SOE News

Peabody Pulse

The Peabody Pulse is a newsletter describing news of the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Robert Pianta giving Friday Lecture on Thursday afternoon

Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, will present the William C. Friday Distinguished Lecture on Thursday. The lecture, entitled “Improving Impacts of Classrooms: Professional Development and Classroom Observation,” will be given at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center. The event starts at 4 p.m., with a reception to follow. Pianta is a former special education teacher whose research focuses on investigating the effects of schooling on children’s social and academic outcomes and on improving school and classroom experiences through teachers’ professional development. He has been a principal investigator on several major research and training grants and is also editor of the Journal of School Psychology.


FirstSchool event beginning Thursday to consider teacher preparation

A conference to explore potential reforms in pre-service teaching education is being held Thursday and Friday at the Carolina Inn. The invitation-only event, entitled “Learning from our Differences: Re-thinking Pre-service Teacher Education for Pre-K through 3rd Grade,” is co-hosted by the School of Education and the FirstSchool initiative of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, with support from the Kellogg Foundation. The aims of the conference reflect principles of FirstSchool, a school reform effort focused on successful transitions of children from home to school and through third grade. FirstSchool implementation efforts are under way in eight low-income, low-performing, high minority schools in North Carolina and Michigan. This event brings scholars together from around the country with diverse views of what is needed to reform pre-service teacher education.  Although the event is invitation-only, a few spaces remain for SOE or allied faculty. Those interested in attending should please contact Rebecca New, conference organizer, at


Pedro Noguera to give guest lecture Thursday evening

Pedro Noguera, author and a professor in New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Development, will give a talk on Thursday entitled “Race, Equity and the Unfulfilled Promise of American Education.” Noguera is the author The Trouble with Black Boys and Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and Education and Invisible No More: Understanding and Responding to the Disenfranchisement of Latino Males. He serves as executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and is a regular commentator on CNN, NPR, and other news outlets. The talk will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium.


Leigh Hall co-authors book chapter

Leigh Hall, associate professor of literacy studies, has co-authored a book chapter that has just been published. The chapter is entitled “Using students’ funds of knowledge to enhance middle grades education: Responding to adolescen(T)s” and appears in Not a Stage! A Critical Reconceptualization of Young Adolescent Education, published by Peter Lang Publishers. Her co-author was Les Burns of the University of Kentucky.


EPME faculty publish journal articles

The following articles have been published by educational psychology, measurement and evaluation program faculty and students:

  • “Where Do Rural High School Students Go to Find Information about Their Futures?,” by Dana Griffin, Ph.D. student Bryan Hutchins and Judith Meece, appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of the Journal of Counseling & Development. Abstract available here.
  • Faculty member Jill Hamm and Kerrylin Lambert of the Center for Developmental were among the co-authors of the article “Bullying Involvement and the School Adjustment of Rural Students With and Without Disabilities,” which appeared in the March 2012 edition of the Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders. Abstract available here.


Steve Bronack making TEDx presentation on Friday

Steve Bronack, executive director of LEARN NC, will be giving a TEDx talk on Friday in Greenville, S.C.  The theme of the TEDx event is "Breakthroughs" and the presenters include a variety of innovators of technology, ideas and talents. In Bronack's talk, entitled "New Worlds on Learning," he will highlight the use of virtual worlds in education focusing in particular on SimHub, a technology center located in Greenville where faculty and students studied ways to use immersive technologies, and the virtual 3-D world of Second Life. 


Sherick Hughes (Ph.D. ’03) to receive Border Crossers Award

Sherick Hughes (Ph.D. ’03), a faculty member at the University of Maryland who will join the School of Education as an associate professor in the fall, will be honored with a Border Crossers Award. Border Crossers is a community organization in New York City that works to bring together diverse students to explore issues of inequality, discrimination and social justice. Hughes will receive the award at a reception on May 16 at Border Crossers ninth annual Spring Gala. Hughes is the author of the book Black Hands in the Biscuits Not in the Classrooms: Unveiling Hope in a Struggle for Brown’s Promise.


Ph.D. student Amy Lerner awarded $2,000 Community Engagement Fellowship

Amy Lerner, a second-year ECSEL Ph.D. student, has received a $2,000 Community Engagement Fellowship from the Carolina Center for Public Service for a project titled “Toward Successful Integration: Partnering With Local Schools to Assist Refugee Students.” The project builds on a seed grant from the Research Triangle Schools Partnership for which Lerner conducted a series of focus groups with elementary school personnel who work with local refugees from Burma. These educators expressed a great need for strategies and resources that will enable them to better serve the growing population of Burmese refugees. The goal of Lerner’s fellowship is to develop a resource guide for school personnel working with these students. Evidence-based methods, afforded by direct feedback from school personnel, will be compiled into a "school-generated" pamphlet that aims to meet identified needs. Lerner will be honored Wednesday at UNC’s annual Public Service Awards event. 


John Bemis (A.B.Ed. ’95 and M.Ed. ’03) named N&O’s ‘Tar Heel of the Week’

John Bemis (A.B.Ed. ’95 and M.Ed. ’03), a teacher at Cameron Park Elementary School in Hillsborough and a children’s book author, has been named “Tar Heel of the Week” by The News & Observer of Raleigh. The newspaper profiled Bemis in its March 18 edition, describing his many talents, being an accomplished teacher, musician and now an award-winning children’s author. Bemis returned to teaching this year after taking three years off to complete his “Clockwork Dark” trilogy. The series of fantasy books was written for fourth- to eighth-graders. His first book, “The Nine Pound Hammer,” has won several awards. The profile is available here.


Ph.D. student Trey Adcock describes his research in LEARN NC podcast

Trey Adcock, a Ph.D. candidate in the Culture, Curriculum and Change program, describes his dissertation research in a podcast produced by LEARN NC. Adcock, an American Indian, is studying the implementation of technology at an American Indian boarding school. Adcock says that he hopes those who read his dissertation learn that American Indians are full participants in the 21st century, and struggling like everyone else to do what’s best for students. The video podcast is available here.


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Got news?

Have you got news to share? A new paper published? Make a conference presentation? Win a grant? Do you know of an upcoming SOE event of interest to others? A shoutout, about yourself or someone you know? Send your news to Mike Hobbs at michael_hobbs AT



Wednesday, March 28
SOE Faculty meeting
1:30 p.m.
Peabody 206

Thursday, March 29
First School meeting
Carolina Inn

Robert Pianta lecture
4 p.m.
George Watts Hill Alumni Center

Pedro Noguera lecture
6:30 p.m.
Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium