Wilkes University Presents Celebration of Education Awards

by Kelly Clisham
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Wilkes University’s School of Education honored alumni with Celebration of Education Awards recognizing each recipient’s outstanding contributions on campus and in the community. The awards represent the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels of study available to education students at Wilkes and help commemorate American Education Week.

The following educators were honored with 2022 Celebration of Education Awards:

Mary Siejak ’12 MS ’21 | Educator of the Year Award

Mary Siejak earned a dual degree in elementary education and special education, with reading content and dance minors, in 2012. She continued her Wilkes education, earning a master’s degree in educational development and strategies from Wilkes University in 2021.

Siejak serves as an individualized instruction teacher, working with students with special needs, at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston, Pennsylvania. She previously worked in public school regular and special education classrooms in the Berwick Area School District, the Dallas School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, and Luzerne Intermediate Unit #18.

Siejak, who has been dancing locally for more than 25 years, teaches dance for Wilkes University and the Degnan Ballet Center through the Wilkes Conservatory. She has moderated the dance team at Holy Redeemer High School, provided ballet training to the figure skaters at the Diamond City Figure Skating Club, and has participated in KISS Theater’s “Dancing Stars of Wilkes-Barre” fundraising events.

In 2018, Siejak participated in Leadership Northeast’s Impact: Leadership in Education program. She was recognized as one of the Times Leader’s Distinctive Women in 2019.

Natasha Milazzo ’19 MS ’22 | Joseph and Barbara Bellucci Distinguished Graduate Award

Natasha Milazzo, of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, was the first graduate to complete Wilkes University’s ABBA program in 2019, with a concentration in school business leadership. She continued her professional educational journey at Wilkes University earning a master’s degree in education, summa cum laude, in 2022.

Milazzo worked in the private sector, where she gained more than 15 years of experience in leadership and operational management. She started her career in public education as business manager at the Weatherly Area School District. She transitioned to serve her community as the director of human resources for Crestwood School District. Milazzo was then appointed as business manager and now serves as the first woman superintendent of schools for the Crestwood School District.

Milazzo shares the honor of receiving this award with her family, friends, the Crestwood School District and the Mountain Top community. Her dedication to achieve academic success has been inspired by her husband, her two children and her family. This support allows her to continue to serve her school district and the community.

Rosemary Shaver | The Diane Place Doctoral Dissertation Award

Rosemary Shaver, originally from Shavertown, Pennsylvania, is the daughter of Paul and Rosaria Shaver. An alumna of Dallas High School in Dallas, Pennsylvania, she graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. She also earned a theology and religious studies minor and a peace and justice studies concentration, and was a member of the honors program.

Inspired by her passion for education and experiences as a first-generation college student, Shaver earned a master’s degree in higher education from the Pennsylvania State University. She enrolled in Wilkes University’s doctoral program in educational leadership, and in September 2022, successfully defended her dissertation, The Perceived Influence of Participation in Undergraduate International Service-Learning on Recent United States College Graduates’ Post-College Readiness. Shaver is expected to graduate with her EdD in 2023.

Shaver has worked with the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC), a non-profit education collaborative based at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, since 2014. As senior program manager for programs at ASEC, she works with Catholic universities and partners in 10 countries in Africa to facilitate educational opportunities to Catholic Sisters in Africa.

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