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Romano named ’07 Effective Educator

Tom Romano (teacher education) has been named the Miami University Alumni Association 2007 Effective Educator. Established in 1983, this award recognizes Miami educators who have made a profound difference in students’ lives.

“It’s a nice surprise,” said Romano, who will be honored Homecoming Weekend Oct. 12 and 13. “The writing has to be the reason you’re getting pleasure out of writing, but it’s nice when the accolades come along.”

A 1971 alumnus who earned a master’s at Miami in 1975, he has taught English methods and writing at Miami since 1995. Before earning a doctorate at the University of New Hampshire in 1991, he taught high-school students for 17 years, most of them at Edgewood in Trenton.

The writing bug infected him in seventh grade when he and a friend wrote and shared stories in back-to-back study halls and he discovered he could express his voice through words on paper. He’s been doing it ever since, writing mostly articles, essays and poems about teaching.

“I’m a teacher first and writer second, but I think part of my identity is as a writer, for sure,” said Romano, whose newest book is Zig Zag. “The title is because our routes to education … well, a lot of people think it’s a straight road, and with me, it was a lot of zigzagging.”

At the beginning of every semester, Romano tells his classes he has two non-negotiables: He will open every class with a poem and his students will write in different genres, not only expository essays. After all, these students will soon be teaching writing in their own classrooms, so they need to thoroughly understand it.

“If you’re going to teach a craft, you need to do it,” said Romano, so enthusiastic that he virtually talks in exclamation points. “I can’t imagine taking a painting class from somebody who didn’t paint. I want my students to write — and I really hit it with my graduate students. They need to find out what that territory’s like from the inside.”

This year’s Effective Educator nominations came from 2003 graduates. Wrote alumna Lisa Ayers Speiller, “This stellar professor emulated all the qualities of an outstanding educator — efficacy, knowledge, magnetism, compassion, and humility. In short, he served as a perfect role model for future teachers.

“Dr. Romano’s influence didn’t cease when we left his classroom,” she continued. “We weren’t Dr. Romano’s students for a semester. We were his students forever.”

Date Published: 10/04/2007
Volume: 27   Number: 7

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