Author Archives: Christine Wilson

The Education Living-Learning Community

The New Education Community of Scholars Get Acquainted and Settle In

One week ago today, the College of Education welcomed 31 new Teacher Education students to ECU and moved them into the newest residence hall on campus, Gateway Residence Hall. This group of students is our newest cohort of Education Living-Learning Community members, which consists of 12 Abernathy, Lane and Maynard Scholars and an additional 19 teacher education students who have expressed an interest in community service and teacher education leadership opportunities within the ECU community.

Over the last week, these students have moved to campus, participated in a campus “meet and great luau”, participated in the ECU teambuilding Challenge Course, and attended their first days of class together, including a cohort section COAD 1000. These 31 new members join our other three cohorts of students and make up our Education Community of Scholars Program (formerly known as the ECU NC Teaching Fellows and Maynard Scholars Program). Please enjoy the video of their exciting week and help me welcome these newest Pirates to our College.

ILS Teacher Prep

Reading Education Faculty Member Elizabeth Swaggerty co-authors Preliminary Report on Landscape of State-level Standards for Teacher Preparation for Literacy Instruction

Dr. Elizabeth Swaggerty headshotThe International Literacy Association issued the first of a two-part report by its Teacher Preparation Task Force reviewing preparation that U.S. teachers receive to teach literacy and how different state departments of education differ in their requirements. The 13-member task force, co-chaired by Deanna Birdyshaw of the University of Michigan and Elizabeth Swaggerty of East Carolina University, includes leading literacy experts from across the country.

The task force used a two-part procedure to inform this preliminary report. The first part included compiling information about requirements for teacher preparation in literacy from 50 state education department websites between July and October 2014. The taskforce then interviewed state education department officials from 23 states to confirm the data collected and to increase understanding of how literacy instruction was addressed in the certification guidelines.

The preliminary report uncovered inconsistent standards and criteria for preparing teachers on how to teach literacy. “While there are limitations to this data and further review is underway, our initial findings show that few states require coursework related to preparation to teach literacy,” said Birdyshaw. Angela Rutherford, University of Mississippi, explained, “Surprisingly, our analysis showed only 18 states require specific courses in literacy for elementary teacher candidates, and half the states did not require specific coursework in any of the licensure areas. Further, there do not appear to be any requirements for literacy experiences during student teaching or other required practica.”

“Our primary takeaway is that all stakeholders need to be involved in the conversation about how to improve preparation of preservice teachers to design and implement instruction that increases the literacy learning of children in kindergarten through grade 12,” added Swaggerty. “We hope this initial report is a starting point for that conversation.”

Given the importance that state education standards and assessments play in the review of Teacher Education Programs, analysis of the data suggests:

  •  Systematic and comprehensive research that investigates preservice program features that effectively prepare candidates to develop students’ literacy across all grades and in all disciplines should be conducted and shared.
  • State standards and assessments related to literacy teacher preparation should be research based and of sufficient quality to provide the feedback needed to develop or revise teacher education curricula and state certification guidelines.
  • State guidelines for preservice teacher preparation should make explicit reference to what candidates should know and be able to do in relationship to literacy instruction.
  • All preservice teachers should be required to participate in activities during their practica that develop their ability to design literacy instruction and monitor literacy growth.

In considering the findings, the taskforce recognized three primary limitations to the research.

  1. This is a preliminary report with the second phase ongoing.
  2. Teacher education programs are in transition, with state education department officials from 15 of the 23 states interviewed stating that changes were being made to teacher certification requirements in the coming year.
  3. State education officials interviewed were knowledgeable about the teaching requirements, but not necessarily experts in the areas related specifically to teaching literacy.

Swaggerty emphasized, “The report shares information gathered about certification requirements at the state level, not teacher education programs. Many teacher education programs go above and beyond the state requirements and have wide-ranging experiences related to teaching literacy.”

The second year goal is to interview Teacher Education Programs officials, administrators, and professors in all 50 states to determine how they are integrating the guidelines.

Preliminary Report on Preparation for Literacy Instruction. pp. 1-13. Newark, DE: International Literacy Association.

