Department of Elementary Education
Deborah Baker is committed to helping future educators acquire the skills they need to plan meaningful lessons, differentiate instruction, assess students' learning, manage the classroom, and work collaboratively with school communities. Teaching, learning, and leading experiences in Maine and California as a teacher, principal, student teacher supervisor, and ASCD leader helps her connect educators to powerful resources. Student teaching is a field experience that provides future educators the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in schools. It requires the collaboration of student teachers, mentor teachers, principals, and student teacher supervisors. Student teachers build relationships, reflect on decisions, receive specific feedback, and demonstrate professionalism. For almost ten years, UMF student teachers have received Deborah's support to become caring, confident, and competent educators.
After thirty-four years of working in public education as a teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of Schools in Auburn, Maine, Barbara Eretzian decided to move to the post secondary level where she could have an impact on students entering the teaching profession. The University of Maine at Farmington is the perfect fit. Having spent so many years working in the public school setting, she is aware of how important it is to place our students with the best teachers. UMF is known to produce excellent teachers, ones that have been successful in schools throughout Maine, the nation and abroad. Barbars's work with both practicum and student teaching has allowed her to stay in contact with schools and teachers, helping prospective teachers look at their practice and develop strong skills to use in the classroom. Her work with the graduate program has allowed her to promote leadership throughout our schools.
Having taught for many years in New York Public schools, Cara Furman brings a philosophical stance to concerns about practice. With an undergraduate degree in History, Dr. Furman is committed to the liberal arts – encouraging students to take an inquiry stance towards the world around them. She has published on inclusive classrooms, descriptive inquiry, supporting classroom teachers, practical wisdom in classrooms, the pedagogical value of narrative, and progressive education. Whether teaching methods courses such as ECH 336 or research classes such as ECH 450, Dr. Furman seeks to provide a balance of practical experiences and philosophical discussion.
Dr. Shannon Larsen was born and raised near Toronto, Canada. She recieved her B.A. from Middlebury College, VT. Shannon majored in Russian, and minored in both French and Elementary Education. After spending a year teaching 2nd grade in Cali, Colombia, Shannon returned to the U.S. Shannon received her Ed. M from Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied International Education. Shannon became a 5th grade teacher in a town north of Boston and eventually became the district’s elementary mathematics coach. She also spent one year teaching 7th grade math. Shannon graduated from the University of Toronto in 2012 with a Ph.D in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Her research focuses on elementary mathematics coaching and collaborative classroom practices. In her free time, Shannon loves to travel, read, and spend time with friends and family.
Dr. Carole Lee received her BSc degree with an emphasis on chemistry and biology, and became a teacher because she wanted to pursue a career that could combine her love of science with her desire to serve the community. She taught chemistry and biology in a high school for over twenty years. Prior coming to the U.S., her last job in Hong Kong was that of a High School Vice-Principal. Carole was awarded the Outstanding Doctorate Student and Outstanding International Culture Team New Member by the University of Arkansas. Carole now teaches students in Elementary Education how to teach science in K-8 classrooms. She enjoys meeting people and being very involved in community work. She teaches origami, mahjong and an Energy Literacy Program in the UMF Gold Leaf Institute for senior citizens. Her interests include square dancing, quilting, playing tennis, ping pong, pickle ball and swimming.
Dr. Overstreet’s interest in popular culture has lead her to teach several First Year Seminars focusing on the television work of Joss Whedon and the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. Her interest in young adult literature has culminated in writing two books that examine this literature—the most recent being vampire literature. Additionally, Dr. Overstreet teaches writing and teaches future teachers to teach writing.
Dr. Christopher Strople teaches social studies methods and diversity courses. He taught elementary school in southern California for over ten years before transitioning into higher education. Prior to joining UMF he taught at the university level for several years while working to complete his doctoral program. His research interests include social justice, curriculum theory and art/aesthetic education. Chris enjoys art, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
Dr. Meredith Swallow teaches in both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as in the M.Ed. in Instructional Technology collaborative. Prior to joining the UMF community, Meredith was a mathematics teacher focused on engaged and active learning, by supporting the connection of knowledge through interaction, understanding, and meaning. Meredith earned her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont with a research focus on K-8 technology integration. At UMF, Meredith's research explores innovative approaches to teaching with both pre- and in-service educators considering technology as part of the context of educator development. Meredith enjoys spending her free time running, skiing, biking, and exploring the mountains of Western Maine.
Dr. Will-Dubyak teaches literacy coursework in the elementary education program. She taught in a four room school house in Montana, developed preschool summer camps and family-to-farm camps before transitioning to teacher preparation. Prior to joining UMF, she worked at Montana State University where she developed a passion for embedded teacher preparation. Her research interests include the development of teacher efficacy through embedded teacher education models, rural education, and the role of non-cognitive attributes in teaching and learning. She enjoys gardening, farming, handcrafts and hiking.