FPU alumnus named 2008 Teacher of the Year
FPU alumnus Cathy Marziali was named 2008 Teacher of the Year for the Department of Defense Education Activity(DoDEA). Marziali is an elementary teacher at Naples Elementary School located on a military base in Naples, Italy. She received her master of arts degree in education with an emphasis in administrative services from FPU in 2000. Most of her career in education, which spans 20 years, has been spent teaching grades K-2, primarily with English language learners and also teaching foreign language immersion programs in Italian and Spanish.
As part of her honor in being selected 2008 DoDEA Teacher of the Year, she participated in the 2008 National Teacher of the Year recognition ceremony at the White House and had her picture taken with President Bush in the Oval Office.
Before leaving her school in Italy for the ceremonies in Washington, D.C., she had a school-wide letter writing campaign encouraging kids to write thank you notes to President Bush for his service to our country. She then put all the thank you notes together in a book and promised the children she would give it as a gift to the president. However, when it came time to go to the White House, she was told that they were not allowed to bring anything with them into the Oval Office, so she left the book at her hotel. During her time with the president, she mentioned the book to him and he was very interested. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who was also in the Oval Office at the time, arranged to have the book brought to the president via Deputy Secretary of Education Ray Simon. Just three weeks after the event, a thank you note and photographs arrived in Italy all the way from the White House.
"You can well imagine the joy seen in the faces of the children when they experienced the fruits of an authentic writing lesson and considered themselves pen pals with the President of the United States," shared Marziali. "I found it heartwarming that two important government officials took time out of their busy schedules to help make my promise to my students come true. In a time where press about public officials is often so negative, I am happy to share a firsthand account of a positive experience that shows the heart that these officials demonstrated to me and the students of Naples Elementary School."