Dr. Pamela Roggeman is the first recipient of the Carolyn Warner Legacy Award. This article is featured in the University’s 2019 Academic Annual Report. Click here to view the report in its entirety.
Teachers don’t teach to win awards. They’re not in it for the paycheck or the praise. In fact, many public schools can be tough work environments, with challenging student populations and ever-increasing expectations for students and teachers. Being a truly great teacher is genuinely a labor of love.
So, when a life-long educator receives an award named in honor of a personal hero, it can be a truly emotional experience. At least it was for Pamela Roggeman, Ed.D., dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix, the first recipient of the Carolyn Warner Legacy Award for public education advocacy.
The Arizona Education Foundation honored Dr. Roggeman with the award last fall. She was chosen for her lifelong dedication to teaching and her recent work with the National Network of State Teachers (NNSTOY) on diversity guidelines and helping place teachers of diverse backgrounds in classrooms. Recipients are former Arizona Teachers of the Year finalists or semi-finalists who have continued to champion education and elevate the teaching profession.
The award is a reminder to Roggeman of the importance of her chosen path, which is currently dedicated to embedding social justice pillars throughout UOPX’s teacher preparation programs.
“I wake up every day and say I need to bring my ‘A-Game,’” she said. “It makes me think, ‘Education has been such a gift to me,’ as a tool and also as a profession. It is a gift that I have to honor every day.”
— Dr. Pam Roggeman , dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix
Dr. Roggeman’s collaboration with organizations like NNSTOY have resulted in a number of social justice initiatives, including a social justice book list for preschool through high school teachers, creating a fellowship for Black men who want to be teachers, creating a paper for educators about attracting and retaining Black male teachers and sponsoring a learning module for teachers about how to foster school and community partnerships.
Making a difference is one of the reasons why Dr. Roggeman chose to be a teacher, and ultimately, it’s what led her to join as a leader at UOPX. While she misses the classroom, Dr. Roggeman said she realized that through higher education she could affect education on a state level. Becoming dean of the University’s College of Education in 2014 gave her an opportunity to expand her reach even further to a national level. One of the things she is most proud of is the high number of non-traditional students UOPX serves.
America’s school children need teachers like the ones that graduate from UOPX, teachers who are more likely to reflect the growing diversity in public schools, Dr. Roggeman said. By 2025, most public-school students will be children of color, she said, and it is important that they are taught by who look like them. It’s a social justice issue that public schools can address.
Dr. Roggeman has earned the praise of her colleagues because of her “relentless” ability to bring people together to champion the issues she feels will have the greatest impact on public education instruction. The combination of her passion, her personality, and her extensive professional network makes her a champion for the institution and the students and faculty she serves locally, statewide and ultimately, everywhere a graduating Phoenix teaches, said Dr. John Woods, provost of University of Phoenix.
“She is extremely well-known in education circles, and because she is so well known and because she is our dean we benefit greatly from her reputation and her passion,” Woods said. “We benefit from that because she has chosen to make a difference.”
Roggeman said she is humbled to win the award that is named for one of Arizona’s most well-known education advocates. Warner served as the Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction for more than a decade and continued to work in education at the state and national level long after leaving office, until she passed away in 2018.
“With every breath she took, [Warner] wanted to make education better for the children of Arizona,” Dr. Roggeman said of Warner, who died in 2018. “She really [was] a force of nature.”