Local teachers say OUE helped them become better educators



Times Leader Staff Writers

MARTINS FERRY — Local teachers who graduated from Ohio University Eastern say the school helped them become the thoughtful educators they are today.

Erica Alexander, a seventh-grade teacher at Triadelphia Middle School who recently was named West Virginia Teacher of the Year, said she chose OUE because it was close to her childhood home, and she knew she would not incur a large amount of student loan debt going there.

“The education program at Ohio University Eastern fully prepared me for my career as an educator. I benefited greatly from the hands-on clinical experiences. I was able to spend quality time in local classrooms consulting with excellent mentor teachers in my field of study. In addition, the knowledgeable and helpful faculty at the Eastern campus instilled not only the core content knowledge, but exceptional classroom management techniques and effective lesson planning strategies as well,” Alexander said.

“I credit the combination of my working experience at Ohio County Schools and the academic preparation at Ohio University Eastern for my overall teaching philosophy and values. I wholeheartedly believe that my students have the ability to achieve academic excellence, and it is my responsibility to guide them through the learning process.”

Alexander graduated from OUE in 2004. She grew up in Belmont and now lives in St. Clairsville with her husband, Corey, and 8-year-old son, Dominic.

Joe Mastracci, a math teacher at Cameron Middle School, said he had a “wonderful experience” attending OUE.

“I wanted to go to Ohio University Eastern because they offered the major I wanted, which was middle childhood education. Through my experiences, I was able to thrive and become the educator I am today. The professors and staff encouraged me when I was unsure of myself and the direction I was taking. Several of the professors and staff have remained close friends. I was able to start or get involved or lead many different projects and clubs which are in existence today. OUE provided an environment and an outlet for me to showcase my passions and learn leadership,” Mastracci said.

He noted the school and its campus continue to provide wonderful memories of his experiences there. Mastracci graduated from OUE in December 2010. He resides in Moundsville but is originally from Shadyside.

In addition to teaching math, Mastracci also is the middle school activities coordinator, faculty senate president and the health sciences and technology adviser.

“It was a great experience,” Mastracci said. “I went in a timid boy and came out very confident.”

After his graduation, Mastracci found work as a teacher in Ohio County. He spent several years working at Triadelphia Middle School before settling into his current position at Cameron Middle School, teaching mathematics to seventh- and eighth-grade students. He said he loves his job, and is incredibly grateful to the staff and teachers at Ohio University Eastern for helping to get him there.

“I can’t say enough good things about the school,” Mastracci said. “If I hadn’t gone there, I don’t know where I would be. It gave me an outlet and an opportunity to showcase my passions and leadership opportunities.”

Autumn Troullos, an eighth grade math teacher at Bridge Street Middle School, graduated from OUE in 2002. She majored in Middle School Education with a concentration in Social Studies and Math. She minored in Math. She became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2013.

“OUE was very affordable. The fact that I was able to live at home and maintain a job that partially reimbursed my tuition made a big difference. I also went there because I was able to have a small school environment, but I had the same opportunities offered at a larger school,” she said. “My life at that time wasn’t just college. I had a job, I was able to be involved with my family and my church, and maintain a full college schedule. My college experience truly helped me develop multi-tasking skills which continue to help me today as a full-time teacher and mother.

“I felt very prepared for my career after attending OUE. Not only did the academic work help me, but balancing the responsibilities of a job along with schoolwork prepared me for the demands of life.”

Troullos encourages current students to take advantage of all the opportunities offered at the school.

“The classes offered there are the same as what is offered on campus and it allows you to stay local. For potential students, I feel that attending OUE gave me an economic advantage. OUE is very affordable and being able to stay at home and hold down a job gave me a real advantage over my peers who ended their college careers with significant school loans,” she said.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today