Wagner College’s own Carin Guarasci was honored by the Greater New York Region of the National Organization of Italian American Women at its annual Epiphany Celebration as one of three outstanding “Wise Women” who have excelled in their respective professional fields. The 2016 program was held on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at the Columbus Citizens Foundation in Manhattan.
Carin Guarasci is director of the New Educators at Wagner mentoring and career development program, and wife of Wagner College President Richard Guarasci. According to the NOIAW citation, Ms. Guarasci was recognized for “her unstoppable dedication as a coach and mentor to new teachers and for her servant leadership in the community. As First Lady of Wagner College, she has extended her hospitality throughout the community, and as community activist, teacher and researcher, she continues to lead important efforts in this realm. Her achievements make her a source of pride and inspiration to the Italian-American community.”
In remarks offered at the Epiphany Celebration, Guarasci explained how her heritage had informed and motivated her professional life: "As a third-generation Italian-American woman, I watched my immigrant grandmother, my own mother and my mother-in-law — along with many other relatives — overcome obstacles, develop long-term financial and educational goals, and create loving communities within their families. Inspired by their examples, I promote the development of these skills with the new teachers I mentor today."
Carin Guarasci created the New Educators at Wagner program in 2009. Inspired by data revealing that nearly half of all new teachers leave the ﬁeld within the ﬁrst 5 years — primarily due to a lack of support — she put together the NEW program to nurture Staten Island teachers who may have otherwise become a part of that grim statistic. The program includes special coursework, individual mentoring and group support, and supervised teaching development projects for each student.
“At one school, Lavelle Prep, we’ve had a total of 32 teachers enrolled in the NEW program since 2007,” Guarasci said. “Of those 32 teachers, only 3 have left the profession — less than 10 percent, compared to 50 percent among other new teachers nationwide — while 2 have become assistant principals, 1 a principal, and many others have taken on a variety of educational leadership positions.”
Carin Guarasci has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher and administrator, dedicating herself to inspiring, educating and supporting children at risk and to mentoring new teachers. She has served as a public school principal, a regionwide special education administrator, a facilitator in the New Teacher Academy at Columbia’s Teachers College, and a tenured reading specialist. Her expertise and professional interests are in teaching literacy, supporting new teachers, fostering leadership and providing professional development for various educational organizations.
Carin Guarasci earned her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in early childhood and elementary education, with a minor in special education (emotional disturbance). She earned a master’s degree in urban education from Indiana University and two master’s degrees from St. Lawrence University, one in guidance and counseling and the other in educational leadership. She is conducting research on the NEW program for her doctorate from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
“It is an honor to respectfully submit your nomination as a 2016 distinguished Wise Woman,” wrote MaryRose Barranco Morris, NOIAW Greater New York Region president, in a letter earlier this year to Guarasci. “Your vast achievements in the field of education, along with your commitment to the development, advancement and retention of new teachers, make you a source of pride and inspiration to the Italian-American community.”
The National Organization of Italian American Women is the only national organization for women of Italian ancestry. The NOIAW celebrates and preserves Italian heritage, culture and language. Through cultural programs, special events, networking opportunities, mentoring and scholarship and cultural exchange initiatives, the organization seeks to promote and support the achievements of women of Italian ancestry in the workplace and the community.
For more information about the NOIAW Greater New York Region 2016 Epiphany Celebration, visit the organization’s website.