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10.19.18 – Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development will induct five alumni into the Hall of Distinguished Educators and honor one as an Outstanding Young Professional during Homecoming Festivities on Saturday, Oct. 27.

This year’s Distinguished Educators are Jacqueline McLamore Crew of Shreveport, Melanie Gimbert McCain of Natchitoches, the late Johnny McFerren, Dan W. Poole Jr. and Dr. Dan Seymour of Natchitoches.   Kimberly Eckert of Addis is this year’s Outstanding Young Professional.

Crew earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1965 and a master’s in education in 1972 and taught in St. Mary, Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Natchitoches parishes from 1965-2012, teaching elementary and gifted classrooms and taking on yearbook duties.  During those years, she served on many parish committees, presented in-service workshops to teachers, took graduate classes and mentored younger teachers.  She was twice selected by colleagues as Teacher of the Year, at Magnolia Woods Elementary in 1996 and at St. Mary’s Elementary in 2004.  She continues to work for Louisiana College observing alternative certification teachers and as site supervisor for NSU’s College of Education.

Crew and her late husband of 52 years Robert Crew, a long-time educator and administrator at Northwestern State, were devoted supporters of Northwestern and were awarded an Nth Degree in 2012 for meritorious service to the university and community.  She has been the Tri Sigma Sorority chapter advisor for 18 years and has volunteered with many community organizations.  Mrs. Crew has two children and four grandchildren.

McCain earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1974, a master’s degree in special education with emphasis in gifted education in 1977 and a Master’s Plus 30 in gifted education in 1981. All degrees and certifications were earned at Northwestern State.  During her career, she has served as a classroom teacher in English/language arts and gifted/talented, a supervising teacher, principal, parish/city supervisor of instruction, educational diagnostician, associate educational therapist and Title 1 supervisor.  She was a Distinguished Educator designated by the Louisiana State Board of Educators or Rapides and Orleans parishes from 1999-2003.

McCain’s career experience includes teaching in both public and private elementary schools, as well as serving as an itinerate teacher.  She is owner/consultant for Shelly-Belly Literacy Company and Shelly-Belly Literacy Company for Dyslexia.  She is also a Time to Teach consultant in behavior management and is an Emergenetics thinking styles consultant.  Her professional development activities include study in guided reading, writing, assessment practices, behavior management, learning styles and the brain. She holds membership in several professional organizations and continues to volunteer and substitute teach at local schools.

McCain has been married to Steve McCain Sr. for 48 years and the couple has two children and four grandchildren.   She is involved with several civic, social and philanthropic organizations.

McFerren, a Marthaville native, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education in 1955, a master’s degree in administration and supervision in 1957 and Plus 30 at the University of Arkansas.  He taught for 12 years in Natchitoches and Caddo parishes and served on the Caddo Parish School Board for 12 years where he was elected president his last year. He was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1980 from District 7 that covers south Caddo and DeSoto parishes and retired in 1996 with a total of 16 years of service.  He served on several legislative committees, including Retirement and Education, and served as vice chairman and chairman on the Education Committee.  He was selected as a commissioner to the Education Commission of the States.

In 2017, Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed McFerren to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, the governing board for Northwestern State and eight other universities.  He was also a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He passed away Aug. 2, 2018.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Patsy Moss McFerren.  They are survived by two children and three grandchildren.

Poole earned his degree in health and physical education with a minor in mathematics at Northwestern State in 1952, a master’s in 1955 from LSU and Plus 30 from both universities. He began his career as a math teach in Ouachita and Natchitoches parishes and was a math and science teacher and coach at Waterproof High School and Natchitoches High School, a math teacher and assistant principal at Natchitoches Central and principal of the Natchitoches 9th Grade Center.  While at Waterproof, he coached the 1959 state track champions and at Natchitoches High School, the 1969 State Football Championship team. He also coached the first 7’0” high jumper in Louisiana.

Along with others, Poole worked to unite two public schools in Natchitoches during desegregation. He was also the clock operator for NSU basketball from 1970-90 and helped officiate NSU track meets from 1963-2013.  Poole’s wife Nelwyn, also a long-time educator, passed away Feb. 15, 2018.  The couple has three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Seymour earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 1972 and a master’s in personnel services-counseling from Northwestern State in 1978.  He engaged in post-graduate studies at NSU in counseling, psychology, higher education and adult education and earned a Ph.D. in higher education and college student affairs counseling at the University of Mississippi in 1989.

Seymour has worked in higher education since 1973 in various roles involving teaching, but not always in the classroom, serving as a counselor, student affairs administrator, college teacher and upper level college and university administrator. Areas of specialization include personal counseling, marriage and family therapy, university teaching, student affairs administration, career counseling, student development and human behavior and assessment in counseling and education. He holds many licensures and certifications related to mental health and family counseling and has been an active as an instructor, counselor, advisor and program coordinator throughout his career.

