Kathleen Costello Begins Lifetime Journey at MCCC
Windsor, N.J. - Thriving in her second career as special education
teacher at West Windsor High School North, Kathleen Costello
'78 (A.A.S., Allied Health), co-teaches general education
science in a mainstream classroom and also serves as a science
resource room specialist.
"Working with teenagers is invigorating," Costello
said. "I have especially developed a passion for teaching
struggling learners. Many adolescents face all kinds of challenges.
Today, many receive very little 'face time' with their parents
at home. I want to help bridge the gap by being as supportive
to their needs as possible."
A people person by nature, Costello draws immense fulfillment
from assessing and meeting the needs of others. Inspired by
two dental assistants from childhood visits to her dentist's
office, her initial professional goal was to become a dental
hygienist. "I admired those two ladies' caring manner;
they really impressed me. I still remember their names, Mary
and Dot," Costello said.
an affordable education, Costello enrolled at MCCC in 1976
upon graduating from Steinert High School. She pursued the
Allied Health concentration and worked part-time in a dental
multi-specialty practice firm in Lawrenceville.
credits Mercer with laying the foundation for her dentistry career.
"Mercer's Dental Assistant program was extremely comprehensive.
Headed by faculty member Sandra Thiel, it thoroughly prepared me
to later enter the rigorous dental hygiene program at Forsyth's
School for Dental Hygienist's in Boston." Forsyth was affiliated
at the time with Northeastern University and after she earned a
second associate degree in Science at Northeastern University in
1981, Costello went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Health Science
Launching her career in Boston, she served as a dental hygienist
for Boston University's School of Dental Medicine for more than
10 years. She gained further insight into the healthcare industry
while working a two-year stint as a representative for a pharmaceutical
Yet, Costello always yearned to broaden her professional horizons.
Returning to New Jersey in 1999 in order to be closer to aging parents,
at age 40, she enrolled at Rider University, where she took courses
to obtain a Graduate Level Teacher Preparation Certificate. A few
years later, she married and returned to Rider part time while teaching
at Grover Middle School in West Windsor. This time she earned a
master's degree in Special Education in 2009 at age 51.
"Teaching has been a natural fit for me," said Costello,
who plans to return to school once again to become a school counselor.
The more her career evolves, the more she would not have it any
other way. Every summer, she trades her "teacher tool box"
for her "dental tool box," working as a dental hygienist
for an agency, Dependable Dental Temporaries.
"It might sound cliché, but education does not have
a timetable," Costello said. "We are all lifetime learners.
It does not matter when the learning begins. What really matters
is where it takes you. Hopefully, the journey will last a lifetime."
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