Adrienne Lee displays the Teacher of the Year award she earned as a first-year teacher.

What Do SECU Partnership East Students Do After They Graduate From Their Online, Degree-Completion Program?

They go on to become leaders in their classrooms and schools! This is definitely the case for Adrienne Lee, a 2014 Special Education graduate. Ms. Lee is currently serving as a Kindergarten through 5th Grade Adaptive Special Education teacher at Poplar Springs Elementary School in Stokes County. As a former teacher assistant, Ms. Lee completed her degree in special education part-time through SECU (State Employees’ Credit Union) Partnership East by taking her coursework all online and completing her field experiences and internship in her home county. She transferred from Forsyth Technical Community College where she completed her first two years of her teaching degree into SECU Partnership East where she finished her degree while continuing to work as a teacher assistant.

Ms. Lee shared, “I know my experience as a TA was an advantage to my success but I know my education prepared me to be a knowledgeable teacher.”

Her experiences within the East Carolina University College of Education prepared her to have a positive impact on the children with which she worked this past school year. Ms. Lee reports that her students made tremendous gains during the academic year and performed exceptionally well on their end of grade assessments. She notes that her students’ success has been a result of a lot of effort. She stated, “I will admit I put in some very long hours but I am so excited about how my students have been received in school and in the community.”

Her efforts at positively impacting exceptional needs children have been recognized by others. Her educator peers within her school recently recognized her as Poplar Springs Elementary Teacher of the Year. As a first year teacher, this honor is a testament to Ms. Lee’s talent and dedication to her profession.

East Carolina University’s College of Education is very proud of this novice teacher who is making a difference in the lives of children in Stokes County. Providing access to teacher education degrees through SECU Partnership East is a long-standing commitment the college has toward growing teachers for rural areas within the state.

Ms. Lee sums up the importance of having convenient access to education: “ My dream would not have not come to fruition without the SECU Partnership East and ECU.”

For more information about SECU Partnership East which is involves a partnership between North Carolina Community Colleges, public schools and ECU’s College of Education, please visit or contact Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry at or 252-328-1123.

The East Carolina University College of Education has established SECU Partnership East. Through collaboration and innovation, the partnership focuses on preparing teachers who will help meet the demand for well-trained professionals in the classrooms of North Carolina and beyond. This endeavor involves partnerships with community colleges and public schools across eastern North Carolina.

2015 ILA Conference Cover - Transforming Lives Through Literacy

ECU’s COE Reading Education Faculty Have Strong Presence at International Literacy Association Conference

Transforming Lives through Literacy was the theme of the  International Literacy Association Conference held July 18-20, 2015, in St. Louis Missouri and Reading Education faculty from East Carolina University’s (ECU) College of Education had a strong presence at this international event.  Faculty members, Kimberly Anderson, Johna Faulconer, Christy Howard and Elizabeth Swaggerty joined colleagues from 20 countries around the globe to explore ideas, best practices and resources for literacy education and advocacy and to learn from one another.

As active members of the Professors of Reading Teacher Educators, ECU Reading faculty presented sessions on content area literacy, early literacy and teacher education.  Additionally, Elizabeth Swaggerty a co-chair of the ILA Task Force on Literacy Teacher Preparation, a group  examining how our teachers can be better prepared to drive student literacy achievement, helped lead a session sharing the group’s initial findings.

Ensuring that our teacher candidates have the best preparation possible for meeting the literacy and learning needs of all of their future students is always foremost in our thinking. Opportunities to share what we are doing at ECU, learn about what others around the country are doing, and contribute to the national dialogue on literacy education continually pushes our thinking and makes us better, says Kim Anderson, an Assistant Professor of Reading Education.

Dr. Linda Patriarca

East Carolina University’s Own Dr. Linda Patriarca Nationally Recognized

Dr. Linda A. Patriarca is named one of “The 30 Most Influential Deans of Education in the United States ” according to a new list. This will leave the College of Education at East Carolina University in a great position as she steps down and hands the reigns to Dr. B Grant Hayes who will be taking over as dean at the end of July.

