Missouri JEA.

2017 MJEA Journalism Teacher of the Year

Erin Castellano from Clayton High School has been named the Missouri Journalism Education Association’s Teacher of the Year award winner for 2016-2017.

Castellano currently serves as the State Director for the National Journalism Education Association. JEA Vice President Sarah Nichols said. “As state director, Erin is the exemplar. She reaches out regularly to members with meaningful information, and her approach is always positive. She takes great care to include all of the various state and local groups, sensitive to past challenges in Missouri, and makes each communication focused on sharing timely information about deadlines, student opportunities and ways to get involved. At the same time, she uses each communication as a chance to recognize others. I appreciate her ideas and suggestions as well as her ability to meet deadlines, which, believe it or not, isn’t a given among appointed journalism leaders.”

Castellano was nominated by Clayton yearbook adviser Marci Pieper. Pieper said, “Students flock to Erin’s classes. The Globe is the most requested extra curricular course Clayton High School. Students want to be a part of something that makes a difference, something that is respected and something that challenges them as writers and human beings.”

Castellano is a firm believer in educating the whole child. Pieper said, “A good teacher can instruct students how to write well. A great teacher will teach them about how their words affect others and that their writing can have consequences. She spends a great deal of time discussing ethics and training her students to be leaders.”

The Journalism Education Association has recognized Castellano most recently as a runner-up for the 2016-2017 the Diversity Award.

Dr. Sean Doherty, Superintendent of Clayton Schools, also had very positive words about Castellano and her work for the district. He said, “The Globe has been recognized for its caliber on numerous occasions. It has received the Brasler Prize, the Pacemaker Award and the Gold Crown Award. These awards are incredible indicators of success for Erin and her students. However, I feel the best way to measure Erin’s accomplishments is to observe her interactions with her students. I have been able to personally partake in leadership sessions she has facilitated. She wants her students to know their strengths and the WHY behind their work. She has incorporated the work of Simon Sinek into her teaching and has developed community partnerships that allow students exposure to experts in the field – providing students with relevant experiences.”

The Missouri Journalism Education Association is the largest state scholastic journalism organization formed to help protect and enhance scholastic journalism in Missouri. MJEA works to provide outreach and support to advisers and journalism programs across the state. MJEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity.

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2017 MJEA Journalism Teacher of the Year