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In this year's Transform magazine, read about how we strive to bring our research ideas to life and deliver measurable impact on children and communities with our Impact Through Innovation initiative; the importance of supporting our English language learners throughout the School of Education; our new Inspirational Educators scholarship program that honors teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, librarians, and other educators that have made a difference in the lives of others; and much more.

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Published by UNCG SOE Website, 2019-11-14 16:11:28

Transform 2019-2020

In this year's Transform magazine, read about how we strive to bring our research ideas to life and deliver measurable impact on children and communities with our Impact Through Innovation initiative; the importance of supporting our English language learners throughout the School of Education; our new Inspirational Educators scholarship program that honors teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, librarians, and other educators that have made a difference in the lives of others; and much more.

Keywords: Transform,UNCG School of Education,Education

p.15 Building a p.21 Learning p.25 Healthy,
Movement by Doing Happy, & Safe

Innovating the way we teach, learn, engage, and inspire

cover story

Page 5 T H E L A N G UAG E of L E A R N I N G

Innovating the way we teach, learn, engage, and inspire

transform 5 COVER STORY
The Language of Learning | by Sam Logan
2019-2020 Shaping the future of ESL education.

School of Education
UNC Greensboro
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170

Dean of the School of Education
Randy Penfield

Public Communications Specialist
Rosalie Catanoso

Sam Logan

Art Direction & Design
Evelyn Cook

Contributing Photographers
Jon Black
Walkertown Library Community Garden

Contributing Writers
Rosalie Catanoso
Terri Jackson
Maria Johnson
Sam Logan
Robert Lopez
Lindsay Masi
Erin Stoneking

Pictured: Students from the Community Voices program.

IN THIS 15 Building a Movement | by Sam Logan
Reimagining what’s possible inside our libraries.
21 Learning by Doing | by Lindsay Masi

Scenes from year two of the Moss Street Partnership School.

25 Healthy, Happy, & Safe | by Sam Logan
Building stronger relationships and communities across Guilford County.

3 Using Research as a Tool for Advocacy | by Rosalie Catanoso

Dispatches from the intersection of academia and activism.

13 Impact Through Innovation | by Erin Stoneking

Fueling the next generation of educational innovators.

19 Showing Their Work | by Maria Johnson

A candid discussion about the future of math education.

29 A Special Kind of Care | by Robert Lopez
Creating a more inclusive learning environment for special needs students.

31 A Legacy of Inspiration | by Robert Lopez

Introducing a “Hall of Fame” for our most influential educators and mentors.

33 Supporting the Future of Education | by Erin Stoneking
How one UNC Greensboro professor is giving back to her “scholarly home.”

35 Impact & Inspiration
Alumni and donor news.

MESSAGE Although we are an ever-evolving
from the environment, we remain steadfast
DEAN in the promotion of equity, diversity,
Randy Penfield, PhD and inclusion. Our cover story, “The
Language of Learning” (page 5),
It has been an exciting year for all of us here in the UNC Greensboro School of focuses on the importance of supporting
Education. While reading our third issue of Transform, I am both proud and our English language learners
humbled by the phenomenal stories featured in its pages. Our core purpose is throughout the School of Education. On
to create life-changing opportunities through education, and everything we do is in the student and community level, the
support of this purpose. Our community — faculty, students, alumni, donors, and School of Education champions English
friends of the School of Education — continue to show how much they believe in as a Second Language (ESL) efforts in
our mission through their hard work, generous support, extensive research, and a variety of ways. Community Voices is
enthusiastic encouragement. one such program, operating as a free,
In the time since our last edition of Transform was published, we successfully immigrant- and refugee-focused subset
opened and completed the first year of Moss Street Partnership School (page 21), of the Young Writers Camp, a summer
a tireless collaboration between UNC Greensboro and Rockingham County writing program for young aspiring
Schools that has proven to be both challenging and extremely rewarding. We also writers. Project EnACTeD is another
spearheaded the Inspirational Educators initiative (page 31), a new scholarship ESL initiative that focuses on engaging
program that honors teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, librarians, and other and advancing community-centered
educators who have made a difference in the lives of others. teacher development.
We strive to bring our research ideas to life and deliver measurable results The impact that the UNC
for children and communities with our Impact Through Innovation (ITI) initiative Greensboro School of Education has
(page 13). ITI provides support to faculty and students to help transform their ideas on both a local and national scale
for improvement into actual innovations used in schools and communities around the continues to expand each year. In the
nation. The Let’s Move in Libraries program was created with resources and support last year alone, our faculty and students
from ITI when an assistant professor in our Library & Information Science Department put in more than 370,000 hours of
saw the opportunity for libraries to act as a place for communities to come together. service in schools and organizations
You can read more about this nationally renowned project on page 15. across the state. Now more than
ever, our research is building critical
1 | UNC Greensboro School of Education knowledge to improve education and
socio-emotional well-being. Through
all of this, we provide invaluable service
to our local, regional, and national
communities. Not only is it our duty as
the School of Education to do so, but it
is our passion — and I am confident that
our passion radiates through the stories
you’ll read in this year’s Transform. 


in economic impact to Recent Rankings
NC Piedmont Triad (2017-18) and Points of Pride

377K $5M 6th
for research
hours conducted in Counseling and Educational
2018-19 Development Program
of community service ranked 6th in the U.S.
were provided in 2017-18
by students and faculty - U.S. News & World Report

$3M 10Top

in scholarships, tuition waivers, School of Education ranked
and graduate assistantships (2018-19) among the top 10 regional

$5.8M 462 schools in the nation
in instruction
and services degrees awarded - U.S. News & World Report
to the community (Fall 2018, Spring 2019,
(2017-18) 10Top
Summer 2019)
in the nation for
online Masters in Early
Childhood Education

- as ranked by The Best Schools


total portfolio of sponsored
research funding

Transform 2019 | 2

Using With a Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies
from Loyola University Chicago, it seems only natural
RESEARCH that Sophia Rodriguez’s work would revolve around
advocacy. While working on her dissertation, Rodriguez
as a TOOL for studied broader issues of youth activists who were
facing anti-immigrant policies, lack of educational
ADVOCACY opportunity, and resources in their public high schools in
Chicago. Crediting the work of community organizations,
With the support of a prestigious she had the opportunity to see how community-
grant from the Spencer Foundation, school partnerships foster belonging and advocate for
Sophia Rodriguez is studying the ways extremely marginalized students. She says,
social workers in schools are helping
immigrant students — despite the “I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM
barriers and constraints that they face. ORGANIZERS AND YOUTH
3 | UNC Greensboro School of Education THEMSELVES IN THEIR

“That laid the foundation for my focus on how equity is
promoted in schools for immigrant students,” Rodriguez
says. “Even though I’ve studied Latin immigrant students
broadly, my focus in the last five years has been on
undocumented youth in public high schools.”
Trained as an ethnographer, Rodriguez’s post-
doctoral longitudinal ethnographic study took place in
South Carolina. It serves as the foundation for her book
manuscript, Undocumentedness in the U.S. South: How
Youth Navigate Racialization and Immigration Status
in Policy and School Contexts. Coming from Chicago, it
was a bit of a culture shock — she found that although
there were inequities in Chicago schools, there was
still support available for immigrant children. Those
infrastructures are simply not in place in the Carolinas
or the broader context of the U.S. South, which was a
unique structural deficit that came to light as Rodriguez
started her recent ethnographic research.
Her current grant research projects, funded by
the Institute for Museum and Library Services (2016-
2019) and the Spencer Foundation (2018-2020), study
how educators and school-based mental health
professionals can better advocate for newcomer
undocumented immigrant youth. Her Institute
for Museum and Library Services grant research
takes place in Hartford, Connecticut, and looks at a

