Recalling the inspiration he received as a student in the Oswego School of Education, Dr. Perry A. Zirkel ’66 has established the Perry A. Zirkel ’66 Education Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Teaching. He says he was especially inspired by the late Dr. Jose Ramon Perez, teacher of foreign language and the first director of international education, and is making this gift to honor him.
The award, in addition to recognizing a School of Education faculty member for rigorous scholarship and teaching, is also, according to its creator, an “enduring way to recognize Oswego’s institutional value.” An Oswego diploma took Zirkel to the University of Connecticut, where he earned a Ph.D. in educational administration and a juris doctor degree. He earned a master of laws degree from Yale University.
An expert on education law, with emphasis on special education, Zirkel is the author of more than 1,300 publications. He began his career as a high school teacher of foreign language. He is the former dean of the Lehigh University College of Education, where he held the Iacocca Chair for a five-year term, and where, as university professor of education and law, he continues to teach, lecture and present seminars on his research.
One recent article in Principal Leadership affirms the need for educators to avoid confusion and misinterpretation of law and implores them, instead, to seek authentic information. “For teachers and other school personnel, a basic understanding of education law provides a foundation for focusing on proactive best practices,” Zirkel explains.
Zirkel says he is grateful for his education at Oswego.
“I had competent, diligent and devoted faculty, and I enjoyed the economically diverse group of students who were generally earnest and pleasant,” Zirkel says. “I got a solid background as a teacher, and Oswego provided me with interpersonal skills that gave me confidence in facing all challenges.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M’97