Buildings & Grounds Employee Recognized at School of Education’s LUTE Honors Ceremony

A Tribute to Lehman Employee from 1969 – 1992

By Dr. Abigail McNamee
Award presentation speech

I thought that I would say that I am pleased to give this next award.  Pleased, however, is too weak a word.  Sometimes professors and administrators experience a time when they feel great joy professionally and personally.  This is one of those times for me as I present this special LUTE (Lehman Urban Transformative Education) award.  The receiver of this award did transform education.  He is in the room, but does not know that he is an award recipient.

Victor Morales began working at Lehman in 1969.  He was then a custodian with responsibility mainly for the library and gymnasium.  At the time, there was no Apex, no concert hall, no separate library.

Mrs. Morales worked at the Rose Marie Reed bathing suit factory.  Two working parents with a four, then five-year-old daughter.  What decision could they make for her care while they worked? There was no Universal pre-K for fours and Kindergarten was half day.  There were concerns about trusting other people to take care of their daughter in day care or Head Start.  Mrs. Morales could not take their daughter to the factory.

So…it was decided that Mr. Morales would take her to work at Lehman. He put her in one of those big canvas carts on wheels and rolled her through the tunnels as he worked in the Old Gym Building and Shuster Hall. She experienced it as a joy ride, sitting on top of the paper trash.

Some days it was not possible to take her everywhere with him.  On those days he took her to the library, which was then in Shuster Hall, and left her among the books and Peggy, the tall, brash, Irish librarian. He didn’t know where the children’s books were, so his daughter sat among the maps and looked through atlases, medical books, and anything else that had pictures…until Peggy introduced her to the children’s books.

If she behaved, her papi took her to the White Castle on Fordham Road on the way home.

Mr. Morales retired in 1992.

His daughter entered Lehman as a freshman in 1989, three years before he retired.  She met her husband Tom that summer in one of the Carman Hall Lecture rooms.  He was a Poli Sci Syracuse student taking a summer course.  She was a Psych major minoring in Early Childhood. When she went on for her master’s degree in early childhood I was her child development professor and  thesis advisor.

Coming to Lehman while her father worked transformed her education.  His daughter is our Yasmin Morales-Alexander. [See full LUTE Honors Reception]

Her work at Lehman, which you heard, has transformed the education of many more.

Mr. Morales, we thank you, so very much.

Would you come up and bring your girl…

LUTE Honors Reception: May 18, 2017

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, education candidates who demonstrated excellence throughout his/her program were recognized and presented with awards at the School of Education LUTE (Lehman Urban Transformative Education) Honors Reception. They were applauded by deans, department chairs, faculty, staff, cooperating teachers, candidates, family and friends. Tributes to the awardees were made by: President José Luis Cruz (via video), Interim Provost Niki Fayne, and Master of Ceremony and Interim Dean Deborah Shanley. During this special evening, Dr. Yasmin Morales-Alexander was presented with this year’s Lehman Urban Transformative Education (LUTE) Award recognizing her outstanding contribution to urban education, early childhood education and long commitment and relationship to Lehman College.

Please download and enjoy the full LUTE Honors Reception program (PDF).

Lehman Urban Transformative Education (LUTE) Award 2017: Dr. Yasmin Morales-Alexander
Special LUTE Award: Victor Morales
Excellence in Student Teaching Awards: Carissa Benitez (MHSE), Natasha Moore (ECCE), Kiomarie Torres (CLLSE)
Special LUTE Service Award: Naliza Sadik
English Education Awards: Sheema Alamari, Katherine Cray, Rebecca Watkins
Aspiring Educational Leader Award: Eileen T. Cruz
Ronald Ellis Award in Graduate Science Education: Nelson Caro
Excellence in Social Studies Education Awards: Phoebe Nolan, Corey Sapp
Excellence in Literacy Education Award: Brenda Schoenfeld
Graduate Research/ePortfolio Awards: Eden Antalan • David Asuo • Nelson Caro • Millicent Della Posta • Alicia Heinemann• Shivani Lall • Tina Lewis-Elserafy • Cassandra Lynch • Doreen Manzella • Joseph Wolff

Counselor Education students were inducted into Chi Sigma Iota, Tau Chapter, International Counseling and Professional Honor Society.

