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Kappa Eta History


“The Torch”

St. John’s University

September 25, 1964

Ed Honor Society Initiated At SJU

     St. John’s University has announced the official initiation of the Kappa Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an Honor Society in Education, on its Jamaica Campus. The formal installation of Kappa Delta Pi conferred charter membership on twenty-two of the University’s top students in the School of Education.

     Kappa Delta Pi is a national honor society of over two-hundred and fifty chapters throughout the United States. It was founded on March 8, 1911, at the University of Illinois to encourage excellence in scholarship, high personal standards, improvement in teacher preparation, distinction in achievement and contributions to education.         

These aims are filled by the activities of the institutional chapters, alumni chapters, a Laureate Chapter, a lecture series, fellowships in international education and the publication of the society’s journal, “The Educational Forum.” 

The charter members were welcomed into the honor society at special ceremonies held at the Hotel Great Neck Bayberry by Dr. Gerald H. Read, National President, and Dr. J. Richard McElheny, Executive Administrator of Kappa Delta Pi.

            Dr. Herbert C. Clish, Dean of the School of Education, introduced the guests and spoke in behalf of St. John’s in expressing his great pleasure at the chapter’s establishment. “I feel it marks a milestone in the history of the School of Education of St. John’s University,” Dr. Clish declared.


“It provides a very worthwhile means of recognizing outstanding scholarship and potential professional leadership,” the dean emphasized, “and will serve as a worthy aspiration for the good students in the School of Education.”

            “Kappa Delta Pi will also foster and encourage scholarship, leadership and service to the University during student years, thus helping to assure St. John’s that what it has given to the students during theses years may in turn lead to dividends to society after graduation which, of course, is in basic harmony with the university’s fundamental obectives,” Dr. Clish stressed.

            Dean Clish is himself a member of Kappa Delta Pi as are Dr. William P. McLoughlin, Mrs. Ann Remsen, and Miss Katherine O’Donnell. In fact, it was their efforts, along with the help of the School of Education’s Administrative Assistant, Reverend John E. Coleman, C.M., and Professor Anthony Carrieri, that laid the groundwork for the successful acceptance of the St. John’s chapter. Two of these faculty members, Miss O’Donnell and Mrs. Remsen, will serve respectively as Faculty Counselor and Associate Counselor for Kappa Eta.

            Membership in Kappa Delta Pi is not only nationwide, but it is also life long. It is also an encouragement to professional growth and fellowship as well as a vibrant symbol of the academic excellence recognized among the students of St. John’s University School of Education.

St. John's Receives Top Education Honors

November 28, 2011

For only the second time in the history of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the International Honor Society in Education, two chapters from the same university have won the society's biennial Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award.

Both winners are based at St. John's University. Several members from both chapters Alpha Beta Gamma (Staten Island campus ) and Kappa Eta (Queens campus) accepted the awards at KDP's  48th Biennial Convocation, held in Indianapolis on November 3 - 5.

This is the third consecutive time that Alpha Beta Gamma has won an ACE Award, and the fourth time for Kappa Eta. Only the top 25 from among 582 KDP chapters worldwide were chosen to receive this year's ACE Awards. Executive Board members from both chapters also delivered original research presentations at the international conference.

In addition, KDP's Lucinda Rose Counselor Award went to Charisse Willis '89SVC, '91MS, '95PD, Associate Dean of The School of Education at St. John's. The award is given once every two years to a single counselor who has 'ten or more years of service' and is deemed 'the best of the best.'

"Having our chapters and students recognized this way is an uplifting achievement," said Dean Willis. "The awards testify to the extraordinary commitment to excellence and service that distinguishes all our Education students' especially in our KDP chapters." Dean Willis added that she is "deeply honored" to receive the top award for service to St. John's chapters.

