Interested in getting more involved with the College of Education? Begun in the spring of 2016, our new Alumni Board extends our reach across the state and beyond through service projects and alumni engagement events. They bring us new ideas, and help the College of Education reach out to alumni and friends in their own communities as well as on the Athens Campus.
For more information on the Alumni Board, please contact Nancy Butler, Associate Director of Stewardship and Alumni Relations.
Laurie Barron is the superintendent of the Evergreen School district in Kalispell, Montana. She spent much of her career in Newnan, Georgia, where, as principal, she was the leading force behind turning around the city's Smokey Road Middle School. For her efforts, she was honored as a Teacher of the Year and selected as the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year, while Smokey Road in 2011 was one of five middle schools in the country named a MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough School.
Kathi Baucom received her master's degree in counseling and student personnel services in 1974 from the College of Education. During her 36 years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she served as director of admissions, registrar, and associate provost for enrollment management. As associate provost, she managed seven offices, including admissions, registrar, and financial aid. She now works as a consultant for SemWorks, a company which assists institutions in marketing, recruitment, and retention strategies. Kathi and her family reside in Matthews, North Carolina.
Triple Dawg Selena Blankenship holds a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandising, a master's degree in human resources and organizational development, and a doctoral degree in adult education with an emphasis in human resources and organizational development from the College of Education. She has spent the majority of her career working in schools with at-risk youth, both in the classroom and as an administrator. Blankenship served as the principal of Hilsman Middle School in Athens, Georgia, where she provided middle grades students at UGA an opportunity to develop their teaching skills in the classroom through the Professional Development School District partnership. Since 2016, she has served as the Director of Human Resources for the Jackson County School System.
As principal of Inman Middle School from 2003 to 2011, Betsy Bockman led Atlanta Public Schools' highest-performing middle school. Her students there, at Henry W. Grady High School, where she currently serves as principal, and at Coan Middle School, where she was principal from 2012-2014, have consistently ranked among the top in the district for student achievement and growth. Bockman began her career with degrees from the College of Education's kinesiology department, teaching physical education and coaching at schools in Cobb County.
Rosemary Caddell, a native of Washington-Wilkes, Georgia, has spent almost 30 years teaching and working in the Wilkes County Schools system. Prior to serving as superintendent of Wilkes County Schools, Caddell taught at a primary school for seven years and later became the school's administrator. During her tenure, she helped implement a program featuring daily individualized, accelerated instruction for all students, which dramatically increased reading and math achievement. As a result, her school was recognized as the Georgia School of Excellence in 1998 and the National Blue Ribbon School in 1999. She earned her doctoral degree in educational leadership from the College of Education in 1999 and is active in the community and various youth organizations.
Geraldine Clarke started working for the Athens Housing Authority in 1976, and in the decades since, she has moved up the ranks to become director of resident support. She holds a master's and a doctorate in adult education from the College of Education, and currently works with adults to move them toward greater self-sufficiency using personal development programs, employment training, and leadership opportunities. Clarke also collaborates with other community agencies to help with programming and services for families in public housing.
Carolyn Cook graduated from the College of Education in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education before obtaining her master's degree from Georgia State University. Prior to her retirement in 2009, Carolyn was a kindergarten and first grade teacher at Kincaid School in Marietta, Georgia. In 1980, Carolyn began her career as an in-flight representative for Delta Air Lines. She has traveled to 35 countries throughout the world, including Borneo. Today, she divides her time between Albany, Georgia and Atlanta. Over the years, Carolyn has been engaged in volunteerism and continues to do so with various organizations. As an advocate of higher education and clinical research, she established an oncology research fund for golden retrievers at UGA's College of Veterinary Medicine after losing her beloved golden retrievers, