Member Interview: Monika Williams Shealey on AACTE’s Value

During AACTE’s membership renewal season, some of our most active members are sharing what AACTE means to them. For this article, AACTE intern Shawn Karim interviewed Board of Directors member Monika Williams Shealey, who is dean of the College of Education at Rowan University (NJ). Learn more about membership here.

Monika Williams Shealey (front) poses with Holmes Scholars in front of the U.S. Capitol building during AACTE’s 2017 Washington Week.

Q: What caused you to become a volunteer for the organization?

A: My connection with AACTE began during my doctoral program. As a Holmes Scholar at the University of Central Florida, I attended the first summer policy institute held for Holmes Scholars and had the opportunity to present my research at the Annual Meeting. I’ve grown up in this profession with AACTE, and volunteering to serve on committees – and currently on the Board of Directors – makes sense as I value the significant role of AACTE in educator preparation.

Q: How has your involvement in AACTE affected your career?

A: AACTE has played a central role in my development as a scholar and leader. Specifically, the Holmes Scholars Program afforded me opportunities to deepen my understanding of the critical issues facing educator preparation and connect with a network of scholars who have supported me as I navigated higher education.

Q: What AACTE resources have you found helpful?

A: In my role as dean, I have found the Ed Prep Matters blog extremely helpful. The blog provides an overview of promising practices in a format that can be easily digested. I also appreciate the Washington Week experience. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what’s happening in Washington and to meet our policy makers. This work is so important, particularly in the current political climate.

Q: What would you say to someone wondering whether to join AACTE?

A: I would say that the benefits to faculty and students are worthwhile. [The top reasons are that] AACTE is the leading voice in educator preparation; the organization provides a space to advocate and advance scholarship that positively impacts P-16 learners; and the Holmes Program exemplifies the organization’s commitment to ensuring the teacher and faculty workforce reflects the diversity our students.

In addition to being elected to the AACTE Board of Directors in 2016, Shealey’s engagement with the Association has included being a Holmes Scholar, Annual Meeting presenter, and Washington Week participant and serving on AACTE’s Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building. She even earned degrees from member institutions, including a B.S. and M.A. from the University of South Florida, an Ed.S. from the University of Miami (FL), and a Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida.

Now, in conjunction with her service on AACTE’s Board, Shealey is again part of the membership committee, and this year she received the Teacher Diversity Research Award from AACTE’s Diversified Teaching Workforce Topical Action Group – an indicator of her successful contributions in the Association, her community and state, and throughout the field. She also was recently elected president of the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) and serves as a reviewer with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and a journal editor with the Council for Exceptional Children.

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Shawn Karim

AACTE, Intern