May 2022

JSU - College of Education & Professional Studies Newsletter

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CEPS Alumni Hall of Fame Honors Nominees/Inductees with Banquet

The CEPS honored our Alumni Hall of Fame nominees and inductees this month with an induction banquet in the atrium of Merrill Hall. Please help us congratulate all for the role they play in being good stewards of the education they received at JSU and outstanding ambassadors for the university.


Mr. Bobby Tittle - Instructional Leadership

Mr. Todd Alexander - Instructional Technology

Mrs. Anjuli Thompson - Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Ms. Vickie Ray - School Counseling

Ms. Susan Wills - Library Media

Dr. Jane Cobia - Family & Consumer Sciences

Ms. Tiffany Moore - Dietetics

Ms. Leslie Salter - Physical Education

Mr. Curtis Burttram - Music Education

Mr. Adam Goosby - Secondary Education

Mr. Lamar Bradford - Special Education

Ms. Sandra Prickett - Elementary Education

Dr. Don Killingsworth, President of JSU - as a graduate of the CEPS, President Killingsworth was presented an honorary award for his continued support of all educational and professional programs

Other Nominees:

Instructional Leadership: Mr. Christopher Howard, Mr. Timothy Gallahar, Mrs. Sharon Maness

Family & Consumer Sciences: Ms. Carla B. Fleming

Music Education: Mr. Taylor Cash, Dr. Jeremy Benson

Secondary Education: Ms. Charissa Lambert, Ms. Kelli Llyod, Ms. Valarie Williams, Ms. Sandra Langley, Mr. Byron Woodfin, Mrs. Robin C. Gillam

The nomination process for Alumni Hall of Fame begins at the first of each calendar year. Please see our JSU webpage for photos of the induction ceremony for 2022 and to view inductees from previous years.


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Former Student Blake Sims wins Excellence in Education for Student Empowerment Award

Former student Mr. Blake Sims was recently awarded the Excellence in Education for Student Empowerment Award presented by Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, AL.

Mr. Sims graduated from JSU in 2019 with a masters in Elementary Education. When asked to comment on the award and his experience at JSU, Mr. Sims shared the following.

"My name is Blake Sims. I have been happily married for eight years to my beautiful wife, Taylor Sims. This is my third year as a fourth grade teacher at W.E. Striplin Elementary School. I attended Jacksonville State University from 2017-2019 to earn my Master's in Elementary Education through the fifth year alternative program. I chose JSU because they are known for having one of the best education programs in the state of Alabama. There are many things I loved about my experience at JSU. The flexibility within the fifth year program was a tremendous help while working a full-time job. The professors who taught me were professional and down to earth at the same time. Being able and willing to relate to others is a phenomenal character trait in my book. Lastly, the veteran services department made sure that I was taken care of every step of the way.

In education, nobody shows up to work day after day because they want the recognition. We show up with the intention of making a difference. Though it was not expected, I recently had the honor of receiving the Excellence in Education for Student Empowerment award from the Gadsden Etowah Chamber of Commerce. I've always strived to be an educator who was a father-figure for each of my students. My goal is to provide them with a quality education while making sure they know I love them. So far, it has worked and I expect to see future leaders and world changers emerge from these classrooms."

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The College of Education and Professional Studies is excited to host "Hands on, Minds On! Full STEAM Ahead" summer camp. This camp is open to 9, 10 & 11 year olds and will include fun and engaging activities such as: robotics, STEAM and children’s literature, food science, nutrition, creative arts and flying a drone! Students will eat lunch daily at the Jack Hopper Dining Hall.

Registration is open through June 1st.

Please click on the link:

Cost- $75

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Leadership day at Kitty Stone Elementary

LEADERSHIP DAY at Kitty Stone Elementary School in Jacksonville was a huge success. As you can see Dean White, Drs. Trucks and Alhammouri, along with Ms. Courtney Christopher enjoyed their visit! Thank you students, faculty, and staff for your hospitality! Great things are happening at KSE!

Amber Trantham and Tameka Stephens Proposal Accepted

We want to celebrate the following for this national conference opportunity:

Amber Trantham, AMSTI Specialist at the JSU Inservice Center, along with Tameka Stephens teacher from Oscar Adams Elementary in Gadsden City Schools have had their proposal accepted by NCTM.

They will be presenting "Math Cultural Connections through Children's Literature" at the fall 2022 National Council for Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting in Los Angeles called "One Mathematics, Many Voices: Sharing Our Collective Stories of Rehumanizing Mathematics Teaching and Learning"

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New childcare opportunity

We are thrilled to announce that JSU has been awarded two Alabama First Class Pre-K grants from the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. For sixteen consecutive years, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has rated Alabama's First Class Pre-K as one of the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten programs. The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is very proud of this designation and what it means for 4-year-old children and their families in our state.

The two Pre-K classrooms will open in August 2022 along with our infant through 3-year-old classrooms. For more information on the First Class Pre-K or Child Development Center please complete an interest form to stay up to date on registration and acceptance dates. If you have any additional questions please email Dr. Christi Trucks, #JSUFCS #GrowingGamecocks

JSU's Child Development Center is planning to expand in August, following the university's 12-month calendar and extending hours to weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Housed within the College of Education and Professional Studies, in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, the center will be relocated to the site of the former Kitty Stone Elementary School. It will serve the children of JSU students, faculty and staff - as well as the community - in four age groups: Infants, Age 1, Age 2, and Age 3. Please complete an interest form(link below) if you wish to receive updates on plans for fall.

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Piedmont Elementary School first graders experienced their first ever “Cocky Reads” day! Through a collaboration with JSU Instructor, Mrs. Aimee Weathers, PES was able to plan a literary experience that was individualized for every first grade student according to their reading data.

PES students were partnered with JSU students where they read a book and completed a literacy activity together. PES students were all smiles as they got to leave with a book in hand and an activity to take home and share with their families.

Special thanks to JSU’s Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kimberly White, Mrs. Weathers, Cocky, and the JSU students, for making this event a huge success!


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Dr. Diane Best

Dr. Diane Best, a Bronx, NY native, is an Assistant Professor and Program Chair of JSU’s Hospitality/Culinary Management discipline in the Family & Consumer Sciences department of the College of Education & Professional Studies. She had worked in the culinary and hospitality industry for over 15 years, in a number of capacities, before beginning a teaching career in Culinary & Hospitality Management, which she has done for more than 12 years. She has been an executive chef, a catering company owner, food and beverage director for a large hotel chain as well as an academic curriculum designer for the National Restaurant Association. Dr. Best taught Hotel & Restaurant Management for seven years at Central Arizona College before coming to JSU in 2019.

What Dr. Best appreciates most about JSU is the feeling of family and the closeness of the staff and faculty. The level of support and guidance she has received from her colleagues is unlike anywhere she has ever worked in the past. No door at JSU is ever closed or unavailable. When she has felt the need to speak to the Provost or the President of the university, their doors were always open and they have always been open to new ideas.

She lives here in Jacksonville with her husband, daughter, grandson and two dogs. In her spare time she loves to travel, cook, bake and work on a cookbook she is currently developing. Spending time with her family is the most important thing to her since her 5 children and 6 grandchildren live in various places around the country. She believes in the mission of JSU and the diverse culture that they promote.

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