in implementing a standards-based grading and reporting system. Her expertise has been shared at conferences across the United States, and she has led professional development for over a thousand educators.

“Katherine Holden’s remarkable career exemplifies what can be achieved by those who embrace the possibilities of innovative teaching and service,” said Vance Durrington, director of SOU’s School of Education, Leadership, Health & Humanities. “Our Raider Educator Day provides a unique opportunity for newcomers to the field of education, or those contemplating education careers, to gain insights from our most respected educators.”

The event will include sessions and mock interviews with superintendents, administrators, hiring managers and teachers from local school districts – many of whom are SOU alumni. School of Education faculty members and student leaders also will participate.

The day is intended to provide valuable career and pathway advice to attendees. Topics will include teacher preparation programs, scholarships and insights into the evolving landscape of the education field.

Raider Educator Day is open at no charge to all who are interested. The schedule and sign-up information are available online.

About Katherine Holden
Holden earned her bachelor’s degree in biology, master’s degree in education and the Administrative License Program at SOU. She currently serves as principal at Talent Middle School and has been actively involved in educational leadership and advocacy.


Student teachers in SOU's School of Education are working remotely

SOU’s graduating student teachers provide value in varied settings

(Ashland, Ore.) — Even the most seasoned educators are currently navigating uncharted territory. But for student teachers in Southern Oregon University’s School of Education, unusual classroom circumstances are coinciding with the culmination of college journeys.

Teaching placements have gone ahead as scheduled – though not exactly as planned – for 110 SOU students who are either seniors or on track to complete the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Special Education programs this spring. They’re spread across 60 K-12 schools in 12 different districts, from Coos Bay to Klamath Falls and all over the Rogue Valley – with all learning delivered through a variety of remote formats.

John King – SOU’s director for the Division of Education, Health and Leadership – was among those figuring out logistics as the extent of disruption caused by COVID-19 was becoming apparent prior to spring term.

“Fortunately, we have great relationships with the districts and principals, and these (student teachers) are the people they’ll be hiring in the fall, so we’re working towards the same goals,” King said.

“What we’re trying to do is ensure our student teachers are providing added value for schools and students,” he said. “They need to satisfy degree requirements, yes, but we want to make sure they’re not just an extra burden because these schools are already under such enormous pressure in having to redesign a lot of their own work.”

Under normal circumstances, student teachers spend full days during the spring in their respective classrooms, delivering instruction and developing original curriculum. They’re now limited to remote instruction and finding classroom-to-classroom variations in approach, from face-to-face video instruction to packet pick-ups and online work.

MAT candidate Lauren Perkinson falls closer to the latter category in teaching anatomy and physical sciences at North Medford High School. Though she records herself giving lectures, the majority of her work goes into a weekly “learning grid” of activities that includes six options, from which students are asked to complete two.

“Everyone is affected differently and struggling to some extent, especially when it comes to students you have no contact with, but it’s a good lesson in the importance of adaptability as an educator,” Perkinson said. “One of the biggest takeaways is seeing teachers work together and support each other and students however they can, because they care so deeply about them.”

That support extends back to SOU, where ideas and experiences are shared in weekly Zoom classes.

“We’re trying to give them a menu of possibilities based on what each school is doing,” King said. “We have 110 different examples, so it gets incredibly complex very quickly, but that means they’re being equipped not only for their own classrooms, but also hearing experiences of others and seeing how these systems can work together.”

With subject knowledge testing centers closed, King is working with the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission to offer alternatives for soon-to-be-graduates to complete their state licensure requirements.

“We certainly haven’t figured everything out,” he said. “But we’re trying to approach the situation with generosity and grace and patience, and we’re all learning together.”

Story by Josh McDermott, SOU staff writer