Dr. Mariann Tillery
Department Chair, Leadership Studies
Stout School Of Education 239, Drawer 45
Formerly serving as the Dean of the Stout School of Education, Dr. Tillery now serves as Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies and project director for the PREPARE Teacher Residency Program. Under her leadership, the Stout School of Education has developed nationally accredited programs emphasizing trends in STEM education and educational leadership. Through a substantive partnership with LEGO Education, the School of Education has hosted more than 10,000 students in grades K-12 for STEM summer enrichment camps, robotics competitions and community events. The Stout School of Education also now hosts the EDU-Fellows program which allows academic accelerated undergraduates majoring in education or seeking licensure to teach secondary education to participate in a scholarship-based cohort program with other fellows as they take common courses and participate in specialized activities, trips and service-based activities together. Most recently, a May internship program focusing on educational policy, advocacy and leadership development at The Washington Center in Washington D.C. has been added to the options for students pursuing the School of Education’s B.A. to M.Ed. degrees.
Working with her faculty, Dr. Tillery has been instrumental in the School of Education being the recipient of two of the largest university awarded grants to date. In 2016 HPU was one of five North Carolina institutions to be awarded a 1.87 million dollar grant by the North Carolina Association School Leadership Development to prepare aspiring teachers to become transformational school leaders. In October 2018 the School of Education, in partnership with N.C. A&T State University and Guilford County Schools, was awarded a 3.7 million-dollar US Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant. The TQP grant provides the resources needed to address recent challenges in recruiting and retaining high quality teachers in the Piedmont, particularly in schools designated as highly impacted. Under Dr. Tillery’s leadership the university’s first doctoral degree program in educational leadership was offered by the School of Education beginning in 2012. Currently, this program has more than 80 doctoral students enrolled and since graduating the inaugural class in 2016, three of these candidates have been named N.C. School Superintendents.
Appointed by the General Assembly, Dr. Tillery also currently serves on the N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission, representing the Independent Colleges and Universities across the state. Dr. Tillery is a licensed psychologist and a Phi Beta Kappa inductee.
Deondra Gladney is a doctoral candidate in special education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests include culturally responsive instruction for African American students, and teacher support through effective professional development and coaching.
Dr. Alison Coker
Executive Director, Human Resources
Guilford County Schools
Human Resources Department
712 N. Eugene Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Alison Coker is the Executive Director of Human Resources for Guilford County Schools. She has served in education for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including teacher, school administrator, diversity trainer, mediator and human resources professional. Alison is credited with designing and implementing instructional strategies to engage students in Danville, Virginia; starting an Equity and Diversity Committee in Albemarle County Public Schools that continues to promote equity and culturally responsive practices; increasing the quality and quantity of highly qualified educators in Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland; and practitioner training for novice and experienced educators.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree from NC Agricultural & Technical State University in English Education; her Master’s degree from the University of Virginia and her doctorate degree in Education from High Point University. She has presented at local, state and national conferences and continues to provide professional development and training in the areas of onboarding school administrators, human capital leadership for supervisors, and general Human Resources practices for supervisors, managers and school leaders. She also works with a variety of programs designed to build a pipeline of effective educators, including the High Point University Leadership Academy, the North Carolina Master’s of School Administration Internship programs and several teacher preparation programs.
Director of Staffing, Guilford County Schools
Alison Yates is the Director of Staffing for Guilford County Schools. She has served as the Director of Staffing for 15 years and over 20 years in various roles in the GCS Human Resources Department. Prior to entering Human Resources in education, Alison worked in Human Resources in private industry. In her role as Director of Staffing, she oversees the recruiting, hiring & onboarding process for all employees to the district, NC Professional Educator licensure requirements, evaluation compliance, employee placements and more.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina – Asheville. In her tenure with Guilford County Schools Human Resources department she has been involved in designing district practices that focus on increasing the pool of effective educators, technology implementation and the creation of professional development offerings for district Principals and Administrators. She has served as a district representative on the state’s Human Resources Management System Steering Committee and other local teams and committees. Alison is a graduate of Guilford County Schools and is passionate about ensuring that all students have the same opportunity as she did to an excellent education!
Dr. Shirley Disseler
Associate Professor, Education
Coordinator: STEM Education Program
LEGO Education Trainer
Stout School of Education
Campus Mail: Drawer 45
Formerly a curriculum specialist for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Dr. Disseler received her doctorate from UNCC in Educational Leadership with a focus on Curriculum and Supervision. Dr. Disseler spent seven years teaching elementary school where she was voted Hurley Elementary Teacher of the Year and Rowan County Math Teacher of the Year. While teaching elementary school, she was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics and Science and served as a First Flight Educator.
