Timothy Gouraige was halfway through his undergraduate studies at William Paterson University when – sitting in an accounting class – he realized he was on the wrong career path. Gouraige walked over to the College of Education to map out his career change. There he met Maureen Gillette, current dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall – but then associate dean of the College of Education at William Paterson. Gouraige changed his course from business to secondary education, and found a mentor in the process.
Gouraige will be graduating from Seton Hall this month with his Ed.D. in K-12 School Administration. Since completing undergrad, Gouraige has kept in contact with Gillette on matters relating to his career and pursuit of continuing education, noting that he felt compelled to keep in touch by witnessing Gillette’s care for her students. As an educator, Gouraige looks to shape the future of his students as Gillette has done for him and others.
“I always tell my students, if I have done anything for you, all I want you to do is pay it forward,” remarked Gillette.
Gillette describes their student-mentor relationship as “coming full circle” when she attended Gouraige’s dissertation defense this past November.
“The story comes full circle after I got the Dean’s job here at Seton Hall and was able to attend Tim’s dissertation defense. It was an emotional experience for both of us, all these years later to see him get a doctorate. It was pretty cool,” said Gillette.
For Gouraige, “the full circle moment” came when he attended an open meeting – scheduled when Gillette was applying for her current position – where he spoke on her behalf. He recalls that her responses in the meeting made it clear that the characteristics that had made an impression on him years earlier were core values of Gillette.
“I took a moment to share my personal experiences with Dr. Gillette. We had now come full circle with our story. Sharing with participants in the meeting what a wonderful asset she would be to Seton Hall was a very meaningful experience,” said Gouraige.
Gouraige’s dissertation, “An Exploratory Study into the Nature of the Relationship between Pre-Service Teacher Fixed Factor Characteristics and edTPA Performance Ratings,” provided another opportunity for mentorship – and now collaboration. Dean Gillette experienced the edTPA at her previous university, proving an invaluable resource by sharing her own university’s experiences with the new national teacher performance assessment. Gouraige notes that he reached out to Gillette on numerous occasions and she consistently made time for him to talk through obstacles he may have encountered in his study and provided him with support and clarity.
Gouraige shares what it meant to him to have Gillette attend his dissertation defense:
“Over the years I have kept in touch to let her know how I was doing professionally. It was a tremendous feeling to be able to share this achievement with her.”
Gouraige is currently the assistant principal at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. Previous positions held include assistant principal at Montville Township High School and teacher of social studies at New Milford High School. Gouraige notes that he is invested in his current district, hoping to continue the incredible work and strong relationships he has built. In the future, Gouraige would like to teach college courses, get more involved in the politics affecting public education and speak to disadvantaged young people – sharing a message of perseverance, hard work and goal-setting.
“It’s great to see him enjoying a career I love,” said Gillette.
Gillette serves as the dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall. Previously she was dean of the College of Education at Northeastern Illinois University and associate dean of the College of Education at William Paterson University. She began her career as a classroom teacher, having spent 13 years teaching a variety of elementary and middle school grade levels before starting her career as a teacher educator at The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, where she was chair of the Department of Teacher Education. Upon earning her MS Ed. from Northern Illinois University, Gillette went on to complete a Ph.D. in the area of curriculum and instruction, with a minor in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a certificate in Management and Leadership in Higher Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, along with other certificates including an ACE National Women's Leadership Forum certificate from the American Council on Education. In 2015, Mometrix Test Preparation named Gillette one of the 30 most influential deans of education in the United States.
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