Medina High School Future Educators Academy Opening the Door to a Career in Education

Students at Medina High School who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching now have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning through the new Future Educators Academy as part of Genesee Community College’s Tech Prep program. The nationally award-winning Tech Prep program is designed to help students explore career options and make a smooth transition from high school to college to professional careers. The Future Educators Academy is the latest addition to the innovative College Tech Prep program, which also includes two other separate components focusing on health care and legal careers.

Debbie Dunlevy, the College Tech Prep administrator at Genesee Community College was first introduced to the Future Educators Academy concept at a national College Tech Prep Conference in Minneapolis in October 2004. There she met Marsha Miller, College Tech Prep Education director from New Hampshire and her husband, David Miller (retired secondary principal), who together founded a successful educational College Tech Prep program in their region.

The next year, the Millers were invited to Genesee Community College to conduct a workshop, which was attended by numerous regional educators, including Jody Sargent and Krista Lindke, teachers at Medina High School. Since last year’s workshop, a strong collaborative effort has been ongoing among all three educational entities to develop and launch the Future Educators Academy at Medina High School.

After traveling to the 2005 National Tech Prep Network conference in Orlando, FL to attend the Future Educators Academy workshop and discuss implementation strategies with the lead teacher, the curriculum specialist, and the director, Wes Pickreign, Medina High School principal, decided to implement a similar program in New York. This past month on November 3, 2006, Mr. Pickreign, Mrs. Dunlevy, and the Millers co-presented at the National College Tech Prep Conference in Dallas, Texas in a session entitled, “Growing Your Own Teachers Through the Future Educators Academy.”

The focus of the new Future Educators Academy is to recruit high quality students into the field of teaching with a special emphasis on the areas where there are a shortage of qualified teachers. Students can earn at least 15 college credits toward an education degree and credits are transferable to any SUNY college. The Future Educators Academy is an important tool in the effort to attract more young people to the field of education, encouraging them to consider careers as teachers, counselors, librarians, educational assistants, speech and language pathologists, and the entire family of public school employees.

According to a report released as a follow-up to the New York Education Summit last year, at current rates, experts estimate that by 2020 there won’t be enough qualified Americans to fill 14 million of the most skilled, highest-paying jobs. The report identified that one way to combat this urgent issue is to strengthen teaching, especially in math and the sciences. That’s where the new Future Educators Academy comes in. The program will allow high school students to graduate with a strong foundation in education and a toolbox of resources to further their career.

The Future Educators Academy curriculum includes courses in psychology, sociology, public speaking, education, and career and educational planning. The two-year program is open to 11th grade students who are in good academic standing and have an interest in the teaching field.

Allisa Frasier, a student in the Future Educators Academy at Medina High School, said she still plans on getting into the educational field after taking the course. “I’ve always wanted to work with kids,” she said. Aubrey Fortunato, another student in the program, added that she has learned a lot about being a teacher from her teacher. “You have to accept people for who they are and know that everyone learns and interprets things differently,” Fortunato said.

For more information about the Future Educators Academy, contact the Medina High School Counseling Office at (585) 798-2885 or Debbie Dunlevy, College Tech Prep administrator at Genesee Community College at (585)343-0055 x6316 or

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Editor’s note: Several photographs of the current students enrolled in the Medina High School Future Educator’s Academy are available at the following Internet address:
Pictured left to right: Miranda Benthin and Courtney Santoro
Pictured left to right: Allisa Frasier, Shanieqwa Bloom, and Alicia McAvoy
Pictured left to right: Amber Brady and Shanieqwa Bloom