Congratulations to Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt and the Principal Preparation for Excellence and Equity in Rural Schools (PPEERS) team for receiving an award of $1.6 million from NC Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD). Dr. Kappler-Hewitt, faculty member in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC), is the principal investigator for the grant. Dr. Carl Lashley, ELC associate professor, is the co-principal investigator.

PPEERS is a partnership with regional rural districts and UNC Greensboro. The partnership aims to develop strong, sustainable leadership pipelines within these districts; PPEERS prepares and licenses new principals for high-needs, rural schools through an enriched and fully-funded Master of School Administration (MSA) two-year degree program.

“In partnership with rural districts, we have developed a rigorous, relevant leadership preparation program that connects theory to practice,” Dr. Kappler-Hewitt says. “We center instructional, cultural, and change leadership, grounded in the unwavering pursuit of equity and social justice. It is through the synergy of the experience and expertise of our partners that our program is thriving.”

This project is supported by funds from the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. The recent NCASLD award is a continuation of funding, which is a testimony to the impact that PPEERS has made since its founding four years ago. The first cohort of principals began their training in the December of 2016.

“It is an honor to work with the impressive students who are admitted to the program,” Dr. Kappler-Hewitt says. “They are the future and the change we need in education.”

PPEERS Abstract:
Rural schools face disadvantages when recruiting prospective principals, and rural schools receive significantly fewer applications than larger districts (Pjanowski, Hewitt, & Brady, 2009). With the challenges rural districts face in recruiting and retaining principals expected to grow more acute in coming decades (Cruzeiro & Boon, 2009), the development of rural principal pipelines is imperative (Wood, Find, and Mirecki, 2013).

Drawing on this research, PPEERS involves a partnership amongst 11 rural districts that struggle to find and keep effective principals for high-needs schools, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s (UNCG) Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations. The partnership aims to develop strong, sustainable leadership pipelines within these districts. PPEERS 3 (2020-2022) will prepare and license 20 new principals for high-needs, rural schools.

Learn more about PPEERS in the articles below.

Growing Our Own Principals
$1.8M Grant Prepares Principals to Lead in Rural, High-Needs Schools
UNCG, HPU win million-dollar grant to train principals

Please join us in congratulating our 2020 SOE Alumni Award winners: Dr. Scott P. Culclasure, Dr. Stephanie Kurtts, Dr. Donna Cox Peters, and Dr. Dana Stachowiak!

To learn more about the SOE Alumni Awards, visit soe.uncg.edu/alumni/alumni-awards.

Early Career Award

UNC Greensboro SOE Alumnus/a who has received achievement in his/her profession 8 years since the most recent UNC Greensboro degree

Dana Stachowiak

Dr. Dana Stachowiak
Ph.D. Educational Studies 2013

Dr. Dana Stachowiak is currently the Director of the Gender Studies and Research Center (GSRC) and an Associate Professor in Curriculum Studies at UNC Wilmington. Previously, Dana was an Assistant Professor of Diversity Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a teacher and curriculum specialist in North Carolina.

As Director, Dana oversees the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) program and develops the research agenda and educational and cultural programming for the center. In her first year, Dana worked to successfully re-image the GSRC to more closely align with UNCW’s focus on research, build stronger interdisciplinary and community collaborations, strengthen the WGS curriculum, and expand the reach of the center.

As an Associate Professor, Dana spearheaded the transformation of the Master of Education in Curriculum to focus on equity and offer students a unique action-based program. She researches, publishes, and presents extensively on trans/gender equity in education, healing centered engagement, social justice education, and literacy curriculum development.

Dr. Stachowiak is active in her professional and personal communities, where she chairs committees, holds board memberships, edits journals, collaborates with community members, and volunteers to rescue all the dogs and cats.

Distinguished Career Award Winner

​UNC Greensboro SOE Alumnus/a who has conducted exemplary service to his/her profession​

Scott Culclasure, Alumni Award Winner 2020

Dr. Scott P. Culclasure
Ph.D. Curriculum & Teaching 1996

M.Ed. Social Studies 1986

With a passion for history, Scott recently completed a forty-year career as a classroom teacher divided almost equally between two very different local schools: High Point Central High School and the American Hebrew Academy. Scott was born in Greensboro and was an honors graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in history and education. Continuing his studies at UNC Greensboro, Scott completed his master’s degree in education in 1986 and his PhD in 1996 with a dissertation later published as The Past As Liberation from History. His mentors at the University include the late Lois Edinger, Robert Calhoon, and Svi Shapiro. Scott’s desire to do the work of a historian also resulted in co-editing with Chuck Bolton The Confessions of Edward Isham: A Poor White Life of the Antebellum South.

In addition to teaching more delightful students than he can count, Scott is proudest of his work at High Point Central to organize and lead one of Guilford County Schools’ first International Baccalaureate Diploma programs. The challenges of opening a new kind of school at the American Hebrew Academy also helped bolster his sense of educating the whole person.

