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Christy Mikolaj

5th and 6th Grade Emotional/Learning Support Teacher, Upper St. Clair School District

Statement of Research Interest/Problem of Practice:
Christy's problem of practice focuses on utilizing project based learning in order to create an increase in behavioral growth mindset among inclusion students and diminishing the perceptions of inclusion students among regular education teachers. 

Christy Mikolaj is beginning her nineteenth year of teaching, with the majority of her experience in the public education setting. Christy began her teaching career at Holy Family Institute, an approved private school, where she was a self-contained Emotional Support teacher for grades K-5. After five years at Holy Family, Mrs. Mikolaj began her first public school position at Elizabeth Forward Middle School. During her five years at Elizabeth Forward, Christy held the position of Emotional Support teacher for students in grades six through eight. In 2009, she received the position of 5th and 6th grade Emotional/Learning Support teacher with the Upper St. Clair School District where she currently provides special education services to students with emotional and learning support needs.

Mrs. Mikolaj received her Bachelor of Science in Education and her Master of Science in School Administration from Duquesne University.

Outside of the classroom, Christy is beginning her twelfth year of Schools to Watch Team. She has also held a position on the Western Region Board for Pennsylvania Middle School Association for three years.

Mrs. Mikolaj is a dedicated teacher who advocates for her students and ensures each student has the supports needed in order to be fully included within the regular education curriculum. Focusing on the whole child and each student's individual needs, her goal is to produce students who are productive individuals in the 21st century world.

Mentored by: Dr. John Rozzo
Assistant Superintendent, Upper St. Clair School District

Dr. John Rozzo has been in the public school setting for nineteen years. He began his educational career in the Brentwood Borough School District as a middle school science teacher.

After six years, he accepted a position with the Upper St. Clair School District as the Assistant Principal at Ft. Couch Middle School. During his twelve years with Upper St. Clair, Dr. Rozzo has held the positions of Principal of Academics for Boyce and Ft. Couch Middle Schools, Supervisor of Middle Level Education, and Director of the International Baccalaureate Program.

Currently, Dr. Rozzo is serving his fourth year as Assistant Superintendent of Upper St. Clair School District. Dr. Rozzo has implemented many programs such as Professional Learning Communities, horizontal articulation of the curriculum, implemented and lead district strategic plan, and the one-to-one initiative, during his administrative positions. These programs have made, and continue to make, a positive impact on the district and on student achievement.

Dr. Rozzo's leadership style is reflective of his statement, "You lead by who you are- I value people and always put people (staff and students) at the forefront of my decisions." When leading the district, Dr. Rozzo is always mindful of the future, but does not ignore the present. Dr. Rozzo knows where he wants the district to be in the upcoming years. To achieve these goals, he continues to hire and develop the strongest teachers and administrators, all while maintaining the best interests of the individuals of the future-the students.

Dr. Rozzo earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration, with a focus on Policy Studies, at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests and problem of practice concentrated on grouping practices within middle schools and the criteria that school administrators use to make decisions about how students are placed into courses for all core subject areas.