SOE News

Peabody Pulse

Gia Branciforte joins School as Web & Multimedia Specialist

Gia Branciforte has joined the School of Education as our new Web & Multimedia Specialist. Branciforte is an alumna of Carolina where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She comes to the School from KitchenWorks, Inc. where she managed the company’s online store. Prior to that she worked at N.C. Prevention Partners. Faculty and staff are urged to send web update requests to Brian Fodrey as Branciforte gets acquainted with her role.

Alumna Lillie Cox named finalist for national educational leadership award

Lillie Cox (Ed.D. ’09), superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System, has been named a finalist for the 2014 Women in School Leadership Award, presented by AASA, the School Superintendents Association. Cox was one of the two superintendents named as finalists for the award. The winner will be announced at the AASA 2014 National Conference on Education in February in Nashville, Tenn. Cox has served as superintendent at Alamance-Burlington since July 2011. Previously she had worked as superintendent of Hickory Public Schools from 2009 to 2011. She served as Alamance-Burlington’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction from 2006-2009. She also worked as an administrator in the Guilford County Schools system, and has worked as an elementary, middle and high school principal, as well as a teacher.

Symposium, graduate student visitation day, Alumni Awards dinner planned for Nov. 16

The School of Education will host its annual Alumni Awards dinner in conjunction with a daylong research symposium exploring the topic "Education for a New Era" on Nov. 16. The School’s annual graduate student visitation day will also be held that day, with attendees invited to attend some symposium events. The symposium will feature School of Education faculty leading discussions exploring hot topics in education. The Alumni Awards event will honor four alumni, and James Gallagher, senior scientist emeritus and former director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, will be given the Peabody Award, the School's highest honor. RSVP for the symposium or Alumni Awards events by sending an email to Laurie Norman, Prospective graduate students interested in attending the visitation day should contact Derek Neverosky at

Student group publishes education policy newsletter

The Carolina Education Policy Student Association, a group led by a group of School of Education doctoral students in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement program, has published a new edition of its EdInsights newsletter, available here. The newsletter explores several topics in the education policy arena. The newsletter is intended to share information about education policy developments in our state and to provide a forum for people to share their views. For more information about the newsletter or the group, email

Sam Odom to present SOE Brown Bag talk Oct. 23

Sam Odom, director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, will present a School of Education Research Brown bag talk on Oct. 23. The title of Odom’s talk is “An Implementation Science Approach to Professional Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders.” The session will be held in Peabody 02 at noon. Light lunches will be provided for approximately 25 people at each of this year's Brown Bag talks. The lunches are made possible through the generous support of Malbert Smith (M.Ed. '77, Ph.D. '80) and Metametrics, Inc.

Ph.D. student Brooke Midkiff wins travel award

Brooke Midkiff, a student in the Ph.D. in Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement program, received the Graduate Student Travel Award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education. This competitive award is given out to graduate students to facilitate their travel to the annual ASHE conference, happening this year in St. Louis, Nov. 14-17.

Palsha, Jones to present on project-based learning at San Francisco conference

Sharon Palsha, clinical associate professor of early childhood, and Meredith Jones, a doctoral student in the Early Childhood, Special Education, and Literacy program will travel to San Francisco this week to give two presentations on Thursday. They will present at the 29th Annual International Division of Early Childhood Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families, "Bridging Research, Policy and Practice … Every Day, Every Chance, Every Child.” Palsha and Jones will share their work with project-based learning to support the learning and development of all children. Palsha has more than a decade of work with project-based learning and Jones has a six-year history. Jones’s work was featured recently in an article "Engaging Prekindergarten Dual Language Learners in Projects" in Young Children will be shared at both the session and a poster presentation.

Palsha presents on ‘Dialogic Read Alouds’

Sharon Palsha, clinical associate professor of early childhood, made a presentation on Friday on how to use “Dialogic Read Alouds” to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills. “Dialogic Read Alouds” provides a model for effective reading aloud to children. The presentation was at a professional development day for community college early childhood faculty. The presentation was sponsored by a project at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Supporting Change and Reform in Preservice Teaching in North Carolina (SCRIPT-NC).

LEARN NC offers new course bundle ‘America on the World Stage’

LEARN NC is offering a new bundle of ten courses titled “America on the World Stage” that explore the emergence of the United States' power and prestige in relation to world events. Each of these courses will focus on an inquiry-based approach to globalizing the American history narrative through key benchmark topics. Ideal for U.S. history teachers and world history teachers at the middle and secondary levels as well as media center specialists and other curriculum support staff. The courses are 3-5 weeks in length and earn continuing education credit from UNC. For more information, contact Andy Mink,, for details.

