Penton named Thomas University’s Professor of the Year
Thomas University President Dr. Gary Bonvillian (left) presents the Professor of the Year Award to April Penton during TU’s annual Commencement held Saturday, May 4.
When colleagues describe April Penton, they talk about how she goes beyond academics to make sure her students develop key life skills, such as empathy and compassion. Penton, an assistant professor of early childhood education, was named the Professor of the Year at Thomas University during the annual Commencement ceremony held Saturday, May 3, in the gymnasium on TU’s Magnolia Campus.
During the course of her career spanning more than 30 years, Penton has been a teacher, an administrator and a university faculty member. A resident of Tallahassee, Penton holds bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education as well as a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, all from Florida State University.
Penton was hired as a full-time instructor in 2005 after previously teaching as an adjunct instructor. In 2010 she was promoted to assistant professor. During fall semester 2007, Penton served as the Interim Chair of the Division of Education.
“April exudes enthusiasm and love of teaching every day,” said Dr. Susan Lynn, Chair of the Division of Education. “She always presents a professional demeanor and has positive interactions with others. She encourages her colleagues and students by praising the good work they do and challenging them to go beyond and to reach higher and further than they thought possible.”
Before joining Thomas University, Penton spent 25 years working with state leaders in Florida to professionalize the field of early childhood education. Her expertise as a teacher and principal led her to be an advocate for issues related to preschool education and early childhood teacher certification.
At Thomas University, Penton eagerly learns about and then implements new technology in the classroom. Her classes are in a hybrid format, which utilizes both technology and face-to-face teaching methods. She works to improve TU’s campus as a part of the Sustainability Committee, which she initiated. Penton also coordinates the monthly Science Café series, which brings in scientists to talk to TU and community members about different topics in a casual environment.
“April is a passionate educator who inspires the best in teacher candidates and colleagues,” said Dr. Ann Landis, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “She has played a significant role in the development of many of the excellent teachers in our regional school systems.”