The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) recently announced that Nicole Zernick, M.A., the career & technical education coordinator at the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center in Altoona, Pa., is the recipient of this year’s Susan K. Nicklas Outstanding Volunteer Award.
“Nicole is a dedicated volunteer with Middle States who has provided critical support to numerous schools undergoing the accreditation process,” said Glen Mort, Ed.D., interim president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “Nicole recognizes how powerful it is for schools to work with leaders in education like her, to share information and tips for success, and to support each other.”
Presented annually, the Susan K. Nicklas Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes a dedicated volunteer who has advanced the mission of the Middle States Association to foster continuous school improvement through accreditation so all students receive the highest quality education possible. Volunteers serve on accreditation teams that evaluate schools based on an established set of protocols and standards designed to reflect best practices in education.
Nicklas served as the executive director of the Middle States Commissions on Secondary Schools from 2002 to 2005 and was a member of the staff since 1993. She remains a dedicated educator, who views accreditation as one of the most effective forms of evaluation available to schools.
In addition to her current role as Career & Technical Education Coordinator, Zernick has served as a coordinator of continuing education and career placement programs with the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center in the past. From 2007 to 2014, Zernick was an educator in the Altoona Area School District. She has led teams of Middle States volunteers on visits to a number of career and technical schools in her home state of Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
Zernick earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pa., and her master’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa.
“I am grateful to Middle States for this honor, and for providing me with the opportunity to meet and work with educators from a variety of school communities,” said Zernick. “It is gratifying to be part of an accreditation process that provides tangible benefits to schools and school systems, and to be able to make a lasting difference in students’ lives.”