Dyson grant supports teachers for Dutchess County
NEW PALTZ -- A $300,000 grant from the Dyson Foundation will fund scholarships for State University of New York at New Paltz education students who transfer from Dutchess Community College.
The grant, based on a proposal from SUNY New Paltz, is designed to help alleviate the teacher shortage in the Mid-Hudson region, specifically in under-served municipalities in Dutchess County.
The Dyson Foundation, based in Millbrook, Dutchess County, was established in 1957 by Charles H. and Margaret M. Dyson and has supported a variety of worthy organizations, innovative programs and compelling causes, many of which are located in, or benefit, Dutchess County.
This grant represents "an exceptional way to strengthen our schools and support the teachers that play such important roles in the lives of our young people," said Dyson Foundation Vice President and CEO Diana M. Gurieva. "SUNY New Paltz is a key educational resource in the Mid-Hudson Valley and the Foundation was delighted when we were approached about new strategies to encourage young people to enter and remain in the teaching profession in our region."
The Dyson Family Foundation Scholarship for Educators will provide full tuition scholarships to six new secondary education students each year over a five-year period. In addition to the tuition scholarships, the program will support a stipend for living expenses while candidates are student teaching.
"This is the kind of incentive New Paltz can offer to attract students to a career in teaching," said Steven Poskanzer, acting president of SUNY New Paltz. "The scholarship will help relieve these students of the burden of debt, and it puts them in a program with a long tradition of excellence and service."
The grant also builds on a strong working relationship between New Paltz and Dutchess Community College. For more than 10 years, Dutchess Community College has been the top feeder school for transfer students to New Paltz, and the Dutchess cohort of students graduate with a grade point average of 3.13.
"We look forward to working with SUNY New Paltz to provide Dutchess Community College students with another resource to help them realize their career goals as teachers," said D. David Conklin, president of Dutchess Community College. "Our jointly-registered program in Early Childhood Education, which allows our graduates to transfer seamlessly to New Paltz, is very successful, and we are awaiting SUNY and State approval on one in adolescent (secondary) education, so we are particularly excited about this scholarship opportunity."
The grant could not have come at a better time for Dutchess County schools, according to John C. Pennoyer, district superintendent of Dutchess County BOCES. In New York, about 100,000 teachers will retire in the next five years, requiring an aggressive effort to promote the profession and ensure retirees are replaced with qualified teachers.
"Our BOCES organization has taken a leadership role in addressing the personnel crisis facing public education in our county," Pennoyer said. "The Dyson grant is precisely the kind of support that we need in Dutchess County and we are very grateful to the Dyson Foundation and to SUNY New Paltz for providing this kind of meaningful support."
The grant is the second collaboration between SUNY New Paltz and the Dyson Foundation. In October 2000, the Dyson Foundation provided a grant to support a national conference on the First Amendment issue of reconciling the rights to free speech and freedom of religion.
"The Dyson Foundation is true to its mission of supporting compelling causes, innovative programs and, we believe, worthy organizations," said Poskanzer. "Our collaboration with Dyson is a clear example of how our public colleges and universities can directly assist the communities we serve."
The first scholarships under this grant will be awarded for students enrolling at New Paltz in fall 2002. More information is available through David Hadaller, Dutchess Community College's associate dean of Academic Affairs for curriculum and instruction, at (845) 431-8966 and Michael Husenits, SUNY New Paltz' director of Transfer Admissions, at (845) 257-3205.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.