RCOE faculty, staff and students were invited to make nominations in the following seven categories: Outstanding Teaching, Outstanding Mentoring, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Staff, Outstanding Administrator, Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty and Community of Practice. Nominated individuals or groups were then asked to provide supporting portfolios.
“I am honored to be recognized and to serve alongside so many deserving staff members as we all strive to support future educators locally and globally.”
Melissa Isaacs, administrative specialist in Appalachian’s James Center, on receiving the 2018 Reich College of Education Outstanding Staff Award
Committee Chair Dr. Kim Becnel, associate professor of library science in the RCOE’s Department of Leadership and Educational Studies, expressed her thanks to all who nominated a colleague or submitted a portfolio. She said of this year’s submissions, “The submissions were amazing, as usual, and we (the awards committee) always find ourselves truly inspired by the creativity and dedication of the RCOE faculty. We’re honored to be part of this process, which is — at its heart — an effort to foster a supportive community in which we find joy in celebrating each other’s success.”
2018 RCOE awards recipients
Dr. Rachel Wilson
2018 Outstanding Teaching Award
Wilson is an associate professor in the RCOE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian. She earned her Ph.D. in science education and a graduate certificate in interdisciplinary qualitative studies from the University of Georgia, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bryn Mawr College. She joined the college’s faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor and was promoted in 2016.
“I am very humbled and appreciative to be awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2018,” she said. “I am amongst such a strong community of teachers and feel grateful to be working alongside and learning from them.”
Wilson teaches courses related to environmental and science education in the elementary education program — courses that she works to keep relevant and engaging through innovative and creative approaches to teaching. She said her job requires her to be a teacher-scholar and to engage in dialogue about best practices of teaching and teacher education.
Dr. Greg McClure
Outstanding Mentoring Award
McClure is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Appalachian’s RCOE. He joined the RCOE faculty in 2010 as an assistant professor and was promoted in 2015. McClure earned his Ph.D. in language and literacy education from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in education from Shenandoah University and a B.A. from Appalachian.
McClure said he believes a teacher’s role extends beyond the classroom. As a mentor, he works with students in three distinct areas: advocacy and engagement, underrepresented students and student research. He has helped to organize events focused on critical issues to public education, serves as faculty advisor for Appalachian’s Hmong Society Club and has collaborated with students on research and national conference presentations.
His teaching and research focuses on understanding the ways language, culture and power intersect and play out in educational practices. He said he values creativity, compassion and collaborative problem-solving and tries to incorporate these elements into his work with future teachers.
About receiving the Outstanding Mentoring Award, McClure said, “I am thrilled to be recognized as the RCOE Outstanding Faculty Mentor. I believe that the most important work we do as educators happens outside the classroom. I love working with students to make things happen in the real world.”
Dr. Lisa Gross
Outstanding Service Award
Gross is a professor in the RCOE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an M.S. from Northern Illinois University and a B.S. from Southeast Missouri State University. Gross joined the RCOE faculty in 2007 as an assistant professor. She was promoted to associate professor in 2013 and to professor in 2017. She also serves as the director of Appalachian’s undergraduate elementary education program.
Gross is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and a sought-after presenter at regional, national and international conferences. She actively engages in service to area public schools, the university and professional organizations to which she belongs. She is currently serving on the hiring committee for the Appalachian Academy at Middle Fork, which opens fall 2018, and has been appointed by Chancellor Sheri Everts to serve a four-year term on the academy’s Advisory Board.
“I believe service to be an important expectation for faculty, especially as it relates to our school partnerships. This award is not possible individually, as it includes a number of people working together toward a common goal or outcome,” Gross said. “As the recipient, I represent classroom teachers, colleagues, students and staff who work hard every day to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Outstanding Staff Award
Isaacs is an administrative specialist with the RCOE’s James Center for Student Success and Advising and the inaugural recipient of the RCOE Outstanding Staff Award. She manages budgets and logistics and supports the center’s other staff members.
