The education department consistently places nearly 100 percent of its graduates in teaching positions.
Students in the education department have many opportunities to observe and work with students in our nine public school divisions. These experiences include:
- 6 hours of observation at all levels (elementary, middle and high school)
- 20 hours as a teacher aide
- 40 hours as a teacher assistant
- 28 hours (total) as a reading tutor
- Two seven-week, full-time placements as a student teacher in two different school divisions
Through these carefully guided and evaluated experiences, students are able to gain much of the knowledge and many of the skills needed to become successful educators.
Students in the mathematics and science methods for elementary educators class were given a class project for the semester in which they had to create problem-based learning units (PBL). The project culminated November 18-19 when they presented their projects to educators at The Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Conference. Full Story
What are recent graduates of this major doing?
A large number of Averett education graduates are annually selected as "Teachers of the Year" in their schools in this region and beyond.
Mark Bryant, '03, '09
Averett University is an outstanding school with an outstanding reputation for preparing students to succeed beyond the classroom. Ironically, I am still performing in the classroom so I may continuously experience the same success. The difference? Now I perform at the head of the class as an educator as opposed to sitting in a student desk.
The spring of 2003 was an exciting time for me. I was set to graduate from Averett, find an employer, find a home and new hometown, and maybe, most importantly, I began dating a young lady who has since become my wife. Averett allowed me to be very selective with where I applied, and I was fortunate enough to have been offered a job at all four schools at which I interviewed. I chose to teach at Galileo Magnet High School in Danville because of the challenges and potential it had to offer as a school in just its second year of existence. Once I was hired I hit the ground running - most all of my Standards of Learning (SOL) classes achieved 100 percent proficiency for my first four years! Then, in 2008-09, the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce named me Secondary Educator of the Year.
The world of education seems to be changing faster than ever, and I am doing everything I can to keep pace. In 2009, I graduated from Averett a second time, but this time I walked across the stage to collect my master's in education!
For a brief two year span, I enjoyed coaching and molding the lives of the cross country team at Averett as their head coach before stepping down to pursue my master's degree in 2007. I hope to pursue a second master's degree in the future to possibly seek a position in administration.
I spend my summers preparing students for the upcoming school year through the Trio Upward Bound Program offered through Danville Community College. Upward Bound is a program designed to help low-socio-economic students become first generation college graduates.
Outside the career world, I am married to my lovely wife, Mandi, and we have a son with prayers for more children in the future. My family and I love the Lord greatly and are actively involved in a local church, and we desire to serve God more.
Lori Matherly, '09
I was not a traditional student. I grew up in a poverty stricken household and didn't feel that I'd ever be able to accomplish anything as meaningful as a college degree. But at the age of 33, with the support of my wonderful husband, Gary, and two children, Kimberly and Justin, I decided to take a chance on reaching my lifelong goal. I began attending Danville Community College (DCC) in August 2005. I completed DCC's program in 2007 with a 3.96 GPA.
I met with Averett's staff and developed a plan. Averett really surprised me with the many scholarships they had to offer. I began going to Averett in 2007 and graduated with a 4.0 GPA in May of 2009. I was selected as a Virginia Teacher of Promise by Averett faculty, and I also won the Grace Crenshaw Award for the second highest GPA out of about 300 students. This was not typical for me; in high school I wasn't even close to honor roll material.
My road at Averett wasn't as easy as it sounds. The very first semester I wanted to quit. Several family members passed away or suffered severe health problems during this time. I also took on eighteen credit hours, which included a rigorous children's literature class. I felt as if I were in the middle of the ocean treading water and there was no lifeboat; however, I was mistaken. Averett's faculty was my lifeboat. They gave me the encouragement and confidence I needed to succeed. Whenever I had doubts, Dr. Wolf would build me up and give me specific examples of things I had done that showed my potential and gifted abilities. Dr. Heard would push me harder than anyone had ever done before, and I later realized it was for my own good. All the teachers were incredible!
This journey didn't end when I graduated; it has only just begun. I was very fortunate to get a job right away teaching fourth grade at Chatham Elementary School in Pittsylvania County. I now teach language arts, math and Virginia studies classes.
The children's literature class that I struggled with so much really equipped me with knowledge I didn't realize I would so desperately need in the future. I began incorporating Newbery Award winning novels into my teaching. I really feel that this has a big impact on my students. One parent told me she couldn't believe her son wanted to look at books in the store. He had never asked to look at books before. All of the students were so excited when we read "Hatchet," they couldn't wait to get to class to see what was going to happen next. Last year, we had a 97 percent pass rate in reading and math, and 89 percent in Virginia studies. Currently, we are reading "The Lightning Thief" and enjoying every minute.
I wasn't satisfied with an 89 percent pass rate in Virginia studies, so when I heard about a summer teacher institute in Jamestown, I signed up immediately. The Jamestown Foundation only selects 24 teachers from the state of Virginia to participate in this program. Teachers have to fill out an application and write an essay on why they want to participate. The staff at Jamestown reviews all applications and essays. I was fortunate to be selected, and the knowledge and experience I attained has been greatly appreciated.
