Nick Ferentinos

Nick Ferentinos, one of the founders of the JEA Mentor Program, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 24, after a courageous battle with lung cancer.

As a former journalism teacher and mentor trainer for the New Teacher Center, Nick emphasized to us the effectiveness of a formal mentoring program. He acted as JEA’s liaison with the New Teacher Center to develop training for JEA mentors and he was the lead trainer for new mentors in the JEA program.

Nick was a teacher’s teacher. He modeled what was best about our profession. An inspiration to all of us on the JEA Mentoring Committee, he gave us the direction we needed to start the program and showed us all how to be mentors. With a warm heart, he loved each of us, so that we would become even more caring people as we worked with our mentees. When he talked to you, all his attention was focused on you and he made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. He was one of a kind, touching lives and leaving a legacy for generations.

Many mentors have wonderful memories of Nick.

From Nora Stephens:

“Nick was one of our trainers at K State when the Alabama girls joined the mentoring program. He was extremely passionate about keeping scholastic journalism at the forefront, an inspiring friend and colleague.”

From Babs Erickson:

“When I first met Nick at my Mentor Program training at Cal-Berkley, I was immediately impressed by this friendly, articulate, knowledgeable, gentle man. He was the epitome of a teacher’s teacher. He was instrumental in my development as a mentor as I adopted his emphasis on the art of listening as a basis for my own philosophy. His kind support and advice were invaluable. He will be missed by mentors past, present, and future.”


Nick has a good laugh with Casey Nichols at mentor training.

From Carmen Wendt:

“I’ll always remember Nick’s passion and enthusiasm for mentoring. He was one of my trainers. I use his lessons on listening daily.”

From Stan Zoller:

Nick was a class act who cared deeply not only about scholastic journalism, but about students and journalism educators.  To say he will be missed is an understatement.”

From Linda Ballew:

“Nick’s gracious smile and generous encouragement always made each and every moment shared in conversation or laughter, a time to be treasured. I will miss this gentle man more than can be imagined.”

From Kay Locey:

Nick was one of a kind. For all the lives he touched and legacy he left us, he will always be here.”

From Kathy Schrier:

“Nick was truly the mentor to mentors. What an inspiration he was. He will be deeply missed.”

From Bill Flechtner:

“ We have lost a great man who loved students, was passionate about scholastic journalism, and was a model for all of us.  He will be missed.”


At the NTC, Nick is with director Ellen Moir, Linda Puntney and Peggy Gregory.

From Peggy Gregory:

I actually first met Nick in person because of mentoring, but that didn’t mean I didn’t know about him. I was late (with permission) for some mentor training for my district through the New Teacher Center, and when I arrived, one of the presenters introduced me to the other two. When it came to Nick, all I could gasp was, “Do you know how famous he is in the journalism world?!” Nick, of course, was a little embarrassed, but so kind. Thus began a friendship.

It was wonderful, then, to be one of the original members of the JEA Mentoring Committee and learn from Nick as he guided us through the purchase of certain NTC materials and then the use of them. He has been a super teacher for us as I know he was for his students. Even when he decided it was time to quit the committee, he has been a very willing adviser as we have encountered new obstacles. Nick (and Dina!) will always hold a special place in my heart.

From Carol Smith:

Nick’s help during and after our mentor training gave me the confidence to help other advisors: both my mentees and those I reached through JEA and IJEA workshops. My life has truly been enriched by the great people I met through mentoring and from the conventions I have attended, experiences Nick helped foster.  I admired Nick for his contributions to scholastic journalism and his ability to express himself so eloquently. The sparkle in his eyes spoke volumes, too.

From Dave Wallner:

He and I went out for coffee and beers at every convention I attended, and had great talks about politics, kids, life and, of course, journalism. Anne and I went for dinner one night in San Francisco with Nick and his wife, and we spent hours at a restaurant in lively conversation. He was a true Renaissance man who made me proud to be a teacher.  I will miss him a lot.

From Mary Anne McCloud:

Nick’s influence and legacy continue to touch people. He touched his own students; he guided us as mentors. We mentors in turn passed on his passion and wisdom to our mentees, and they continue to guide their students. I treasure the times Nick and Dina shared a cab and shared a meal with me. And I continue to be grateful for his teaching and guidance.