community-based partnership between a public library and a in K-12 settings. With it, the researchers hope to learn how
school district. Rodriguez has found that there is still a lack of these social workers are promoting equity and advocating for
support here, but there is a desire for change with supportive immigrant students through 100 different interviews around
and collaborative relationships among community-based the country.
groups and school districts. “Of the data we’ve collected so far, it’s fascinating,”
She hoped to use these grants as an opportunity to Rodriguez says. “Social workers are so highly aware of
explore how school districts and teachers support and the policy constraints and the work they ‘have to do.’ But I
promote equity for immigrant students, owing in large part interviewed one social worker who talked about how she
to the experiences of racism, discrimination, and lack of basically helps undocumented kids navigate the laws so that
institutional support that Rodriguez observed over nearly a they can still access resources they are entitled to.”
decade of studying this population. Rodriguez and her team are studying the ways school
“As a researcher, I think that’s the kind of power of our social workers are not just protecting kids. They are learning
work: I see research as a tool for advocacy,” says Rodriguez. how these “street-level bureaucrats” are holding that safe
The Spencer Foundation project came to fruition thanks space for students while not risking their own jobs and not
to two of Rodriguez’s colleagues involved in school social risking outing kids in certain ways.
work, both with a long history of studying immigration policy From this initial phase of interviews, they will then build
and immigrant youth at the University of South Carolina the survey items from the qualitative data that they collect.
and Dominican University. Along with Rodriguez and her The survey will go out to a national sample of more than
focus on immigrant children, the three researchers created 3,000 public K-12 school social workers.
an interdisciplinary team focused on how social workers The goal is to disseminate that survey by December 2019,
are navigating school spaces and promoting equity for and then in the spring of 2020, they will conduct 75 follow-up
undocumented students in particular. interviews from the survey sample.
“Teachers face a lot of constraints; they have to deal with Beyond just looking at school demographics and how social
testing and assessment and achievement,” Rodriguez explains. workers are brokering resources, Rodriguez is also interested in
“They don’t have a lot of agency to navigate school spaces. On social workers’ life histories and trajectories. There will be survey
the other hand, social workers function differently, in that they questions about their own background, their own racial ethnic
have a little more flexibility.” identity, and their own linguistic abilities. The team argues
Rodriguez and her colleagues have found that social that social workers’ identities can influence how they broker
workers are “street level bureaucrats” — they engage in the resources for immigrant students.
administrative side of being in a school, they know the policies “We’re trying to think through all of the factors that might
and procedures, but they also have the unique training to work affect a social worker’s ability to navigate at an individual level
with kids and families. and also at a structural level,” Rodriguez says. “From there,
The team will finish the first phase of their research around hopefully we’ll be able to say: Here are some recommendations
August 2019, which includes a mixed-methods study that and implications for the field of social work and the field
draws from a national sample of public school social workers of education.” 

SAVE the DATE Sophia Rodriguez, along with colleagues from Auburn University,
University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, and The
Join SEISA for a conference at the Citadel, have recently founded the Southeast Immigration Studies
Association (SEISA). This organization brings together scholars,
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON community-based groups and activists, and practitioners around
and THE CITADEL important issues related to immigration.

FEBRUARY 20-22, 2020 To learn more, visit southeasternimmigration.comTransform 2019 | 4



As students file into a sun-lit classroom on the northwestern corner of the UNC Greensboro School
of Education building, Ye “Jane” He, beams with excitement.
“These are the future writers of America!” she exclaims, scanning the group as they make their
way to desks and open up their workbooks.
For their part, the students are quiet but confident, many nodding their heads with a sheepish grin
in agreement with He.
But their stories will not trace their lineage to the great American writers of the past. Rather, they are
helping to reshape our ideas about what an “American” story is altogether.
That’s because every student in this room shares the experience of being either a recent immigrant
or refugee to the United States. And they’ve come together to share their experiences and engage in
writing as part of Community Voices, just one of many ways the School of Education is changing how
educators engage with English as a Second Language (ESL) and multilingual communities.


How the School of Education is reshaping the way we teach and
connect with English as a Second Language (ESL) communities.

Transform 2019 | 6

Pictured: Students from the Community Voices program come from diverse backgrounds all across Guilford County
to share their stories. Ye “Jane” He (third frame), helps guide participants to find their own voice as a writer.

A NEW VISION FOR ESL programs to focus on two key areas: research-based
In addition to many other programs within the School of instructional practices that support academic language
Education, He works as the Lead Principal Investigator for development and strengths-based family and community
Project EnACTeD, an ESL initiative focused on engaging and engagement efforts.
advancing community-centered teacher development. Project EnACTeD provides support not only to pre-service
Thanks to a 2017 U.S. Department of Education grant, teachers in the School of Education, but to current educators
she and her colleagues are building Project EnACTeD into looking to expand their ESL capabilities as well. That’s because
a multi-modal network of partnerships and programs. He and her team understand that North Carolina is home to
a thriving immigrant population, and the ability to teach ESL
The goal of the project is to engage teacher students will only continue to grow in importance across
educators, teacher candidates, families, and the state.
community partners in strengths-based teacher As Jewell Cooper, professor and associate dean in UNC
development to meet the needs of English Greensboro’s School of Education, notes, “If we are truly
learners and emergent bilinguals. interested in the education of all our children, then we have
to know who we are teaching. We simply have to look at the
He and the EnACTeD team take great care to emphasize demographics of the state to know that we must meaningfully
and learn from the skills these children and their families address the issue of preparing teachers to teach ESL students.”
already have — instead of viewing English learners as lacking In fact, recent state-funded research shows that in dual-
the English language proficiency that native English speakers language programs with both multi-language and bilingual
might possess. engagement, ESL students are maintaining or exceeding
“What we’re preparing pre-service teachers to do,” He says, academic performance compared to native English-speaking
“is to use tactics that leverage what assets the students already peers. With that in mind, the School of Education now offers
have and build off that existing framework.” the first teacher education program with dual language
To that end, Project EnACTeD employs Professional concentration in the state of North Carolina.
Development (PD) programming and ESL teacher education

7 | UNC Greensboro School of Education


- Dominque Skye McDaniel

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS “You can learn about a language’s phonetics or word structure.
On the student and community level, the School of Education You can find out what challenges often present themselves
supports key ESL efforts in a variety of ways. Community Voices with this language, as well as commonalities or assets that can
is one such program, operating as a free, immigrant- and be leveraged across the two languages during the process of
refugee-focused subset of the Young Writers Camp, a summer them becoming bilingual,” says He.
writing program. It’s led by School of Education professors Amy And for students like Dominque Skye McDaniel, a third-year
Vetter, Melody Zoch (see inset), and Bev Faircloth as a part of a doctoral candidate in the School of Education, programs like
larger summer literacy initiative. Community Voices provide invaluable experience in learning
But Community Voices doesn’t just offer these students the how to build these connections.
chance to share their rich cultural traditions and vantage points In particular, she notes how it works towards the larger
with the wider world: it also gives School of Education students goal of bridging ESL and native English communities: “There
the ability to put their learning to the test. are a lot of myths about ESL students. A lot of times they’re
“When we prepare teachers, the inter-cultural and linguistic looked at through a deficit lens — as in, what skills are they
competency is not necessarily focused on learning a new lacking compared to native English speakers? But Community
language or dialect — it’s about meta-linguistic skills,” says He. Voices helps them reposition their stories and reframe their
While a teacher might not know how to speak Arabic with identities in a positive, productive, and creative outlet.”
a student, for example, they are still responsible for finding
resources and methods that can help relay information and Transform 2019 | 8
instruction in a culturally-relevant manner.

“Guilford County Schools here in Greensboro is home to more than 130 different
first languages,” says He. “That kind of linguistic and cultural diversity provides Melody Zoch
an enormous opportunity to not only prepare our teacher candidates to work
with students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, but to learn from Associate Professor,
these communities in return.” Teacher Education and Higher
Originally started as a collaboration with Allen Middle School in Education (TEHE) Department
Greensboro, Real World English is one such opportunity, providing training
and support to ESL parents who want to improve their own English skills.
What makes the program unique, though, is that it focuses on practical
applications of these skills, such as going to the doctor, communicating with a
child’s school, or checking out at the grocery store. It offers a “two generational
approach,” allowing for improvements in a parent’s language skillset to then be
of assistance to their children when they are applying for college or a summer
job, for example.
Real World English also removes the need for parents to find expensive child
care if they want to improve their English skills, as the free program also offers
engaging STEAM-based activities for their children.
“As long as their kids are taken care of, parents enjoy having their own time
to learn,” says Barbara Levin, professor emeritus of UNC Greensboro’s School
of Education. Parents then emerge as role models because “their children, from
little bitty to teenagers, see their efforts and their growth.”
In addition to the immediate impact the program has on immigrant
communities in Greensboro, it provides real world experience for School of
Education students, too, some of whom are not necessarily even working
towards an ESL concentration.
Cooper notes that “engagement between our teachers and families who
do not look or speak like them creates an environment where teachers and
students are learning from each other in a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Real World English exposes pre- and in-service teachers to different cultural
norms surrounding parenting and family relationships, helping them see that
parents might engage with their children differently according to their own
cultural customs.
“Parents of ESL students want to be as involved in the lives and successes
of their children as much as any other parent,” explains Cooper. “And Real
World English helps give them those core competencies in a supportive,
equity-focused environment.”

