Dr. Tatiana Rivadeneyra Receives the Exemplary Teacher Award from the United Methodist Church

Posted by painewebmaster | 06/15/2015 09:15 AM

Augusta, Ga…Dr. Tatiana M. Rivadeneyra, assistant Professor and Assessment Coordinator, received the Exemplary Teacher Award for 2014-2015 academic term. Dr.  Rivadeneyra was recognized for excellence in teaching and for outstanding service.  The Exemplary Teacher Award is sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry of the United Methodist Church. This award comes with a cash gift.

The Exemplary Teacher Award was created to recognize faculty who have demonstrated civility and concern for students and colleagues; commitment to value-centered education; and service to students, the institution, and the community.

Dr. Samuel Sullivan, Interim President of Paine College, presented the award to Dr. Rivadeneyra during the Commencement Convocation held Sunday, May 10, 2015 in the Health Education Activities Learning Complex.  

Dr. Rivadeneyra earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, Undergraduate School of Education, located in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1999.  She also received the Masters of Education in Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University in 2003.  She defended her dissertation titled: A Phenomenological Study of Middle School Mathematics Instruction and Developmental Learning Theory on July 2011 and later was conferred the Doctorate in Educational Instruction by the Graduate School of Education at Argosy University in Phoenix on October 2011.

Prior joining the Paine College family, Dr. Rivadeneyra spent thirteen years teaching mathematics in middle schools located in Arizona.  She instructed students on the concepts and skills of mathematics and implemented standards-based curricula to focus on the needs of students’ academics in mathematics. 

Reflecting on those years as a middle school math teacher, she commented, “I worked hard to learn what my students needed to do in order to succeed and understand mathematics. I also noticed that many of my peers were struggling as middle school math teachers.  Many of them would enter the profession eager to teach, and along the way they departed feeling somewhat defeated.”  During her tenure as a middle school math teacher, she seized every opportunity to participate in mentor trainings to support beginning and evolving General Education teachers within the public school districts of Arizona.  She identified educators’ strengths, weaknesses and developed strategic plans to build on prior and developing skills.  She served as a lead mentor for upcoming educators from surrounding universities in Arizona and supported college interns and practicum students.

Commenting on her teaching philosophy, she said, “Somewhere along the way students learn early that they are going to either succeed or not succeed or they are capable or incapable of learning mathematics.  Thus, these students go into classes knowing and believing that they are going to either pass or fail.  As an educator, I try to change their beliefs, values and attitudes that are within themselves.  My goal is to set students on a path of believing and knowing that they can comprehend mathematics.  While on that path, I give them a method to organize their thinking in which they can approach math. Once I’ve taught the informal, then I take them on the path to formal.   By the time many of our students enter college, they have learned skills that are wrong.  Thus, we have to undo what they’ve learned and set them on the path of doing it properly.”

Dr. Rivadeneyra referred to Dr. Seuss’ quote: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”  She said, “I live by that quote.”  Looking back on how she entered the teaching profession, she recalled her college days. “I was a product of the financial aid system. One of the benefits I had was work study and was assigned as a tutor.  At the same time, my academic advisor encouraged me to make an early decision to select a major. As I wrestled to choose a major, I was assigned to help a little boy to read.  During the process, the little boy showed a method to me that his teacher had taught him.  This method evolved as a skill which he used to phonetically pronounce the words.  I realized at that moment what I wanted to do --- teach.  Answers sometimes come in the strangest of ways.  Everything that I’ve done from that moment on was to become an educator.”

“When students leave my class I want them to know two things,” she said.  “I want them to know that I did the best that I could with the time that was given and I want them to leave with the passion and understanding that education is everything.  No one can that take that from you.”  

Dr. Rivadeneyra, affectionately called Dr. R. by Paine students, has an electrifying presence in the classroom. Her passion for teaching is infectious.  Her peers and students will undoubtedly confirm that she loves mathematics and deeply cares about how students learn and apply math.  

Looking back on her journey, she said, “I am grateful that Paine College took a chance on me.”  

Dr. Rivadeneyra has served on several boards and higher education councils.  She currently serves as the Assessment Coordinator for the Paine College Department of Education, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and chairs the Institutional Review Board Committee at Paine.  During 2012-2014, she chaired the Paine College Enrollment Management Committee and served on the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee.  She has also served on the Georgia Professional Standards Committee for Mathematics Study.

For more information about Dr. Rivadeneyra and her teaching methods, please contact the Office of Communications & Marketing at 706.396.7591 or via email:  HYPERLINK "mailto:tjwilliams@paine.edu" tjwilliams@paine.edu