By Tom Ballard
One of the College’s professors was recently named an “Exceptional Master Leader” by Exchange magazine, receiving one of the 49 awards that the publication gives out on an international level.
Blythe Hinitz, professor of elementary early childhood education, was honored with the title in the November/December issue of the magazine. In total, 49 early childhood education professionals from around the world were named as Exceptional Master Leaders and 38 as Master Leaders.
Exchange, a bimonthly publication with the intention to “continue the search and support for leadership in (early childhood education),” gave Hinitz the title, according to the magazine’s website.
The review team selected the Master Leaders based on leadership, roles played in an impactful early childhood care career, possession of a deep knowledge base of early childhood research and the spirit they have to work collaboratively and tackle difficult objectives. Exceptional Master Leaders were selected from 10 countries, including the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Israel.
Hinitz, who has been at the College since the 1970s, said that she consistently reflects on her foundational experiences in order to move ahead, according to a TCNJ Today article from Wednesday, Dec. 9.
“One of the things I am most proud of, that I am sure contributed to my receiving this honor, is that in the 1970s, I headed the TCNJ day care management minor,” Hinitz said in the same article. “This was an innovative program open to all majors on the campus that included seven required courses in the schools of education, nursing and business.”
Hinitz is noted as a strong supporter of the Head Start Program, a federal program that aids low-income areas and families with early childhood education, as well as nutrition and health services. She even played a role in bringing together the College and the Head Start Program.
“One of my initial responsibilities was supervising the Head Start Program and representing the College on the local (Community Action Partnership) Board,” Hinitz told TCNJ Today. “I am proud that the symbiotic relationship between the College and the Head Start programs was maintained for 40 years.”
As a professor, Hinitz said she tries to maintain communications with students both past and present.
“When my students graduate I still look for opportunities for them,” Hinitz said. “I try (to stay in touch).”
In addition to being a professor of education, Hinitz is also an education historian who has worked with the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum, OMEP (the World Organization for Early Childhood Education), the Expert Advisory Group to the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention, the International Standing Conference on the History of Education and other professional organizations, according to her profile on Exchange’s website.
Despite her expansive résumé, Hinitz said that most of her writings and works focus on diversity and equity in education.
“I have encouraged many adult learners to return to academia,” Hinitz said in her Exchange profile. “In my courses and writing, I focus on diversity and equity issues, integrating culture, bilingualism and gender into content and pedagogy. I will continue this work.”
According to Exchange’s website, the magazine introduced the Exchange Leadership Initiative (ELI) in 2014 with “the intention to explore strategies for making leadership more visible in the field of early care and education.” After establishing ELI, the magazine began reviewing applications and letters of recommendations submitted for each candidate.
Hinitz said she was encouraged to apply for the award by one of her publishers after a career in early childhood education that expands back into the 1960s.
“I’ve always feel that I’ve done my part in teaching… (and I believe) that education can hold it’s own… early childhood education in particular,” Hinitz said.
In 2012, Hinitz received the title of Distinguished Professor from the secretary of Higher Education of the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She also currently serves as the president of Phi Kappa Phi, the College’s honor society for distinguished scholarly achievement, a post that she has held since July 2014.