9 | UNC Greensboro School of Education


Community Voices is part of the Young Writers Camp CURRENT AND FUTURE EDUCATORS?
here in Greensboro, but it is specifically tailored to A lot of our volunteers are teachers who might not
students who are either immigrants or refugees and normally think of themselves as being a teacher of
whose first language might not be English. The Young English learners or of refugees. They might be teachers
Writers Camp is terrific in terms of getting kids to feel who have not had that experience or feel comfortable in
like writers, and to engage in writing. But because that setting. Or maybe they’ve had one or two students
the camp has attendance costs and transportation in their classroom, but they didn’t have a lot of tools to
requirements, we knew we were limiting who could engage these students in culturally responsive ways. So
participate. So last summer we introduced Community this is an opportunity for them to engage and to look at
Voices as a tuition-free program, and thanks to Project how we appreciate these stories, look for their strengths
EnACTeD’s relationship with Guilford County Schools, in their stories, and the strengths in their writing practices.
we were able to secure free bus transportation as well.
And being teacher educators, we’re always thinking of
WHAT KINDS OF STORIES ARE this experience didactically — what can we learn from
THESE YOUNG WRITERS TELLING? it? We’re a research-focused bunch, so as we look at
A lot of our students are very forthcoming with telling student stories, we think about what we can use to
their story of arrival – telling stories of how unjust inform ourselves as teacher educators. That way, when
the country they came from was or talking about the we’re working with pre-service and in-service teachers,
camps they may have lived in with this powerful mix of we have this real-world experience that translates into
fondness and sadness. Others, though, tend to focus innovative teaching ideas and methods for our students.
more on what they aspire to or things that make them
happy, whether that’s their favorite book or their dream HOW DO YOU HOPE TO SEE COMMUNITY
to become a famous YouTuber. Whatever story they tell, VOICES GROW AND EVOLVE?
their common thread is hope. Well, we’d certainly love to be able to include more
students every summer. This year we expect to reach
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST around 90 participants, but we would love to bring in
TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS PROJECT? as many voices as we can. We also hope to one day
We often give these students this label of “refugee,” expand to all ages, because it’s not just young students
but it doesn’t really mean a lot to them, because really, who have these amazing stories to tell. And although
they’re just kids underneath it all. They have crushes. we’re currently fundraiser-supported, we’re working with
They want to look good for each other. They want Project EnACTeD to try and build a long-term model for
to make each other laugh. They want to eat pizza! Community Voices. These stories are just too important
So often we hear that term “refugee” and it comes to overlook, and the more we can expose them to the
with preconceived notions and assumptions, but broader world, the more everyone benefits.
underneath it there’s a person. We have to look
beyond that to see who they are as individuals Transform 2019 | 10
and their individual identities that extend way
beyond that term.




- Ye “Jane” He

LOOKING AHEAD Pictured: Christy Marhatta, doctoral student in
Though Project EnACTeD’s grant runs through 2022, He is already looking the Department of Teacher Education and Higher
towards building long-term sustainability. In fact, it’s one of the driving forces Education (TEHE), (right), offers her feedback to
behind the work she and her team are currently engaged in. And because students as part of the Community Voices young
of its innovative, hands-on approach to ESL education and community writers camp.
engagement, Project EnACTeD is already garnering attention state-wide.
For example, He is currently partnering with educators at East Carolina
University to extend the influence of Project EnACTeD’s Dual Language/
Immersion teacher education efforts. Working in tandem with ECU’s Dual
Language/Immersion Administration Certificate program, He and ECU
professor Marjorie Ringler are working collaboratively with administrators
and educators across the state who could benefit from a joint suite of
professional development tools offered by both institutions.
Additionally, Project EnACTeD’s online professional development modules
are scheduled to be offered through the North Carolina Department of Public
Instruction (DPI) online professional development platform.
“The ongoing collaboration with DPI has huge implications for the
work of Project EnACTeD, as it would apply the program’s innovative methods
and learnings to a much broader audience,” explains Cooper. “It will provide
professional development opportunities for teachers in North Carolina to
more effectively teach students whose first language is not English.”
From a research perspective, He and her team are eager to begin
studying not just the direct impacts on teacher education (professional
development opportunities or additional licensures), but also the impact on
young emergent bilingual students. In the coming years, Project EnACTeD
will dive into the data surrounding the educational outcomes of ESL students

11 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

involved in the program. And as the team begins to quantify that effect into a
measurable, analytical framework, they hope to apply those findings towards
building a long-term shift in the way we teach English as a second language.
In their time spent working alongside immigrant and refugee populations in
Guilford County, it’s hard for those involved in these many efforts to ignore the
larger conversations surrounding these communities. They see firsthand how the
politics of immigration drive what families do, where they go, and how their futures
will take shape. And because of their proximity to those realities, the program is able
to help prepare educators to see past political rhetoric to simply provide the best
education they can.
“I think a lot of these discussions around the politics of immigration provide
teachers with learning opportunities,” He says. “We start to surface and uncover
some of the assumptions we might not even be aware of when we’re actually
speaking with families one-on-one. That’s why so much of our programming
strives to include community experts and their unique cultural expertise.”

The stories produced by this summer’s Community Voices
program have not just built confidence and experience for young
writers. They have become part of a broader framework within
the School of Education to strengthen the connections in the local
diverse language communities.

They demonstrate to future educators that our communities are connected
by a shared language of hope, aspiration, and curiosity, capable of learning and
teaching in equal measure.
And that, He says, “is the kind of equity we should all be striving towards.” 

Transform 2019 | 12


Turning research into action through thoughtful, sustainable investment.

There’s a reason universities are often referred to as “the ivory tower.”
Too often, the real-life stories, people, and problems that inspire
our research questions fall out of focus in the isolation of the archives,
laptops, and laboratories where academic work occurs. Specialized
conferences and jargon-filled academic journals limit the range
of important findings to other specialists in their fields. Yet universities
are also spaces for incredible innovation and the fostering of
new ideas.
So how can the university translate research into practical action
in our broader communities? How do we provide innovative solutions
for the people whose stories and problems inspired our work in the
first place?

The Impact Through Innovation initiative (ITI) is the
School of Education’s (SOE) unconventional answer.
Through individual and small-group consultation,
networking opportunities, and financial investment,
ITI helps SOE faculty and students go beyond
academia and into communities in need, where they
can put their research into practice.

A one-of-a-kind program, ITI offers tailored consulting to work
with faculty to re-imagine their research and optimize it for
broader social impact. And once a faculty member has conceived
of a project, ITI provides support for its development, from
conception to testing to expansion.

13 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

Take, for example, Professor Noah Lenstra, of the UNC Pictured: Patty Hickham, doctoral student in the Department
Greensboro Library and Information Science department. of Counseling and Educational Development (CED), created
In the course of researching digital literacy and library use QR codes with ITI to help Guilford College students practice
among senior citizens, Lenstra discovered that many libraries nature-based mindfulness.
were starting physical activity programs to support the health
of their patrons. receive resources and guidebooks that follow the same idea
But though Lenstra collected data on such programs development model ITI uses to incubate faculty projects, as
as part of his research, he found there was no centralized well as a $250 pre-paid Visa card. Using the Kickbox resources,
database for actual library patrons to discover where such students identify a problem and create a project designed to
programs existed in their communities. Additionally, librarians yield an innovative solution.
nationwide had no organized way of sharing resources with In a recent School Counseling capstone course that
each other as they developed active living and health and featured a Kickbox assignment, graduate students Genevieve
wellness programs at their individual libraries. Dubroof, Mary-Katherine Scheppegrell, and Brooke Kearney
Enter ITI. The initiative helped Lenstra develop a vision plan developed a virtual reality, choose-your-own-adventure
for a user-friendly website and connected him with a local college tour. Designed for use on virtual reality goggles and
website designer who built the site to Lenstra’s specifications. iPads, the tour helps high school students who — for financial
ITI awarded the project an Idea Development Award, one or geographical reasons — may find it difficult to visit college
of two financial awards available to faculty to facilitate campuses in person as they consider where to attend. Through
the conception and development of innovative solutions to a series of questions, the program narrows the field of colleges
problems in their fields. While the Idea Starter Award, intended to a select few that fit the student user’s criteria and allows the
to fund projects at their inception, ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, user to virtually tour those campuses.
the Idea Development Award funds projects that are farther Across each of its services, the Impact Through Innovation
along in their development process up to $10,000. Projects initiative is part of the School of Education’s commitment to
can receive both awards as part of their incubation within the fostering a culture of innovation and expanding the university’s
Impact Through Innovation initiative. impact into communities in need. The research is already being
The result of Lenstra’s partnership with ITI is Let’s Move done; ITI, Young notes, simply wants to facilitate faculty and
in Libraries (see page 15). Now with over 12,000 users on students to “think bigger.” , the website translates Lenstra’s research
into an easy-to-use resource for library patrons and librarians
alike. Library patrons can search a real-time map to find
ongoing healthy living programs and events at their local
libraries. Librarians across the globe can share or find tips,
activities, and initiatives that have worked at other libraries,
in addition to the webinars that Lenstra offers.
Lenstra’s project began as a way to collect data for
research, but, as Dean’s Fellow of Innovation Scott Young
remarks, “by creating something that served a need in the
broader world, it was a win for both sides.” ITI’s core mission is
to help School of Education faculty and students find precisely
this kind of socially-impactful victory in their academic work.
While the financial awards are limited to faculty projects,
ITI offers the Kickbox program for undergraduate and
graduate courses. Students in courses with Kickbox projects



In October of 2018, the Director-General of the World
Health Organization issued a press release to all corners
of the world. In it, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
spoke in no uncertain terms about the importance of
physical activity:
“We must get the world moving. Increasing physical
activity is not an issue that can be solved solely by the
education sector, or the transport sector: actions are
needed by all sectors. Our job is to create a world that
will help our children to be active and make cities easier
for people to walk and cycle.”
And in Room 456 at the UNC Greensboro School of
Education, Noah Lenstra read along, delighted to be a
few years ahead of the curve.
For the past 3 years, Lenstra has dedicated his
professional career to helping people improve their lives
through physical activity, and he has trained his focus on
the spaces he knows best: public libraries.

