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Cooperating Teachers

Spring 2020 Cooperating Teacher Spotlight

2020 Spotlight

Top Row - Stacey Shapiro – Zilker Elementary/Austin ISD, Christianne Cecil – Dailey Middle School/Del Valle ISD, Diana Adamson – McCallum High School/Austin ISD. Bottom row - Courtney Diranieh/Austin High School/Austin ISD, Melissa Prepster – Gorzycki Middle School/Austin ISD. To find out more about each teacher, please click on their name.  

UTL 101 - Stacey Shapiro

In UTL 101 students take the first step on their journey towards becoming a teacher. They explore the field of education and have their first experience in the classroom from the other side of the desk.  Our interns enter the program with enthusiasm and passion but very little knowledge about what it really means or takes to become a great teacher. Being the mentor to students at this critical step is great responsibility and this year we honor an outstanding 101 CT, Stacey Shapiro for her commitment to working with and developing our future teachers. 

Stacey is currently a 1st grade teacher at Zilker Elementary in AISD.  Her interns share that as a teacher Stacey reaches each of her students based on their individual academic needs, she establishes positive relationships and has a clear and loving bond with each student, and she manages her classroom in a consistent, fair and respectful manner.  Stacey is described by her interns as “passionate”, “dedicated”, “remarkable”, “truly amazing” and “absolutely incredible”.

One of her current interns shared, “Ms. Shapiro is such an amazing and dedicated teacher.  The individualized attention she shows to each of her students is remarkable. Not only is she patient with her students, but she was so patient and understanding of me as well.  She never hesitated to give me opportunities to interact with the students on a personal level and put into practice all that I have learned.  I am truly grateful for the time that I got to spend in her classroom and will take all that she has taught me through the rest of my teaching journey.”

It is with incredible gratitude that UTeach-Liberal Arts thanks Stacey Shapiro for her patience and support, her time and effort and for the incredible opportunities that she has provided for her UTL 101 interns. We are so blessed that she is a part of the UTeach program.

UTL 202 - Christianne Cecil

Christianne Cecil has been involved with the UTeach program for the last ten years. She has always been very welcoming, honest and supportive to all the students I have given her.  She currently teaches 8th grade English Language Arts at Dailey Middle School in Del Valle Independent School District. One student said “she made me feel like she loved having UTeach students in her class.” Christianne made her students feel confident when it was time to teach their lessons.  Another student said, “she always gave me the freedom to plan the lesson the way I wanted to.”  One common thread in many of the student comments on their experience with Christianne was how she tried to teach the students to be flexible.  No matter what the day-to-day challenges that might come up throughout the day, teachers must always land on their feet. 

Christianne is a valued member of the UTeach family.  She has been asked to help us by taking an extra student because of unforeseen problems that might pop up from time to time.  Her answer has always been, bring them on.

English - Diana Adamson

“Ms. Adamson has given me both the freedom and the guidance I need to grow a great deal in a short amount of time.  She is always available for me to ask questions and patient enough to listen to ALL of them.... And she has wisdom to offer for every challenge I face, with a side of wit.... You can see how much she cares about every student and every member of her team; she would fight for any of them. I consider myself very lucky to have been placed with her and know that I will be an amazing teacher because of it.” Amanda Martin, Spring 2020 UTLA Graduate

Diana Adamson currently teaches Pre-AP English I and both AP and OnRamps English courses and serves as Co-Chair of the English Department at McCallum High School in AISD.  Diana has hosted UTLA students for eleven semesters, mentoring many of our preservice teachers during both their high school internship and student teaching semesters.  Those mentored by Diana are consistently in awe of her ability to provide an “incredibly nurturing” environment while maintaining “high expectations for her students and colleagues alike.”  They are further inspired by her patient demeanor and her extensive knowledge of both content and pedagogy.  As Diana nears retirement, we know that we only have a few years left to call her a UTeach-Liberal Arts Cooperating Teacher.  We are therefore happy for this chance to express our gratitude for her continued commitment to not only the UTLA English students but to the thousands of teachers and students she has worked with during her 30 years in education.

