On-Island masters program graduates its first class


Sixteen Island residents will travel to Fitchburg State University (FSU) on Dec. 22 to receive masters of education degrees from the state program. Next June, four more Island teacher/residents will receive masters of education.

The graduates are the first in decades who did not leave the Island to pursue higher education, courtesy of a new program developed by Adult and Continuing Education (ACE MV) and FSU to bring education to the Island.

ACE MV and FSU celebrated their first class of masters’ candidates on Nov. 30 at the Harbor View Hotel, attended by the grads, their on-Island professors, ACE MV staff, and FSU representatives, led by Lisa Moison, who directs the FSU educational outreach program.

“FSU has 40 off-campus partnerships, of which only six are degree-conferring. Sam Hart and the superintendent of schools [Matt D’Andrea] articulated the Island need clearly,” Ms. Moison said this week.

FSU offered students a combination online and classroom curriculum, selecting four veteran

on-Island educators with teaching experience at the college and university level. Lynn Ditchfield, Margaret (Peg) Regan, Marge Harris, and Suzanne Alberich were vetted and selected by FSU as adjunct professors.

Sam Hart, executive director of ACE MV, said the program benefits prospective students, the Island educational system, and the community. It began in January 2016.

“The program complies with new state laws regarding teaching licensure, and allows our professionals to advance educationally without having to leave the Island at significant cost to them, the schools, and the towns which support them,” Mr. Hart said. “My master’s cost me $36,000. The FSU/ACE MV program costs $12,000, and saves on tuition and travel reimbursement, hiring substitute teachers to take classrooms when candidates are off-Island.”

The teacher graduates and their Island schools are Jennifer Fournier and Ryan Leandro (Edgartown School); Melissa Braillard, Mary Lee Carlomagno, Olsen Houghton, Jane McGroarty Sampaio, Tiffiney Shoquist, Elsbeth Todd (MVRHS); Emily Anderson, Julie Brand, Sean DeBettencourt, Hope Fecitt, Reuben Fitzgerald, Meredith Goldthwait (Tisbury School); Kristen Parece, Brian Roesler (West Tisbury); Brooke Evans, Kathryn Phelps (Bridge program), Lorena Crespo (Head Start) and Janet Holladay (not teaching).