Arlington Diocese Teachers Earn Special Education Certificate from Marymount

The inaugural cohort from the Arlington Diocese Catholic Schools completed its Special Education Certificate program through Marymount University. Award certificates were presented during Marymount’s Spring into Professional Development event in April.    

The cohort included eight kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers from three diocese schools:

• Teresa Eichner, Gracelin Emmanuel, Amanda Fallon, Kathleen Hofer and Madeline Lawson, from Saint Agnes, Arlington

• Patricia Cummins and Maria May, from Saint Ambrose, Annandale

• Nancy Tierney, from Saint Joseph School in Herndon    

“Working with this group was incredible,” said Dr. Clara Hauth, a Marymount assistant professor of special education. “They were some of the best students we’ve had because they were so dedicated to their teaching. They were immediately able to have hands-on application of what they learned, and could come back and share what worked, what didn’t, and ways they were able to improve upon it.”
She said they also engaged in “turnaround training,” where students learned something and directly implemented training for others in their respective schools.
Hauth worked closely with ADCS Special Services Coordinator Diane Elliott to develop and customize the advanced program, the only one of its kind in Northern Virginia. The program took 21 months to complete, from August 2016 to May 2018. It used a hybrid format of primarily classroom educated, but also integrated online learning.
“An important component of this program was doing what we could to meet the needs of this very close-knit group of full-time teachers,” Hauth said.
That included holding classes at the students’ schools, changing the order of classes or adjusting the schedule to fit their own teaching schedules.
The Special Education Certificate is one of four certificates offered by Marymount. The others are Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (S.T.E.A.M.), English as a Second Language, and Global Education.
With 15 credits earned, half of the special education cohort members are already working toward their master’s degrees at Marymount, which requires 36 total credits.
“We’re putting together the second cohort and still have a few spots available,” Hauth said. “Everyone in the first group was a teacher but this program is also open to teaching assistants and administrators.”
MU will hold an information session on its graduate education programs at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at the main campus in Arlington. The session will cover all of MU’s graduate level education programs and certificates and include a discussion on additional cohort opportunities. To learn more, visit

Photo caption
The Arlington Diocese Catholic Schools teacher cohort competed its Special Education Certificate program at Marymount University. Honorees were awarded their certificates during Marymount University’s Spring into Professional Development in April. First row, from left, Diane Elliott of the ADCS Office of Special Programs, Teresa Eichner (Saint Agnes School), Gracelin Emmanuel (Saint Agnes), and Kathleen Hofer (St. Agnes). Second row, Madeline Lawson (Saint Agnes), Dr. Clara Hauth, cohort adviser, Amanda Fallon (Saint Agnes), Saint Agnes Catholic School, Nancy Tierney (St. Joseph School) and Maria May (Saint Ambrose School). Patricia Cummins (Saint Ambrose) is not pictured.