15 Pictured: Yoga instructor Lisa Kushner stretches

out in the stacks of the Walkertown Public Library.

Libraries have always been spaces of discovery.
And now, they’re helping us uncover healthier, more active lives.


Let’s Move in Libraries started as a purely research-driven The survey also made it clear that many librarians were
affair in 2016. At that time, Lenstra was wrapping up his operating in a bubble. They experimented, and they adjusted,
PhD exploration of cross-collaborations between Parks & but they rarely connected with other librarians to find out what
Recreation departments and public libraries. Over the course else might work and what wouldn’t.
of this work, he saw just how often these collaborations filled With those findings in mind, Lenstra partnered with the
gaps in community services, such as digital literacy initiatives UNC Greensboro School of Education’s Impact Through
for senior citizens who might not otherwise have access to Innovation incubator program to build the framework for
hands-on training. what became known as Let’s Move in Libraries. This project
As that research began to wrap up, he found himself would work to connect, empower, and motivate librarians
increasingly drawn to all the ways in which libraries were, as they explored ways to build healthier, more connected
like recreation centers, also becoming outlets for physical communities through physical activity.
activity, himself being a passionate advocate for the benefits
of staying active. So to get a better idea of what librarians “Impact Through Innovation has been really
were already working on, Lenstra interviewed representatives helpful in thinking through how to move this
from 39 libraries across North Carolina. He eventually project from its ad-hoc roots towards a more
broadened his scope to the rest of the US and Canada, sustainable, long-term model,” says Lenstra.
receiving more than 1,000 responses to a survey sent to
libraries across the continent. This collaboration helped Lenstra set actionable goals
As his survey wrapped up, the data revealed that while for the scope of the project, which includes two key elements:
many librarians were eager to promote healthier living program creation and partnership development. By assisting
through creative uses of their spaces (a common refrain is librarians with these crucial building blocks, Lenstra saw the
“we’ll try anything once”), many simply had no idea how to greatest results time and time again.
achieve those goals. Lenstra remembers one respondent “I’ve found through my research that the libraries who
in particular who described their own attempts to build are most successfully offering effective, engaging physical
programs around physical activity as a sort of “trial by fire.” activities are not the ones who are making something up
He found that while many librarians might be willing to on their own. They might be teaming up with a local senior
take time out of their schedule to teach a yoga class or lead organization to offer a class on balance for older adults or
a hike, they were nervous to put the library in a precarious working with their Parks and Recreation department to offer
legal situation. The idea of injury or liability kept many great story time in the park,” Lenstra says.
ideas at bay, no matter how big or small they might be.
Transform 2019 | 16

Over 2,300 SINCE 2016 12

public librarians actively Over 11,000 webinars that

engaged in the project’s unique visitors to reached over

monthly newsletter 2,500 viewers

This kind of collaboration underscores the importance populated area together in a way that no other space can
that libraries serve in their towns and cities. They are no in Walkertown.
longer simply a place to discover new books: they are “I was so impressed with Dr. Lenstra’s enthusiasm and
increasingly acting as a de facto community center, support for movement-based programs in libraries,” Tuchina
especially in rural areas. says. “He is such a valuable resource to librarians and
Places like Walkertown, North Carolina, for example. programmers like me, who receive lots of information, assistance,
Located just 15 minutes north of downtown Winston-Salem, and coordination through the Let’s Move in Libraries project.”
Walkertown’s public library serves nearly 8,000 monthly For example, librarians like Tuchina can turn to Lenstra and
visitors with only 3 full-time employees. But thanks to their his collection of nearly 30 different liability waivers whenever they
resourcefulness and connection to the Let’s Move in Libraries are looking to introduce a new program. Instead of having to do
project, Walkertown has no shortage of ways to keep its their own research to make sure their library is legally covered,
citizens active. Lenstra has that crucial piece of the puzzle available just an
Branch Manager Natalia Tuchina, a graduate of the email away.
UNC Greensboro LIS program, brims with pride as she ticks “I don’t want to be the gatekeeper,” says Lenstra. “A lot of
through the various programs available at Walkertown. times these libraries don’t even need a ton of resources from us
Programs like yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong Bagua introduce to get going. They just need someone to tell them, ‘It’s OK —
people to low-impact ways of staying active and reducing you can do this!’”
stress. They help create community, too, bringing a sparsely

Pictured: Yoga instructor Lisa Kushner (red shirt) poses with her students after another weekly yoga practice at Walkertown Public Library.

Noah Lenstra, assistant professor Since the program’s official launch in 2016, Let’s Move in
of Library & Information Science Libraries has helped shepherd a widespread array of programs,
(LIS) and founder of Let’s Move including yoga, Couch-to-5K programs, family Zumba classes,
in Libraries parkour, ballet, skateboarding, and gardening. As Lenstra noted,
“You never know what is going to resonate with your community
“LIBRARIES ARE SPACES until you’ve given it a shot.”
UNLIKE ANY OTHER, As Lenstra looks to the future, he hopes to continue to fine-
WHERE PEOPLE tune how Let’s Move in Libraries operates. He aims to create a
WITH DIFFERENT standardized “onboarding” package for new librarians, as well
SOCIO-ECONOMIC as help them build and solidify stronger community partnerships.
BACKGROUNDS CAN As a researcher, he hopes to soon begin documenting the
MEET IN A WAY THEY impact of physical activity programs on their participants.
Anecdotally, he has learned many movement-based
MIGHT NOT ELSEWHERE.” programs are resulting in new and repeat library users. But how
are the programs themselves affecting the communities in which
- Noah Lenstra they’re based? This question will be explored starting in Fall
2019. With a $475,000 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum
and Library Services, Lenstra and colleagues from Wayne State
University and the University of Oklahoma will investigate over
the next three years how small and rural public libraries address
health and wellness through public programs.
“Libraries are spaces unlike any other, where people with
different socio-economic backgrounds can meet in a way
they might not elsewhere,” says Lenstra. “They’re places where
lifelong residents of a community can intermingle with recent
immigrants, or where folks from all income levels might find
harmony together through a weekly yoga practice. I want to
see where those interactions lead on a personal level.”
Lenstra is often quick to deflect credit for the success of
these programs, noting that Let’s Move in Libraries is more of a
guidepost than a set of marching orders. But the program and
its elegant simplicity is not to be underestimated.
It’s empowering libraries to evolve and broaden their scope.
It’s underscoring the vitality of libraries as spaces to engage,
learn, and improve.

At its core, Let’s Move in Libraries is a tool for the
spread of knowledge, health, and community —
a resource free to anyone with enough curiosity
to seek out what is possible. Just like a library. 

LEARN MORE! Visit Transform 2019 | 18

UNC Greensboro trio practices what they teach

“WE ARE VERY RESPECTFUL Math teachers: take heart. Someone understands
OF TEACHERS AND WE the pluses and minuses of your jobs.

PRIORITIZE THEM ABOVE Kerri Richardson, Vicki Jacobs, and Holt Wilson spend a lot of time
EVERYTHING ELSE” thinking about your work. When they’re not in your schools — listening
to you and sharing their expertise — they’re in theirs: UNC Greensboro’s
- Kerri Richardson School of Education.
Richardson, who chairs the Department of Teacher Education and
19 Higher Education (TEHE), has a long history of supporting teachers.
“My passion is in-service teachers,” Richardson says. “That’s what
I’ve put all of my energy into in the last 10 years. Into efforts like our
professional development and Master of Education programs.”
Vicki Jacobs, a Yopp Distinguished Professor of Mathematics
Education, loves to connect math teachers to research about how
young children think.
“There’s a lot of evidence to show that when teachers gain access
to that research base and adapt their instruction to build on that, good
things happen,” she says.
Holt Wilson, an Associate Professor of math teacher education, has
been key in developing instructional frameworks, flexible online guides
that K-12 teachers can consult as they navigate their careers.
The team makes a point to interact with teachers on the front lines.
“We are very respectful of teachers and we prioritize them above
everything else,” says Richardson. “We like to talk about their needs
and partner with them. We believe long term partnerships help
students grow.”
With that in mind, the trio sat down to answer questions
about math education.

QA with Kerri Richardson,
Vicki Jacobs & Holt Wilson

WILSON: I think one of the biggest challenges is
reminding them of their own expertise. They know their J ACOBS: One piece of advice is we need to change the
children’s math better than anyone else in the world, but funding structure for schools so that it’s multi-year rather
there are many, many voices telling them “no” in terms of than single-year. If you focus on math one year, and on
making decisions about curriculum, in terms of making writing the next year, and on literacy the next year, you
decisions about what test to give, when to give it, and how never really get to grow in the way teachers need to.
to grade it.
WILSON: We all know that districts are funded at different
RICHARDSON: I agree. When I talk to teachers, they really levels, but I did not realize how unequal it was until I
want to talk about the mathematics. It’s just that during the started working with districts. Some of the large urban
day, they have so many things thrown at them that really districts have three math specialists for high school, three
don’t have anything to do with their children’s thinking, and for middle school, a slew for elementary school. The next
that’s not fair because their degree is in teaching. county over will have one person for K-12 who doesn’t
even have a math background.
JACOBS: The other piece of it is that there are many people
in the world that feel that they aren’t good at math. The hope J ACOBS: I know this is a political issue, but the idea
is to empower kids not to think like that. One of the ways to do of giving teachers increased pay for getting master’s
that is to get them to talk about the ways mathematics makes degrees, as well as the space and time to learn
sense. That approach feels like it takes much more time, collaboratively, is important.
especially at the beginning, as opposed to rote drill-and-
kill, but we need to recognize that time put in up front can RICHARDSON: I’m proud of the fact that the three of us
actually save you time later. don’t just sit up here. We are out there with teachers. We
are true mathematics teacher-educators. I think that’s
WILSON: A lot of the adults who are making policy decisions what sets us apart here at UNC Greensboro. We could
grew up with a math education that was from an industrial easily create very sterile little projects with small groups
age, but that’s not the kind of society we live in anymore. of kids and make it all perfect, but we’re not interested in
that. That’s boring to us. We like that it’s challenging, and
RICHARDSON: Our society needs problem solvers. Of course, there’s messy stuff to deal with. We’re OK with that. 
we want kids to be efficient, but the reasoning component is
what we’re trying to help teachers with. Transform 2019 | 20


21 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

Pictured: Students at Moss Street Partnership School It’s a sunny June afternoon in Reidsville, North Carolina, and for
learn primarily through experiential, hands-on lessons someone who is in middle of the “most challenging year of his
— what the school’s teachers call “authentic learning.” career,” Carl Lashley is awfully enthusiastic.
“As a teaching and learning environment, as a school where kids
One year into the Moss Street are valued, this was a terrific year,” the UNC Greensboro School of
Partnership School (MSPS) Education professor says with a smile. “I’ve never worked harder, but
this has been the peak experience in my career as an educator.”
project, its core leaders open up Gathered around a small table in the Moss Street Partnership
about the highs, the lows, and School library, Lashley sits with Allison Ormond, associate director
what it’s like to create the next for curriculum at UNC Greensboro Moss Street Partnership School,
Tina Chestnut, Moss Street Partnership School principal, and
generation of educators. Christina O’Connor, director of professional education preparation,
policy, and accountability at UNC Greensboro — three other
educators who have been instrumental in the project’s first year.
Although students wouldn’t be back in school for another two months,
the four administrators are already eagerly engaged in discussions
on what the 2019-2020 school year is going to look like.
“We may be a little excited about this,” O’Connor laughs.
“Can you tell?”


MSPS officially formed in August of 2018 as a
collaboration between UNC Greensboro and
Rockingham County Schools. The partnership
allowed UNC Greensboro to operate what was
formerly Moss Street Elementary and transform
the school into an ideal environment to hone
innovative teaching practices.

The project’s short-term goal is to improve student performance,
but its broader aims go far beyond that. Lashley, Ormond, Chestnut,
and O’Connor were four of the individuals tapped to help make
that happen.
Despite nearly 100 years of combined experience in the
education field, the administrators were facing the unknown as they
worked to define what this partnership would look like. But when they
envisioned the kind of school they wanted MSPS to be, they knew
one thing for sure: traditional ways of teaching and learning weren’t
going to cut it.
“We set out to be different because what schools typically do
hasn’t worked for kids at Moss Street,” Lashley says. “So we differ in
everything from the organizational structures we have to the way we
think about teaching and learning.”

Transform 2019 | 22

The first step was to create an environment that students By breaking away from standardized approaches and applying
had ownership of — one that would be primarily driven this proven method of learning to the way they ran the school,
by the impact it was aiming to have, not standardized the administrators saw that it not only made for more engaged
metrics or financial goals. To make this happen, it was and excited students but more confident ones as well.
crucial that students were placed in the driver’s seat of “This way of doing things allows everyone an opportunity to
shine and bring out other talents and gifts they have,” Ormond
their own education. says. “We believe that all kids have a gift, and it’s our job to help
This meant tailoring the learning experience to meet the them discover what that is and nurture that.”

needs of each student and not just teach them to memorize MEASURING SUCCESS
facts. Their goal was to create lovers of learning, not simply While MSPS’s first year has been considered a great success,
students passing from one grade to the next. “Authentic it has also had its fair share of challenges. Perhaps the biggest
learning,” they call it. hurdle the team has faced is learning how to measure the
“We want students to understand that they’re accountable
for their learning as far as how they obtain and use knowledge,
whether that’s in the classroom or in their future careers,”
says Chestnut.
And so far, MSPS’s principal says it’s working. “I can already
see and feel a positive shift in student attitudes about school,”
Chestnut says. “What’s more exciting than that?”

Once the framework for MSPS was laid out, the next big SEE AND FEEL A
challenge was finding ways to execute these new methods. POSITIVE SHIFT
Despite taking a less orthodox approach to the development
of the learning environment, the team went back to the basics IN STUDENT
when it came to teaching style: encouraging students to learn ATTITUDES ABOUT
by doing. SCHOOL. WHAT’S
This school year, all 363 MSPS students spent less time
working quietly at their desks and more time interacting and MORE EXCITING
collaborating with one another. They learned about concepts THAN THAT?”
like velocity by designing and building a roller coaster. Younger
students learned to read by creating their own books. Fourth and - Tina Chestnut
fifth graders explored new ways of storytelling by participating Moss St. Principal
in an NPR podcast challenge, aided by UNC Greensboro’s
University Teaching & Learning Commons (UTLC).
Regardless of the activity, teachers and faculty at MSPS
focused their efforts on creating experiences that would not only
resonate with students but that could be tailored to align with
their varying skillsets and interests.
“We talk about being innovative here, but what’s innovative
is not necessarily the ideas — it’s how and where they’re being
implemented,” O’Connor says. “Research shows we retain far
more of what we do than what we hear or read or write. So we
took that and ran with it.”

23 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

success of their approach and translate it into consistent STILL BETTER TOGETHER
and tangible feedback for students, their families, and their With the first year behind them, the team recognizes there is
future educators. still a lot of work to be done. But they feel confident that UNC
MSPS abandoned traditional report cards, arguing that Greensboro’s leading role is one of the best things to happen
letter grades don’t accurately reflect a child’s progress or to both the university and Moss Street Elementary.
abilities. Instead, teachers provide parents specific details on “UNC Greensboro prides itself as a place where students
their child’s strengths and accomplishments as well as their get a chance to better themselves, to exercise their autonomy
areas of growth. These reports come out more frequently to be who they want to be,” Lashley says. “They belong in
and outline specific goals for each child and the plans to this game.”
help achieve them. Moss Street Partnership School’s five-year goal is raising its
“Grades often show a child’s compliance, not whether rating from a D to a B. But the ultimate purpose, Lashley says, is
they actually know the material,” Ormond says. “This new to help children understand and harness their intrinsic value.
approach helps teachers better pinpoint a student’s strengths
and areas for growth and communicate those things to his “Our kids are worthy. They have experience that
or her parents.” can be built on. They are not ‘low performing’ —
Chestnut says that despite initial challenges, parents have they’re children. They have lives to lead, and
been receptive and appreciative of this new method. it’s our job to help them find the path that is
“A lot of parents have shared how excited they are about right for them.” 
the way we’re implementing instruction here. They’re starting to
understand who their child is as a learner, which is invaluable.”
Just ask Latoria Robinson. She says that since UNC
Greensboro took over, her son Norman — a rising sixth grader
— had his best school year yet.
“I love everything from how the teachers work with
students and parents to how my son feels and thinks about
school,” Robinson says. “They’re not just teaching kids here;
they’re preparing them for life.”

We ended the year with


UNC Greensboro pre-service professionals
for the 2018-2019 school year:

9 UNC Greensboro K-5 student teachers (including dual majors)
2 1 3Counselor Interns | Principal Intern | Speech Interns
11 MSPS teachers enrolled in UNC Greensboro M.Ed. in Literacy program

Transform 2019 | 24


All across Guilford County, the
Healthy Relationships Initiative (HRI)
is helping families, friends, and community partners
improve the way we live alongside each other.

