Alumni News

School of Education honors four at 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner

The School of Education honored four alumni and bestowed its inaugural Leader in Innovation Award at its 17th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on Oct. 6.

The School honored alumnus Moise Khayrallah, chief executive officer of Emergo Therapeutics Inc. and co-chair of the School of Education’s participation in the Campaign for Carolina, with its first-ever Leader in Innovation Award.

Also being honored were teacher Angela Panel Scioli (A.B.Ed. ’93, M.A.T. ’00), UNC-Wilmington Watson College of Education Dean Van Dempsey (A.B.Ed. ’82, M.A.T. ’84, Ph.D. ’91), and University of Virginia Professor Emeritus Rebecca Dailey Kneedler (A.B.Ed. ’67).

Moise Khayrallah

Moise Khayrallah

Moise Khayrallah (Ph.D. ’93) earned his doctorate in educational psychology at the School of Education before embarking on a 30-year career in pharmaceutical development. Khayrallah, of Chapel Hill, has been involved in drug development since going to work for the pharmaceutical firm Burroughs Wellcome in 1987 while working on his doctorate. He advanced at Burroughs Wellcome, which later merged to become Glaxo Wellcome, and then worked at other pharmaceutical, contract research and biotechnology firms.

A native of Lebanon, Khayrallah was a master’s student at American University of Beirut when colleagues encouraged him to pursue a doctorate at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Early in his academic career at Carolina he studied statistics, including with School of Education faculty member Bill Ware. He also pursued interests in educational technology with the late faculty member Wally Hannum. Khayrallah completed his Ph.D. in educational psychology, with a dissertation committee chaired by psychology professor Peter Ornstein.

Khayrallah today leads Research Triangle Park-based Emergo Therapeutics Inc. which is working on development of a compound to treat flu and flu-like illnesses.

He serves as co-chair of the School’s participation in the Campaign for Carolina and donated funds to establish a fellowship program for students in the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (MEITE) program.

Angela Panel Scioli (A.B.Ed. ’93, MAT ’00), a social studies teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Angela Panel Scioli

Angela Panel Scioli

Scioli, who has been teaching in Wake County public schools for 25 years, attended Carolina as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and is a longtime National Board Certified Teacher.

She was the founder of Red4EdNC, a nonprofit group that advocates for public education, seeking to inform the public about how legislative policy affects classroom teachers in North Carolina. Recently, Red4EdNC organized a “Declaration in Defense of N.C.’s Public School Children,” signed by 537 teachers from 104 North Carolina school districts.

Scioli was the subject of a documentary film, “Teacher of the Year, which chronicled Scioli juggling her job, family and educational advocacy pursuits. The Atlantic, Huffington Post and WUNC’s “The State of Things” all profiled the documentary, and it won awards at film festivals around the country.

She was Wake County Public Schools’ First-Year Teacher of the Year in 1994 and the Leesville Road High School Teacher of the Year in 1999.

Van Dempsey III (A.B.Ed. ’82, M.A.T. ’84, Ph.D. ’91), dean of the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Award.

Van Dempsey

Van Dempsey

Dempsey started his career as a high school social studies teacher in North Carolina. He spent 24 years in higher education positions in West Virginia. He was on the faculty at West Virginia University and director of the Benedum Collaborative, a network of public schools that partnered with the university’s teacher preparation program and education and human services programs across the college of education.

Dempsey also served as vice president for institutional assessment and effectiveness at Fairmont State University in West Virginia. Dempsey also served as Fairmont’s dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance.

He has held leadership roles in state and national organizations. He was a founding member of the board of directors for the National Association for Professional Development Schools; a member of the executive committee of the National Network for Education Renewal and chaired the West Virginia Commission for Professional Teaching Standards.

Dempsey was named dean of the Watson College of Education in 2015, where much of his work has centered on creating collaborations with local school districts and businesses to create new learning opportunities for children, families and communities.

Rebecca Dailey Kneedler (A.B.Ed. ’67), professor emeritus in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award.

Rebecca Kneedler

Rebecca Kneedler

Kneedler was a faculty member in the Curry School of Education for 39 years, serving as professor of education, associate dean for academic partnerships and international initiatives and associate dean for academic and Faculty Affairs, among other roles and duties. Before embarking on a career in higher education, she was an elementary school teacher in Durham and Washington, D.C.

At Curry, in partnership with the Peace Corps, Kneedler created a Masters International program, and she was instrumental in the development and approval of a dual degree program with the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business that culminates in M.B.A. and M.Ed. degrees.

Kneedler is credited with successes in leading recruitment of more professors from underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, most of whom are now thriving in leadership positions and making significant contributions to the Curry School of Education and the campus.

Kneedler was the first Curry School faculty member to serve as chair of the University of Virginia Faculty Senate. The university’s president appointed her in 1998 to chair the University of Virginia’s 2020 Planning Commission on Public Service and Outreach. And in 2013, Kneedler received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Z Society, a prominent philanthropic society at the University of Virginia.