June 24, 2020

Two Susquehanna University graduates have been named finalists for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

Andrea Schriner ’07 Baney is a fourth-grade math teacher at Danville’s Liberty Valley Intermediate School, and Jessica Ranck ’13 Fellin is a biology teacher at Penns Valley Junior-Senior High School.

“I was excited and just completely blown away that I was selected,” Baney said. “I feel incredibly honored to have made it this far through the process because I know how many outstanding teachers there are out there.”

Baney has been teaching in Danville since 2008. She earned her master’s degree in teacher leadership with principal certification from Wilkes University. She still remembers the teacher who inspired her career path: her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Miller.

“I remember how she made me feel, and I felt loved, and valued, and supported. Because I felt that way, I felt I could do anything, and I’ve never forgotten that,” Baney said. “To this day, I make it my mission to build a strong relationship with my students.”

Fellin moved to New York the summer after her graduation from Susquehanna to teach at a charter school in the Bronx before teaching in Hartford, Connecticut, as a corps member for Teach for America. While teaching middle school general science in Hartford, she earned her master’s degree in teacher leadership from Quinnipiac University.

“My goal as an educator is to help students realize their goals and achieve more than they thought they could. I want my students to know that I am their biggest cheerleader both inside the classroom and out, and that I care about them as people, not just students,” Fellin said.

Fellin credits her success as a teacher to her Susquehanna education, as well as the many extracurricular activities in which she participated, including Student Government Association, Hispanic Organization for Latino Awareness, Alpha Phi Omega, O-Team and track and field.

“Balancing all of these activities with the academic rigor demanded by my biology-secondary education major, the honors program, and my chemistry and Spanish minors certainly prepared me for the challenges of teaching,” Fellin said.

Baney and Fellin are two of 12 finalists. Nominations for Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year are submitted by students, parents, peers, and members of the community wishing to honor and recognize educator achievements both inside and outside the classroom.

The finalists must be prepared to effectively carry out the duties of the state’s Teacher of the Year, including being Pennsylvania’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year. The recognition program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995.

The 2021 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year will be announced in December.