In preparing the listing of Deans of Education, the researchers’ goal was “showcasing how they have had an invaluable impact not only on the field of education as a whole, but also on the lives of the future teachers of America whom they have shepherded through their programs.”

The list was compiled by researchers at Mometrix Test Preparation. The list was compiled through analysis of state and national awards and honors, education program rankings, degree program rankings and level of pay received by graduates of the teaching programs. It was developed as a way to honor individuals dedicated to educating the future workforce.

Delilah Jackson

Dr. Delilah Jackson, 3-time Alumna, Named Superintendent of Washington County Schools

Dr. Delilah Jackson has been a long-time Pirate, earning her BS in Elementary Education, MAEd in Educational Leadership, and EdD in Educational Leadership all in the College of Education at East Carolina University.

Since earning her teaching license, she has served the children and parents of Pitt county, as a teacher,  assistant principal, principal, and finally worked her way up to Assistant Superintendent. “Pitt County Schools has been my teacher for 25 years,” Jackson said in a news release. “I am thankful for all who have been a part of my journey. I will miss each and every person that has had an impact on my life as educator in this school system.”

After 25 years, she is going to step out of Pitt county to move into the role of Superintendent of Washington County Schools. “My new role as superintendent of Washington County Schools will allow me to expand my impact on the lives of children,” Dr. Jackson said. “I am excited about my new opportunity, and I am looking forward to serving the students, parents, and community of Washington County.”

Nikki Manning

Partnership East Made it Possible for Nikki Manning to Become a Teacher

The moment you walk into Nikki Manning’s first grade classroom, you get the feeling something exciting is going to happen.  Nikki teaches at Benvenue Elementary School in Rocky Mount, NC.  She landed a job with Nash-Rocky Mount schools immediately after graduating from East Carolina University in December, 2012 and she says she loves the classroom.  Her kids love her too!  According to Denise, one of the first graders I met while visiting the school, “Ms. Manning makes us so happy!  She is the best teacher I’ve ever had.”

Nikki’s mother cared for children in her home while Nikki was young.  Many of her clients were teachers, which gave Nikki the opportunity to help out in classrooms at an early age.  While completing an internship in high school, she decided that she, too, wanted to be a teacher.

She found SECU Partnership East to be exactly what she needed to complete her degree while working two jobs.  Nikki says attending Nash Community College and then completing junior and senior coursework at ECU gave her the flexibility she needed to pursue her dream of teaching.  “I highly recommend Partnership East to everyone I can.  It is truly a great program and I feel that it more than prepared me as an educator.  The great instructors, advisors, and supervisors surely made the process that much more enjoyable, too!”

COE Seal - Feature Image

Faculty in Elementary Mathematics Education Sought

The Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education is seeking applications and nominations for a nine-month, full-time, fixed-term faculty position in the College of Education, East Carolina University to begin August 12, 2015.

Job Description: Teaching Faculty in Elementary Mathematics Education.

Rank/Salary: Commensurate with qualifications.

Application Due Date: June 29, 2015

Responsibilities of the position include: Teaching multiple sections of undergraduate elementary mathematics methods courses, developing ongoing partnerships with principals and teachers to coordinate field experiences, curriculum development and planning with other faculty, attending cross-curricular meetings in the elementary education program, assisting other faculty with recruitment and retention, and evaluation of mathematics degrees and concentration programs.

Minimum Qualifications:

  1. Masters degree in Mathematics Education or Related Field with a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in mathematics education
  2. Demonstrated record of excellence in teaching and leadership in mathematics education
  3. North Carolina teaching license

Preference given to candidates with (optional):

  1. Three or more years experience teaching preK-6 mathematics
  2. Experience with designing and providing professional development in elementary mathematics teaching or in teaching mathematics/mathematics education courses for prospective elementary school teachers
  3. Active participation in NCCTM affiliates
  4. Program evaluation experience

Special Instructions to Applicants: Candidates must submit the following documents online at (1) a letter of application describing academic background, specific skills, and experiences relevant to the position, including professional development with teachers; and, (2) a current vita. Candidates also must submit a copy of all official transcripts and arrange to have three current letters of reference sent directly to: Dr. Katie Schwartz, MATE Search Chair, Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education, College of Education, Flanagan 352, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858. Finalists will be asked to teach a class session of an elementary mathematics methods course and should be prepared to discuss their experiences and philosophy of teaching. Screening will begin June 29, 2015 and continue until position is filled. Official transcripts required upon employment.

