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Marakoff ’16 honored with SCCTE leadership award

Emily Matthews '17, left, with first-year teacher Kristen Marakoff '16

Kristen Marakoff ’16 was recognized with the South Carolina Council of Teachers of English (SCCTE) Leadership Development Award at the annual SCCTE conference January 27-28 in Kiawah Island.

Marakoff, an English teacher at Travelers Rest High School, was honored as an outstanding new member of the SCCTE organization. She was chosen based on her professional accomplishments, engagement in the field of English language arts teaching and demonstrated potential for professional growth and leadership. Along with the award, she received $500 toward her attendance at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in November. Marakoff earned her B.A. in English from Furman and certified to teach secondary English.

“Ms. Marakoff has distinguished herself as a leader both while at Furman University and already in her first semester as a teacher at Travelers Rest High,” said Furman Education Professor Paul Thomas.

Victoria Chance, chair of the English Department at Travelers Rest High, said Marakoff has shown “a great deal of poise and dedication as a new teacher of American Literature, in classes that include a pilot inclusion program for targeted students and a special education teacher, as well as in bravely taking over the International Baccalaureate English classes for the Diploma Programme.

“She deeply believes in the power and desperate need for responsible public discourse and critical discernment of the truth,” said Chance.

Several Furman professors, students and alumni also presented at the conference.

“Codes that Blind: How High School and College Misrepresent,” was the theme of a presentation by Thomas and Emily Matthews ’17, a double major in English and German from Spring City, Tenn. As a first-year writing professor, Thomas examined how teaching college writing often involves helping students unlearn how high school has misrepresented language, while Matthews explored the benefits of teaching code switching instead of presenting a prescriptive view of language.

Adjunct Instructor Dawn Mitchell presented two sessions, including “Reading is Meaning: Redefining Reading Logs” which showed teachers how to using technology tools to create spaces for readers to read, write and think. She also co-presented “The Process, Products and Power of Genius Hour,” where students are given the opportunity each week to engage in real world inquiry, using reading, writing and technology as tools for learning about topics they are passionate about.

Adjunct Instructor and Furman alumna Melissa Wells ’09 (M.A. ’10) presented “Bridging the Worlds of Home and School: Engaging Families in Digital Learning Communities.”  She shared three technology tools that can be used to engage families in digital learning communities and plan engaging, culturally responsive classroom instruction. She serves as a literacy coach at Arcadia Elementary School in Spartanburg School District 6.

Jonathan Dorn, chair of the English department at Eastside High School, shared the presentation, “Scan Here for More Information: Building QR Code Content through Project-Based Learning.” Dorn developed a student-centered, project-based unit that challenges students to build and curate QR code content for the school’s hallways, showcasing the school’s history, academics, clubs and diverse students in video format. Dorn received his Project-Based Learning endorsement from Furman in 2016.

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