25 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

Every Sunday this past February, families from across With this tri-part approach, Murray sees HRI as a
Greensboro made their way to the Greensboro Children’s means for starting conversations throughout the
Museum. But these weren’t your average visits, documented county, whether that is helping people understand
with photos for sharing on social media as children explored, learned, that it’s normal to seek emotional support or
and played throughout the museum. helping parents better communicate with their
For these four Sundays, any parent who turned in their cell phone growing children.
to the front desk received free admission to the museum, providing “We’re hoping to help shift some of the
an opportunity to both disconnect from technology and re-connect cultural norms surrounding our relationships so
with their children. that people are more comfortable reaching out
This month-long program, called “Sundays Unplugged,” was before a small issue becomes an overwhelming
just one of many offered through the Healthy Relationships Initiative crisis,” says Murray.
(HRI), a non-profit that began as part of the School of Education’s And whereas HRI initially relied on a core
efforts to turn innovative research into community-based action. group of local partnerships to help implement
their three key tactics, they now find themselves
First launched in 2017 through a partnership in the desirable position of being an organization
between the Phillips Foundation and UNC sought out by other local partners eager to find
Greensboro, HRI has spent the past two years assistance or resources.
embedding themselves into a diverse group of One such result of HRI’s evolution has been
organizations working to improve interpersonal the introduction of their “Lived Experiences”
relationships throughout Guilford County. training series for area professionals who work
with families. The topics it covers represent
just how diverse the program’s relationship
“In the last two years, we’ve really expanded our reach beyond programming has become.
our core network of initial partnerships,” says HRI Director Christine For example, HRI’s work with Youth Villages
Murray. “With anyone from the Servant Center for Veterans to has helped foster conversations around aging
Greensboro Parks and Recreation, we’re diversifying the ways in out of foster care, which included insights and
which HRI is embedded in our community.” testimonials from a panel of local teenagers and
Now, as HRI transitions out of the School of Education and into young adults who have firsthand knowledge of
the UNC Greensboro Center for Youth, Family, and Community the subject.
Partnerships (CYFCP), Murray and her team reflect back on a busy, The most recent training in the series, in
productive two years. partnership with the United Way of Greater
HRI first began its efforts with a county-wide Community Greensboro’s Family Success Center, drew
Assessment to discover how other groups might also be working nearly 70 professionals to learn how to support
towards HRI’s goal of building happy, healthy, and safe relationships people working to make positive changes for
in Guilford County, so as to not duplicate services or miss any areas their families. It also addressed challenges like
that needed extra support. navigating public assistance and struggling to
Thanks to that initial groundwork, coupled with strategic data put food on the table.
collection and program feedback surveys, HRI was able to train In addition to professional training, HRI
its focus on three core components: community mobilization, also partners with local organizations to deliver
educational programming, and social marketing. relationship education programs tailored to the
needs of the organizations’ client populations.

Transform 2019 | 26

Pictured: HRI Director Christine Murray and her team host events “Throughout this series, we have been able to cater to the
like couples workshops, programs focusing on family quality time, needs of the group, teaching skills that help to mend broken
relationships, re-establish their identities and goals, and
and events that help build healthy relationships for teens. learn basic financial skills to help them remain independent,”
says Dos Santos.
For example, an event called “Keeping Relationships
Strong during Challenging Times” at Fellowship Hall, a These efforts embody HRI’s central mission to
Greensboro-based drug and alcohol treatment facility, create programming specific to the needs of its
taught practical strategies for reducing relationship stress partners, while creating a long-term impact for
during trying personal times. those who participate in its programs.
HRI’s Program Coordinator Camila Dos Santos has
also worked with Greensboro’s Servant Center to offer But HRI is more than just a series of connections to external
monthly programs for veterans that help them build organizations. It has also spent the last four years building
healthier relationships and foster personal wellness. sustainable interdisciplinary relationships within the UNC
Greensboro community.
27 | UNC Greensboro School of Education For example, HRI knew that there were many community
members who would benefit from in-person workshops,
but were often unable to attend due to barriers like reliable
transportation or affordable childcare. So HRI partnered with
Anthony Chow and the Department of Library and Information
Science (LIS) program at UNC Greensboro to offer additional
digital resources.
Thanks to guidance and technical know-how from
Chow, HRI was able to turn the resources and assistance of
their in-person events into an interactive, engaging e-Learning
course available for free through HRI’s online portal. The result
allows HRI to take relationship educational programming
and combine that with best practices in online learning in
a way that makes those resources much more accessible
to the community.
As Murray and her team transition into the CYFCP, they
continue to embed themselves and their services into more
aspects of the community. They are focused on crafting an
analytical, data-driven approach to what works and where
they can improve or support existing efforts.

That’s often been accomplished through In fact, Murray reports that just halfway Just halfway
tactics like their social media platforms and through 2019, HRI has already seen more through 2019,
their website, which speak directly to their engagement, reach and success than they HRI has already
audience on the platforms most comfortable did throughout the entirety of 2018. seen more
to them. By taking conversations that were “We are so proud of what Dr. Murray engagement,
perhaps once taboo or uncomfortable and and her team have accomplished in the reach and success
reconfiguring them for use on social media, first two years of HRI, and I am grateful than they did
they are able to reorient how people look at that the SOE was able to play a role in throughout the
these issues. the development of this unique initiative,” entirety of 2018.
Those digital interactions also help round says Randy Penfield, Dean of the UNC
out their existing data sets, which most often Greensboro School of Education.
rely on in-person workshops or panels. And “I know that HRI will thrive in the CYFCP
while HRI has always made sure to keep track — it seems a natural progression for the
of participant feedback and other important program, and I am excited to see how
data points, they are now working towards HRI will grow in the coming years.”
this goal with increasing intentionality. Though Murray and her team are in
“Changes such as using a standardized a time of transition, they are taking great
feedback form at any of our in-person events care to never lose sight of the founding goals
helps us to routinely evaluate the effectiveness of HRI. Every decision they make continues to
of our programs based on the insights from be one that will help lead to the betterment
the people attending them,” says Murray. and improvement of relationships throughout
All of these forward-thinking efforts are Guilford County and beyond — even if that
building towards a more effective, data- simply means a phone-free Sunday at the
driven system that allows for maximum Greensboro Children’s Museum. 
impact where it is needed most.

Transform 2019 | 28

A Spoef CciaAl KRinEd
Project LEAPS is helping teachers create a more inclusive and
engaging learning environment for special needs students.

Diane Ryndak entered the education field at a time when One of those creative solutions is the Special
special needs students often did not have access to an Education Services Department’s use of a virtual
education. Many wound up in institutions. Today, she is simulator to supplement onsite clinical placement.
working to get them access to “the real world.” The approach allows teacher candidates to
Ryndak, a professor in the Specialized Education Services practice what they’ve learned in a simulated
Department, is a principal investigator on Project LEAPS (Leadership environment. The department has also used
in Extensive and Pervasive Support Needs), a program designed to online video conferencing platforms for coaching,
help special needs students obtain a more inclusive education and supervising, and mentoring.
to help teachers better integrate those students into the classroom. And over the past several years, in-ear
The initiative is among the unique approaches the School of coaching, in which teacher candidates wear an
Education has employed in recent years to better prepare teachers earpiece through which they receive guidance
working with special needs students. The school has also been while interacting with students, has become
incorporating new technologies to train educators, and has focused more popular.
on building relationships with students, school administrators, “With ‘elbow coaching’, for example, you’re
and parents. focused on after-the-fact: you say you could
As Ryndak sees it, the efforts are part of the school’s mission have done this differently, or done that differently,”
to help “everybody be the best they can be.” Rock says.
“Kids with disabilities are usually thought about last when
people are developing opportunities for kids,” she says. “For me Pictured: Representatives from UNC Greensboro, the US
it’s really a social justice, civil rights issue: the right to an effective Department of Education, and the Bill & Melinda Gates
and meaningful education for everyone.” Foundation met at the first-ever American Educational
Marcia Rock, associate professor in the Special Education Research Association (AERA) Conference (organized by
Services Department, says those interested in the special education Marcia Rock, left, and hosted by the SOE).
field need to have “a real commitment to problem solving.”
“You have to really enjoy challenges,” she says. “There’s a sort of
engineering quality to it, where you have to think creatively and use
collaboration. Special education is predicated on a team approach.
You work with other professionals, families, and communities. And
you need to have empathy and compassion and an understanding
that people learn in different ways.”

29 | UNC Greensboro School of Education



- Marcia Rock

“But the online coaching and the in-ear coaching really The project kicked off during the spring semester of 2018
revolutionizes that, because the changes are made in the and is currently funding three doctoral students (a fourth
moment. The coach might say, ‘We think we’re kind of losing will come onboard this fall). Those involved with the project
them, nobody is raising their hands. Let’s try a think-pair-share, have visited a school system in Florida to see how it is
turn and talk to your neighbor.’ And they’re able to make that integrating its special needs children. Ryndak notes also that
change right away. The students respond and you see more the program’s doctoral students had previous experience
engagement. So, it adds this dynamic quality to coaching that working with those who have disabilities, and two are
has been lacking.” parents of children with disabilities. Project LEAPS also hosts
Ryndak began working on Project LEAPS in 2017, after an annual seminar featuring researchers who talk about
obtaining funds from the U.S. Department of Education. opening up the education system for those with disabilities.
The project focuses on children with severe disabilities. Besides academic skills, Ryndak says, special needs
“They’re usually kids who are defined in the law as having students in a general education setting also build up their
significant cognitive disabilities or intellectual disabilities,” communication and behavioral skills.
Ryndak says. “They might have multiple disabilities, where they “They’re getting instruction in a setting where they’ve
have a cognitive impairment and a physical impairment.” got 30 to 40 other kids who are helping to provide cues,
Christie Cavanaugh, a clinical assistant professor who is rather than having to wait for an adult to come over and
also serving as an investigator on the project, says the emphasis give them direction,” she says. “The more we get our kids in
has been on preparing “teachers to teach all students.” regular classes with same-age peers, the more they’re able
“We want to work collaboratively with gen-ed teachers, to develop essential skills.” 
so that there’s likelihood they will be prepared and comfortable
with more students with disabilities in the classroom,” she says. Transform 2019 | 30


Applying the “hall of fame” treatment to influential educators.