Embracing Strong Values

"The fact that we both won the award shows that we both have very strong chapters," said Susann Ragone '03GEd, Assistant Dean of The School of Education at the Staten Island campus. "It's especially interesting that so many of Kappa Delta Pi's ideals coincide with the Vincentian values of St. John's. Embracing those values is part of our students' preparation for outstanding teaching careers."

Dean Ragone, who serves as Counselor to the Alpha Beta Gamma chapter, received the O.L. Davis Jr. "Counselor of Distinction" Award and the Regional Counselor Award for the Northeast Region.

Alexandra Foukalas '11Ed, '13GEd agreed. The current Associate Counselor for the Queens chapter, Ms. Foukalas served as its Executive President for the year the ACE Award was received. "The ACE Award recognizes the best of the best chapters on the international front," she said. "Kappa Eta continues to strive for greatness and will continue to inspire pre-service teachers and current educators to reach out to the community at large in both education and Vincentian ways."

Ms. Foukalas received the Distinguished Chapter Officer Award for Service, one of the few KDP members to receive the award for her role as Vice President and Executive President of a chapter. "It's well-deserved," said Erica Zissel '12Ed, President of Kappa Eta. "Alexandra has played a pivotal role in transforming Kappa Eta into the chapter it is today, and it?s truly been a privilege to work by her side."

In addition, Regina Mistretta, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education and Associate Counselor for the Staten Island chapter, won KDP's 'Teacher of Honor' Designation. At the conference, she joined Mary Lee '06GEd and Diana Vigorito '12GEd to conduct a workshop, "Don't Forget Your Parents! Cultivating Parent-Child Collaborations in Math and Science."

Marilyn Dono-Koulouris, Ed.D., Assistant Professor and First-Year Student Program Coordinator, conducted a workshop entitled "Teaching and Learning in a Global World."

St. John's Kappa Eta convocation team also presented a workshop on "Charter vs. Public Schools: Inner-City Challenges": Charisse Willis; Alexandra Foukalas; Sharon Kim '12Ed; Kelvin Sage '13Ed; Ashley Thomas '12Ed; and Erica Zissel. "The feedback we received was wonderful," said Ms. Foukalas. "One audience member even said it was the best workshop she had seen the entire week."

Exceeding Goals

The ACE Awards reflect the abundance and variety of programs that both of St. John's chapters have offered over the past two years, enhancing life and learning for members and the entire campus community.

According to Ms. Foukalas, the Queens chapter had a strong start this fall by inducting the largest class in Kappa Eta history, including 89 new members. The chapter launched a professional development series that invited faculty to address students about vital topics in education. The chapter also offers many professional, service and social events to provide members with a well-rounded experience.

Other Queens chapter activities involved promoting social causes including 'Light it Up Blue', a University-wide event promoting Autism Awareness; Autism Speaks; 'Rachel's Challenge,' a service initiative honoring Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine Massacre; Tabs 4 Kids, a fundraiser for local children's hospitals; and Jumpstart, a head-start program that promotes early literacy in low-income preschools, among others.

The Staten Island chapter launched a literacy project that invited local pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students and their parents to the Staten Island campus for events that strengthened literacy awareness. The events included a parents workshop and a 'Dr. Seuss Read-Aloud' hosted by students and supported by a special grant from Kappa Delta Pi.

"Next year," said Ms. Ragone, "we hope to expand this project to include adolescent students in middle schools. Middle-school children are often in special need of assistance with academic success, and the Staten Island chapter wants to build on our success with elementary school children to help that population."

We invite you to learn more about the programs, students and faculty of The School of Education at St. John's University.

STJ SOE Celebrates by Winning the ACE Award

Even as they gathered last semester for the final events in a rousing, year-long celebration, students and professors cheered new triumphs in the 100-year history of The School of Education at St. John's University.

Nationally acclaimed for training outstanding teachers and researchers, The School of Education marked its Centennial in 2008-2009 with conferences, workshops, award dinners and other activities. As always, the School continued to draw national attention for combining academic quality with St. John's focus on social justice.