After teaching elementary school, Dr. Disseler taught middle school for seven years; five of which was spent teaching academically gifted math and science. At that level, she was voted Southeast Middle Teacher of the Year and received several top honors in the profession including The Hornets Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Malibu Teaching Award, Time Magazine Teaching Excellence Top 18 Teachers Award and was honored as a Time Warner Cable Star Teacher.
Dr. Disseler received her National Boards in 1999 as a Middle Childhood Generalist and renewed in 2018. She is a member of the NCAEE, Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society, Middle School Association, NCCTM, NCSTA, ASCD, National Poets Society, and the LEGO Ambassadors Program, Currently Dr. Disseler serves as a distinguished member of Who’s Who Among Professionals, is a member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) and the Global LEAP Panel as a Lego Education Specialist for North America. As a Certified Lego Trainer, Dr. Disseler leads the Center for Educational Outreach and Teacher Training at High Point University where she works with local teachers in Lego Education product training. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Educational Policies and Current Practices (JEPCP), Journal of Game-Supported Interactive Learning (JGSIL) and Teaching Children Mathematics (TCM). Dr. Disseler serves on the board of Teachers2Teachers Global and NC First.
Her poem, “A Child’s Darkness” is published in the poetry anthology entitled, Walk in the Garden. Other publications include: The Middle School Gender Gap in Mathematics & Perceptions of Mathematics Learning” ,Using Online Gaming to Prepare Preservice teachers. Dr. Disseler is the author the Brick Math Series; Strategies and Activities for Common Core: Grades 3-5 Part 1 & 2. Dr. Disseler’s research interests include transitioning issues for middle school students, poverty and learning, brain research and learning styles, Creativity in the classroom, teacher effectiveness and new teacher training, and Building with the Brick: The power of Lego Education in the Classroom. Several of her articles are awaiting publication.
Mrs. Debbie Albert joined the faculty at High Point University in 2011. She earned both her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a literacy concentration from High Point University. Mrs. Albert has been an educator for thirty-two years.
Mrs. Albert is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, and NCAEE (North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators). Mrs. Albert has been a presenter at both the regional and state conferences of NCAEE. She is on the regional advisory board for NCAEE and co-hosted the Region V Conference.
During her years in the elementary classroom, Mrs. Albert was named Teacher of the Year in both 2003-2004 and 2008-2009, has served as grade level chair, School Improvement Team (SIT) chair, a member of the School Staff Development Team, mentored new teachers, and served as a cooperating teacher for university interns.
Mrs. Albert’s professional interests focus on strategies for enhancing the joyful literary lives of children. She is particularly interested in how males see themselves as readers and writers, and the impact of poverty on young readers and writers. She currently teaches elementary education courses in children’s literature, process writing, classroom behavior management and the 21st century classroom instruction. Mrs. Albert coordinates student internships and the New Teacher Support Program.
Dr. Anne Leak joined the Stout School of Education at High Point University as an assistant professor in 2018. Dr. Leak received her BA in physics from Gettysburg College and her PhD in science education from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Dr. Leak has taught pre-school through graduate level science and led fun STEM outreach events including Family Ultimate Science Experiences (FUSE) and the School for Scientific Thought (SST) with the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships.
Prior to joining the Stout School of Education, Dr. Leak was a postdoctoral researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology were she (1) taught introductory physics labs, (2) led workshops on teaching methods and professional development, and (3) conducted physics education research, including investigating entry and success in STEM industry careers and access and equity in science learning. This research was part of an NSF-funded project focused on photonics and optics workforce education research (POWER) and she currently participates in the NSF-funded American Physical Society (APS) PIPELINE network to develop strategies for integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into physics departments nationally.
Dr. Leak has taken her science teaching and research around the world. She has been a Fulbright Fellow exploring science education in Cameroon, West Africa and has been awarded grants to develop approaches for community-driven and place-based science pedagogy in Kenya. Her research focuses on learning contexts – including curriculum, culture, technology, and environment – as students learn science. Her research within this focus has explored (1) the role of a community-based STEM program on improving health and access to STEM education in rural Kenya, (2) the ways in which graduate students in chemistry learn to network and collaborate across cultures through research visits to China, and (3) examining U.S. elementary students’ social interactions as they learn to use new technologies.
Dr. Leak endeavors to provide students and future teachers with experiences that allow them to recognize and value cultural aspects involved in science practice in order to improve access to effective and inclusive STEM learning. Part of learning science involves understanding the role of culture, tools, and technology of scientific communities and how they practice science. For learners around the world, the intersections of culture and science dictate how people position themselves as scientists and how their cultural knowledge fits or conflicts with that of scientific communities.