Forty-eight names adorn the walls at the UNC Greensboro School a goal of securing 25 nominees but wound up getting nearly
of Education — classroom teachers, principals, counselors, and double that number. Those nominated were honored with a
librarians. All people who made a lasting impact. ceremony in April at UNC Greensboro Auditorium, after which
For Terri Jackson, senior director of development at the school, their nameplates were unveiled for the first time. Eventually,
those names represent several generations of students who went organizers hope to have 1,000 names on the wall, as well as a
on to make an impact of their own. And those names — young, $1 million endowment to support future inspirational educators
old, some retired for many years, some deceased — will continue through scholarships and awards.
to affect future generations of educators. The idea for the Inspirational Educators program came
about two years ago, Jackson says, when members of the
The 48 honorees are the first to be recognized School of Education Advisory Board were discussing “small
individual ways people could come together to raise money
officially as “Inspirational Educators,” an initiative for a good thing.” They had heard about an Educators Hall of
launched last year as a way to recognize those Fame at East Carolina University, and went to check it out.
who work in the education field and raise money “If you could have an athletic hall of fame, why not do the
for scholarships. same thing for educators?” Jackson asks. “Over the course of 20
years, they’ve honored 500 people and raised $500,000. Their
team was incredibly gracious in helping us figure out what had
“It’s not just about what one person has done. It’s about the lives worked for them.”
they have changed along the way,” says Jackson, who was among In November of 2018, The School of Education announced
the organizers of the initiative. “To see the lives that each one the program and began seeking nominees. To make the
of those 48 people have touched is amazing. We want people process more accessible, organizers allowed for the nomination
to pause and think about just how vital educators are to our fee to be paid in installments. Jackson also noted that the
everyday lives.” entire cost doesn’t have to be borne by one person and can be
Nominating someone as an Inspirational Educator costs spread out amongst a group. Indeed, some of those who were
$1,000, which goes toward a new scholarship endowment for honored have a long list of people who nominated them.
the School of Education. Jackson says organizers had initially set

31 | UNC Greensboro School of Education


Pictured: School of Education Dean Randy Smith (far left) stands with the EACH ONE OF THOSE 48
first recipient class of the Inspirational Educator awards. Above: Names PEOPLE HAVE TOUCHED
of the 2019 recipients adorn the walls of the School of Education. IS AMAZING. WE WANT


The inaugural class includes a former Dean of the Divinity School THINK ABOUT JUST HOW
at Duke University; a UNC Greensboro professor who is a nationally- VITAL EDUCATORS ARE TO

renowned expert in counseling research; and a switchboard operator OUR EVERYDAY LIVES.”
from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia.
“We had someone whose children attended Woodberry, and - Terri Jackson,
they said if you ever needed to know something — how your kid is Senior Director of Development

doing in math, who won the football game, anything — you would

call her, Lee Robinson, Mrs. Rob,” Jackson says. “She was the person who

put your heart and mind at ease when your child was studying away from When you nominate an
home. You just never know who is going to make an impact.”

Among the other nominees was Deborah “DJ” Jones, a UNC Greensboro Inspirational Educator,
graduate who runs her own business, Educational Leadership Consulting, your gift honors a
which helps with the development of school faculty around the state. legacy and inspires
“The part that was rewarding to me [about being nominated] was the our students.
thought that I made a difference in someone’s life,” she says. “To know that

someone sees the value in what you’re doing, that sends a positive message. TO LEARN MORE AND SUBMIT
And hopefully this will help recruit and retain future educators.” A NOMINATION FORM,
About $55,000 was raised during the past year (some of the people who please visit:
submitted nominations gave more than the $1,000 fee), and over the summer
organizers will select the program’s first scholarship recipient, who will speak
at next year’s ceremony. inspirational-educators

Jackson says organizers want to increase awareness of Inspirational

Educators, and hope that an even broader group will be nominated in the For more information, contact:
program’s second year. TERRI JACKSON
“We want our Inspirational Educators to reflect the education community
that is such a diverse part of the School of Education, our students, and Senior Director of Development
our alumni. We want to go even further in showing how education has
impacted a wide variety of people.”  (336) 256-0496
[email protected]

Transform 2019 | 32

SUPPORTING So, she found herself teaching at an alternative
school for at-risk and court-referred students,
the FUTURE of and, some years later, at a literacy and reading
center. It was a deeply formative experience for
EDUCATI N Fairbanks. Many of the students at these schools
Donor Profile: had tumultuous home lives. And many had given
Professor Colleen Fairbanks up on school because they felt it had given up
and Paul Knowlton on them.
“It really was there that I learned big lessons,”
When Professor Colleen Fairbanks and her husband Paul Knowlton sat says Fairbanks. “It was what propelled me into
down to write their wills, there was little question of where they would give. my work. That foundational teaching experience
“I decided early in my tenure at UNC Greensboro that if I was going to altered my perspective about teaching and about
support a university, it would be this one,” Fairbanks says. Knowlton agrees what I wanted to do with my life.”
that giving to UNC Greensboro was a clear choice: “I love North Carolina,” Fairbanks returned to University of Michigan,
he adds. “It’s wonderful here.” earning a Master’s in Reading Education and
After serving as the chair of the Teacher Education and Higher a Ph.D. in English and Education. But it was her
Education (TEHE) department at the School of Education for the last eight experience teaching that taught her to listen to
years, Fairbanks will return to the teaching faculty in the spring of 2020. students and give them control over their own
In her previous work as the department chair and as a graduate advisor, self-narrative and education, a lesson which has
Fairbanks noticed that funding for graduate students in the department translated into Fairbanks’s academic research.
often fell short or was merely temporary. In one of her first peer-reviewed publications,
Fairbanks did what she could — using discretionary funds from grants Fairbanks describes working with a student
to award scholarships to students and giving regularly to the department athlete who had been labeled as having a
fund for scholarships — but saw the need for a more lasting and substantial learning disability from a young age. “He was
financial contribution. There are no endowed scholarships in the School of very bitter about it,” she explains, “because of the
Education specifically earmarked for TEHE students. “We need this money,” way they treated him.” Counselors and teachers
Fairbanks observes. discouraged the student from attending a
Fairbanks and Knowlton are establishing the Colleen Mayme Fairbanks university, and by the time he reached college,
and Paul Edward Knowlton Endowed Fund in Education, which will provide he had become disaffected, struggling to
financial support for students holding graduate assistantships in TEHE. connect with schoolwork and largely distrustful
The gift reflects Fairbanks’s life-long commitment to supporting students of educators.
and training teachers who will work in service of marginalized communities. Fairbanks suggested that the student use
It wasn’t a straight-forward path for Fairbanks. After she graduated his experience as a case study and research
from the University of Michigan with a certification to teach French, she project in a psychology course. In fact, the
looked for traditional language teaching jobs. In Michigan at the time, student and Fairbanks collaborated together,
Fairbanks remembers, “There were no teaching jobs. At one point I heard presenting their findings at a symposium on
that over four years, there were only two openings in French.” special education topics.
Impressed by the student’s bravery in
33 | UNC Greensboro School of Education confronting the labels that he had found so
hurtful, Fairbanks recalls that “he came to
understand more about being the narrator
of his own story, and not being narrated by
everybody else.”

GOING TO SUPPORT A UNIVERSITY, Donors give for a variety of reasons:
They are proud alumni. They believe
IT WOULD BE THIS ONE.” in education and the work we’re doing.
They want to make an impact that means a
- Professor Colleen Fairbanks great deal to them and to today’s students.

The article that Fairbanks published on her work with the student, What inspires you?
“Labels, Literacy, and Enabling Learning,” won the Albert Harris Award for
outstanding contribution to the prevention and/or assessment of reading FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN GIVE
or learning disabilities, from the International Reading Association. on the next page
After she completed her Ph.D., Fairbanks became a professor at the
University of Texas at Austin, where her research continued to be invested Transform 2019 | 34
in students’ stories within the education system. Fairbanks embarked on
a seven-year study of Latina students in Texas, following the way they
narrated their lives through middle school and high school.
But it was at UNC Greensboro, where she has been a member of
the faculty for the last 14 years, that Fairbanks found her scholarly home.
The School of Education, as Fairbanks describes it, is full of “amazing
people who do this fantastic research.” Yet, she notes, it’s also an incredibly
congenial workplace, where the focus is truly on improving education for
students — not competition.
The Colleen Mayme Fairbanks and Paul Edward Knowlton
Endowed Fund in Education is only part of the couple’s broader
commitment to ensuring a brighter future. As avid gardeners, they have
also dedicated an equal part of their estate to the Natural Resources
Defense Council. Thanks to their generosity, the couple’s dedication to
bettering their community will persist long after their story has concluded.



