by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair
Steve was right there at the start of the idea of the JEA mentoring program.
At the Scholastic Press Association roundtable at the JEA/NSPA convention in Denver, he and California colleague Nick Ferentinos discussed their mentoring efforts for new journalism teachers in California.
Others, including Linda Barrington (Wisconsin) and Peggy Gregory (Arizona), discussed their efforts to recruit and nurture new journalism teachers.
Those attending the meeting, who represented more than 15 states, agreed that action needed to be taken in a more coordinated and consistently funded way to help new journalism teachers be successful in their teaching and advising and to stay in the teaching profession.
Steve, Nick, Peggy, Linda and I met after the meeting and brainstormed what could be a JEA initiative to support new journalism teachers — a mentoring program that would be based on matching new teachers with experienced JEA advisers, especially those who had recently retired. I’d say that we left that meeting energized that we had an idea worth pursing. That was April 2007.
Dozens and dozens of e-mails and phone calls later, Linda and I were in Manhattan, Kansas, in July 2007, attending the JEA board meeting. We presented the proposal of establishing the JEA Mentoring Program. JEA would provide the funds for the initial training of the mentors, and states would provide funding for the stipends for their mentors. The board voted unanimously to support the program and included the mentoring program as a major budget item.
At the JEA/NSPA convention in November 2007, the first mentor training was held, with 10 mentors from five states. Steve, Nick and Peggy led that first training program.
The program now has expanded to 30 mentors and 13 states. More than 115 mentees have benefitted from working with the JEA mentors.
Steve has been a key part in the growth of the program. Helping identify potential mentees. Contributing ideas for programming. Helping plan and teach in the training sessions and the Mentor Forums.
Last week, Steve e-mailed the Mentoring Committee members to let us know that he needs to step off of the committee. His plate is full.
He always has a full plate of scholastic journalism activities. But he recently received a grant from the McCormick Foundation to promote scholastic journalism in Los Angeles. So he needs to focus his time and energy to this new initiative.
We appreciate all that Steve has done to make the JEA Mentoring Program a reality. We value all he has done to contribute to the program and to scholastic journalism.
And we know that even with a full plate, Steve will be there with ideas and encouragement as the JEA mentoring program continues its work.