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Educator of the Year, Distinguished Alumni award winners honored

The University of Maine at Presque Isle honored two alumni during its Annual Alumni Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, held as part of the University’s Homecoming 2009 activities the weekend of Sept. 18-20.

Alumna Jane White Kilcollins was honored with the Educator of the Year Award, which is presented to an alumnus/alumna who has received ongoing recognition as an outstanding educator. This recipient may also have shown active or supportive involvement with the Alumni Association, support of the university, a successful career that reflects well on the University, and outstanding leadership qualities.

Alumnus Ronald Fitzgerald received the Distinguished Alumni Award, which is presented to an alumnus/alumna who has made long-term contributions to the Alumni Association or the University, or who has received professional recognition that has reflected positively on the University.

Fitzgerald graduated from the University in 1969 with a degree in mathematics/science, and went on to earn his Master’s degree in education from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1994.

Since 1988, Fitzgerald has served as the General Education Department Chair at Northern Maine Community College. He has been a crucial player in gaining accreditation for the college, winning a major Title III grant in the late 1990’s and moving the institution from a vocational technical institute to a community college. Since 1981, he has held a position as Math/Science Instructor at the community college. Prior to this, Fitzgerald served as an educator and coach with MSAD #1 from 1971-1981. He served as middle school teacher in Mars Hill from 1969-1971.

Fitzgerald has served many times as an evaluator on New England Association of Schools and Colleges regional and international accreditation visits. From 1981 to 1987, Fitzgerald served on the MSAD #1 school board, and was its chairperson from 1985-1987. He also has served on the State Adult and Continuing Education Advisory Board and the Adult Education Joint Council.

Fitzgerald received the Excellence in Instruction and Curriculum Development Award from NMTC in 1994, an Outstanding Service Award from the Aroostook Literacy Coalition in 1994, and an Outstanding Service Award from NMTC in 1986 for his work as acting Dean of Adult Education.

Also during the ceremony, Jane White Kilcollins was named the Educator of the Year Award recipient. Kilcollins earned her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UMPI in 1993 and went on to earn her Master’s degree in education in 1999 from the University of Maine.

Kilcollins serves as the principal of Hilltop Elementary School in Caribou and was recently named Maine’s 2009 Elementary National Distinguished Principal of the Year by the Maine Principals’ Association. Prior to her principalship, Kilcollins served as assistant principal at Hilltop and Teague Park elementary schools.

From 1994-2001, she served as a teacher at Fort Fairfield Elementary School. Kilcollins has served as president and secretary of the Aroostook Principals’ Association, as an adjunct faculty member for UMPI’s College of Education, and is currently on the Board of Directors of Pines Health Services.