NAU’s College of Education graduates share their stories
With each year’s graduating class, our group of alumni grows. All going in different directions with their careers, but all tied to NAU and their time as a Lumberjack while they pursued their degrees in education. We are proud to share testimonials that have been sent to us, for you to hear straight from former students about their experiences and where their educational career has taken them.
Tyler Bruso, Elementary Education, 2018 Accordion Closed
I have so many fond memories from my time at NAU. I loved waking up on a cold winter’s morning and walking to class in fresh powdery snow. The students and staff at NAU were always so friendly, welcoming, and supportive. My time at NAU was extremely positive and I am so thankful for that.
How did NAU prepare you for your current career?
NAU provided me with the education that was best suited for my individual needs. They offered me freedoms and supports that allowed me to grow and succeed both academically and personally. NAU’s College of Education gave me the opportunity to finish my coursework early. In only three years, I was able to complete my degree, forgo traditional student teaching by fulfilling those responsibilities independently, and become a certified teacher. Without the support of NAU and its professors, I would not be where I am today.
What are you doing now?
Three years after completing my undergraduate, I’m currently an elementary school administrator at McCartney Ranch Elementary School. Despite my age, I felt personally challenged to push myself and go into administration after completing my first three years as a teacher. I have loved every minute of it and feel honored to serve my community in this position. In addition to my current position, I also coach multiple sports. I coach varsity football at our local high school and was fortunate enough to coach with NAU and U of A’s football programs last summer. I also coach baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks Academy.
Tim Fountain, M.Ed., 2004 & Maggie Fountain, M.Ed., 2005 Accordion Closed
Tim currently serves as Dean of Students at Gilbert High School. He is the 10th grade administrator and is also responsible for Student Activity Events and Testing. Tim taught in the Social Studies Department at Mesquite Junior High School for six years prior to his move to Gilbert High School. He was the chair of the department and publications teacher as well as being coach to 14 teams in football, track, boys basketball, and girls basketball. His teams made four appearances in the conference championship, earned two tournament victories, and one state runner-up.
Tim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education Social Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northern Arizona University through the I-STEP program in 2000. Tim completed his Master of Education in Educational Leadership through the NAU statewide program in 2004, and received his administrative certificate in 2005.
Maggie Fountain has been teaching at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix for the last six years. She has taught all levels of Spanish and currently teaches Honors Spanish 3-4 and Honors Spanish 7-8. She has served as the sponsor of Student Council for the last three years, and previous to that was the sophomore and junior class sponsor. She has recently been promoted to department chair of the International Languages Department. In addition, Maggie has served as a Committee Chairperson for the North Central Accreditation team for the last five years.
Maggie earned her BSEd in Spanish, BSEd in Social Studies and BA in History in 2000. She also was in the I-STEP program. She earned her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership in 2005 through the NAU distance learning program in Phoenix.
Tim: Wow. I had so many great teachers at Northern Arizona University, that it is hard to think of just one. Pat Hays was awesome. I really enjoyed the I-STEP program with her. She helped to make the experience “real.” Until that time, I always felt like I was playing the role of a teacher and Pat helped me to feel that I really was a teacher. Two others that stand out for me are Valeen Avery and Dudley Acker, both history professors at NAU. I will never forget my Women in US History class or my History of the Civil War class. One taught me about a side of history I had never heard before while being one of two guys in class while the other taught me about how much reading I was going to do in college, but both fueled my love of learning and of history. They stood out because they always made you feel that the class was small and that there was a personal aspect to learning at NAU.
Maggie: In Spanish, my favorite professor was Joseph Collentine. He made me really want to be a teacher of Spanish. He had such enthusiasm for the subject and really showed me how to create excitement for the students through creative lessons. He made us think creatively and bring our passion and creativity to our lessons in Spanish. In history, my favorite professor was Cynthia Kosso. She worked with me personally on my thesis paper. She taught me how to apply what I had learned to the real world and make it usual. She encouraged me and inspired me to work harder and to reach my maximum potential.
Tim: Home football games with Chain Gang, retreats with LAA, and rounds as an RA in Raymond Hall. I loved the first snow of the season, hiking the peaks, spending time with friends and meeting new people.
Maggie: There are so many that it’s hard to choose but the sense of community and connectedness that the university and town had. I loved living in the dorms and meeting my roommate and dorm-mates that have become my life-long friends. I loved being part of Spurs as a sophomore and getting to learn leadership skills while serving as the president. I also will never forget being a member of Chain Gang and attending all the home football and basketball games and the energy of the crowd as we cheered on the Jacks. Academically, I loved being a part of the I-STEP program.
How has your time at Northern Arizona University impacted your life since graduating?
Tim: Northern Arizona University helped me to develop pride in being a life long learner. I feel that I would never have gotten the experiences at NAU, at a larger school. At NAU, I was able to not only see great programs; I was allowed to participate in them.
Maggie: Being a Northern Arizona University grad has really taught me to look for, and create, a sense of community. I am grateful for the lessons, both academically and personally, that I learned while up at NAU. I am always encouraging my students to think about NAU for their college career, because it was the best four years of my life and I hope the same will be true for them wherever they go.
Advice for NAU students
Tim: Find a way to make NAU your own. College is not about doing what others do, but about doing what is right for you. You will get out of it what you put in, and the more you put in, the better off you will be. Participation is key and experience is paramount.
Maggie: I would encourage students to get involved as much as possible. Teaching is a unique career and takes a special person. The training that I received at NAU through the College of Education program really prepared me for teaching. I loved the I-STEP program and would encourage students to apply to this program for secondary education. The more opportunities students take advantage of, the better prepared they will be, and the more they will be rewarded.