LOTE - Courtney Diranieh

Courtney Diranieh has been a Cooperating Teacher with the UTeach program for one year. As the only Arabic public school teacher in Central Texas, she has carved a warm and conducive environment for her students to actively experience speaking and learning Arabic. Ms. Diranieh transformed her Austin High School classroom into a glimpse of the Arab world. Upon entering, there is the low hum of beautiful, cultural music in the background, dimmed lighting that calms the mind, and the bustle of students speaking Arabic. Without hesitation, Courtney opened her doors to hosting a UTeacher and has included them into the tight-knit Arabic community of language-learners. With Courtney’s guidance and collaborative coaching, her UTeach student thrived in developing real-world tasks for their students, connecting with Arabic speakers from across the globe and tailoring their daily instruction to meet the needs of each individual student in the classroom. In the Arabic classroom, every student is seen, validated and met with customized practice in the language learning process. Courtney and her UTeacher spent countless hours together designing instructional tasks for students to immerse themselves in building their Arabic proficiency. They arranged for their students to frequently video-conference with language partners who are currently living in Arabic-speaking countries. Even with the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19, Courtney remained connected with her UTeacher to maintain virtual learning experiences for their students. Courtney’s apprenticeship environment has been so beneficial to our UTeacher that even after completing the certification requirement, the UTeacher elected to continue teaching, engaging and learning with Courtney and their students.

Social Studies - Melissa Prepster

Melissa Prepster has served UTeach Liberal Arts as a Cooperating Teacher for 9 years and has hosted our students for 16 semesters during that time.  She is currently an 8th grade U.S. History teacher at Gorzycki Middle School in AISD.  She welcomes her student teachers with the promise of giving them the support and feedback they need to grow as educators. Her expertise in the use of classroom technology has prepared the students she’s mentored with tools they need to teach 21st century learners. Her former student teachers consistently referred to her as a CT who was helpful and treated them as professionals. Melissa has included her student teachers in social media when celebrating the good things that happen in her classroom, thus demonstrating her commitment to building them up and promoting their growth.

Melissa’s current student teacher states, “Ms. Prepster's expertise as an educator is truly unmatched. I learned so much just by being in her classroom and gained knowledge that will aid me on my journey as an educator. On top of that she was a wonderful mentor and example to not only me, but everyone who she interacts with. While she is a Jeopardy champion, she is also a champion teacher that I will forever be grateful for.”

Thank you, Melissa Prepster, for your commitment to developing excellent Social Studies teachers.

Spring 2019 Graduation - Cooperating Teachers Honored

Spring 2019 CT Spotlight Winners

Cooperating Teachers are pictured above, clockwise from the top left. Sylvia Burcham – Brentwood Christian School, Liesl Patteson – Vandegrift High School/Leander ISD, William Shoaf – Kealing Middle School/Austin ISD, Hiroko Fukuhara-Karch – Liberal Arts and Science Academy/Austin ISD, Kat Kelley – Austin High School/Austin ISD. To find out more about each teacher, please click on their name.  


Spring 2018 Graduation - Cooperating Teachers Honored

Spring 2018 CT Spotlight Teachers

Cooperating Teachers are pictured above, clockwise from the top left. Peggy Zahm – Gattis Elementary/Round Rock ISD, Richard Horn – Connally High School/Pflugerville ISD, Kris Campos – Cedar Park High School/Leander ISD, Jaclyn Fallin – Crockett High School/Austin ISD, James Wyatt – Murchison Middle School/Austin ISD.   

Spring 2017 Graduation - Cooperating Teachers Honored

172 CT Spotlight

Cooperating teachers are pictured above, clockwise from the top left. Kim Denning-Knapp - McNeil High School/Round Rock ISD, Terry Williams - Lamar Middle School/Austin ISD, Josephine Skaer - LASA/Austin ISD, MilyBett Llanos-Gremillion - Westwood High School/Round Rock ISD, and Will Barrera - Allison Elementary/Austin ISD. 


Spring 2016 Graduation - Cooperating Teachers Honored

Cooperating Teacher Spotlight

Cooperating teachers are pictured above, clockwise from the top left. Isabel Ahearn-Ortega Elementary, Yolanda Melendez-Fulmore Middle School, Becky Stewart-Brentwood Christian Academy, Stacy Webster-Academy for Global Studies/English, Jennifer (JJ) Melgar-Westwood High School/German), Hellen Barczi-Hendrickson High School/Social Studies.