Virginia Tech School of Education Alumni Newsletter February 2023
REIMAGINING THE FUTURE
With National Science Foundation appointment, School of Education Alumnus Seeks to Reach STEM's "Missing Millions"
The National Science Foundation and other national organizations are increasingly using the term "missing millions" to signify talent lost to the country's lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Using skills he learned as a student in the counselor education program in the School of Education (SOE), alumnus James Moore is leading the charge to reach those millions and create opportunities for underserved communities across the United States.
VT School of Education Alumna and Social Justice Advocate Leads the Way
Brenda Russ cares deeply about empowering students by showing them what they can be. And that's just what she's doing, by becoming the first ever Latina Principal in Roanoke City public schools (RCPS).
Russ is an alumna of the educational leadership and policy studies program, and has been working in the field of education for 11 years. She's held a variety of positions in education, including director of organizational diversity for RCPS, assistant principal, secondary English learner specialist, English as a second language (ESL) coordinator, ESL Department chair, and ESL teacher.
Russ said she chose to pursue working in educational administration for the same reason she started working in education -- to help as many students as possible.
Chase Catalano and Rachelle Kuehl Recognized by the Spencer Foundation For Their Research
Chase Catalano (pictured left), assistant professor in the higher education program, received a $50,000 grant for his project, “Racial justice and anti-racism work in LGBTQ+ centers: Creating a shared vision with scholars and practitioners.” He will host a research conference in the summer of 2023 that will focus on the role LGBTQ+ centers can play to address racial equity on college campuses.
Rachelle Kuehl (pictured right), alumna of the School of Education and research scientist in the Center for Rural Education, received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project, “Enacting an anti-racist critical literacy pedagogy in rural places: How Appalachian teachers engage students in the interrogation of whiteness.” The project will involve working with eight K-12 teachers in rural Appalachia to develop and implement language arts units taught through an anti-racist lens.
SOE NEWS DIGEST
New Center for Rural Education to Focus on Educational Equity
Amy Prize Azano, the founding director of the new Center for Rural Education at Virginia Tech, has studied how structural challenges related to poverty and educational inequities can adversely affect rural schools and communities. As a first-generation college student from a rural community, Azano understands these challenges both professionally and personally, but also believes in the power and promise of rural schooling.
VT School of Education Professor Examines the Question, "What's for Lunch?"
Marcus Weaver-Hightower, a professor in the foundations of education program, has been studying school lunch for 15 years. The history of school food in America goes back over a century, starting as state and local programs as early as the mid-1800’s. States are now debating if they want to keep school lunch free for all students. Regardless of the vote, Weaver-Hightower has lots of hope. Weaver-Hightower has recently published an article titled “The Failed Promise of Free, Universal School Lunch” and a book titled “Unpacking School Lunch,” published earlier this year.
Azano Awarded Prestigious Rural Renewal Research Prize
Amy Price Azano was awarded the 2022 Rural Renewal Research Prize, which honors “a global leader in rural renewal research, education, and engagement.” As the awardee, she gave the keynote address, titled “Place-Based Education as Rural Renewal” at the Rural Renewal Symposium at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Alumna Barbara Lockee Recipient of Jonassen Excellence in Research Award
Barbara Lockee, SOE alumna and professor of instructional design and technology and associate vice provost for faculty affairs, was the recipient of the 2022 David H. Jonassen Excellence in Research Award from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. The award “recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a long-term record of excellence in research in instructional design and technology.”
Indigenous Scholar Reflects on Decolonizing the Curriculum
Brittany Hunt, a member of the Lumbee tribe and assistant professor of education in the Virginia Tech School of Education, reflects on Indigenous people’s place in the curriculum.
Border of the County Kid: External Influences in Rural Schools
Always the first child on the bus in the morning, and the last off in the afternoon, Clint Whitten knows the trials of living far from schools and the impact this can have on participation in school activities. A doctoral student in the School of Education, Clint is also a middle school English, creative writing, and theatre teacher, whose motto for these far-flung students is "give them a ride."
AWARDS & OUTREACH
David Alexander Receives Prestigious Publishing Innovation Award
David Alexander, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, has been awarded the 2022 Creighton Award, recognizing his contributions to the field of educational leadership.
The International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership (ICPEL) awards the Creighton award to individuals who have an extensive record of publications in major journals in the field, are supporting graduate students as they start their publication career, and are actively working to address issues facing PK-12 school administrations.
Carol Mullen Receives Master Professor Award
Carol Mullen, professor in the educational leadership and policy studies program, was selected as the 2022 recipient of the Master Professor Award from the University Council for Educational Administration. As noted on the council’s award website, the award “recognizes senior professors in the field of educational administration whose professional lives have been characterized by extraordinary commitment, distinguished leadership, superior teaching, and outstanding service to leadership preparation.”
Alumnus Thomas “Tommy” Cummins Recognized with Future Teacher Award
Tommy Cummins, Virginia Tech alumnus and current graduate student in the music education program, received the Future Music Teacher Award from the Virginia String Teachers Association (VASTA). The award recognizes collegiate string pedagogy or music education majors who have exhibited the highest levels of leadership, dedication, and achievement across institutions of higher learning in the state of Virginia.
SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 5, 2023
CTE Experience Day 2023
Welcoming prospective students to explore our CTE offerings.
The CTE Experience Day 2022 was such a success, we are going to do it again! Join us on April 5, 2023 to explore the world of Career & Technical Education. All of our CTE teacher preparation programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Virginia Tech School of Education is a global catalyst for individual and social transformation through education, applied research, and advocacy. With 20 degree and certificate programs, you can find your own pathway to serve the greater good.