Teacher Appreciation Week

Graphic of school supplies with blue background.

Teachers Make the World Brighter, One Student at a Time

The roots of the College of Education, Health and Human Services date back to the beginning of Kent State University in 1910. Originally established as Kent State Normal School, the institution trained high school graduates in pedagogy and curriculum to become future teachers. For over 100 years, our pre-service teachers and graduates have played an important role in shaping the lives of schoolchildren through education. EHHS would like to take this opportunity to thank all teachers. We sincerely appreciate all their efforts in-and-out of the classroom.

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10, 2024. 

Thank an educator today and every day, and check out some of our amazing alumni!

Katie DePugh, ’00
Katie DePugh

Katie DePugh, ’00, is a stellar educator passionate about engaging her students academically while also supporting them through difficult transitions. DePugh has been teaching eighth grade history at Zane Trace Local School District for 22 years. In the classroom, she strives to excite students about what they are learning. In DePugh’s own words,  "I love to make history come alive and introduce my students to all the fascinating Americans in our nation's past."

To future educators, DePugh says that "teaching is a rewarding career that is fueled by passion." DePugh exemplifies this passion, because in addition to providing academic support and guidance to her students, DePugh strives to positively impact her students every day. Acknowledging the effects that non-academic stressors can have on students, DePugh shares that “eighth grade is often a time of turmoil and change, and I am there to help my students weather the storm of adolescence.” 

Carol Phillips-Bey, ’99

Carol Phillips-Bey, ’99, explored a number of different career paths, all of which led her back to teaching. Phillips-Bey taught mathematics for 39 years before retiring, serving students at multiple high schools and colleges in Ohio, and a junior high school in California.

According to Phillips-Bey, the most rewarding part of her career was the opportunity to learn from her students as much as they learned from her. To future educators, Phillips-Bey says that the world needs more good teachers and to pursue the profession of teaching especially if you are good at math and science. She adds, “we need teachers more than we need engineers, because if everyone wants to be an engineer, who is left to teach?”

Donna Ruttan, ’94

Donna Ruttan, ’94, has known since she was a teenager that she wanted to pursue a career in teaching. During high school, an opportunity to substitute teach a second grade class inspired her to teach for over 25 years. She taught a multitude of students in kindergarten through third grade classrooms, eventually pursuing an opportunity to supervise college students completing their own student teaching experiences.

Ruttan feels that the most rewarding thing about her career has been getting to watch students learn and grow through curiosity. To future educators, Ruttan says “I would not have changed anything…I feel like when you know you know. Teaching has changed a lot nowadays, but I feel like a lot of teachers knew they wanted to do this since they were little.”

Pamela Strollo, ’88

Pamela Strollo, ’88, takes great pride in the growth and successes of her former students. While caring for her own two children and running a daycare business, Strollo decided to go back to college to pursue a career in teaching. Strollo then spent 31 years teaching kindergarten, first, and third grades.

To future educators, Strollo shares that there are so many benefits and opportunities that make pursuing a career in teaching worth it. Strollo feels that the most rewarding part of her job has been connecting with children and their families. Strollo adds, “you grow up in the same town with them and see them all grow up at the same time. As a teacher you have a small role of contributing to society in a small way.”

Edward Muffet, ’73

Edward Muffet, ’73, was inspired by a cousin to pursue a career in teaching. Muffet taught for 10 years in the Cleveland area, during which time he began and taught courses in a General Educational Development (GED) program for a juvenile prison.

For Muffet, the most rewarding part of his career was being able to help students with limited educational backgrounds complete the program and graduate with their GED. To future educators, Muffet says "it is the most satisfying and rewarding career. Nothing beats helping students."

Patti Fifner, ’71

Patti Fifner, ’71, always dreamed of working with kids and making a difference. This led her to pursue a career in education, teaching Health and Physical Education for 10 years. According to Fifner, the most rewarding part of her career has been watching students grow.

Fifner offers the following advice to future educators: admit your mistakes, treat all of the students fairly, and understand when students are struggling. She encourages people who are passionate about learning and helping others to pursue a career in education, saying “go into teaching because you love it. You should love it every day and you realize you could be the most important aspect in a child's life…be a role model that you could be proud of.”