Since his own school days, Scott has worked as a volunteer at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, where he continues to conduct summertime walking tours.

Distinguished Service Award Winners

​UNC Greensboro SOE Alumnus/a who has earned state, national, or international distinction in his/her career​

Inspirational Educator 2019

Dr. Donna Cox Peters
Ph.D. Curriculum & Teaching 1999

MSBE Business Education 1980

Dr. Donna Cox Peters has devoted her career to educating North Carolina’s K-12 children and has led from the positions of classroom teacher through superintendent in North Carolina public schools. She continues this leadership work and passion in her role as partner in Leadership Solutions Group, LLC, focusing on preparing, developing, and supporting school leaders.

Donna is a certified John Maxwell speaker, teacher, and coach. As principal, she was awarded the Patrick Francis Daly Memorial Award for Excellence by the Yale Child Study Center in 1998 for excellence in school leadership. Donna was recognized by the NC Association of School Administrators and the NC School Board Association as the 2010 NC Superintendent of the Year. In 2019, she was recognized as a UNC Greensboro School of Education Inspirational Educator, nominated by Sandhills Leadership Academy graduates she served during their principal preparation. Donna has been a member of the UNC Greensboro School of Education Advisory Board for 13 years, including two years as chair, and she currently serves as lecturer in the Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) Department.

Stephanie Kurtts, Alumni Award Winner 2020

Dr. Stephanie Kurtts
Ph.D. Curriculum & Teaching 1998

After completing her Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching at UNC Greensboro in 1998, Dr. Stephanie Kurtts returned in 2001 as a faculty member in the newly formed department of Specialized Education Services (SES) in the School of Education. She served 10 years as the program coordinator for the special education teacher education programs, and was part of the collaborative planning and implementation of the dual major in elementary education and special education with her colleague Dr. Sam Miller in Teacher Education and Higher Education (TEHE). Most recently, Stephanie served as the interim department chair of SES.

During her time at UNC Greensboro, Stephanie has served the university and the community in numerous activities. Among those, she was a member and chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the School of Education’s representative to the General Education Council. She served as a Faculty Fellow in the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning and as a Faculty Fellow (Exploring Teaching as a Profession) with the Grogan Learning Communities. In 2013, Stephanie received the School of Education’s Mentoring/Advising/ Supervision award. She was also the recipient of the Marina Wilder Distinguished Service Award of the Arc of Greensboro.

US News World Report Best Grad Schools 2021

UNC Greensboro School of Education’s Counseling and Educational Development (CED) department was named No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in North Carolina in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Graduate Schools rankings, jumping from No. 6 last year. The CED department has consistently been recognized as a top graduate school by the U.S. News & World Report, ranking in the Top 8 list for more than two decades.

“This ranking validates the hard work conducted by our faculty, staff, and students,” says Dr. Kelly Wester, Chair of the CED department. “While we value where our program has been, we also look forward to growth and new initiatives, such as providing telehealth to UNCG students and members of the surrounding community, and the training we are creating for mental health and educational professionals outside of our department.”

CED is welcoming four new faculty this school year, and the department continues to be involved in active research and community projects. One particularly prevalent project is with Dr. Carrie Wachter Morris and Dr. L. DiAnne Borders, who have a grant with Rockingham County Schools (RCS) to explore social-emotional learning for its teachers, staff, and students. This year, multiple CED faculty and interns have provided mental health and trauma training to help prepare RCS teachers and staff for this school year, surrounding the stress of COVID-19, remote learning, and civil unrest.

Additionally, the Nicholas A. Vacc Counseling and Consulting Clinic (housed in the CED) is starting to provide telehealth services to students and local community members, a service that the department did not have available prior to this year. The Vacc Clinic is directed by Dr. Jennifer Cannon, and its new telehealth services are expected to be up and running by September 2020 — it will also serve as a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for RCS staff and teachers.

CED has started an initiative called the North Carolina Academy for Stress, Trauma and Resilience (NCA-STAR). There are three branches of the Academy (UNCG community, local community, and schools) in which it will be doing trainings, research, and service provision. This is particularly relevant given the increases in experiences of trauma, vicarious trauma, and mental health due to COVID-19 and civil unrest, and the disparities that COVID-19 has unearthed for some individuals/families.

To learn more about the CED department, visit soe.uncg.edu/academics/departments/ced.

Please join us in welcoming the five new members of our SOE Advisory Board: Anessa Burgman, Antonio Jordan, Shirley Morrison, Karen Roseboro, and A. Rashad Slade. We look forward to working with and learning from each of them in the coming years!

