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Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 10:00am

It’s not every day that a former student contacts a professor to thank them for being a great teacher. But late last summer, Jason Skeeter, M.S. ’17, Ph.D., reached out to Esther Wermuth, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Education, to share his good news. Thanks to her skillful mentorship and encouragement, Skeeter had earned his doctorate in executive leadership.

“I was pleased although not surprised to hear from Jason, because he’d always been a superb student,” said Wermuth. “What surprised me was how soon he accomplished his goal. He entered the Ph.D. program less than a week after I’d suggested he’d be a great candidate.”

Armed with a bachelor’s in business economics and a master’s in education, Skeeter was teaching math at The Equity Project Charter School in Manhattan. His innovative ideas and knack for inspiring students were turning heads. Hoping to spread his positive influence to a greater number of students, Skeeter enrolled in Mercy’s educational leadership program, earning his Master’s in School Building Leadership and an advanced certificate in School District Leadership.

There he met Professor Wermuth, who recognized his passion for teaching and encouraged his development. In 2017, just before his graduation from Mercy, she took Skeeter aside for one last piece of advice. “I told him to consider earning a doctoral degree,” she recalled. “Even though it would require sacrifices, I felt he had the potential to help thousands of students as an effective leader of schools and teachers.”

Propelled by Wermuth’s glowing recommendation, Skeeter took the leap. He started his Ph.D. studies at Saint John Fisher College within days of his Mercy graduation, and by August of 2019, Skeeter had his doctorate. One of the first people he told was Professor Wermuth.

“I couldn’t wait to call and say I was now Dr. Skeeter,” he said. “It never would have happened without Professor Wermuth’s support and guidance.” Skeeter continues to teach math and develop as an education leader, creating innovative programs to increase proficiency in math teaching. “I gained so much from Mercy College and I want to give something back,” he declared. “I would love to teach at Mercy. There’s no better way to return the favor tenfold.”

Jason Skeeter