The College of Education is made up of some of the best faculty, staff, and students
at the University of West Georgia.
We look to celebrate the accomplishments of all who make the College of Education great!
August 2019 Points of Pride
Tom Gilliam was recently named the new City of Cartersville Parks & Recreation Director. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from the COE.
Dr. Tori Ivy, assistant professor for Health and Physical Education, is the recipient of the Young Scholar Award from the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education.
Dr. Peter Stoepker, assistant professor for Health and Physical Education, will be one of eight national experts on the Emerging Leaders Innovation Team (ELIT) for SHAPE America. ELIT is designed to help SHAPE America strengthen its recruitment, retention, and engagement of emerging leaders who are currently young professionals teaching physical education and/or skills-based health education.
Dr. Rachel Tullis, assistant professor for Special Education, has received a $75,000 sub-award with Georgia State University - Transition program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, as well as $31,750 awarded from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Both awards are for Project WOLVES, UWG’s Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Program.
July 2019 Points of Pride
The COE’s Ed.D. in Professional Counseling and Supervision has been selected as one of the Best Online Doctorate in Educational Counseling programs for 2019 by BestColleges.com.
Dr. Jairus-Joaquin Matthews, COE assistant professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been invited to serve on the Multicultural Issues Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for a three-year term beginning January 2020.
Dr. Chainey Cherry received her master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from UWG’ College of Education in 2005. She has now been named the Teacher of the Year 2019-2020 at Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta and has launched a new book, Education on the Real, presenting vital lessons through fictional narrative about modern-day educators.
Chasity Brunache, a graduate of the UWG COE’s M.A.T. in Music Education program, has been named the 2019 Teacher of the Year at Summerville Middle School.
Matt Gibson graduated from the University of West Georgia College of Education with a master’s degree in Middle Grades Science Education. He has now been named the new Principal of Cartersville Middle School!
Dr. Dena Kniess, COE assistant professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs, was a named Co-Editor of the College Student Affairs Journal published by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs.
June 2019 Points of Pride
The School Improvement doctoral program has been recognized by BestColleges.com as one of the Best Online Doctorates in Curriculum and Instruction.
Dr. Lama Farran, Associate Professor for Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Education, has received $45,640 from the USG Board of Regents, through Georgia College & State University to study Mother/Child Vocal Interaction in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Chelsea Morris, Assistant Professor in Early Childhood through Secondary Education in the College of Education, has received $6,000 from The Children’s Trust at the University of Miami to create a reflective mentoring process for practice-based coaches and training focused on trauma informed care, teacher efficacy, and shared action planning for targeted and individualized behavior support.
Dr. Melanie Lewis, assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Technology and Foundations, was honored by the American Libraries Magazine in their June 2019 edition. Her dissertation, A Collective Case Study to Examine Administrators’ Instructional Leadership Perspective of the Role of Instructional Coaches and Teacher-Librarians in California Public Schools, was selected as one of nine “2019 Notable Dissertations of the Year.”
Dr. Michelle Frazier Trotman Scott, Director of Graduate Affairs for the COE, was selected as an Engage West Emerging Leader for 2019-2020. The goal of the program is to cultivate high-level leadership skills in high potential employees by establishing mentoring relationships and identifying personal strengths and opportunities for growth.
Dr. Kristopher Williams, a COE alumnus of the Business Education master’s degree program, has been serving as the Assistant Principal at Alcovy High School in Covington,GA. He has recently been named the new Principal at AHS.
Dr. Kim Fraker, who received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of West Georgia, has been named the new Gordon County School Board superintendent, effective July 1, 2019.
May 2019 Points of Pride
The UWG COE chapter of NSSLHA (National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association) has earned Gold Chapter Honors for their demonstration of leadership for the future of the field and advocacy for future clients.
After winning Teacher of the Year for her school, Chattanooga Valley Elementary, Megan Hulse was recognized as the Walker County Teacher of the Year. Megan teaches 3rd grade and is currently enrolled in the UWG COE’s M.Ed. in Reading Instruction program.
Stacey Britton and Kim Scasny were named 2019 Georgia Project Wild Facilitators of the Year for their work on environmental education.
Stacey Britton was named 2019 Georgia Project WET Facilitator of the Year for her dedication to water education and the promotion of the program at UWG.
