"My teaching style is to have a little fun while working in the technical and often serious world of Dental Assisting," says Theodore, who has been teaching at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center since 1999. "And singing a little song to help my students remember things here and there helps."
While in the 10th grade, this former "Miss North Royalton" attended an Open House at CVCC, and it was here she decided to pursue a career as a Dental Assistant. After graduating in 1987, Theodore worked as a Dental Assistant garnering experience out in the field. When she heard her mentor, Mrs. Breon, was retiring from teaching in 1999, she decided to take a left turn in her own career and began teaching at CVCC. And within the first few years, she expanded the Dental Assisting program to 48 junior and senior high school and about 15 adult students.
Upon completion of her program, students are registered Dental Assistants. Theodore reports that about 75% of her students go on to earn a degree in hygiene, and many also earn their EFDA, which is the Expanded Functions Dental Assistant certification that allows them to place fillings, an integral role to becoming invaluable in any dentist's office.
Taking it on the Road
Each year, Theodore takes her students on a field trip. 2015's odyssey will be to the Samuel D. Harris Dental Museum and Johns Hopkins School of Dentistry in Baltimore. "The goal of this trip is more than just to reach a more in-depth understanding of dentistry," she says. "I also want to teach them real life skills such as proper dining etiquette at an upscale restaurant, or how to enjoy a theater show."
Not surprisingly, the list of awards and accolades that have been bestowed upon Theodore are multitude, ranging from the Jo Hollis New Teacher Award from Kent State University in 2000, to the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center Full Circle Award in 2001, and Outstanding New Career & Technical Teacher in 2005 by Ohio ACTE, and then won the ACTE Region I honor, which was an award on the national level.
But it's the Crystal Apple Award she earned from The Cleveland Plain Dealer
in 2002 that has a special place in her heart, as she is the first ever Career & Technical teacher to receive one.
"In the end, however, I credit my students as the rising stars that make CVCC such a hidden treasure," she says.
Cuyahoga Valley Career Center is located at 8001 Brecksville Road in Brecksville. CVCC offers training and certification programs for high school and adult students in Dental Assisting. For details, call 440-526-5200 or visit http://www.cvccworks.edu/.
By Patricia Nugent