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White Finnerty recipient of St. Lawrence Academy Medal

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POTSDAM - The SUNY Potsdam School of Education Alumni Association recently honored Kathy White Finnerty, a member of the Class of 1975, with the 2012 St. Lawrence Academy Medal, at the college’s annual Reunion Weekend.

The St. Lawrence Academy Medal is presented to a SUNY Potsdam graduate who has made significant contributions to the field of professional education or related fields.

The Alumni Association recognized Finnerty for her exceptional contributions to the field of education.

Kathy White Finnerty ‘75 of Central Square, is regarded as one of New York state’s foremost authorities on career and technical education.

For the past 27 years, she has served the Oswego County BOCES in a variety of roles. As curriculum specialist for the Burton Ramer Technical Career Center, she is responsible for coordinating the career and technical education approval process, which involves facilitating curriculum review and development, national certification designation and implementation of state and national assessments.

Finnerty’s enthusiasm and knowledge are well respected and greatly appreciated. Even when faced with instructors who just want to “teach the trade,” she takes the time to work with them to make sure that students receive the best education possible.

Because she has successfully modeled effective leadership, she is routinely consulted by staff and administrators at other BOCES locations and at the state Department of Education.

In additional to her job duties, Finnerty is the co-advisor for the National Technical Honor Society and is very involved in the “High Schools that Work” initiative. She also works closely with business and industry on the local partnership board, and contributes to the implementation of the Vocational and Technical Education Act grant.

Finnerty has been invited to speak at national conferences in her field, and she was one of 48 national winners of the MIND Award, presented by the National Association of Vocational Education Special Needs Personnel.

After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SUNY Potsdam, Finnerty began her career as a first grade teacher at Heuvelton Central School, and also tutored students who needed extra help after school. She is described by her colleagues and supervisors as someone who works hard to teach to each child’s individual needs, while building their self-esteem.

The St. Lawrence Academy Medal is named for the predecessor institution to The State University of New York at Potsdam. Founded in 1816, the Academy focused on teacher training from its founding - a tradition that continues to the present day with the rigorous liberal arts and sciences foundation offered at SUNY Potsdam.

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