Barbie Esquijarosa, an ESOL teacher for all grades at Burruss Elementary, was named the 2020 Marietta City Schools Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Dianne Hoff, Dean of the College of Education, along with CO PIs, Dr. Jennifer Edelman and Dr. Anne Gaquere-Parker, has received $1,373,831 from the National Science Foundation to implement a program at UWG to recruit, prepare, and sustain STEM certified teachers who become engaged teacher leaders for high-needs schools in the West Georgia region and beyond.
April 2019 Points of Pride
Each year the UWG Graduate School showcases outstanding graduate students from each academic college in the Graduate Student Hall of Fame. The College of Education is well-represented by: Jacalyn Butts, M.Ed. Professional Counseling, Jean Lee, Ed.D. School Improvement, Meghen Bassel, Ed.S. Media
Kirsten Pitcock, a graduate of the College of Education’s Professional Counseling program for College Student Affairs and Academic Advisor for the Departments of English and History at the University of Tennessee, received the 2019 Excellence in Advising award from the University of Tennessee, bestowed by the Office of the Chancellor and the Teaching Council of the Faculty Senate.
Reshawndra Hutchins, COE Doctoral student in the School Improvement program, was recently accepted into the Society for Science & the Public’s 2019-2020 Advocate Grant Program. She was one of 300 applicants and one of 60 chosen to be an Advocate. The program seeks to empower adult mentors to transition underserved middle and high school students from conducting scientific or engineering research to completing applications for science research competitions. Many students from these low-income and underrepresented populations go on to post-secondary studies in a STEM field.
COE School Library Media alumnae, Breanna Lee, was named the Bartow County Media Specialist of the Year for 2018-19. She is the media specialist at Adairsville Middle School.
Cortina Harris, a COE graduate from the Educational Leadership Specialist program, was recently named the new Principal for Alcova Elementary School. She worked in the classroom for 13 years and has been in administration for 9 years.
COE Alumni Appointed as New Administrators in Carroll County:
Cameron Tysver - new Director of Exceptional Children Services
Kelly Edwards - new Principal of Roopville Elementary School
Courtney Rogers - new Principle of Temple Elementary School
David Clay - new Principal of Temple Middle School
Landon Odom - new Principal of Mount Zion High School
March 2019 Points of Pride
Dr. Rachel Seaman-Tullis, COE Assistant Professor of Special Education, has received $24,750 from the Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities to continue Project Wolves at UWG. Project WOLVES is a postsecondary program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).
Dr. Morris Council, Assistant Professor of Special Education, received $10,000 in grant funding and charitable donations to partner with the UWG African American Male Initiative (AAMI) Study Abroad Brazil Program. This trip took 8 students to Salvador, Brazil to further their understanding of how race, class, gender, and geographic location intersect to impact educational and non-educational opportunities for Afro-Brazilians.
COE Alumna, Morgan Wagy, was recognized as the Rookie Teacher of Year for Lillian C. Poole Elementary!
February 2019 Points of Pride
Silas Brown, a COE doctoral student and Principal at Jones Elementary School in Bremen, has received two grants to expand materials for science and technology curriculum at the his school. The first was provided by Carroll EMC to purchase a new 3D printer and the second from the Bremen Educational Foundation to purchase a BB8 Robot.
Former COE Student, Sara Forrester, was the recipient of a Walton EMC EmPOWERment Grant! She will be able to purchase Chromebooks for her 3rd grade classroom at Grayson Elementary School in Gwinnett County.
Meghen Bassel, the recent recipient of the Outstanding Ed.S. Student in School Library Media Award from the College of Education, has been featured on local and national news outlets. As the media specialist for South Salem Elementary School in Covington, GA, she uses a therapy dog as a part of her program. Booker T Pug helps students with reading as he listens without judgement as they learn and work through any speech problems. Most notably, Booker has won the Award of Merit at the Westminster Dog Show!
Dr. Lama Farran, associate professor and program coordinator for the COE Speech-Language Pathology program, has been invited to serve on the Dyslexia Endorsement Task Force with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The goal will be to engage with other educators, school systems, and agencies to develop standards for universities to offer this type of endorsement for their students.
