Flat Rate Tuition for Teacher Alternate Certification

Northwestern State University’s School of Education received approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors to offer flat rate pricing for the PREP program, an accelerated alternate certification program for professionals who would like to become certified to teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.

NSU was approved to charge a flat rate of $5,040 in tuition and fees for 18 graduate hours of education courses in three alternate certification programs.  Upon completion, students will be eligible for 12 hours to transfer into the Master of Education program in Curriculum and Instruction, furthering the career trajectory for Louisiana teachers.

“There is a definite workforce need for trained, certified teachers,” said Dr. Katrina Jordan, director of NSU’s School of Education. “According to statistics published in The Advocate, one in five classrooms in Louisiana is taught by a teacher who is either teaching out of field or who is uncertified.  The changes to our program will help address this critical certified teacher shortage in Louisiana.”

Individuals interested in fast track certification to teaching can enroll for the Spring 2020 semester where they can earn three hours in the spring and six hours in the summer to improve teaching skills.  Students would then be required to pass the PRAXIS Core and Content test to begin a two-semester internship in the Fall 2020.  Coursework is offered 100 percent online with face to face field experiences.

“Based on the outstanding quality of the preparation and support included within Northwestern’s program and a review of charges with other Louisiana alternative certification providers, this proposed cost structure would be beneficial to current students and viable for the university,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.

“We are very excited to be offering this fast-start program at NSU,” Jordan said. “The lower cost paired with fewer hours means that we can attract more students to our outstanding program that offers them the same superior service and educational programming for which NSU has long been known.”

Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, said the updated pathway eliminates barriers for people to begin the program and will help teachers be more effective in the classroom.

“Northwestern is pleased to offer cost effective, high quality options for current classroom teachers who need to become certified,” McAlister said.  “Northwestern State is committed to continuing our partnership with public, private and charter schools across Louisiana, providing coursework and field experiences, culminating with positive growth in K-12 students.”

For more information, contact Jodi Shirley, academic coordinator/instructor at (318) 357-4058 or email  Information is also available at

By Leah Jackson

Hall of Distinguished Educators

Northwestern State University’s School of Education honored several outstanding alumni for their contributions to the field of education with induction into the Hall of Distinguished Educators. This year’s class included, from left, Outstanding Young Professional Lacy Blocker, Dr. Derwood Duke, Theresa Hamilton, Dr. Ben Barron, Barbara Moham and Coach Mike McConathy. They were congratulated by Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. The induction took place in conjunction with the College’s annual NSU Homecoming reunion and reception.


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

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 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


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:

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.