Debbie Pushor

Master Teacher Award - Fall 2013

As a Master Teacher, Dr. Debbie Pushor’s mindful and positive regard of the personal and professional interests of her students, contextualized in a deep understanding of the field of Education, provides superlative and ongoing support. Her work is indeed transformative, and she touches all who know her with wisdom, insight, and compassion.

Colleagues view with awe the myriad ways that Dr. Pushor supports the College of Education and the university. Dr. Pushor currently balances 

29 graduate students with a full load of teaching in addition to research that includes work with a northern community interested in parent engagement and curricular improvements. In addition, she consistently teaches reading/independent study courses outside her regular assigned duties. Blending research and teaching, Dr. Pushor publishes in well‑known peer-reviewed journals and her work at conferences—from invited keynotes for school divisions as well as at the university level—is both prolific and highly regarded.

It is not surprising that the goals emerging in prominent places on Dr. Pushor’s course syllabi include “student engagement”, and that testimonials from her previous and current graduate students refer to qualities such as “energetic,” “engaged,” and “caring.” Sincerity is evident not only in the statements she makes in her teaching philosophy, but in how these statements are actualized in all that she does.

Letters collected in light of Dr. Pushor’s award nomination have paid exceptional tribute. Ideas from these testimonials appear in the poem that follows, attesting to the breadth of Dr. Pushor’s role as an educator.

Dr Pushor: Master Teacher

she is from a place where students are respected colleagues and friends

where relationships are built over coffee and homemade muffins

where asking and answering questions is everyone’s prerogative

she is from a place where research is a field of seeds and sunshine

where teaching pays attention to root systems

       deep in the earth

       where water matters

she is from a place where honesty is the best policy

and where treading lightly is a mandatory act when

       walking near another’s dreams

she is from a place that acknowledges differences

where everyone can find a chair

where individual voices count

and she is from a place where education is transformative

where words are sails as well as anchors

       for a boat remembering wind

       for a boat inspiring wind

       for a boat that navigates

            this changing world