Kean Teacher of the Year Named, Excellence Awards Presented

UNION, N.J. ­–– Associate Professor Mia Zamora, Ph.D., the director of both the Kean University Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Writing Studies program, has been named Teacher of the Year by the Kean University Alumni Association.

The award was presented at the President’s Annual Retiree and Recognition Celebration held at Kean’s Union campus on Tuesday, June 25. Also honored were three Kean faculty members, one staff member, and six Kean students, including two new graduates, who received Presidential Excellence Awards.

Eight retiring Kean employees were also celebrated at the event, and 13 others who were unable to attend were recognized.

Among the retirees was former Kean head baseball coach and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Richard Bakker, Ed.D., who is retiring after a 50-year career spent at Kean. Bakker also received the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching.

“This is an opportunity for us to say, ‘thank you,’” Kean President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., said, as he presented the awards.

Zamora, a resident of Harding, is a two-time Fulbright Award winner, the recipient of the Mozilla Foundation Open Leaders Award, and a past president of the New Jersey College English Association.

“Teaching is so meaningful to me and to so many of my colleagues,” said Zamora, who is recognized as a scholar of electronic literature and a researcher in the field of digital culture.

“One of the secrets for me, in terms of always growing, is positioning myself as a co-learner with my students,” Zamora said. “I hope that I will never grow old because I have so much opportunity to learn with so many wonderful people at Kean.”

The event, held at the North Avenue Academic Building, provided many moments for Kean faculty, staff and students to mingle and celebrate.

Those honored with Presidential Excellence Awards are:

Richard Bakker, Ed.D.,School of Health and Human Performance, Distinguished Teaching for Faculty
Rachel Evans, Theater Education, Distinguished Service for Faculty
Donald R. Marks, Psy.D., Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology, Distinguished Service for Faculty
Robyn Roebuck, Office of the Registrar, Distinguished Service for Professional Staff

Students honored include:

Jason Pleitez, Distinguished Emerging Student Leadership
Kristen Failla ’19, Distinguished Student Leadership
Alyssa Carbone ’19, Distinguished Student Leadership
Kayla Asare, Distinguished Student Leadership
Gabriella Lapointe, Distinguished Service for Student
Maura Sumoul, Distinguished Service for Student

Retirees honored who were in attendance were:
Richard Bakker, Ed.D., School of Health and Human Performance
Monique Faines, Professional Service Specialist III
Joseph Gasparro, Assistant Engineer in Charge of Maintenance I
Holly Hoffman, Principal Clerk-Typist
Sidney Langer, Ph.D., School of Social Sciences
Elaine Mahon, Secretarial Assistant III
Mary Jo Santo Pietro, Ph.D., School of Communication Disorders and Deafness
Martin Shulman, Ph.D., School of Communication Disorders and Deafness