The School of Education (SOE) Advisory Board is charged with enhancing excellence in the research, teaching, and service functions of the SOE, and provides input to the Dean and members of the Dean’s Office Staff concerning pressing issues facing the SOE and UNC Greensboro. To learn more about the SOE Advisory Board and view a full list of its sitting members, please visit soe.uncg.edu/directory/advisory-board.

Anessa Burgman, SOE Advisory Board

Dr. Anessa Burgman received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University (’91), and received her advanced education degrees from the UNC Greensboro School of Education: M.S. in Educational Administration and Supervision (’95), Ed.S. in Educational Leadership (’04), and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (’11). She has held the roles of classroom teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal over her many years as an educator, and she has been the Principal of Claxton Elementary School in Guilford County since 2005. She was also an Adjunct Professor of the Master of School Administration (MSA) program in the School of Education at NC A&T University from 2013-2018.

Antonio Jordan, SOE Advisory Board

Dr. Antonio Jordan is an administrator in higher education with more than 20 years of experience in teaching, counseling, advising, instructing, supervising, and directing. He received his Ed.S. Educational Specialist degree (’15) and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (’17) from Wingate University in Charlotte and he is currently Director of Recruitment and Admissions for Davidson County Community College. To name just a portion of his relevant experience: he served as Vice President for Student Services at James Sprunt Community College, he worked in the North Carolina Community College System Office as Academic Program Coordinator, and was a Student Counselor at the Central Piedmont Community College. He has in-depth knowledge of state-wide policies and procedures that govern universities, colleges, and local administrative units.

Shirley Morrison, SOE Advisory Board

Dr. Shirley Morrison has a Master’s in Counseling (’75) and a Master’s in School Administration (’82) from NC A&T University, and received her Ed.D. in Education from the UNC Greensboro School of Education (’09). She is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Guilford County Schools where she previously held the role of Executive Director of HR, and she provides administrative leadership in coordinating programs and initiatives for all aspects of human resources for over 10,000 employees. She was Director of Elementary Schools for Greensboro City Schools and Guilford County Schools after having been an Assistant Principal, a Principal, and a counselor at various schools across the Triad.

Karen Roseboro, SOE Advisory Board

Dr. Karen Roseboro majored in History and minored in Sociology at East Carolina University (’99) and received her M.S.A. in Educational Leadership from Gardner Webb University (’04). She has an Ed.S. Educational Specialist degree and Ed.D. Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Wingate University (’12). Since 1999, she has held the roles of Special Education Teacher, History Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal, Priority Schools Coordinator, and Superintendent. She currently leads district school turnaround efforts as the Instructional Superintendent of School Transformation for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. She developed a network of schools involved in strategic school turnaround known as “Inspire 340,” and supervises 18 principals and provides coaching support to eight principals at the Elementary, Middle and High School Levels.

A Rashad Slade, SOE Advisory Board

A. Rashad Slade completed his undergraduate education at Appalachian State University (’01), has a Master of Education from NC State University (’07), and received his Post-Master’s Certificate in School Administration (’13) and Ed.S. Education Specialist degree from UNC Greensboro (’18). He is currently working on his Doctorate in Educational Leadership within the UNCG SOE, and expects to complete his degree this Fall. In his early career, he held the roles of teacher, IT specialist, and intern for the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy (PTLA). He has worked with Guilford County Schools since 2013, where he has been Director of IT & Innovation and Director of Blended Learning, and is now the Executive Director of Student Assignment. In this role, he administers the magnet schools application and selection process, student assignments, oversight of blended learning programs and interpreting and explaining program policies and procedures.


The SELF Design Studio, a makerspace where School of Education (SOE) students can learn and create with hands-on resources and activities, is continuing its work with the UNC Greensboro and SOE community by offering support and training in the use of creative digital tools.

“Our work during this time will focus on using tools that will allow students (UNCG and K-12) to create artifacts that support their learning,” says Matt Fisher, Assistant Director of the SELF Design Studio.

The virtual makerspace will explore the use of:
• Scratch coding to create interactive games, stories, and animations
• Virtual escape rooms for learning across subject areas (learn more below)
• Digital storytelling and publication
• Virtual reality world creation and virtual field trips around the world

Workshops dates for these tools can be found here.

If faculty need help sparking creativity for your students during the time we are conducting classes virtually, send the SELF Design Studio an email to makeuncg@uncg.edu. The team is happy to work with you to create opportunities for your students to use new tools to express their knowledge of your content.

The SELF Design Studio is hosting virtual escape room sessions for UNCG faculty, staff, and students. You can use these 45 minute sessions to build community and collaboration skills between your students, or create your own escape room puzzles based around the topics you are discussing.

For more information, registration, and dates for future virtual escape rooms, visit: tinyurl.com/uncgescape.

To see a sample of a virtual escape room, visit: sites.google.com/uncg.edu/colors/home.
Note: This example is a very simple escape room. We can design experiences as difficult as you would like them to be.

To learn more about the SELF Design Studio, click here.