I went to Jamestown in July of 2010 and worked in the Powhatan Indian Village for several days. I also received a kit with many artifacts and projects for hands-on activities to use in the classroom. My students say they "love" social studies. We are having a great time as well as learning the Standards of Learning. We had a "Race Bee" to encourage students to study their Race to the Governor's House questions. During this time students were encouraged to dress in Colonial style attire or their Sunday best and compete against classmates. We had a first and second place winner from both fourth grade classes. Those students then went head to head to get a champion. I had to go to "Races" not yet studied to get a winner. This is what I believe teaching is all about, finding a way for students to participate actively and enjoy learning.
I owe a big part of my success to Averett for preparing me so well for my future. The education classes were phenomenal in teaching about the many aspects of a teaching career. The classes give a student first-hand experiences inside a real classroom working with students one-on-one. You really feel like you have an impact on the students. There is nothing in this world that can compare to the ecstatic feeling when students have the light bulb come on inside their little heads, and they comprehend a concept on which you've been working diligently with them for quite some time. I am truly blessed to have a career that I love with all my heart and wonderful students whom I will always cherish. I owe many thanks to Averett for playing a vital role in my career and my life.
Kristina Taylor, '10
I am currently a 6th grade mathematics teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. I started as an early hire for FCPS in February 2010, and was ecstatic to be hired before I had even graduated! After graduation, I went on interviews with principals to find out where I wanted to be placed within the county. I eventually was selected by Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls. Here I teach regular 6th grade math as well as compacted math that combine the 7th and 8th grade curriculum into the 6th year. I was excited to be featured in the beginning of the year in a local newspaper! The article focused on how I was feeling about my first week of school as a first year teacher. Now, my class has been showcased on our local news channel called Red Apple 21 in a segment called SchoolScene. http://www.fcps.edu/mediapub/cable-tv/schoolscene/index.htm
The highlighted project was a book my class published with their own alliterative algebra word problems. It required the students to write their own alliterative story problems based on the letter of the alphabet they picked. One of the problems had to incorporate a two-step equation with decimals, and the second problem had to incorporate a function. Students were graded on grammar, proper mathematical language, and creativity. They also had to illustrate both problems in one picture.
I got the idea for this project from a project I completed for a class at Averett. Studentreasures is a company that provides kits and publishes your book. The teacher gets a free copy, and the students can order a copy for their own keepsake.
I feel my education at Averett University helped me to prepare for the world of teaching through their small family environment. Not only do you know the professors very well, but you also know your fellow classmates. This small community provides for more opportunity to share ideas and work together. There were many times when we could just all get together and share ideas, swap stores, and collaborate on how to improve our lessons. The tightly knit Averett University education community in combination with the training and education I received has been invaluable to my success as an educator.
Laura Turton, '05, '10
There comes a time in everyone's life when the road divides and he or she must decide which path to take; for me, that time came in 2000. I was a wife and mother to a young daughter, working full-time as an instructional assistant in a local school. But I felt I wanted more, and I knew I had more to give.
I decided to earn my teaching licensure and began looking for a university that met my particular needs. I needed to continue to work full-time and also to continue to be the best parent and spouse possible. I soon realized that Averett University was my best choice. While attending Averett, I was indeed able to pursue my goals while still helping to support my family. The program was rigorous, and I had to work hard to maintain a balance between school, home and work, all of which made the endeavor that much more rewarding.
The faculty at Averett University is of the highest quality and holds the students to extremely high standards. They are also supportive, understanding and determined to make sure their students acquire an education that prepares each one to enter the field of education ready and able to teach and take on roles of leadership.
Since graduating from Averett, I have been quite successful in my role as an educator. I teach fourth grade, and each year my students exceed expected scores on state-mandated tests. The county that employs me has selected me as one of the lead teachers to help implement our Differentiated Instruction initiative, and I am a coaching teacher for our reading program. I am also the head mentor teacher for my school to welcome, assist, and provide support for new teachers.
Much of my success is due largely to the education and support I received as a student at Averett University. My experience there was so special and of such high quality that I went back and recently earned my master of education degree. I love teaching, and I am grateful to Averett University for providing the foundation to make it possible.
Kevin Uitto, '09
A few years ago, I decided I was interested in joining the honorable and exciting field of education as an elementary school physical education teacher. I researched several universities, programs, and locations throughout Virginia where I could pursue my master of education degree. There was only one obvious and clear choice for where to do so: Averett University in Danville, Virginia.
I started the master's program in the spring semester of 2008, and from the very first class I entered until the last class I exited, I was affirmed in my choice to study at Averett University. Every professor guided and challenged me through each topic of study. The small student to teacher ratios made each class feel like a family. During my time of study I was able to work with a wide variety of age levels and with a diverse range of backgrounds.
In the spring of 2009, I spearheaded a project to benefit an organization called Soles4Souls that involved collecting used footwear that would be distributed throughout the state, nation and world. The organization aids and assists survivors of natural disasters, homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, and people in third world countries. The shoe drive was extremely successful with more than 1,300 pairs of shoes collected. Later that spring, I was recognized by Averett's education department as a "Teacher of Promise." With the honor and distinction as a "Teacher of Promise," I was invited to attend an education conference at James Madison University.
Following my student teaching placements in the fall of 2009, I graduated in December with a teaching position already waiting for me with Lynchburg City Schools. Currently, I am a physical education teacher with Pittsylvania County Schools at Kentuck Elementary. There is plenty of excitement this year with the conclusion of my first year of teaching and with getting married to my beautiful fiancée, Frannie Easley. Averett University certainly set me on the path for success in the field of education, and for that I am eternally grateful to all the wonderful faculty and staff.