Youngstown State University’s Beeghly College of Education honors seven alumni at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, in McKay Auditorium, Beeghly Hall, on the YSU campus.
Award recipients are:
Stanley Watson has served in Austintown Local Schools as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent, where he oversaw the construction of a $25 million middle school. After retiring from Austintown, he worked for two years as a consultant, but returned to the superintendency in Liberty Local Schools, a position he has held ever since. As superintendent at Liberty, he has maintained a strong relationship with the Beeghly College of Education—Liberty was one of the first partnership districts that implemented the yearlong clinical program. Watson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from YSU. He is a member of the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators and Buckeye Association of School Administrators. His myriad service activities include the Canfield Library Committee, Relay for Life, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Liberty Gridiron Club.
Donna Czeck has more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and has been working as a school counselor for 10 years in the Lordstown Local School District and Maplewood Career Center. She has three degrees from YSU: a bachelor’s in education, a master’s in reading and a master’s in school counseling. Czeck also contributes to the Beeghly College of Education as a field supervisor, part-time instructor and advisory board member in the Counseling program. Czeck recently received the Bullying Prevention Specialist certificate, Legal and Ethical Specialist certificate and the School Counseling Leadership Specialist certificate, and she completed the professional development to be eligible for the Certified Global Career Development. She has served as the District Test Coordinator, District Ohio Resident Educator Program Coordinator and Board Member for Trumbull Career & Technical Center. She is currently chair of the Portage County Teen of the Month selection committee. She regularly presents research at the All Ohio Counselors Conference in Columbus on topics of career development and ethics.
Marie Witt Dockry is a guidance counselor at Austintown Fitch High School and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, where she has served for more than 20 years as a member of the governing board. For many of those years, she has been the Student Achievement Liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association, as well as a representative on the Ohio School Boards Association for the Northeast Ohio region. She also serves as a board member for the Mahoning County Educational Service Center. In 2009, she received the Northeast Ohio All Ohio School Board Member Award. Dockry earned two degrees from YSU, a bachelor of Education and a master of School and Community Counseling. She has served as a school counselor for the past 10 years, and her excellence as a family and consumer science teacher for 26 years was a foundation for her skill in providing guidance counseling in educational, emotional and behavioral life skills and decision making to students she has met with through the years. She has supported students as a Key Club advisor, a Relay for Life team leader, a Spirit Club advocate and a leader in a variety of service projects in the community of Austintown. She is a member of the Austintown Junior Women’s League and has been a leader in a variety of scholarship fundraising projects.
Lifetime Educational Service
Richard Buchenic, with 44 years dedicated to public education, has held positions as teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal and superintendent. He earned a bachelor’s degree from YSU and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Westminster College. He was principal of Hubbard High School, then superintendent of Lowellville schools and later superintendent of Hubbard schools. He is involved in the Brothers Club, a local organization dedicated to helping families with school age children who are in need. He has served as vice president and president of the club for many years.
Penny Wells is the founding organizer and director of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, which provides Youngstown high school students the opportunity to participate in a 10-day civil rights journey to the South. Wells also organized a local Nonviolence Week program. Wells earned a bachelor’s degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She was a teacher of seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher in the Youngtown City Schools from 1969 to 2007. In 2002, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the Youngstown City Schools and listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Wells remains active in a number of other community activities and organizations—the United Methodist Church, the Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, Southside Ministries, the League of Women Voters, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Planning Committee, and the Simeon Booker Group.
Dean’s Appreciation Award
Paula Valentini earned two bachelor’s degrees from YSU, one in Elementary Education 1-8 and the second in Special Education/LD/BD K-12. She also completed a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from YSU. Her teaching experience spans 30 years at Harding Elementary School in the Youngstown City School District, where she teaches today. Her awards include the Giant Eagle Class Act Teacher (2007), Teacher of the Year (Harding Elementary School, 1999/2000, 2012/2013), and Martha Holden Jennings Scholar (1994). She is a successful grant writer and recipient of a Consumer Education Grant, Teacher Education Grant, Career Education Grant, Adler Grant and an OhioReads Grant. She is a Student Teacher Supervisor for both YSU and Westminster College and serves as a Venture Capital Grant Interviewer and Grant Reader. She is also a Trumbull Literacy Conference Presenter/Participant. She is Vice President and Media Spokesperson for the Youngstown Education Association.
Excellence in Innovation (Posthumously)
The late Dante J. Zambrini was a graduate of Ursuline High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education and Administration from YSU. He retired as superintendent of Canfield Schools in 2012 and then assumed the position of interim Vice President of Eastern Gateway Community College. He was a member of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Mahoning County Association of Elementary School Administrators, Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, served as the director of the Associated Schools Employees Credit Union and Phi Delta Kappa. He also was a member of the Rotary Club of Canfield where he served as president (2010-2011), Vice President (2009-2010) and was a three-time recipient of the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Recognition. He was a member of the Canfield Historical Society, where he served two terms as a director, Friends of Riverside Gardens, Canfield Community Club, Lifetime member of the Youngstown State University Alumni Association, served as a trustee of the James and Coralie Centofanti Foundation and served on the Canfield steering committee for the new Canfield Library.