School of Education celebrating its 125th anniversary

The School of Education will celebrate its 125th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, showcasing the service and research its faculty and alumni have provided North Carolina and the country.

The School will mark the anniversary with a daylong celebration, including presentation of Alumni Achievement Awards and a keynote address by school reform leader Phil Schlechty. The day will also include panel discussions around the theme “Stories That Changed the Face of Public Education,” an open house featuring work by faculty and graduate students and receptions.

"We are proud of the long history of the School of Education and the impact it has had on education," said Dean Bill McDiarmid. "Just as it was more than a century ago, our mission is to support students, educators, schools and families through innovative instructional programs, research and partnerships. We are looking forward to celebrating that work."

Alumni Achievement Awards

The day is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. with the Annual Alumni Awards Celebration. Eliz Colbert, president of the School of Education Alumni Association, will preside at the ceremony, which will be held in the Chancellor's Ballroom in the Carolina Inn.

Alumni being honored are:

  • Robert Bradley (M.A. '73, Ph.D. '74). Bradley, a professor of education at the University of Arkansas, is a leading researcher on early childhood development and the effects of childcare. He is the author of more than 200 articles and book chapters and is one of the developers of the Home Observations for the Measurement of the Environment (HOME) assessment tool that has been shown to be a powerful predictor of children's later development and has been used in many studies of early development. He serves on a number of research advisory groups and is an investigator for the Early Head Start National Evaluation Study and the NICHD Study of Child Care and Youth Development.

  • Ed Dunlap Jr. (Ph.D. '79). Dunlap is executive director of the N.C. School Boards Association. Dunlap, who joined the NCSBA in 1979 and has led the association since 1994, is credited with building partnerships among local educational leaders and state political leaders that have addressed school needs across North Carolina. He has also served as a leader in the National School Boards Association, with his advice and insights frequently sought by his peers across the country.

  • Wilma Peebles-Wilkins (Ph.D. '84). Peebles-Wilkins had a 40-year career as a social work practitioner, administrator and educator, serving in leadership positions in the public and private sectors. She served for 12 years as dean of the Boston University School of Social Work, where she worked to transform the school into a leader in social work research and scholarship. She has been inducted into the National Academies of Practice as a Distinguished Practitioner, and has been named as a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers.

  • Sharon Rose Powell (AB '68). Powell is the founding president of the Princeton Center for Leadership Training. During a 30-year career as an educator and leadership training consultant, Powell has been an innovator in the development of peer leadership models. She has been a frequent presenter at forums that focus on school reform initiatives, leadership training and developmental concerns of adolescents during critical life transitions.

  • Cynthia Thompson Rudolph (B.S.S.T. '86. M.A.T. '87). Rudolph, who teaches biology at Hopewell High School in Huntersville, N.C., was awarded earlier this year the Milken National Educator Award, known in educator circles as the "Oscar of Education." Rudolph has been recognized in the past for her classroom innovations. In 2008, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system selected Rudolph as a professional master teacher and designated her classroom as a learning lab where new teachers can observe her teaching and management techniques.

  • Betty Lou Whitford (A.B.Ed. '72. M.A.T. '76, Ph.D. '81). Whitford, chosen this year to serve as dean of the College of Education at Auburn University, where she will also serve as the Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor. Whitford, who has worked as a leader in school reform and in creating collaborations between universities and schools, previously served as dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Southern Maine. She has served as a consultant for many school districts and school and university partnerships. Whitford has also served as an advisor for many foundations and professional associations.

The Peabody Award

The Alumni Association also will present its Peabody Award. This year's recipient is Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. (A.B. '65, J.D. '68).

Manning has had far-reaching impact on public school education in North Carolina. He was the presiding judge in the Leandro vs. North Carolina case in which he ruled that the state Constitution required that every public school classroom must have a caring, qualified teacher, that every school by led by a competent principal and have sufficient resources. The ruling has compelled policymakers to develop new funding for schools serving low-income communities across the state.

Panel discussions, faculty and graduate student displays

The day's events will also include four panel discussions that will explore the theme "Stories That Changed the Face of Public Education," examining issues affecting schools and the development of leadership capacity within the field of education.

Two discussions will be held concurrently beginning at 2 p.m. and another pair of discussions begin at 3:15 p.m. The discussions will be held in various classrooms in Peabody Hall.

The 2 p.m. discussions are "Discussing Desegregation in North Carolina" and "Creating Dynamic Leaders in Education." The 3:15 p.m. sessions are "Leading the Way for Children with Special Needs" and "Developing Our Nation's Top Educational Researchers."

Throughout the day, displays of recent work by faculty and graduate students will be on display in Peabody Hall.

Keynote address

Schlechty, a former faculty member and associate dean in the School of Education, is known internationally as a leader in school reform. He heads the Schlechty Center, a private, nonprofit school reform organization in Louisville, Ky. He is a lively speaker and an entertaining, insightful storyteller.

His address is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at The Carolina Inn. The School will host a reception following his address.

Reservations, more information

Reservations are required for all events. There is no cost to attend the event.

Information is online at 125 Years Event Details.

Parking will be available at in the N11 parking lot where Venable Hall once stood. The lot's entrance is on South Road, just east of the Columbia Street intersection. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Other parking will be available in other campus lots or in downtown Chapel Hill.

For more information, please contact Laurie Norman, director of Alumni Relations, at or 919-843-6979.