School of Education (SOE) spring 2023 graduate Amanda Muniz was honored with a prestigious Distinguished Teacher Candidate award from the Maryland Association of Teacher Educators (MATE). A native of Los Alamitos, California, Muniz met the requirements for her bachelor's degree in secondary education after completing her practicum experience, a period of student teaching, this spring.
The MATE award honors a student teacher from each four-year college, university, and community college in Maryland and the District of Columbia that prepares teachers in the fields of early childhood, elementary, secondary, or special education. Muniz was nominated by the members of SOE faculty and the school’s Teacher Education Committee.
“Our teachers often remark that Amanda is an exceptional contributor and leader who displays a strong work ethic, a willingness to take risks, and a desire to learn and grow,” committee member and SOE Undergraduate Student Advisor Jody Hagen-Smith said. “Her commitment to quality was evident in every aspect of her edTPA portfolio development, which showed an impeccable attention to detail and an ability to analyze and reflect on her teaching practices.”
The committee also took note of Muniz’s special abilities in human relationships with the students, faculty, and staff of Westland Middle School, where she taught mathematics (her second major [College of Arts and Sciences]).
She stood out from other AU student teachers by demonstrating knowledge, skills, and dispositions highlighting her effectiveness in areas key to successful teaching: planning and implementation of instruction, assessment and evaluation of students, classroom management, professional responsibility, reflection, self-analysis, and the ability to make changes.
“From the outset, Amanda impressed me with her natural teaching intuition,” said SOE faculty member Dr. Howie Weinstein, Muniz’s university supervisor and coach. “She generated a positive, friendly, and supportive classroom environment and possessed a demeanor that is approachable to both supervisors and students alike. I’ve observed her in both high school and middle school settings. In both cases, she presented instructions and content material clearly and utilized a variety of activities, creating a welcoming, engaging, and academically focused atmosphere in class.”
Muniz was a member of AU’s track and field team during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, where she competed in cross country events. The MATE award honor, however, asserts that teaching may be her calling.
“MATE recognition is significant accomplishment, and we are very proud of Amanda!” said SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy. “Her exemplary skills and knowledge as a new teacher resulted in many professors commenting to me that her strong leadership and enthusiasm for teaching was ‘contagious!’ Most importantly, she was also recognized for her strong commitment to educational excellence, equity, and justice. Way to go!”
Read more about SOE's spring 2023 graduates here.