Listee Features — Education

Merle Pray


Merle E. Pray, RN, APN, is a nurse psychotherapist and nursing educator with over 60 years of service to her discipline. Inspired by the story of famous Civil War nurse Clara Barton, she decided from an early age to pursue a career in medicine. She earned a diploma in nursing from the New Hampshire School of Nursing in 1952 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Loyola University in 1977. Ms. Pray completed her education with a Master of Science from the University of Illinois in 1983. From 1953 until 1964, Ms. Pray was the head nurse at the Michael Reese Psychiatric and Psychosomatic Psychiatric Institute of Chicago. She briefly served as a community placement coordinator for the Illinois

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Halina Wyss


Having garnered numerous years of experience as an acclaimed educator, Halina Zawadzki Wyss, PhD, serves as a clinical documentation integrity specialist at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and as an assistant professor at the University of Portland School of Nursing. In her role with OHSU, she oversees real time chart reviews of patients admitted to the hospital, follows them through their hospital stay, and gives clarification to providers in order to accurately help capture the severity of patient illness and the risk of mortality. Although she began a doctoral degree with the intent to move into research, she soon developed an abiding passion for teaching. As an assistant professor, Dr. Wyss teaches a variety of classes, including pharmacotherapeutics for

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Wanda Ward


The daughter of a longtime teacher, Wanda L. Dobbs Ward, CAS, grew up on a farm and learned how to take responsibility and do her share. She currently serves on the New York State Higher Education Committee since 1987. Ms. Ward began her professional career as a teacher for grades 1-4 and eighth grade music at a two-room school in Literberry, Illinois, in 1946, remaining there for one year before transferring to Creve Coeur Public Schools in Illinois from 1950 to 1952. Teaching kindergarten at Barker Road Elementary School in Pittsford, New York, for a decade, she then directed the Pittsford Teacher Center from 1978 to 1990, which she also founded, and Pittsford Continuing Education from 1981 to 1990. She

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Lanis Hicks


Lanis L. Hicks, PhD, is renowned as a health care educator and professor emeritus at the University of Missouri. She initially pursued an education at the School of the Ozarks, completing a Bachelor of Arts in 1969. Continuing her studies at the University of Missouri with the intention to complete a master’s degree and teach high school, Dr. Hicks instead graduated with a PhD on the advice of a professor in 1975. From 1974 to 1976, Dr. Hicks began her career a health care planning specialist for the State of Missouri before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University from 1976 to 1977. She subsequently excelled at the University of Missouri as a lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor and full

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Cathy Mabry


Cathy D. Mabry is renowned as a retired elementary educator with more than 30 years of service to her profession and students. Inspired by her fifth grade teacher, she decided early in her life to pursue a career in education. She initially pursued an education at the University of Georgia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and psychology in 1975. Completing education licensure coursework at Oglethorpe University in 1983, she continued her studies at Oglethorpe University in 1990, earning a Master of Education in elementary education. Ms. Mabry concluded her academic efforts with a Master of Arts in educational administration at Georgia State University in 1997. Prior to her career in education, Ms. Mabry worked as a member

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Melanie Freese


As a student, Melanie L. Freese attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where she earned a Bachelor of Education in elementary education in 1967 and went on to earn a Master of Education in elementary education in 1969. She became a certified teacher from nursery to sixth grade in the State of New York, and worked as an elementary school teacher in Roosevelt and Massapequa, New York, until 1971. She started working for the Swirbul Library at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, serving in various capacities, including assistant to social work librarian, assistant to acquisitions librarian and biographical searcher, and circulation assistant before her departure in 1983. In 1977, Ms. Freese earned a Master of Library Science

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Patricia Hayes


As a lifelong music educator, Patricia Thornton Hayes gained a passion for music when she was a little girl. She began playing the piano between the ages of 3 and 4 after watching her older sister play. She recalls being put in another room while her sister practiced, and she was forbidden from entering the room and interrupting. When her sister had finished her lesson, Ms. Hayes would enter the room and play exactly what she had heard her sister play. In doing so, she had demonstrated a fantastic ability to play by ear, a talent that few musicians have. Though she does not consider her grasp of musical theory to be strong, Ms. Hayes’ talent as a musician is

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Nancy Dewey


Having always loved teaching, Nancy E. Dewey would teach her stuffed animals as a young child. When she attended school, she realized just how important education was. Her first job was as a science laboratory technician, but when she got married, she figured that science lab work was not conducive to her children’s lifestyle. Therefore, she decided to go back to teaching and has been for 20 years. Ms. Dewey is most proud of the accomplishments and progress that her students have made throughout the years. Ms. Dewey began her professional career as a sixth grade teacher within the Willcox Unified School District in Arizona in 2001, remaining in this role for four years before instructing at the University of

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Lana Rodgers


Lana Lusch Rodgers is renowned as a retired elementary school educator who taught throughout Pennsylvania for more than four decades. Originally working for Honey Brook Elementary School within the Twin Valley School District in Elverson, Pennsylvania, for nearly 30 years beginning in 1964, she simultaneously taught at West Lawn United Methodist Church within the junior high department of San School between 1971 and 2012. She additionally flourished as an educator with West Lawn United Methodist Church and the Wilson School District in Reading for a short time. After retiring from the public school system in 2000, Ms. Rogers served as an English instructor at Reading Area Community College for five years. Contributing to her local community for many years, Ms.

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Joan Gillman


Having taught second and fourth through sixth grade science, Joan A. Gillman currently teaches second, fourth and sixth grade science at the Browning School in New York since 2018. She began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at the St. Angela Merici School in the Bronx, New York, in 1982, remaining in this role for one year before transferring to teach fourth and fifth grade at Joytown Kent Elementary School from 1983 to 1984. She then taught language arts and social studies at the Bade School in Englewood, New Jersey, from 1984 to 1986, fourth through sixth grade mathematics and science at the Professional Children’s School in New York from 1986 to 2006, and fourth and fifth grade

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