4 alumni chosen for Rodel Exemplary Teacher Awards

Katrina Collins

Graduates of Northern Arizona University continue to make up the Rodel Exemplary Teachers roster. Nearly half of the 2015 finalists earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees at NAU, including four of the winners.

Rodel Exemplary Teachers are selected from primary schools serving high-needs students in Coconino, Maricopa and Pima counties. The winners each receive a $5,000 savings bond and spend several years mentoring Rodel Promising Student Teachers.

One of this year’s exemplary teachers is Katrina Collins, a first-grade teacher at Flagstaff’s Kinsey Elementary School, who said being recognized for doing work she loves is icing on the cake. “Northern Arizona University prepared me to be the type of teacher I am today, especially faculty members Melissa Settle, Liz Taylor, and Deb Heim-Martinez.” Collins said people in the education community continually support her as a teacher.

“NAU is the premier institution in the state and graduates many of the teachers who go on to serve the students of Arizona,” said Ramona Mellott, dean of the College of Education, the state’s only institution meeting National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education standards. “We are proud to serve the residents of Arizona by providing high-quality teachers to prepare the future leaders of Arizona.”

Mellott said NAU’s partnership with the Rodel Foundation fosters student success because the program inspires current student teachers to be outstanding educators. In addition to honoring exemplary teachers, the Rodel Foundation’s mentoring initiatives emphasize shadowing and training for teachers and principals.

Listed below are the Rodel Exemplary Teachers for 2015, degree earned from NAU, grade taught and city in which they work:

Brittany Betterton, master’s in early childhood education, kindergarten, Tucson

Rebecca Cardon, bachelor’s and master’s in education, third grade, Flagstaff

Katrina Collins, bachelor’s in early childhood education, first grade, Flagstaff

Jennifer Hollenbeck, master’s in educational leadership, second grade, Phoenix


Four teachers with ties to NAU also named among the finalists for the award are:

Jessica Austin, master’s in educational leadership, fifth grade, Phoenix

Carrie Jenkins, bachelor’s in elementary education and master’s in science teaching, seventh grade, Flagstaff

Jennifer Perkins, master’s in elementary education, first grade, Phoenix

Melissa White, master’s in educational leadership, seventh grade, Avondale

See the full list of this year’s 20 finalists here.