The LUTE ceremony organizer extraordinaire behind the scenes: Karen Fairclough




Community Engagement & Impact: School of Education Retreat

00-gaoyin-deb-img_7438School of Education Retreat: Community Engagement & Impact

Thursday, January 19, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Building Partnerships with Our Institutes, Centers and Professional Development Schools
Panelists: Jaye Jones (ILS), Traci Palmieri (School College Collaborative)
Iwan Notowidigdo (Bronx Institute) & Bonnie Boltax PDS School Liaison, PS 304
Moderator: Elvani Pennil


Relationship Between Teacher Leadership and School Climate: Findings From a Teacher-Leadership Project
Presenters: Serigne Gningue and Roger Peach


Building Success for Lehman’s Students Using RTI (Response to Interventions)
Presenter: Jennifer Van Allen

Learning Mathematics with Grandpa: Digits
Presenters: Orlando Alonso and Paloma Alonso


Restorative Practices and Mindfulness – Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, Intellectual and Creative Learning

Presenters: Sherry Deckman, Sunyata Smith and David Fletcher

The Critical Need for Emotional Intelligence Training in Pre-Service Teacher Education

Presenters: Janet Pickard Kremenitzer, Danielle Magaldi-Dopman and Christy Folsom

Collaboration Opportunities For Teacher and Leader Educators in Implementing School Counseling Programs in K-12 Schools
Presenter: Stuart Chen-Hayes

Who are we? Creating Models of Helpful Communities
NYACTE/NYSATE Conference Debrief and Discussion

Panelists: Immaculee Harushimana, Abigail McNamee, Janet Pickard Kremenitzer, Aliex Ross, Dan Stuckart Andrea Zakin
Moderators: Deb Shanley and Nancy Dubetz

School of Education Remain Champions in Raising Funds for Lehman Student Leaders!

The School of Education, along with help from members of School and College Collaboratives/College Now, the Provost’s Office and the Budget Office raised $1,315 for Lehman L.I.F.E. Leaders who will be volunteering in Louisiana and Tanzania during the 2017 spring and summer breaks. This record breaking fund-raising effort, with more than 50 staff, faculty and administrators participating, keeps the Turkey Trot Trophy in the hands of the School of Education. Wearing crazy hats, a large crowd of us also walked a mile around the track. Great to be out with our students, great camaraderie!

The Turkey Trot and fundraiser is organized by The Office of Community Engagement and Student Programs to benefit Lehman L.I.F.E. (Leaders Involved For Everyone). The School of Education & Friends are proud to support the Office of Community Engagement and Student Programs, our colleagues and Lehman leaders each year.

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White House Recognition of Strengthening STEM MINDS on Active Learning Day!

The Strengthening STEM MINDS© project involves the use of a four-pronged approach that synergistically blends methodologies steeped in racial empowerment to optimally set the stage for youth of the African Diaspora to flourish in their academic pursuits. Drs. Gillian Bayne, Mary Phillips and Sunyata Smith, three Lehman College professors, have synchronistically orchestrated the enactment of practices, which are grounded in their areas of expertise.


Gillian Bayne, Ph.D.


Mary Phillips, Ph.D.


Sunyata Smith, Ph.D.









Their expertise areas are science education, Africana Studies, and microbiology respectively. The professors’ involvement in the project is geared towards mediating the teaching and learning of STEM so that it is specifically and carefully aligned to the lived experiences and lifeworlds of marginalized youth. Their plan includes training STEM teachers to use the approach as a means to empower both students and teachers as teaching and learning experiences unfold in their learning environments.

