2008 Charles R. O'Malley Award citation for Nick Ferentinos
"When I began teaching high school English in 1965, my department chair (and later my first mentor) told me that
at this school, “Teachers help teachers.” I thought that was a good thing, and spent most of my career in
teaching teams or working collaboratively with colleagues, just as I learned from my earliest days in the classroom.”
During the next 35 years, Ferentinos taught American and British literature and American Studies but most passionately, he taught journalism and advised the student newspaper at Homestead High School in the Silicon Valley community of Cupertino, California. For his many accomplishments, he has received the JEA Medal of Merit, NSPA’s Pioneer Award, CSPA’s Gold Key and was named the Northern California Newspaper Adviser of the Year in 1992. He received a Fulbright Grant to teach in New Zealand in 1993 and was named the National High School Journalism Teacher of the year by the Dow Jones Newspaper fund in 1994. The CSPA awarded him its first Joseph Murphy Award for Outstanding Service in 1998. With this award today, he becomes only the second person to receive both the Murphy and O’Malley Awards from the CSPA.
Since his retirement from daily classroom teaching in 2000, he has devoted his time and energy to becoming not only a mentor to teachers in his area, but also to deepening his training in mentoring and taking those abilities to teachers across the nation. In the words of Ellen Moir, founder and executive director of The New Teacher Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, “Nick is one of the most talented educators I’ve met in my 36 years in the profession. . .Because of his strong presentation skills and mentoring competence, Nick was recruited to be a professional development trainer for us at The New Teacher Center. . .He is always prepared to a T and considers the audience and their context. He speaks from experience and from the heart, making the sessions informative and meaningful.” Based on this training and experience, Ferentinos has become a major mentor for the new mentoring academy set up by the Journalism Education Association.
One of those he mentored is Theresa Diola, a young California teacher. She wrote: “Nick not only had a profound influence on my life but also on my staff. One of my editors-in-chief said, ‘Nick is the kind of person that you wished you had spent more time with because he has so much to offer.”
Ferentinos describes mentoring in this way: “Mentoring is really a reform effort, designed to end the isolation of teaching and promote collaboration. I’ve come to see how mentoring can transform the profession.”
For his leadership in bringing teacher mentoring to high school journalism nationwide, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association is proud to present Nick Ferentinos with its Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching.
This citation was written and presented by Edmund J. Sullivan, executive director of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, on March 21, 2008 at Columbia University in the City of New York.