Education Department Assessment Nets Opportunity for Alumna

 Marcia Bedasse
Education expert Dr. Marcia Bedasse is a PBA alumna and new hire

After a rigorous evaluation, the Palm Beach Atlantic education program heads toward the opening of school with full, five-year approval from the state and with a new faculty member eager to come back and teach at her alma mater.

            Dr. Marcia Bedasse, a 1998 PBA grad, has come aboard as associate professor of education after a distinguished, 25-year career with the School District of Palm Beach County.

            “Teaching really is a passion for me; it’s my calling, not just a job,” said Bedasse. “I’m excited for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with students who will go out into the field like I did.”

             Bedasse has been a school administrator, a district instructional specialist, a literacy coach and an award-winning math teacher. Her hiring and her math credentials helped PBA attain its most recent high marks from the state.  

            The Florida Department of Education has a new process for evaluating how well colleges and universities prepare their graduates to teach. As PBA went through that process, a team of evaluators visited the school in October and attended a section of every education class.

            The evaluators also observed all the PBA education majors who were out doing their student teaching that semester. The team even studied the results of standardized tests taken by the students of PBA education grads.

            After months of evaluation, state officials sent PBA a preliminary report, recommending, among other things, more specific math skills be taught, said Dr. Chelly Templeton, dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. “As a result of that,” she said,  “we hired Marcia.”

             Templeton and her team responded to the report from the state, and in July they received this official word: “All educator preparation programs at Palm Beach Atlantic University will receive full approval through June 30, 2023.”

            “This is remarkable and extremely welcomed news and affirmation for the dedication of your faculty,” said PBA President William M. B. Fleming, Jr., in an email to Templeton. “Our students are the true beneficiaries of your commitment to excellence.”

            Palm Beach Atlantic has long enjoyed the reputation for sending out fine teachers. Bedasse went on to earn a master’s degree from Barry University and the Ed.D. degree from the University of Florida, but she concludes: “PBA prepared me in an unbelievable way.”

            To teach, you must know your craft, but that’s not all you need, said Bedasse. For years she served inner-city kids from homes in poverty, and she did so with a heart of compassion that was nourished at Palm Beach Atlantic.

            Bedasse is joined by another PBA hire who’s shown such compassion. Dr. Ann Yanchura, a new associate professor of education, has been active in social justice issues, including work with the homeless, food pantries and literacy initiatives for underserved populations. “She brings a wealth of experience in the school district also,” Templeton said.

            “I think what these two ladies are going to bring to the table is just exceptional,” said Templeton. She also cited a new adjunct professor for the fall: Dr. Kristen Sheehan, head of the lower school at the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach.

            “So we’re really excited for the fall and what’s going to happen,” Templeton said.