School of Education and Human Development

2019 Wall of Achievement Inductees

University of Southern Maine School of Education and Human Development alumni.

The School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) kicks off each new academic year by awarding distinguished alumnae with induction to its Wall of Achievement. The Wall of Achievement program is in its fourteenth year of recognizing those alumni who have made a distinctive impact in their respective fields. Installed in room 301C, one of the school’s most utilized class and meeting spaces, the Wall serves as inspiration for students, faculty, staff, and alumni alike. Since its inauguration, the school has inducted over 50 education and human development alumni on the Wall.

This past fall the Wall honored four distinctive women who share a passion and commitment for their work in Maine. Firstly, Pender Makin received her undergraduate degree from the University in 1991 in English, followed a few years later by her MSEd in Educational Leadership in 2008. While serving as the principal at the REAL School for 12 years, Makin was honored as the Maine Principal of the Year in 2013. From there, Makin served as Assistant Superintendent of the Brunswick school district until she was nominated by Governor Mills to serve as the Commissioner of Education in 2019.

Kimberlee Bennett received her MSEd in Educational Leadership from the University in 2011 while she was serving as the Assistant Principal of South Portland High School. In 2019, Bennett was honored with the NASSP Assistant Principal of the Year for her student-centered leadership.

Tara Kierstead earned her MS in Counselor Education in 2012 from USM, before finding employment at the Hall-Dale Junior-Senior High School in Farmingdale. In 2019, Kierstead was awarded the Maine School Counselor of the Year honor for dedication, meritorious service, and commitment in the counseling profession.

And, lastly, Mallory Haar, who received her MSEd in Applied Literacy from the University in 2013, has been a teacher of English to Speakers of Others Languages (ESOL) at Casco Bay High School since she earned her degree. In 2018, Mallory was honored to receive three separate awards for outstanding teaching and leadership. First, Haar received a $15,000 Lawrence O’Toole Leadership Award from the Nellie Mae Foundation, then she was honored with Bowdoin College’s Education for the Common Good Award, and Haar wrapped up the year by receiving the prestigious Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellowship Award.

In addition to the alumni being celebrated during the ceremony this fall, SEHD awarded over $80,000 in student scholarships to more than 50 students through 35 scholarship funds.