NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College Professor of Education Allen Jantz finds one of the greatest rewards of his work to be shaping students into teachers who are “equipped to be successful.”
Jantz earned another reward from peers and students when Brad Born, Bethel vice president for academic affairs, presented Jantz with the Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award during the 2014 commencement ceremonies May 18.
The award recognizes a Bethel faculty member who has made an outstanding contribution to teaching. Presenting this award at commencement affirms “the importance Bethel College places on excellent teaching by our faculty and learning by our students,” Born said.
Jantz has an undergraduate degree in mathematical sciences from Bethel College and earned a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision and a doctorate in educational leadership from Wichita State University.
He worked in public school education for the first 12 years of his professional career, five years as a high school math teacher and seven years in middle school and high school administration. He joined the Bethel faculty in 1996 and for the last 18 years has led Bethel’s teacher education program.
As a public school teacher and administrator, Jantz “developed a large network of connections in Kansas education, and he continues to be an active leader in state-wide professional education,” Born said.
Jantz has served several terms, including holding the office of president, for both the Kansas Association for Colleges of Teacher Education and the Kansas Association of Private Colleges for Teacher Education.
He has filled numerous roles with the Kansas State Department of Education, including Program Review Writing Team, Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio group, Teaching in Kansas Commission and Kansas Educational Leadership Commission.
Regionally, Jantz chaired the board of directors of the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK). Locally, he served eight years on the USD 373-Newton Board of Education.
“Allen sustains that level of engagement with professional associations because of his deep commitment to public education for all Kansas school children,” Born said. “For Bethel College, his professional activity ensures that our teacher education students are being trained in a program led by an expert who sustains current and best practices for preparing excellent teachers.”
Though they are aware of Jantz’s professional accomplishments in the wider educational arena, what students praise is his teaching and work to ensure that they are “well-equipped to step away from Bethel and step into their own classrooms,” Born said.
“Students are almost unanimous in their praise for the value of ‘micro-teaching’ activities in Allen’s Introduction to Education course, where they begin to hone their teaching skills by practicing before their classmates. They frequently cite Allen’s modeling of numerous teaching techniques as a strength of his instruction.
“They praise his self-reflection and awareness as a teacher, one who monitors students’ response and adapts his methods when needed to ensure their learning. They appreciate Allen’s care for their development and his personal investment in their success.”
Jantz’s own reflection on what he most enjoys about his position as Bethel director of teacher education include this statement: “The most rewarding part of my position is that I get to work with student teachers.
“When students enter student teaching, they enter as students. Along the way, roughly six to seven weeks into their experience, they become teachers. It seems cliché, but it is true that it literally brings tears to my eyes as I watch this transformation.
“When our students graduate, I know that they are equipped to be successful.”