People features Alumna Teacher All-Star

Ali KearneyClassThis year, Target teamed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) and PEOPLE magazine to give teachers who are hitting home runs in the classroom a ticket into the Hall of Fame. Alison Aster (Ali) Kearney ’08, one of Stetson’s very own, pictured, right, in her classroom at Bonita Springs Charter School, was one of 30 representatives to be featured in People Magazine when she won a competition to represent the Tampa Bay Rays at the MLB All-Star game in July as an All-Star Teacher.

According to People, All-Star Teachers are all-stars in the classroom making a difference in the lives of students and their communities.

“Teachers are essential to helping kids reach their full potential and keeping them on the path to high school graduation,” said Laysha Ward, president, Community Relations at Target.

An English major, Kearney was not always planning to be the inspirational teacher that she is today. “Many of my sisters (of AXO) were education majors so I took an education psychology course with some of them and got to spend time observing in a classroom,” she said. “I never really considered the possibility of teaching until later.

“Actually, I didn’t realize I wanted to be a teacher until my last semester at Stetson when I took Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with Dr. Farrell.” Thomas Farrell, Ph.D., professor of English, was one of her favorite professors at Stetson. “That course made me want to become a teacher,” she said. “The other students encouraged me and said I was a natural teacher and that moved me to want to teach full time. And, Dr. Snook, whose classes I took multiple times, was my senior colloquium professor, and my other favorite professor at Stetson.” Lori Snook, Ph.D., is associate professor of English.

Alison Kearney-teacher All-Star-smaller“I enrolled in grad school in the Proteach program at the University of Florida, and earned my master’s in English education – sixth grade through twelfth in 2009.”

Now five years into her teaching career, Kearney has made significant impressions at Bonita Springs Charter School as a reading and writing teacher. Thousands of Internet voters from across the nation voted her an All-Star based on her efforts in the classroom and in the community. “Teaching is so important to a student to becoming a well-rounded person,” Kearney said.

Not only is she dynamic in the classroom, but Kearney is also the Bonita Charter volleyball coach. She said Kearney is passionate about promoting a healthy, fun and educational lifestyle.

“Kearney is an ideal role model for students, because she is an athlete and avid runner and practices the healthy lifestyle she teaches,” said Bonita Charter Principal Carissa Carroll.

Check out the website Target presents People All-Star Teachers: All-Star Game 2014, and read more about Ali Kearney.

by Grace Aguda