He is married to Dr. Cathy Reed Seymour and they have two children, one grandchild and expecting a second grandchild.

Eckert is a high school English teacher at Brusly High School.  She earned a Bachelor of Social Work is 2004 and Master’s of Education in special education in 2013 at NSU and is also a reading specialist. She previously served as a special education teacher, a reading interventionist, a TAP mentor, master teacher and instructional coach before returning to the classroom. In addition to teaching, she currently serves as an NEA Global Fellow, a Stand for Children’s LEAD Fellow, recently received Louisiana’s Public Interest Fellowship for work with Educators Rising and is the 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year.

Eckert pioneered the use of a ‘Genius Hour’ in her classroom to embolden students to take on ambitious projects that align with their passions. While she has received most of her attention and recognition as an English teacher, she still identifies as a special education teacher and applies the lessons and skills she learned during her years with special education to everything that she does. Eckert is married to Richard Eckert III and they have a daughter.


07.02.18 – Two programs in the School of Education, formerly the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Counseling, have been ranked among the most affordable in the nation by the website collegechoice.net.

The Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education and bachelor’s in child and family studies were ranked as the seventh most affordable. The master’s in secondary education was also ranked as the ninth best overall.

“The Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development is pleased to have collegechoice.net recognize the value and excellence in our teacher certification programs,” said Dr. Kimberly Walker McAlister, dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. “Multiple secondary content areas are identified as critical shortage needs and NSU’s online offerings are helping to meet this need. Louisiana Department of Education evidence supports that our new teachers are successful in helping students learn and grow.

“The degree in Child and Family Studies opens many avenues for graduates in early learning centers, educational or non profit agencies. This recently redesigned program prepares graduates to interact with children, their parents and community stakeholders.”

Both programs are offered through the School, the secondary education program is ideal for those who wish to earn their initial Louisiana teacher certification in secondary content area. Options include biology, business mathematics and special education and will credential completers to teach in grades K-12.
The master’s in secondary education requires 33 hours of graduate coursework, including a one-year teaching internship.

The bachelor’s in child and family studies requires the completion of courses in nutrition, parenting, educational psychology and early childhood education. Students must complete a minimum of 90 hours of observation in a licensed child care center or elementary school during their junior year and 180 hours of on the job training during their senior year.

Each college or university in the rankings is an accredited public or private institutions. The rankings are based on an institution’s quality, reputation, affordability, value and student satisfaction.

The website used sources including the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, U.S. News and World Report’s reputation score and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Information on the programs are available at education.nsula.edu.


06.10.18 – Faculty and alumni participated in the 2018 Louisiana Teacher Leader Summit in New Orleans May 28-31, 2018. In addition to an impressive turnout of alumni who are now practicing teachers, five faculty participated in the conference. Ms. Ramona Wynder, interim director of field experience and clinical practice, and Dr. April Giddens, assistant professor of education, participated in invited panel discussions based on accomplishments in the department over the past year. Wynder, Giddens, and Dr. Terrie Poehl, associate professor of education, were recognized for completing the 2017-2018 Louisiana Department of Education mentor training (Wynder) and content leader training (Giddens and Poehl). Dr. Steve Westbrook, assistant professor of education, and Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, attended to represent the department at special functions held during the conference. The entire Northwestern team was featured on the cover of the June 2018 Believe & Prepare Newsletter. Click here to read more.


04.25.18 – The Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development at Northwestern State University of Louisian University is hosting an accreditation visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) on September 23-25, 2018. Interested parties are invited to submit third-party comments to the site visit team. Please note that comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the party’s relationship to the provider (i.e., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates).

We invite you to submit written testimony to:


1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20036

or by email to: callforcomments@caepnet.org

Such comments must be within the specified period and based on the core tenets of CAEP accreditation standards of excellence, which recognize that:

  • In CAEP’s performance-based system, accreditation is based on evidence that demonstrates that teacher candidates know the subject matter and can teach it effectively so that students learn. In the CAEP system, EPPs must prove that candidates can connect theory to practice and be effective in an actual P-12 classroom.
  • A professional education provider that is accredited by CAEP is expected to be involved in ongoing planning and evaluation; engaged in continuous assessment and development; ensure that faculty and programs reflect new knowledge, practice, and technologies; and be involved in continuous development in response to the evolving world of education and educational reform.
  • Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the respondent’s relationship, if any, to the institution (i.e., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates). Copies of all correspondence received will be sent to the university for comment prior to the review. No anonymous testimony will be considered.



