Beeghly College of Education honors outstanding alums

The YSU Beeghly College of Education honored six alumni at the annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner on campus. Pictured from the left, front row, are Charles Howell, College of Education dean; outstanding alum Frances Ritz; and YSU President Jim Tressel; and in the back row, outstanding alums Holly Welch, Crystal Hawthorne, Jason Branch (accepting the award on behalf of Amanda Evans), Jeremy Batchelor and Ron Iarussi.
Six graduates were honored at the Youngstown State University Beeghly College of Education Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner earlier this month:

Outstanding Administrator
Jeremy Batchelor

Batchelor was as a juvenile probation officer for several years before completing the administration master’s degree and principal licensure programs at YSU. He became a principal in the Austintown schools before returning to YSU to complete doctoral course work and superintendent licensure. He returned to his wife’s home state of North Carolina, where he also served as principal. In 2015, he came back to the Austintown schools as assistant superintendent.

Outstanding Counselor
Amanda Evans
Associate professor of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling and coordinator of the Counseling Program at Auburn University, Evans earned a master’s degree in Education, Community Counseling from YSU. In addition to her outstanding work as teacher, scholar and leader, she has contributed to the community through the use of her clinical skills. She currently works as a contractor with the Department of Human Resources, counseling foster children, foster parents and birth parents. Her clinical practice is linked with external and internal grant funding opportunities, including nearly $3 million of federal grant funding.  She is a productive scholar, with 20 refereed publications and 50 regional, state and national presentations. She is president-elect of the Alabama Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors.

Outstanding Educator
Holly Welch

Welch, who worked 28 years as a teacher in the Youngstown city schools, graduated from Geneva College with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, earned a master’s in Education and principal certification at YSU, and a holds a Career Tech Certificate in Biotechnology from Kent State University. A finalist for Ohio Teacher of the Year, Welch developed a state-of-the-art Biotechnology program at Choffin Career & Technical Center. She has been awarded numerous grants as an educator, including several from the Raymond J. Wean Foundation. She is the recipient of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber’s Athena Award, the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals 25 Under 35 Award, and the United Way of Trumbull County Advocate Award. She serves on the board for Junior Achievement and is a member of YSU’s Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and Delta Kappa Gamma Society. As a principal in the Warren city schools, her school was recently featured on local TV news for helping the district jump from an F to a C on the state report card.

Lifetime Educational Service
Frances Ritz
Ritz earned a bachelor’s degree in Education degree from Youngstown College in 1939, and she also holds a master’s degree in Business Education came from Kent State University. She taught for nearly 50 years, including 32 years at Boardman High School, retiring in 1991. In 1988, the Ohio State Vocational Educational Department awarded her a plaque for excellence in promoting employment for high school students. She was honored as Outstanding Business Teacher of the Year in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties in 1991, and a decade later received the YWCA Woman of the Year Award in Business Education. She has also been involved in several community service organizations, including Friends of the Poland Library, Boardman AARP, Boardman AAUW, International Association of Administrative Professionals, American Business Women’s Association, and Delta Kappa Gamma.

Dean’s Appreciation Award
Ronald Iarussi

Iarussi graduated from YSU with a bachelor’s degree in Education and a doctor of Education degree and has been an area educator for 27 years. He began his career as a teacher and coach in Ashtabula, Columbiana and Warren G. Harding high schools. His first administrative positions were at Struthers City Schools, where he served as assistant high school principal and director of curriculum and instruction. He also served as the high school principal and superintendent in Columbiana Exempted Village Schools, and eventually, superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. He was a member of Leadership Mahoning Valley, the Regional Chamber’s Steel to Scholars Excellent Schools Project, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the National Career Pathways Network. He recently was recognized as an Exemplary Educational Leader by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

Diversity Award
Crystal Hawthorne

Hawthorne, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Education from YSU, is coordinator of Teacher Licensure in the Beeghly College of Education and is the advisor for the Youngstown Student Education Association, the Minority Education Association, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. In 2012, she received grant funding to initiate an innovative program to promote retention of education majors from underrepresented groups. She is vice chair of Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center, secretary of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Alta Behavioral Healthcare, and is a member of the Board of Advisors at the YSU Newman Center. She also is the recipient of the YSU Mentor of the Year Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Award – Mentorship, the Libra Award – Outstanding Student Organization Advisor and the YSU Distinguished Service Award.