The faculty’s dedication to equity in STEM is underscored on the White House Web Site announcement on Active Learning Day, October 25, 2016 under the Higher Education Response to Active Learning in STEM Call to Action link:

New Book by Lehman Professor, Immaculée Harushimana, About African-born Students in American Schools

African Immigrants’ Experiences in American Schools: Complicating the Race Discourse
By Shirley Mthethwa-Sommers and Immaculee Harushimana

Immaculée Harushimana is associate professor of TESOL and English education at Lehman College, City University of New York. Her new book, written with colleague Shirley Mthethwa-Sommers, focuses on African-born students in American schools.African Immigrants' Experiences in Schools

As the number of African-born students in American schools increases, it is important that schools enlarge the circle of diversity to include African-born students who are rendered invisible by their skin color and continent of origin. African Immigrants’ Experiences in American Schools: Complicating the Race Discourse is aimed at filling the gap in the literature about African-born students in American schools. This book will not only assist teachers and administrators in understanding the nuanced cultural, sociological, and socio-cognitive differences between American-born and African-born students; it will also equip them with effective interpersonal teaching strategies adapted to the distinct needs of African-born students and others like them. The book explores in depth salient African-rooted factors that come into play in the social and academic integration of African immigrant students, such as gender, spirituality, colonization, religious affiliation, etc. The authors examine American-rooted factors that complicate the adaptation of these students in the US educational school system, such as institutional racism, Afrophobia, Islamophobia, cultural discontinuities, curricular mismatches, and western media mis-portrayals. They also proffer pedagogical tools and frameworks that may help minimize these deleterious factors.


Shirley Mthethwa-Sommers is associate professor of social and psychological foundations of education at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, where she also serves as director of the Center for Urban Education.

Immaculée Harushimana is associate professor of TESOL and English education at Lehman College, City University of New York.


This myth-dispelling call-to-action belongs in the lap of every teacher of African-born students. But its pervasive Ubuntu philosophy, comprehensive illumination of the multiple dimensions of the African immigrant experience, and prescriptions for best practice in instruction will inspire and guide all educators. Theoretical and practical in equal measure, it lays the foundation for a richer, more diverse, and therefore stronger democracy in America. I know that I will be quoting it and stealing ideas from it in my work. Using proverbs to help students grasp science concepts: Priceless!
— Dale Worsley, Education Consultant

A long-overdue, meticulous analysis of the invisibilization and marginalization of African-born students in the US, with a comprehensive set of suggested pedagogical solutions. A must-read for education professionals working with this population.
— Otieno Kisiara, Nazareth College

Mthethwa-Sommers and Harushimana have filled a void in the literature with their elucidation of the lived experiences of African immigrants. This significant book illuminates the experiences of a population that has been rendered invisible within schools in the US. It is essential reading for educators as it provides insights into the vast cultural and linguistic differences among students categorized as Black and the implications of these differences for providing equitable education for all students.
— Zaline Roy-Campbell, Syracuse University

Dr. Morales-Alexander wins the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award

Yasmin3_smallDr. Yasmin Morales-Alexander, an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, has won the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) in recognition of her excellence and the potential to have a positive impact on the field of early childhood education.

Dr. Morales-Alexander received her Ed.D in Curriculum and Teaching with a focus on multicultural and urban education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2016. Drawing upon sociocultural theory and a “funds of knowledge” framework, her dissertation research explored the family engagement practices of Mexican immigrant families living in a New York City neighborhood. Her research interests include young children’s development and family engagement within sociocultural contexts, and pre-service teacher development.

Beginning with her own education, as both an undergraduate and graduate student at Lehman College, Dr. Morales-Alexander has over 25 years of experience in the early childhood field. Her expertise was born from her work as a group teacher in various daycare settings; as an Early Head Start/Head Start administrator in a large social service agency in New York City; as a program evaluator, program specialist, and technical assistance provider for the Office of Head Start; and as an adjunct instructor at both Brooklyn and Lehman Colleges.

For Dr. Morales-Alexander, who ardently believes in “paying it forward”, coming back to Lehman College on a full-time basis brings her professional journey full circle. “I am excited and look forward to working with a new generation of early childhood practitioners. To provide them with the support and nurturing that was given to me in this very institution is meaningful and empowering.”