The College of Education’s Speech-Language Pathology students were a success at the annual Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference this year in Athens! For the Research Poster Competition, UWG placed in two of the three top spots. Nyesha Climpson and Stacie Ochoa took first place, while Brittany Sloan and Katie Brewer won third place. As undergraduate students, they were competing against fellow undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Lara Willox, the Principal Investigator and CO-PI, Dr. Logan Arrington have received a grant from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, totaling $71,121.00. These funds will be used to create two, week-long professional development sessions for elementary teachers, emphasizing design thinking. They will also host two STEM summer camps for K-5 students.
Mildred Rabun, a COE alumna from the Elementary Education program, received a $1,000 New Teacher Assistance Grant from Georgia Power as a part of a program that awarded 41 new teachers across the state additional funds for their classrooms. Ms. Rabun teaches for Coweta County Schools.
January 2019 Points of Pride
Angie McDaniel, president of Gamma Zeta and graduate student in our professional counseling program, won first place in the Entry-Level Students Category of the 2018-19 Leadership Essay Contest sponsored by Chi Sigma Iota and CACREP. This is an exceptional honor and a testament to her hard work.
Dr. Brent Gilles, along with Co-PIs Drs. Stacy Britton and Rebecca Gault, received $12,336.07 from CS Britton, Inc. to provide professional development and curriculum planning for K-12 teachers on the topic of local watersheds.
John Garner, double UWG alumnus of the College of Education and the College of Arts and Humanities, was honored with the Gwen Hutchinson Outstanding Social Studies Educator Award at the Georgia Council for Social Studies annual conference this past October 2018. This prestigious award follows upon the heels of many other honors he has received, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2017 Teacher of the Year.
The College of Education is proud to have been ranked by US News & World Report for Best Online Programs 2019!
The Office of Education Abroad has selected COE student, Julie Wald, to receive the Wolves Abroad Grant to assist with her upcoming trip to Ecuador. They have also named two COE students as finalists for the Wasdin International Scholarship and as a part of this to receive funds for their trips as well. Congratulate Angelica McDaniel, a professional counseling graduate student, and Carissa Anderson, a health and community wellness undergraduate student!
The COE has partnered with Fulton County Schools to provide paid teacher internships to help meet the growing needs of the Fulton County School system and to train our future educator graduates. To date our students have received a total of $18,000 in disbursements, with another round to occur in March 2019.
The COE is ranked #2 in Ed.D. Online Programs by College Values Online, specifically for our program in School Improvement, which involves an intensive on campus orientation and nine available concentrations!
Darrius Shaw earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Secondary Education in 2014. He is currently a 7th grade science teacher for Fulton County. He was recently named a semi-finalist for a Study/Research Fulbright to the UK to pursue a Master’s degree in Education.
December 2018 Points of Pride
The University of West Georgia ranked #1 for 10 Best Online Doctoral Programs in Georgia by Online Ph.D. Programs. The College of Education houses three of the four programs mentioned in the ranking with doctoral degrees in Higher Education Administration, Professional Counseling and Supervision, and School Improvement.
November 2018 Points of Pride
Dr. Dena Kniess, assistant professor in Counselor Education and College Student Affairs, received the Joe Buck Service Award at the 2018 Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) Conference. The award is given to a current SACSA member who has demonstrated commitment to SACSA and is viewed by colleagues as a role model, mentor, and unsung hero of the association.
Dr. Glaucio Scremin was selected by the University System of Georgia to be a part of the Chancellor’s Learning Scholars program. Dr. Scremin will work with fellow UWG faculty to design and facilitate faculty enrichment learning communities at UWG.
Justin Lindsey, a current student enrolled in the Ed.D. in School Improvement program, was named the Teacher of the Year at Calhoun Middle School! Justin is the founder of the Calhoun Autism Network and was the 2017-18 Educator of the Year at Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership’s North Georgia Autism Conference.
Cassie Robinson, COE alumna, was named the President-Elect for the Georgia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance!
Rachel Groce, COE alumna from the Early Childhood Education program with honors, was named the 2018 Teacher of the Year for Chattooga County School System. She currently teaches kindergarten at Leroy Massey Elementary.
Both the School Improvement and Professional Counseling & Supervision doctoral programs were named as top in the nation for Best Online Doctoral Programs by Online-PhD-Degrees.com!
Dr. Yan Yang received a $10,730 grant, from Affordable Learning Georgia, to transition materials for a course on a platform at little to no cost to students.
Dr. Robert Griffin was awarded the 2018 Distinguished Dissertation in Teacher Education by the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators!
