About the Ella Cline Shear School of Education

The Ella Cline Shear School of Education is dedicated to preparing teachers committed to improving society and the lives of students through education. This dedication is based on the combination of a solid foundation in SUNY Geneseo’s liberal arts and sciences tradition, the School of Education’s conceptual framework and our partnerships with public and private school communities.

We offer teacher education candidates a complete experience that is rich in scholarly programs, diverse field placements, a range of student activities, and continuous academic advisement. Our graduates are trained in the full-scope of teacher preparation and enter the profession with the highest level of knowledge, skills, and dispositions.

Our teacher candidates explore constructivist theory and practice with a depth that makes the caliber of our graduates second to none, and which continues the longstanding reputation of our School of Education, opened in 1871. We take great pride in our historical background and ongoing innovations in teacher preparation.

All teacher certification programs of the Ella Cline Shear School of Education are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The School of Education offers undergraduate programs leading to initial teacher certification in Early Childhood and Childhood, Childhood with Special Education, and Adolescence Education. We also offer a graduate program leading to professional certification in Reading and Literacy (B-12).

School of Education History

South HallSUNY Geneseo was established by New York State Legislature in 1867, and opened its doors in 1871 as the Geneseo Normal and Training School. The original name of the School reflected its focus on training teachers. In the early 1900s, the curriculum required two years of professional study for aspiring teachers. By 1942, basic teacher training programs included preparation of teacher-librarians, teachers of children with special needs, and speech pathologists.

In 1948, the Geneseo Normal and Training School became a part of the State University of New York. The teachers colleges of SUNY became Colleges of Arts and Sciences in 1962, and two years later, Geneseo's four-year degree programs in arts and sciences were implemented. SUNY Geneseo's Department of Education was reorganized as a School of Education in 1992 with about 30 teaching faculty.

SUNY Geneseo's School of Education was formally renamed the Ella Cline Shear School of Education in 1998, in recognition of a generous endowment made by Ella Cline Shear. Mrs. Shear graduated from Geneseo in 1935 and spent the next 41 years as a dedicated elementary school teacher. Mrs. Shear said, "Geneseo played a significant role in my preparation as a teacher. I felt the school offered what I needed in building a foundation to fulfill a dream of becoming a teacher - a dream I had since childhood." Her regard for the School of Education inspired Mrs. Shear to give back to the college so that further generations could realize their dreams of becoming educators. Throughout her career, Ella Cline Shear was a role model for teachers and we continue to remember her life and generosity.

In 2006, the position of Dean of the School of Education was established in response to changes in State regulations and accreditation processes. Currently, The School of Education has undergraduate certification programs in Early Childhood and Childhood Education, Childhood with Special Education, and Adolescence Education. Our graduate program is Reading and Literacy (B-12). Teacher education remains one of our largest majors in the College.

SUNY Geneseo began as a teacher training institute nearly 150 years ago, and teacher education remains one of our most popular majors.