Isaacs said, “I do my best to make sure everything is done behind the scenes so that my colleagues can focus on their work of supporting students.”
She joined the RCOE in the same role for the college’s Department of Reading Education and Special Education in 2013 before moving to the James Center in 2017. Prior to coming to Appalachian, she worked at Hardin Park Elementary School for 13 years. This work, according to Isaacs, helped prepare her to understand what RCOE students will face in their roles as teachers.
Upon learning she is the Outstanding Staff Award recipient, Isaacs said, “I am honored to be recognized and to serve alongside so many deserving staff members as we all strive to support future educators locally and globally. What I do comes naturally — I have love in my heart and I want others to see and experience that love through my actions.”
Isaacs said she enjoys working and talking with students, but also, helping them give back. She coordinates a monthly service-learning experience for students at the Hospitality House of Boone, where she and the student volunteers cook and serve a meal to 80-90 people.
Dr. Chrystal Dean
Outstanding Administrator Award
Dean is a professor in the RCOE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She earned her Ph.D. in teaching and learning from Vanderbilt University and her M.A. and B.S. from Appalachian. She is the inaugural recipient of the RCOE Outstanding Administrator Award.
She joined the RCOE faculty in 2008 as an assistant professor. Dean was promoted to associate professor in 2013 and to professor in 2016. In addition, she served as director of the college’s undergraduate elementary education program from 2015-16 and currently serves as director of the graduate elementary education program.
Dean stated her greatest challenge as a program director is enrollment; therefore, she has worked to develop initiatives to keep the graduate elementary education program viable. These include accelerated admission enrollment for students interested in earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree while at Appalachian, a partnership with Wenzhou University (WZU) in China, where WZU students can earn a master’s degree from each institution, and developing a fully online master’s degree in elementary education program in an effort to recruit a more diverse student population. In addition, Dean is currently researching the possibility of developing an elementary education graduate certificate.
About receiving the Outstanding Administrator Award, Dean said, “I am pleased to receive this award and honored by the recognition of my time and effort given to the graduate elementary education program.”
Dr. Hannah Reeder
Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award
Reeder is an instructor in the RCOE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian. She teaches elementary education methods courses and an educational assessment course.
Reeder earned her Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from East Tennessee State University and her M.A. and B.S. from Appalachian. She joined the RCOE faculty in 2013 and currently serves as EdTPA coordinator in the RCOE’s Office of the Dean.
Prior to serving in higher education, Reeder was an elementary classroom teacher, math specialist and assistant principal. She holds a North Carolina teaching license in elementary education, curriculum instructional specialist and K-12 school administration.
Her research interests include new teacher induction and instructional coaching. In addition, Reeder said she believes learning should be collaborative and social, and therefore, she strives to use innovative and creative approaches in her teaching. These include a variety of instructional tools and strategies such as TodaysMeet, Listly, discussion boards, Google Drive, Edpuzzle, Flipgrid, Twitter and Zoom.
Reeder said, upon learning of her receipt of the Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award, “The opportunity to work with teacher education candidates allows me to pursue my passion on a daily basis, and I am continuously encouraged by the young educators that I have the privilege of working with each semester. Their enthusiasm for teaching is contagious and constantly reminds me why I entered the profession.”
Lucy Brock Child Development Lab School
Community of Practice Award
The RCOE’s Lucy Brock CDLS has been providing access to high-quality care for young children and serving diverse High Country families for more than 75 years. The school’s teachers currently serve 78 children in an early care and education setting, and the facility hosts more than 500 RCOE students who complete lab work annually.
Over half of Lucy Brock CDLS’ teachers are committed educators who are completing advanced degrees. They work together to create classroom learning experiences and mentor student interns. In addition, they actively seek out collaboration at Lucy Brock CDLS and in the community so they can meet the goals and mission of the school.
Lucy Brock CDLS serves as a model program that reflects current recommended best practices and is a site for developing new and innovative practices.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.