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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 27, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 9
Obituary: Elaine Stotko, 54, Chair of Teacher Preparation at School of Education


By James Campbell
School of Education

Elaine Stotko, chair of the Department of Teacher Preparation at the Johns Hopkins School of Education since 2001, died of brain cancer on Oct. 16 at Gilchrist Hospice Center in Towson. She was 54.

Ralph Fessler, dean of the School of Education, said, "Elaine was an outstanding educator who cared deeply about her students and the quality of our programs. She worked closely with faculty across the university to deepen the content knowledge and teaching skills of our Master of Arts in Teaching candidates. Her loss is felt deeply by those who worked with her. We will miss her."

Under Stotko's leadership, teacher preparation programs expanded and the partnership with Baltimore City public schools grew stronger. At the start of this school year, 25 percent of the new teachers hired in Baltimore were enrolled in School of Education programs. Stotko was instrumental in building relationships with other divisions of the university. For example, faculty members from the schools of Engineering and Arts and Sciences were recruited to help teach special-topics courses in math, science, social studies and English. She also expanded the department's offering by adding a master's program in English for speakers of other languages. In 2003, Stotko was a co-coordinator of the School of Education's successful effort for national accreditation.

Described by her colleagues as an innovator, critical thinker and outstanding problem solver, Stotko was committed to seeing that her students received the help they needed in their classroom. Jennifer Cuddapah, an assistant professor, said Stotko was "an incredible leader" who enjoyed helping teachers deal with the hardships of the profession. Another assistant professor in the Teacher Preparation program, Mary Ellen Beaty O'Ferrell, said, "Elaine was very supportive of teachers and of her faculty members who supported those teachers. Whatever you needed to achieve your goal, Elaine would listen and help you figure out a way to accomplish it."

Stotko's numerous research interests included the impact of teacher education on teacher quality, linguistics for teachers and children's understanding of language.

She was an accomplished bluegrass bass fiddler, sang in her church choir and enjoyed gardening, bookbinding and traveling.

"Her sharp wit, generous heart and acceptance of all people earned her many, many dear friends who stood by her and comforted her through her illness with excellent food, good company and laughter," said her husband, Eric Jacobson.

Stotko was born in Rapid City, S.D., and raised in Bossier City, La., where she graduated from Parkway Senior High School in 1971. She earned a bachelor's degree in French from Northeast Louisiana University in 1975 and a master's degree in English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977. In 1992, she earned a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Delaware, where she served for 16 years as senior assistant dean in the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Adrian Q. Quintero, of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Jessica L. Jacobson, of Millersville, Pa.; a brother, Edward Stotko, of Port Deposit, Md.; a sister, Lori Stotko, of Half Moon Bay, Calif.; and her parents, CP "Ski" and Arline Stotko of Bossier City, La.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, in the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center; a reception will follow in the Education Building. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the First Unitarian Church Music Program, 730 Halstead Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 and/or the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care, 555 W. Towsontown Blvd., Towson, MD 21204.


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