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URI School of Education professors honored for their work

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John Boulmetis, Anne Seitsinger recognized by different groups

KINGSTON, R.I. – December 3, 2009 – Two professors in the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education were honored with major awards in recent weeks.

Adult Education Professor John Boulmetis received the President’s Award For Exceptional and Innovative Leadership in Adult and Continuing Education from the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education. The Kingston resident received the award during the association’s national conference in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 5.

Boulmetis, who has taught at URI for 37 years, is a former president of the association and is credited with saving the organization in the early 2000s, when it nearly ended operations due to financial issues. Chosen as president-elect in 1999, Boulmetis became president just a couple months later when the organization’s president suddenly resigned. During the next two years, he worked with the group’s members and units to free themselves from an outside management firm to bring stability back to the organization and the thousands of members worldwide.

“Being recognized for this award was a shock and an honor,” said Boulmetis, who was nominated for the award by current AAACE President Douglas Smith, a professor at the University of South Florida. “Knowing what we went through to get the AAACE back on its feet made this even more special.”

Boulmetis has been a part of the association since 1973, and more than three decades later, he remains passionate about adult education.

“What drew me to this field is the wide umbrella nature of adult education,” Boulmetis said. “We work with people at all different stages, from adult literacy programs to individuals working toward their high school GED. We have people in English as a second language programs, military personal, religious education and work force development programs. It really runs the gamut, but in the end, it’s all about helping people improve their lives, which is a rewarding feeling.”

While Boulmetis received a national honor, fellow URI School of Education Professor Anne Seitsinger was honored locally by the Rhode Island Middle Level Educators with the group’s Friends of RIMLE award.

For the last two years, Seitsinger – a North Kingstown resident –facilitated the strategic plan for RIMLE for middle level education in the state. Following the plan, all middle schools in the state are using a teaming method in which smaller groups of students stay in classes together with the same group of teachers. Likewise, teachers in these “teams” have planning periods that coincide, allowing better communication and collaborative efforts during a key period of growth for students.

“The practice of teaming allows for a more personalized education experience,” Seitsinger said. “The adults in the schools get to know groups of students on a more individual level, which helps teachers better address issues that students face during a key transition period in their lives.”

Curtis Corner (Wakefield) Middle School Principal Michele Humbyrd nominated Seitsinger for the honor. Seitsinger and Humbyrd, the group’s outgoing president, worked closely on the teaming strategic planning.

“I am extremely honored to have been nominated,” Seitsinger said. “To be among the people who have received this honor in the past is humbling. These are the leaders in middle level education for the state, so to be honored this way was so surprising.”