SCALE wins two new grants

SCALE, the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education, has won two new grants. SCALE received $1,400 from the N.C. Campus Compact MLK Day Challenge. SCALE’s AmeriCorps members, the N.C. LiteracyCorps will be partnering with NCCU, N.C. State, Duke and UNC students to collect books for a “book harvest.” SCALE also received a grant from CHC Youth Forward to support “Changing the Future with Social Justice Stories,” a project of America Reads. The grant is expected to be $5,000.

Doctoral student Latasha Woods collaborating with N.C. DPI

Latasha Woods, a doctoral student in the School Psychology program, is working with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction on a project aimed at helping schools with their disciplinary practices. One of the projects in which Woods is involved is a research study aimed at using coaching with school-based faculty on data interpretation and implementation aimed at reducing disproportionality in discipline practices. The goal of this program is to equip administrators with the tools to make evidence-based decisions in the schools. An additional project with which the school psychology extern is involved is partnering with three school districts that have been identified as requiring targeted support due to issues with disproportionality. Through the use of the Multi-Tier System of Supports Model, which is a combination of Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI), there is an ongoing effort to train schools to use the implementation science framework to guide implementation of initiatives in schools. Woods is also researching RTI implementation at the high school level and determining applicability of Specific Learning Disability eligibility with the use of RTI data. State-level leadership will then use this data to develop a plan-of-action for RTI implementation in the state.

Faculty participating in Outward Bound experience

School of Education faculty members Martinette Horner, Julie Justice and Cheryl Mason Bolick are heading into the woods. The three are taking part in a four-day wilderness adventure called the N.C. Outward Bound Educator Invitational. The backpacking trek in the Linville Gorge is designed to demonstrate how an Outward Bound experience can benefit teachers and students. The program will also include rock climbing and a short solo hiking experience. More information about the event is available here.

Group holding events for education students, professionals

A group called Young Education Professionals-Triangle NC is organizing events to bring together working professionals and graduate students who are interested in education and issues affecting kids. The events:

October 22
3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Should the United States have Publicly Funded Preschool for All?
Featuring Steven Barnett, National Institute for Early Education Research
Sanford Rhodes Conference Room, Duke University
RSVP by Oct. 15
Click here for more details.

October 22
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
YEP Happy Hour Discussion Group - Publicly Funded Pre-School for All
Six Plates - 2812 Erwin Rd, Durham
RSVP (In addition to the Duke RSVP)

November 7
6p.m. to 8p.m.
Happy Hour
Join graduate students from UNC, Duke, N.C. Central, N.C. State, and Triangle-area professionals.
Straw Valley Cafe - 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham

Where are they now?

Following are some updates on where some of our graduates have gotten jobs. For future editions of the Peabody Pulse, please send short notes about others to

Pam Fleischauer, PreK/Kindergarten Lead Teacher, Watts Montessori Magnet School, Durham
Monica Goodwin, N.C. PreK Classroom, Spout Springs, N.C.
Alison Gover, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.
Megan Gress, 3rd Grade teacher, Alston Ridge Elementary, Wake County Schools.
Shantale Jacobs, Kindergarten teacher, Hillsborough Elementary.
Leah Kagan-Reznick, PreK lead teacher at The Little School, Hillsborough.
Mary Cate Komoski, Kindergarten teacher Holt Elementary, Durham.
Sue Jin Kwon, 1st Grade teacher, Central Elementary, Hillsborough.
Hannah Lambert, Campus Crusade, London.
Kate Langdon, Nursing School, Wake Technical Community College.
Rochelle Maignan, PreK teacher, Charlotte.
Madeline Morgan, Exceptional Children's Resource Teacher, Anson Middle School, Anson County, N.C.
Sara Presnell, PreK lead teacher, Trindale Elementary in Archdale, N.C.
Rachel Rhyne, Graduate School, Speech Language Pathology, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Anna Spangler, 3rd grade, Trinity School, Durham.

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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


Oct. 23
SOE Brown Bag: Sam Odom

Peabody 02

Nov. 13
SOE Brown Bag: Steve Knotek

Peabody 02

Nov. 16
Graduate Student Visitation Day

9a.m. through 5p.m.
Peabody Hall

Nov. 16
SOE Symposium: 'Education for a New Era'

9a.m. - 4p.m.
Carolina Inn

Nov. 16
2013 Alumni Awards Dinner

Carolina Inn