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By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer
Three members of the Rio Salado College community are newly elected to the executive board of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP).
Beginning their 2-year terms in July 2022 are Rio Salado alum Lennon Audrain, president; faculty chair Dr. Jennifer Gresko, treasurer; and instructional services coordinator Angie Stratton, member at large.
NACCTEP is a professional organization whose mission is to advocate and promote the value of community college teacher education programs. Board members serve 2-year terms. Learn more at www.NACCTEP.org.
R. Lennon Audrain - NACCTEP Executive Board President
Lennon Audrain’s education career began in 2017 when he earned an associate degree in elementary education from Rio Salado College.
He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Latin and his first master's degree from Arizona State University. In 2021, he completed a second master's degree in technology, innovation, and education from Harvard University.
“As a community college teacher education program graduate myself, I know how important community colleges are in the journeys of so many teachers across the country,” Audrain said.
“That is why I am extremely honored to have been elected by NACCTEP's membership to serve as their board president.”
Over the next two years, Audrain is looking to transform NACCTEP’s role and work and celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary.
“I am hoping to make visible the impact that NACCTEP has made over the past 20 years and to chart a future-forward vision and mission,” Audrain said.
Audrain specifically noted NACCTEP’s role in advocating for the importance of community colleges in teacher preparation, championing in the creation of associate degrees in education across the country and supporting teacher educators through a global pandemic.
“I want to look backward so we can move forward,” Audrain said. “I want to pause, take a deep breath, and ask, ‘Where do we go from here?’ I am excited to work with esteemed community college teacher education practitioners and leaders to set sail toward NACCTEP's future.”
In addition to his board president responsibilities, Audrain is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational policy and evaluation at Arizona State University. He is also teaching an “Education Professions” course at Skyline High School in Mesa.
Dr. Jennifer Gresko - NACCTEP Executive Board Treasurer
Dr. Jennifer Gresko brings more than 25 years of experience in education and education leadership to her role as NACCTEP Executive Board Treasurer.
“I am excited to continue the work of NACCTEP in advancing the role of community colleges in teacher education,” Gresko said. “Now, more than ever, we need a diversified teaching workforce in which community colleges play a pivotal role.”
Gresko’s own education background includes earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Grand Canyon University, and a master’s degree and Ed.D. from Arizona State University.
As a former teacher, Gresko is enthusiastic about the evolving nature of teacher education. She taught second and third grade in Phoenix before mentoring teachers as a K-3 school district technology trainer.
She transitioned to a position as program specialist in curriculum and assessment before joining the faculty at Rio Salado College, where she currently serves as faculty senate president and faculty chair for the educator preparation program.
“Rio’s Educator Preparation Programs are designed for working adults who want to enter the teaching profession or continue their professional development in preK-12 education,” Gresko said.
Working for the Maricopa Community Colleges has helped Gresko prepare for the NACCTEP treasurer responsibilities.
“Within my current role, my responsibilities include oversight of department and grant budgets, curriculum development and implementation,” she said.
Previously serving as NACCTEP’s board secretary, Gresko credits the organization for positively affecting her professional development.
“NACCTEP has played a key role in my growth within the community college level,” Gresko said. “I am proud to serve the NACCTEP community and committed to identifying affordable and accessible opportunities for all students to follow their passion to work with preK12 students.”
Angela Stratton - NACCTEP Executive Board Member at Large
Angie Stratton brings her own education full circle with her role as NACCTEP member at large.
“As a graduate of Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa, I understand the important role that community colleges play in the world of education,” Stratton said. “It is important for the community college voice to be heard, acknowledged, and respected in all discussions related to teacher education.”
For the past 13 years, Stratton has managed and supervised the post-baccalaureate early childhood certification program as an instructional services coordinator at Rio Salado College.
“I believe it is imperative that students of all ages understand how the knowledge and skills they gain from what they are learning today will influence their everyday lives in the future,” Stratton said.
As an educator, Stratton has proudly served Arizona’s students and teachers for more than 30 years.
After beginning her teaching career in the Tempe School District, Stratton taught at Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary School, where she was also a reading specialist and instructional coach.
Stratton is dedicated to providing new and experienced teachers with the tools and strategies they need to teach, mentor, and inspire future generations.
“The privilege of serving on NACCTEP’s board gives me an opportunity to leverage all that I have learned as a teacher, literacy specialist, instructional coach, and program coordinator,” Stratton said. “I want to advocate for the important role that community colleges play in the development of teachers.”