ECU receives funding to develop leaders in education

GREENVILLE, N.C. (8/22/2016) – The East Carolina University College of Education is one of two universities invited to join the Sanford Education Collaborative (SEC), a network of universities committed to expanding a nationwide movement to create a new paradigm for pre-K–12 teaching excellence and student achievement.

Each year, the SEC selects a small number of universities to join the collaborative based on factors such as demonstrated effective teacher preparation, regional representation and institutional diversity, according to Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education at ECU.

National University’s Sanford Education Center administers the collaborative that announced that the college will initially receive $50,000 to enhance the development of research and implementation of evidenced-based programs. The funding will support ECU’s teacher preparation programs for undergraduates and professional development offerings for teachers in eastern North Carolina.

“This program sets us up to strengthen the partnerships with our K–12 partners,” said Hayes. “Professional development for teachers in our region is a huge need for school districts. We can use these funds and our expertise to take some of the burden off schools.”

ECU will be able to enhance its work with the New Teacher Support Program (NTSP), a UNC-system program that facilitates coaching and professional development for teachers in their first through third years of teaching in eastern North Carolina.

“Often times, new teachers do not feel empowered in the current system to make any changes,” said Hayes. “They may think that because something has been done a certain way for a long time or they are a new teacher, they can’t make changes or improvements. We want to create agents of change and advocates.”

The SEC has two evidenced-based initiatives serving pre-K–12 education: Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire. Sanford Harmony strengthens social and emotional development in pre-K–6 children, and Sanford Inspire is a leadership program designed to empower current and future teachers to create inspiring pre-K-12 classroom experiences, said Hayes.

“These programs have been found to have positive impacts on attitudes towards school and academic performances in math and reading,” said Hayes. “Initial research findings have also shown that these programs have increased empathy, identified reductions in gender stereotyping and classroom aggression.”

The college’s initial focus will be on Sanford Harmony.

College of Education representatives officially accepted the invitation at the second annual Sanford Higher Education Collaborative Summit held on March 1–3 at National University in La Jolla, California.

“This recognition puts us on the national stage to display and showcase our work with initiatives like TeachLive, edTPA and PirateCODE beyond state and region,” said Hayes.

The Sanford Education Collaborative was established at National University in 2014 through a generous gift by renowned philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford to address critical needs in the education and the nonprofit sectors.

For more information about the collaborative, visit