Adjusting the Future of Chiropractic
Becoming a leader in a profession requires dedication, passion and hard work. New Jersey native Valerie Pennacchio, D.C., a June 1990 summa cum laude graduate of Sherman, knew from the beginning that she wanted to make a difference in chiropractic and she set out to achieve that goal.
She credits the mentoring of Sherman teachers with preparing her to take a leadership role after graduation. “I remember the stories and advice from people whose caring guidance didn’t stop with academics. They gave me practical applications that have served me very well over the years,” Pennacchio says of the family atmosphere and the “we’re in this together” attitude she found at Sherman.
That sense of family led Pennacchio to accept a position teaching at Sherman after graduation, a position that she held until 2003 and which launched her on a successful career in chiropractic education. She served as chair of the Philosophy Department and was instrumental in developing the college’s first clinical proficiency exam. The experience led her to take a four-month leave from Sherman to travel to New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC) to create a proficiency examination that would help the new college become accreditation-worthy. In 2005, she accepted the position of vice president of academic affairs at NZCC, a position she held until 2011, when she took on her current role as vice principal at McTimoney College of Chiropractic in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in Great Britain.
“Honestly, when I started studying I never dreamed I’d become so dedicated to the education of future chiropractors,” Pennacchio says of the turn that her career has taken. “I realized early on that my circle of influence would be dramatically increased if I contributed to the education of future chiropractors. I wanted a piece of that pie, and although I love being in practice, I am truly filled by my interactions with students.” For her the ultimate reward is when “a student has that light bulb moment and you see the light shine through their eyes. It’s why I go to work every day.”