(BA, Mathematics and Mathematics Education, '08; MA, Mathematics Education, ’10; AC, Educational Technology, ’10; AC, Educational Leadership, ’16; EdD, Learning and Teaching, ’16)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I have so many wonderful memories from both the mathematics and education departments at Hofstra. One professor that stands out is Dr. Bruce Torff. I first met Dr. Torff as an undergraduate student in the Secondary Education Program. During his classes, he supported me to develop my teaching style and eventually thrive as an educator. He also encouraged me to further my education in the Teaching and Learning Doctoral Program at Hofstra. Dr. Torff served as an integral part of guiding my research and my success in the program. We still keep in touch to this day.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
After completing my undergraduate degree, I began working as a high school math teacher and cheerleading coach while also pursuing my Master of Arts in Mathematics Education, as well an Advanced Certificate in Educational Technology at Hofstra. As a first-year teacher, I remember looking up to the veteran teachers for advice, guidance, and support. From them I learned the importance of knowing your students and taking calculated risks in the classroom.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My love of education came from my mother, who taught in the same elementary school for 37 years. Her passion for education and her love for her students sparked my curiosity. As a child, I could often be found in the basement playing school and teaching lessons to my stuffed animals. Being a student at Hofstra gave me the opportunity to observe and gain experience in a variety of different educational settings. I found myself drawn to implementing technology in the classroom, which encouraged me to complete the Advanced Certificate Program in Educational Technology at Hofstra, and later influenced my dissertation research on the efficacy of virtual learning environments for struggling learners.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
As a student from 2008 through 2016, completing five degrees and spending countless hours on campus, the people I met were the best part of my experience at Hofstra. My advice to current students is to get involved both inside and outside the classroom and strive to make personal connections. This will help to make your experience rich and meaningful. Additionally, my professors encouraged me to continue my education and helped to make my experiences at Hofstra memorable. Take advantage of the wealth of information your professors have to offer. Take advantage of professors’ office hours. Get to know them academically and professionally as you begin to build your professional learning network.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Supportive. Hofstra has always felt like a place that I can turn to for professional advice and guidance. As an alum, I am proud to give back and help support current students and the greater Hofstra community.
- How has your job influenced you as a person?
Being a lifelong learner has enriched my daily life and mentality. My years as an educator have taught me the value of hard work, adaptation, and perseverance. Most recently during the pandemic, in my role as assistant principal, I was responsible for the safety of students and staff, and the implementation of the ever-changing guidance from the New York State Department of Health. Day in and day out, I put others before myself for the good of the school, staff, students, and greater community. I persevered through some of the most challenging times our schools have ever faced, and learned new skills in the process. My husband and I would often discuss day to day concerns over dinner. Consulting with him helped me to develop and implement creative solutions. Through it all, I found teachers, students, and fellow administrators turning to me for leadership, clear communication, and confidence. These are skills that I embody as a person as I strive to be a lifelong learner.
- How have you continued to assist doctoral students from Hofstra University’s Teaching and Learning Program?
I have been grateful to serve on several dissertation committees for students in the Teaching and Learning Program. As a part of these committees, I help guide student research, edit dissertations, and provide general advice about educational leadership. These experiences have helped to expand my educational knowledge and give back to the Hofstra community.
- What is the most rewarding part of working as an assistant principal?
The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students and adults makes the field of education, and my work as an assistant principal, extremely rewarding. Watching students grow as learners and individuals throughout their high school years gives me a feeling of pride. My administrative role also puts me in a position to support my colleagues in their professional growth. Working with both new and veteran teachers allows me to learn from others and make meaningful connections.
Dr. Lisa Downey is an assistant principal at Mineola High School, where some of her responsibilities include supervising curriculum and instruction in the areas of math, science, and technology; building safety; and building operations. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Mathematics Education in ’08; a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education in ’10; Advanced Certificates in Educational Technology in ’10 and Educational Leadership in ’16; as well as a Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning in ’16.
In her role as assistant principal, Dr. Downey has implemented innovative programs that have led Mineola High School to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. She continues to share her knowledge of innovative learning and teaching as a presenter at the Long Island Technology and Education Summit, Association of Suffolk Supervisors for Educational Technologies (ASSET) Technology Conference, Nassau County Math Teachers Association's Make Math Count Conference, Mineola High School’s EdCamp, and at multiple iTutor, Mathspace, and Canvas webinars. Dr. Downey is a certified Apple Teacher, Edpuzzle Coach, and certified Flipgrid Educator. She has served as a mentor and coach for many new educators, and provides professional development to all teachers and staff at Mineola High School. Dr. Downey has worked with district-level administrators to adopt new initiatives that support all learners to be college and career ready, such as algebra for all 8th grade students, AP computer science principles for all 9th grade students, and various dual-enrollment programs with local universities and businesses. She has taught graduate-level courses at Adelphi University as an adjunct professor. Prior to her role as assistant principal, Dr. Downey was a high school math teacher from 2008 to 2017. She also worked as a cheerleading coach at Garden City High School from 2007 to 2017. Dr. Downey is the mother of a beautiful daughter and the wife of a fellow educator. She enjoys fishing, cooking, and spending time with her family. She continues to be a part of the Hofstra community by working with doctoral students as they complete their dissertation research in the Teaching and Learning Program.