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Alumni Spotlight: Cindy Saunders

Alumni Spotlight: Cindy Saunders

Cindy Saunders, an Early Childhood Education alumna (2003), was recently selected to participate in the Epic Master Teacher Ambassador Program, and as such, is The Patton College’s June Alum of the Month. Saunders, a first-grade teacher at Berne Union Elementary in Columbus, was chosen out of hundreds of applicants spanning 37 states and 20 countries. Program organizers say she was selected for instilling a love of reading and learning in her students.

Epic is a leading digital reading platform—built on a collection of 40,000+ popular, high-quality books from 250+ of the world’s best publishers—that safely fuels curiosity and reading confidence for kids 12 and under.

Saunders used the Epic! platform in her classroom for the last several years because of her passion for making a wide variety of high quality books available to her students. As an ambassador, she can influence the future development of Epic, as well as help other teachers learn to use the platform to its fullest extent to make learning more fun and interactive for their students.

“Cindy was a student of mine many years ago, and I am just so inspired by her work,” said Marcy Keifer Kennedy, director of the Center for Clinical Practice in Education. “She is truly positively impacting her students and her profession each and every day.”

Surrounding children with good books is how Saunders instills a love of reading and learning in children. 

“I love to read aloud to my students....chapter books and picture books, as well as books online through Epic! I love to talk about what books I love, and what books they love, and always be introducing them to new and exciting adventures through books.”

Saunders said that it was during her time in the College of Education and in the Plains Elementary partnership that she discovered what kind of teacher she wanted to be: one that really makes learning fun and fosters creativity and curiosity.  

“I met so many amazing future teachers, many that would become lifelong friends. I learned so much from some of the best faculty members. I spent so much time getting to know the students and the staff at The Plains Elementary and really got to see firsthand what amazing classrooms look, sound, and feel like.”

In addition to instilling a love for reading in her students, Saunders likes to encourage student choice, independence, curiosity, and growth mindset. 

“I always try to instill in my kiddos that failure is OK and ultimately leads to greater successes. I love hands-on learning, creation, and exploration. I also teach my students that even though they are little, they are capable of amazing things.”