Local Teachers Enhance Careers Through Critical & Cultural Literacy M.Ed. Program at Seton Hill

Teachers Jacquie Werner (’19) and Kate Kada (’21) both graduated from Seton Hill University with an undergraduate degree in elementary education with special education. Now enrolled in the Critical & Cultural Literacy master’s program at Seton Hill, Jacquie and Kate are continuing their careers as literacy professionals.

Jacquie Werner: Becoming a Leader

Jacquie’s positive undergraduate experience at Seton Hill and passion for literacy and the science of reading influenced her decision to enroll in the new program.

“I knew how much my professors cared about the success of their future teachers,” she says. 

After hearing from Dr. Kathleen Harris, Dean of the School of Education and Applied Social Sciences that the program was being offered, Jacquie immediately knew it would be a great fit for her. “I eventually want a leadership position, so I felt that this program seemed like the perfect fit that includes leadership and teaching reading.”

Jacquie enjoys the online classroom environment. “My professors are always sharing relevant, up-to-date information,” she says. “I feel like my colleagues and I really know one another because we interact so frequently.” 

While pursuing her master’s degree, Jacquie teaches K-3 Self-Contained Life Skills Support in her hometown at Jeannette McKee Elementary School.

“I now teach in the same school I once attended,” she says. “I have many family and friend relationships within the district that it feels like my home.”

Jacquie’s experience in the Critical & Cultural Literacy Program is already making an impact on her teaching. 

“The assignments I work on are always things I can try with my class and get ideas from my colleagues,” she says. “I feel like each week I am always thinking of how I can implement the strategies I have learned in my classroom. I am able to try new assessment methods and ensure my strategies are up to date.”

Kate Kada: Teaching Foundational Skills at a Crucial Time

Kate KadaAfter completing her student teaching, Kate heard about the Critical & Cultural Literacy Program and wanted to enroll immediately. She knew she wanted to earn her master’s degree in something she could use in the classroom effectively.

“I knew this program would be the perfect fit for my career goals,” she says. “I loved all the professors I had in the Education program. With such a great experience, I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to get my master’s degree.”

Kate teaches first grade at Woodland Elementary School in Methacton School District (outside of the Philadelphia area). She takes the strategies learned in the program and uses them in the classroom with her current students in a fun and exciting way.

“I am learning about the foundational skills that are crucial for my young learners and how I can teach them those skills,” she said. “First grade is such a crucial year for students. This is the year they are learning the foundational skills that they will build upon throughout their entire student career.” 

Kate feels that the Critical & Cultural Literacy Program has given her the confidence to become a better teacher, and give her students a better education. 

“This program at Seton Hill has been nothing short of a great academic experience from the start,” she said. “I am being prepared for all the challenges I will face throughout my career as a teacher.” 

Photos: Jacquie Werner (top); Kate Kada (right)