Dr. Julie Chibbaro and Co-PI, Dr. Christy Land, have received $6,449 from the American School Counselor Association to survey school counselors in the Southeast to determine whether student-to-counselor ratio affects counselors’ leadership activity participation.
At the 2018 Georgia Health, Physical Education, Research, and Dance Association conference, Dr. Brian Mosier and Dr. Heidorn were recognized for their work in the field. Dr. Mosier received the Robert W. Moore Professional Recognition Award, given to a member who exemplifies the leadership qualities demonstrated by Robert W. Moore. Dr. Heidorn received the Kim Thompson Honor Award, the highest award presented by GAHPERD that recognizes an individual whose service to the State Association has been exemplary, sustaining, and far-reaching.
September 2018 Points of Pride
COE Alumna, Becky Thomas-Hagen, was awarded the Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year in Harris County by Sandra Deal, the first lady of Georgia. Along with the award, she received a financial contribution for a complete classroom makeover. Thomas-Hagen has been teaching at Mulberry Creek Elementary School for the past 18 years.
COE Students place in Office of Education Abroad photo contest! Anna-Maria Palma placed 2nd in the category of “Local Culture and Everyday Life” from her trip with the Speech-Language Pathology program trip to Ecuador. Morgan Mcgue attended this same trip to Ecuador and was an honorable mention for the category of “Go West Spirit”. Megan Landers attended the COE trip to Belize and won in the category of “Views and Vistas”, as well as “Best in Show”!
Ron Shepherd, former COE Senior Lecturer, conducts professional development opportunities for teachers in Jamaica. He learned that the Jamaican curriculum in elementary schools had not place to teach science. After much work, he was able to bring equipment and books to take to the schools. He was greeted with his own science lab.
August 2018 Points of Pride
Adam Pullen, COE UTeach program graduate and current physics teacher at The Westminster Schools, is the 2018 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year for his local coalition. The award recognizes teachers who are bringing their love of physics to a whole new generation, encouraging higher enrollments, supporting extracurricular activities, and actively participating in both the physics and physics education communities.
Dr. Danilo Baylen received the Distinguished International Service in Educational Communications and Technology award from the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT). The award is given in recognition of outstanding and continuous contributions to the field of educational communications and technology and dedication and involvement to the International Division and AECT at large.
Dr. Jill Drake, the current Department Chair for Early Childhood through Secondary Education, has been recently selected to be the new Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs! Dr. Michelle Frazier Trotman Scott has been appointed to be the interim Department Chair for Early Childhood through Secondary Education.
The College of Education, for the second year in a row, has been recognized by Colleges of Distinction for our first rate programs and recognized professional accreditations in the field of education.
Dr. Lara Willox, Department Chair for Educational Technology and Foundations, was selected as one the Fall 2018 UWG Center for Diversity & Inclusion Resident Scholars. She will collaborate with other UWG Faculty to deliver unconscious bias training for the campus and community.
COE Speech-Language Pathology student and National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association President (NSSLHA), Kevante Drew, has been selected for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Minority Student Leader Program. This opportunity will allow Drew to grow as a leader and open amazing networking opportunities.
The COE's Master of Education in Early Childhood Education has been ranked as one of the best online programs by TheBestSchools.org.
June/July 2018 Points of Pride
Dr. Jill Drake, Department Chair for Early Childhood through Secondary Education, and Dr. Lara Willox, Department Chair for Educational Technology and Foundations, were selected as the new Engage West Fellows. The programs fortifies leadership abilities, broadens exposure to the university as a whole, and provides an opportunity to apply newly developed leadership skills through an experimental project/activity.
Camille Reid, COE Academic Advisor, was selected as one of five mentees for the NACADA, the global community for academic advising, Region 4 Mentoring Program Class for 2018-19. The selection was based on her dedication to moving the advising profession forward, as well as her potential to pursue leadership roles within advising and in NACADA.
The COE Department of Sport Management, Wellness, and Physical Education (SWP) was selected as the June 2018 Georgia Shape partner of the month, for making strides in preparing future educators to be leaders in developing healthy habits in elementary and secondary education students. Specifically mentioned in the recognition was Dr. Brian Mosier, Department Chair for SWP, and Ms. Jennifer Heidorn, COE Instructor, for their work with Power Up for 30 Physical Activity Specialist Certificate for UWG elementary and secondary education teachers.