But for members of Kappa Delta Pi - the international education honor society, one tribute stood out. Both St. John's chapters won Kappa Delta Pi's 2009 Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award. It was the first time that two chapters from the same university won the award.

The winning chapters represent two of St. John's University's three residential New York City campuses: Kappa Eta is based at the Queens campus; Alpha Beta Gamma, which won the biennial award for the second time in a row is at the Staten Island campus.

Sharing Core Values
St. John's chapters received the awards at Kappa Delta Pi's biennial convocation in October. Members and deans from the Queens and Staten Island campuses traveled to Orlando, Florida, to deliver presentations and receive their chapters' ACE Awards.

"It is truly a singular honor, not only for our Kappa Delta Pi chapters, but for The School of Education as well," said Charisse Willis 89SVC, 91MS, 95PD, Associate Dean of The School of Education at the Queens campus. Dean Willis presented at the convocation with Joseph Sciortino, Assistant to the Director of America Reads.

 "The mission of Kappa Delta Pi and St. John's go hand-in-hand", said Susann Ragone 03GEd, Assistant Dean in The School of Education, Staten Island campus. "These awards offer external validation that we continue to be on target in our efforts."

Dean Ragone attended the convocation along with Staten Island campus presenters Rosette Marie Allegretti, Assistant to the Dean; Regina M. Mistretta, Ed.D., Associate Professor; and Marilyn Jean Dono-Koulouris, Ed.D., Assistant Professor.

Awarded every two years, the honor recognizes academic excellence, professional leadership and service, core values The School of Education shares with Kappa Delta Pi. To qualify, each chapter at St. John's had to carefully document their activities.

"The binders we put together were pretty thick," said Dean Willis. "We had to cover everything; academics, professional development, leadership training, membership and service. "After all the work", Dean Willis added, "it was wonderful to know we had met, and exceeded, Kappa Delta Pi's very high standards."

Preparing Teachers in and out of the Classroom
Each semester, St. John's chapters hold a full schedule of workshops, seminars and guest lectures focusing on new issues and trends in education, from recognizing the signs of autism to addressing different learning styles in the classroom.

Equally important to Kappa Delta Pi and St. John's University is the role of service in preparing students for success as educators and citizens. "We try to spread our wings," said Dean Willis. "Wherever a school, a library or an after-school center needs help, that?s where we put ourselves."

Both chapters, at Queens and Staten Island, engage members in such activities as midnight runs, when St. John's students distribute food to those in need; University Service Days, when students, faculty and administrators help clean parks, playgrounds and schools; and fundraising walks to support research into breast cancer, autism and other maladies.

At the same time, many service activities offer students direct experience as teachers. For example, members of Kappa Delta Pi take advantage of The School of Education's strategic partnerships with local schools and libraries, mentoring elementary school children, tutoring high school students and serving in after-school programs.

A Sense of Giving
"Yes, it does seem like a lot to do," said Jaclyn DeStefano '10Ed, President of the Queens chapter. "But you want to do it, because these are wonderful opportunities for anyone who truly wants to teach. The entire experience is about your own growth as a professional and a person."

Together, these activities build on the rigorous course work education majors receive in such areas as adolescent education, childhood education, curricular development, school leadership and teaching English as a second language. The goal is to give education students a strong foundation in theory and methods.

"The great thing about Kappa Delta Pi," said Dea-Marie Tompkins '10Ed, "is the balance of academics and service. I think they're very closely related. As a teacher, you're going to depend on your knowledge and your empathy these are strengths you build as a member."

Above all, membership in the society allows students to make their mark in the world. "You get a real sense of giving, of having an impact on other people's lives," said Catherine Hayes '11Ed, a junior at the Staten Island campus. "That's what it means to belong to Kappa Delta Pi and it's a big part of the culture at St. John?'s."


To read more about Kappa Eta's ACE Award, please visit:[email protected]%2Facademics%2Fundergraduate%2Feducation%2Fpr_edu_090804.xml 


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