Mary A. Heinze, teacher at Magnolia Eastside Kindergarten, was awarded the prestigious 2015 Outstanding Mentor Teacher Award by the Association of Teacher Educators (ArATE) at the organization’s conference on September 25, 2015.
Heinze is an SAU graduate, and 11-year teacher and five-year teacher mentor. She earned this honor by balancing her responsibilities of being a kindergarten teacher with excelling as a student teacher advisor for upcoming classroom leaders.
“Kindergarten is a very busy learning environment and leaves little time for another ‘student,’ but she is willing to mentor a budding teacher and give them her best,” said Deborah Nipper, who taught alongside Heinze for 10 years, in a nomination letter to ArATE.
The budding teachers from SAU are sent to mentor teachers like Heinze from Jamie Boyd, director of Admissions, Field Experience and Licensure at SAU’s College of Education. Boyd wrote in her nomination letter that Heinze provides real life experiences for SAU interns and makes herself available to them beyond school hours.
“There has never been a time Mary did not welcome one of our candidates into her classroom,” said Boyd. “Mary embodies a collaborative spirit, a warm smile, and is the most positive teacher I have had the pleasure with whom to work. She does not dwell on the ‘problem’ and is always a voice for solutions.”
Jayci Whitley was a student teacher under Heinze in 2014. Whitley was able to see what the idealistic kindergarten teacher should look like, thanks to her mentor.
“She taught me so many things in the short time that I was with her that I will never forget her as long as I am a teacher. She is very passionate about her career and it shows in everything that she does,” said Whitley.
Heinze has been a member of the National Teachers Organization and is a member of Partners in Education (P.I.E.). She graduated from SAU in 2004 with a B.S.E. in Early Childhood Education. She and her husband, Bob, reside in Magnolia with their two children, Landon and Ruth.