North Ridgeville Resident Named Ashland University's Graduate Student Honoree

5/12/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Maria Balotta, currently the 10th grade school counselor at James Ford Rhodes High School, was honored as Ashland University's Recognized Graduate Student Honoree at its Spring 2011 commencement exercises. One student is recognized as the top graduate student each year at the University's spring commencement.

Balotta, a resident of North Ridgeville, received her doctor of education in leadership studies at the May 7 event. Her dissertation was titled "Como el cantar del coquí: Educators Of The Puerto Rican Diaspora In The U. S. Describe What Resilience Means To Them."

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Balotta is a first generation high school and college graduate in her family. She graduated with honors from Luis M. Rivera High in Salinas Puerto Rico and received her bachelor of arts in education, Magna Cum Laude, from the Interamerican university of Puerto Rico.

After eight years of successful teaching in her home town of Salinas Puerto, she was recruited by the Multilingual Program of the Cleveland Public School District as a bilingual teacher where she now works as a high school counselor. In 1995, she received the degree of master of education in school counseling from Cleveland State University.

Balotta was one of 15 members selected from a pool of over 100 candidates across the U.S., and the only school counselor from the state of Ohio to serve on the National School Counseling Standards Committee for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

In September of 2005, Balotta received the distinction of participating in Bill Cosby's "Conversations" Conference at the Cuyahoga Community College as Dr. Cosby's expert on High School Transitions.

Balotta initiated her school counseling career in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in 1997. She has been a presenter and keynote speaker at several conferences and district activities during her professional career.

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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