Department Homepage:

ECU Statement: East Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action University that accommodates individuals with disabilities.

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at (252) 737-1016 (Voice/TTY).

Proper documentation of identity and employability is required at the time of employment.

Teaching Faculty in Elementary Mathematics Advertisement

SECU Partnership East Group Picture

SECU Partnership East Welcomes New Cohorts from across the State

On Saturday, June 6, 2015, the College of Education welcomed four cohorts who will be joining State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Partnership East this summer and fall. Students spent the day in Speight Building learning about their new majors in elementary and special education from College of Education advisors and faculty members. In addition, these new teacher education students toured the Teaching Resource Center in Joyner Library as well as spent time getting to know their new advisors and fellow cohort members.

SECU Partnership East students will begin their degree programs this summer or in the fall where they will take courses online with East Carolina University faculty. Intrusive advising and field placements in the students’ home-counties are incorporated into the SECU Partnership East degree completion programs. The goal of SECU Partnership East is to grow teachers close to home to provide access to teacher education degrees in rural areas. This year marks the 13th year of Partnership East which has graduated 655 teachers since its inception in 2002. Students in the new cohorts live primarily in rural eastern North Carolina but this newest crop of future teachers also includes individuals from the piedmont and mountain regions of North Carolina.

The new cohort orientation offered participants an opportunity to interact with their advisor and fellow students with whom they will learn in a variety of virtual platforms over the next few years. One participant shared, “I love the energy today. I’m so excited to get started and I’m glad I chose ECU! I feel better being able to meet everyone…it will make it easier for when we are online.” Students were also provided with detailed information about resources at East Carolina to include financial aid, library resources, and other academic support systems for distance education students.

SECU Partnership East involves a partnership between East Carolina University, North Carolina community colleges, and public school systems. Students can pursue degrees in elementary education and special education general curriculum. Beginning in 2016, middle grades education with language arts and social studies concentration will be offered. The degrees are offered in a part-time format for all 3 degrees with full-time options available for elementary education. To qualify, students must have prerequisite coursework from a North Carolina community college as well as meet testing and grade requirements. For more information about SECU Partnership East, interested individuals are encouraged to visit: or contact Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry at or 252-328-1123.


MAEd-MIDG Student, Jennifer Stalls, Selected for Kenan Fellows Program

Jennifer StallsJennifer Stalls, sixth-grade science teacher at C. M. Eppes Middle School in Pitt County, is among 40 educators from across the state who have been selected as 2015-16 Kenan Fellows. Earlier this year, she was presented the NC Science Teachers Association’s District One Outstanding Science Teacher Award. A graduate of East Carolina University, Stalls is currently earning her Masters of Education-Middle Grades Education degree in ECU’s College of Education with a concentration in science.

Beginning in June, the new Kenan Fellows will spend five weeks of their summer learning and gaining experience from local experts in nanotechnology, financial education, renewable energy, genetics research, energy, and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

A core goal of the program is to develop outstanding teacher leaders who serve as advocates for excellence in education. The year-long fellowship begins with the summer internship and culminates with the development and implementation of cutting-edge educational curricula and programs designed by Kenan Fellows. These resources and programs are shared with other educators and used in classrooms, school systems, and communities across the state and beyond.

Educators selected for fellowships demonstrate proven leadership or leadership potential and are awarded a $6,000 stipend that includes travel expenses. Kenan Fellows also receive 80 hours of professional development divided into three professional advancement institutes that focus on leadership skills, community engagement, proven instructional strategies, and education policy. The Biogen Foundation is the premier sponsor of the institutes.

-Source: Pitt County Schools Website