We extend our deepest appreciation to alumni, friends, parents, faculty, and staff, both present and retired, whose
generosity allows students to pursue their dreams in class and across the world, and supports the outstanding
professors, technology, and resources.
During the last academic year, more than 840 people championed education through their gifts to the UNC
Greensboro School of Education. The leading reasons? To have an impact and to give back — some are proud
alumni who want to help pave a path for the educators who follow them, and some honor inspirational educators
who made a difference in their lives. Others simply understand the power of education and want to support the
work the School of Education is doing in its commitment to engaging communities and promoting life-changing
opportunities through education.

Our students and faculty feel the impact of every gift, every day.

TO MAKE A ANNUAL GIFTS support the greatest needs of the School of Education and our departments
GIFT ONLINE, and are used at the discretion of the Dean or department chairs. Kimberly ’97 and Manuel
Dudley ’94, ’97 MA knew the importance of meeting emergency needs of students. They
please visit: made a gift to the SOE Enrichment Fund in honor of Manuel’s uncle, who inspired him to become an educator.

For more information, ENDOWED GIFTS can change the lives of students and faculty in a transformative way by
contact: providing access to scholarship, financial support, research, experiential education, leadership
opportunities, and more. They become permanent funds in the university.
Senior Director Barbara and Ron Shiffler ’70 created an endowment to honor Ron’s
of Development parents that supports students who want to become educators.
(336) 256-0496 “We know we are making an impact,” says Barbara. “We come to
The Dean’s Dinner and also receive handwritten notes from our
[email protected] students. That is so dear to us.”

PLANNED GIFTS include gifts that are part of someone’s estate or even a charitable trust.
They are a way to leave a legacy that will fund a dream as well as benefit future students
or programs in the School of Education.

Celia ’71 and David Jolley ’76 MA have planned gifts in place in both
the SOE and the Bryan School of Business that will fund scholarships.
“We are very invested in helping to provide educational opportunities
and access to higher education. For many students, the cost can be scary.
We want to help pull down barriers,” says Celia.

35 | UNC Greensboro School of Education

The John H. Cook Society recognizes our champions who make

annual gifts of $1,000 or more to support the mission of
the School of Education, which may support any of the school’s funds.

Membership in the Cook Society includes opportunities to meet students, interact with faculty, invitations to School of
Education events, and recognition at The Dean’s Dinner for student scholarship recipients and their SOE champions as
well as a special celebration just for Cook Society members.
The Cook Society is named in honor of the first dean of the School of Education, John H. Cook (1918–1941). Dr. Cook was
a classroom teacher, principal, superintendent, women’s rights advocate, and supporter of teacher benefits and tenure.
For more information about the Cook Society, please visit

Mrs. Karen M. Armstrong Dr. Joe Harmon Mrs. Tracy Priddy
and Mr. Thomas L. Armstrong ’83 MBA, and Mr. Dean Priddy ’86 MBA
Cook Society Chair Cheryl Harrelson ’02 MEd Mr. Norwood Pritchett

Ms. Judy Arnette ’73 MEd Dr. Ye He ’05 PhD and Dr. Leslie M. Rainey ’95 PhD
Dr. Bryant Lindsay Hutson ’06 PhD and Dr. Steven K. Rainey
Mrs. Margaret Allen Barclay Reidsville Area Foundation
and Mr. Edward S. Barclay Ms. Grace Fulton Henley
and Mr. A.B. Henley Mrs. Mary Francis Sayre ’68 MS
Mrs. Amy R. Benedict and Mr. Stevan F. Sayre
and Mr. Jeffrey Benedict Mrs. Jennifer Smith Hooks ’76
and Mr. Jacob T. Hooks Dr. Dale Schunk
Mr. John W. Burress, III
Dr. Sandra Anita Howard ’93 EdD Mrs. Barbara M. Scott
Dr. Jean S. Camp ’67, ’70, ’07 (MEd, EdD) and Mr. Robert L. Howard and Mr. James M. Scott

Dr. James Vinson Carmichael, Jr. Ms. Nina Israel and Mr. Stephen Israel Mrs. Leigh W. Seager ’73
and Mr. Carl Seager
Mr. Randolph N. Carver Mrs. Diana Harmon Jackson
and Dr. Donald Jackson Sara Smith Self Foundation
Dr. Tammy Cashwell
and Dr. Craig S. Cashwell, ’94 PhD Mrs. Terri Jackson and Mr. Clint Jackson ’86 Mrs. Barbara Shiffler
and Dr. Ronald E. Shiffler ’70
Mrs. Tamara Simon Clarida ’96 Dr. Victoria Jacobs
and Dr. Brian Clarida ’02 MSA Dr. Paula Myrick Short ’67
Mrs. Celia Gomedela Jolley ’71 and Dr. Rick J. Short
Mrs. Betty Cone ’64 and Mr. David Styles Jolley ’76 MA
and Mr. Benjamin Cone, Jr. Ms. Patricia Whitley Sickles ’65
Dr. Deborah Elaine Jones ’97 EdD
Dr. Jewell Cooper ’76, ’97, ’97 (MM, PhD) Mrs. Sandy Margolis Smiley ’60
Mrs. Linda Johnson Jones ’66 and Dr. Gary R. Smiley
Dr. Lillie Matilda Cox ’09 EdD and Mr. Kevin R. Jones
Ms. Kathelene McCarty Smith ’09 MLIS
Mrs. Pat Roos Cross ’86 MEd Mrs. Sarah Cole Jordan ’56
and Mr. Pete Cross and The Honorable Robert B. Jordan, III Miss Catherine Solomon ’53

Mrs. Gail Broadway Curry ’70 MA Mrs. Carolyn White Judd ’61 Mrs. Barbara Ann Steslow ’13
and Mr. Wayne Curry
Ms. Barbara Barry Levin Dr. Paul B. Stewart
Mrs. Katherine Bland Davis ’74, ’78 MEd
and Mr. Robert W. Davis Mrs. Linda Wilson McDougle ’70 MEd Dr. Robert D. Street ’75 EdD

Dr. Mary Catharine Eberhart ’90 EdD Mr. Drayton McLane, Jr. Summit Rotary Club
and Dr. Pete Eberhart
Mr. Ned McMillan, III Mrs. Wanda McCaskill Sweeney ’70
Dr. Colleen Mayme Fairbanks and Mr. Oliver Sweeney, Jr.
and Mr. Paul Knowlton Mrs. Evelyn Bruton Monroe ’59
and Dr. John L. Monroe Mrs. Judy Blackwelder Talbert ’61
Dr. Rebecca Hobgood Felton ’83 PhD and Mr. John B. Talbert, Jr.
Dr. Kara Penfield and Dr. Randy Penfield
Mrs. Patricia Helgesen Fesperman ’58 Mrs. Nancy G. Teague ’73 MEd
Miss Hazel Perritt and Mr. Tommy L. Teague
Mr. Stuart Fitzpatrick and
Mrs. Katherine Clutts Fitzpatrick Dr. Donna Cox Peters ’99 PhD Mrs. Joan Morrison Tolley ’81 MEd
and Mr. Rick L. Peters and Dr. Jerry R. Tolley, Sr. ’82 EdD
Dr. Diane L. Frost ’95 PhD
and Mr. Steve J. Frost Pilot Club of Greensboro Dr. Nancy Vacc ’85 EdD

Dr. Katherine Howard Glenn ’99 PhD Mrs. Sally Pinnix and Amanda Siegal Williams
Mr. John L. Pinnix ’75 MA
Miss Patricia A. Glover Mrs. Joanne Reece Williams ’90 MEd
Dr. Barbara Ann Israel
Dr. Janie Goodman and and Dr. Richard Pipan ’85 EdD Dr. Monette Weaver Wood ’67
Dr. Joshua Goodman ’08 PhD
Mrs. Carrie Davis Ponder ’58 Mrs. Linda A. Wooten ’65
Mrs. Deborah Davis Gough ’97 MSA and Dr. Reginald Ponder and Mr. Billy J. Wooten

D.H. Griffin Company Mrs. Pam Powell ’73 Mrs. Sara D. Young | 36
and Mr. Robert W. Powell and Dr. Scott YouTnrgan’9s7foPrmhD2019
Beth Garris Hardy ’69 MEd

Non-Profit Org.
US Postage Paid
Greensboro, NC

Permit 30

School of Education Building
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170


UNCG School of Education




Like the 100+ languages spoken in the Guilford County School system, American Sign Language (ASL) has its own culture, customs, and
community. To help educators advance educational equity, the School of Education offers a number of Graduate- and Doctoral-level
degrees aimed at fostering academic excellence regardless of language — including a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Professions in
Deafness (PID) and a concentration in Advocacy and Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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