03.26.18 – Linda Day, a Northwestern alumnae, retired educator, Northwestern Hall of Distinguished Educator member, and now a Long Purple Line inductee, met with current teacher education candidates to share insight, tips, and stories about her career as an educator. Pictured with Day and the candidates is Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, who presented Day with a few momentos from the college.

Read about the Long Purple Line and the 2018 inductees.


03.01.18 – The Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Counseling held the first Educators Rising conference on February 26 at the Northwestern Teacher Education Center. High school students who aspire to be teachers participated in events with current Northwestern education students, professors, the 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, the 2012 Louisiana Teacher of the Year and current Northwestern faculty member, and the 2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year. Read more.


02.19.18 – Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of Northwestern State University’s College of Education and Human Development, right, and Stacy Peoples of Mansfield High School, left, welcomed about 100 students from six regional high schools to NSU for the regional conference of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Friday. Peoples is FCCLA regional vice president of public relations and state vice president of STAR Events. NSU’s Child and Family Studies program serves as the university sponsor for FCCLA, a national student organization that provides personal growth, leadership development and career preparation opportunities for students in Family and Consumer Sciences education. The conference was held in conjunction with national FCCLA Week. The mission of FCCLA is to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader, members develop skills for life through: character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.  NSU’s Child and Family Studies program hosted the conference to expose high schoolers to career opportunities in psychology, social work and child and family studies.


12.10.17 – Dr. Kimberly Walker McAlister was approved by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors as the next dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, within which the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Counseling is housed. McAlister will lead that department and the Departments of Health and Human Performance, Military Science, Psychology, and Social Work.

McAlister has been head of the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Counseling since 2014 and was head of the Department of Teaching and Learning from 2010 until the name changed in 2014. She has been a member of Northwestern State’s faculty since 1998, holding the Dan and Lilly Chase Endowed Professorship in 2016-2017.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I accept these new responsibilities as dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development,” said McAlister. It is my privilege to continue my passion of education, working with department heads, faculty and staff to serve our students in reaching their academic and professional goals.”

McAlister said she was appreciative of the opportunity to lead the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, which offers degrees at the baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral levels.

“My goal is to foster continued growth in building each of our academic units, and activate increased collaboration within and outside our Northwestern community,” she said. “It a phenomenal opportunity to lead and work at Northwestern.”

Before joining Northwestern’s faculty she was a mathematics teacher at Baton Rouge Magnet High, Sulphur High, and Bolton High.

McAlister serves as a site member of national accreditation teams for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as well as a state team member. She has previously served as a Board of Examiner team member and chair for accreditation teams for the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher education from 2009 to 2016. McAlister is president-elect of the Louisiana Association for Colleges of Teacher Education and is also the organization’s treasurer.

She has authored numerous publications for national and international professional journals and made a number of presentations at state, national and international education conferences.

McAlister earned an Ed.D. (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Louisiana-Monroe. She received a master’s degree from Northwestern State and a bachelor’s from Northeast Louisiana University.

Dr. Dustin Hebert, associate professor of education and program coordinator of educational technology leadership, has been named interim department head of Teaching, Leadership, and Counseling for 2018 while a search for a permanent department head is conducted. Hebert has been a faculty member at Northwestern State since August 2014. Previously, he held faculty and leadership positions at McNeese State University and Louisiana State University-Eunice and was a business and social studies teacher at Crowley High. Hebert holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McNeese State and educational specialist and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University.

McAlister’s and Hebert’s appointments are effective January 3, 2018.


12.06.17 – Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson and Dr. Katrina Jordan, both professors in Northwestern State University’s early childhood education program, presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in November where they shared their research titled, “Addressing the Cradle to Prison Pipeline through Early Childhood Education Service Learning Projects.” Their service learning project focuses on remapping the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline” into a “Cradle to College Pipeline” by providing early literacy activities and familial support to local at-risk students. Donations of school supplies and books are always needed. To make a contribution, contact Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson at faziom@nsula.edu.


10.21.17 – Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development honored several alumni during Homecoming festivities with induction into the Hall of Distinguished Educators and recognition as Distinguished Young Professionals. From left are Dr. Vickie Gentry, dean of the College, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Billy Crawford of New Orleans, Jeffrey Powell of Plaquemine, Judy Lincecum Stewart of Broussard, Dr. Larry Gracie of Oriental, North Carolina; Sedrick Clark of Gladewater, Texas; Dr. Steve Horton and Dr. Connie Melder of Natchitoches and NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. Those inducted into the Hall of Distinction earned a degree in one of NSU’s teacher preparation programs and are recognized for their contributions to the field of education at the local, state or national level.