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Two women stand outside on the Saint Rose campus. They are smiling in front of black and gold balloons.

Two Saint Rose made educators pause for a photo at the 2023 Educator Appreciation Celebration.

More than 200 Saint Rose made educators reunited on the Campus Green for the College’s second annual Educator Appreciation Celebration on Thursday, August 17. Established in 2022 as a kickoff to the school’s education initiatives to aid in the state- and nationwide teacher shortage, the free event aims to celebrate and thank Saint Rose’s tens of thousands of alumni who are educators, local leaders in the field, and the current and incoming students who aspire to join their ranks. This year, alumni, students, and their families were welcomed back to campus with free picnic food, a Kona Ice truck, bounce houses and other activities for children, and live music from DJ Kevy K.

P-12 education has faced a number of challenges in recent years, including navigating educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, the nation continues to face a significant teacher shortage, which highlights how vital education professionals are to all of us.

Saint Rose grants more degrees and certificates in the field of education than any other college or university in New York State and is home to 28,000-plus educators graduated and counting. The College sees itself as vital in navigating this statewide and national teacher shortage crisis.

“To teach is to touch the future,” College President Marcia J. White told attendees. “You are doing that in your classrooms every day with your students. The College of Saint Rose is doing that, too, by ensuring that there continues to be a pipeline of well-educated, skilled, and credentialed teachers to meet our future needs.”

Since its launch in October 2022, the College’s Build the Teacher Pipeline Initiative has increased enrollment numbers for full-time education majors by 121 students. The initiative has also made a concentrated effort to enroll increasingly diverse students, which is vital in the reflection and representation of student populations. It’s also made it easier for educators and career changers to continue their education at the graduate level.

From left: Albany County Legislator Berero Efekoro, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Saint Rose President Marcia White, and NYS Assemblymember John T. McDonald III.

Guests were also celebrated by local leaders and politicians, like Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, New York State Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, and Albany County Legislator Berero Efekoro. The three each shared stories about how teachers changed their lives.

Mother-daughter Lally School legacies, Tina Rose-Turriglio ‘91 G’99 and Emily Turriglio ‘24, came to celebrate as a family. “I think it’s really fun that they throw events like this,” said Turriglio, a senior inclusive early childhood education major. She says she wants to become a teacher because of her mom.

“It shows how engaged the College is in the academic community that they bring back their learners to celebrate their successes,” explained Rose-Turriglio when asked what the event meant to her. “I think for new learners, it shows them the variety of folks and career paths they’ve chosen.”

A mother and college-aged daughter standing outside smiling.

Tina Rose-Turriglio ‘91 G’99 and her daughter, Emily Turriglio ‘24.

Rose-Turriglio graduated from Saint Rose with a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in early childhood education before returning for her master’s. After she graduated, Rose-Turriglio worked as an education director at a Headstart program for 10 years. Now, she works in the New York State Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning.

“This college does such a great job nurturing students,” she said. “The importance is smaller class sizes, the longevity of professors, and a continuing commitment to the community overall.”

By Sarah Heikkinen