Rankings & Recognition

Andrew Paulsen '12 Awarded Distinguished Teaching Award

marist college

Teach for America alum will head to Taiwan 

Andrew Paulsen '12 was recently awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant to Taiwan by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential. Paulsen, who served as President of the Student Government Association during his senior year at Marist, is one of only 35 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through this program in 2017-2018.

"I am humbled and honored to be named as a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Scholar," Paulsen says.

With the award, he will travel to Taiwan to research eastern mathematics pedagogy and consider how to implement best practices that are culturally relevant and responsible. 

"I am also excited to become a cultural ambassador for the United States," he says, "and increase mutual understanding across diverse countries in fulfillment of the mission of the Fulbright Foundation."

After Marist, Paulsen taught in the Newark, N.J. school system as part of the highly-competitive Teach for America program. Last year, he received Teach for America's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. He continues to teach math in general education, inclusion, bilingual, honors, and self-contained settings at East Side High School, part of Newark Public Schools. One measure of his success: 92 percent of his students master common core objectives. 

Due to his mentorship and investment, Andrew's students have had access to various opportunities such as an early college program, overnight college trips, and attending the 2013 presidential inauguration. He also founded a Saturday morning SAT preparation program and a public speaking and leadership development club.

"Andrew’s gift for teaching has its foundation in his love for his students," says mentor and friend Bro. Sean Sammon, FMS, '70, Marist's scholar-in-residence and a trustee of the College. "He is creative, even daring, in the manner in which he organizes and conducts his math classes. Without a doubt, he’s also well-prepared, energetic, and thorough. In addition, he generously gives his time and talent to his students outside of the classroom and helps his colleagues in any number of ways."

Paulsen's gifts go well beyond his practical abilities, Bro. Sean says. 

"Andrew is a living example of Marcellin Champagnat’s belief that 'to teach children and young people, you must love them first, and love them all equally,'" he says. "He represents the best of Marist education and has all the characteristics of someone who will make a lasting contribution. The Fulbright award that he received will only help stretch his thinking further and assist him in fleshing out the dream that he has for a new generation of young people, particularly those who often find themselves at the margins of society." 

Paulsen's success as a teacher, mentor, and leader, has been getting a lot of recognition lately. In addition to the Fulbright, he was recently named one of nine National Finalist for the Fishman Prize for superlative classroom practice. The Fishman Prize is awarded by TNTP, an organization that promotes equity in education, to recognize transformational teachers in low-income school districts throughout the country. Last year, five thousand teachers were nominated, of which ten were named national finalists.

He was also recognized by the Newark Teachers Union at last month's annual Hall of Fame Dinner.

In addition to his B.A. in mathematics-adolescent education and communication, Paulsen received an M.A. in educational leadership from Seton Hall University, and an Ed.M. in Public School Leadership from Columbia University's Teachers College.

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