Commonwealth University's Conference and Career Connections Expo Empowers Future Educators


In a bid to foster collaboration and support in the education sector, Commonwealth University recently hosted the Collaborating to Assist Teacher Candidate Hiring (CATCH) Conference and Career Connections Expo. The event, held on Friday, March 15, at the Kehr Union Building and Recreation Center on the CU-Bloomsburg campus, brought together a diverse array of educators, administrators and aspiring teachers.

The day kicked off with a morning of networking and engagement. Student teachers showcased their service learning projects during the poster session, while participants mingled and connected over refreshments.

An administrator panel was moderated by Dr. Ann Larson, dean of the College of Education and Human Studies, and featured esteemed educators and administrators including Lock Haven alumni, Gary Martell '94, and Bryan Stamm '07; Bloomsburg alumni, Dr. Thor Edmiston '03, Abe Hughes '12 and Dr. Anne Wilson '79; and Mansfield alumni Daniel Eskesen '00 and Tara Lutz '01.

Following the panel discussion, the event delved deeper into specialized areas with alumni teacher panels focusing on early childhood/elementary/special education, middle/secondary education and special areas such as health and physical education and music education. Led by moderators Drs. Maureen Walsh, Todd Hoover and Priya Poehner respectively, these panels featured distinguished alumni who shared their journeys and expertise with attendees.

The day continued with a networking lunch, sponsored by Dr. Anne Wilson, providing a platform for student teachers to interact with alumni volunteers and faculty members, fostering meaningful connections and mentorship opportunities.

The highlight of the event was the Education Career Connections Expo held at Bloomsburg's Recreation Center. Here, attendees had the chance to explore various career opportunities, engage with prospective employers and participate in Teaching Certification Q&A sessions, enriching their understanding of the profession.

Designated interview times provided a platform for aspiring educators to showcase their skills and passion to potential employers, paving the way for future career prospects.

In total, 24 alumni from Lock Haven (nine), Bloomsburg (eight) and Mansfield (seven) participated by sharing their expertise at the event.

Lock Haven alumni included:

  • Melissa Brito Aponte '19, math/STEM teacher, Circle of Seasons Charter School
  • Ashley Bowes '16, secondary special education teacher, Keystone Central School District
  • Tyler Koser '12, health and physical education teacher, Sugar Valley Rural Charter School
  • Amy Martell '94, superintendent, Canton Area School District
  • Gary Martell '94, director, Northern Tier Career Center
  • Tony Owens '97, health and physical education teacher, Jersey Shore Area School District
  • Elina Ramella '95, reading teacher, Delaware Valley School District
  • Amy Shadle '05, M.S./H.S. English teacher, Shamokin Area School District
  • Bryan Stamm '07, principal, Waynesboro High School

Bloomsburg alumni included:

  • Shawn Tuttle ’88, special education supervisor, Harrisburg School District 
  • Dr. Thor Edmiston '03M, superintendent, Warrior Run School District
  • Thomas Evans '91, high school English teacher, North Pocono School District
  • Abe Hughes '12, principal, Pennridge School District
  • Dr. Peter Mays '97, high school principal, Whitehall-Coplay School District
  • Dr. Anne Wilson '79, superintendent (retired), Sudbury Public Schools
  • Kevin Yurkanin '90, middle school science teacher, Hazleton Area School District

Mansfield alumni included:

  • Doug Bolasky '78, music teacher (retired) and PA Music Educators Association
  • Brian Ellison '03, music teacher, Corning-Painted Post School District
  • Daniel Eskesen '00, principal, Coudersport Area Junior/Senior High School
  • Jim Kimmel '83, music teacher/department chair/supervisor (retired), Ephrata Area School District
  • Tara Lutz '01, principal, Schuylkill Haven Middle School
  • Bradley McKinney '05, kindergarten teacher, Corning-Painted Post School District
  • Jessica Evans-Savitsky '04, director of special education, Lebanon School District

The Collaborating to Assist Teacher Candidate Hiring (CATCH) Conference and Career Connections Expo exemplified Commonwealth University's dedication to empowering future educators and facilitating meaningful connections within the education sector.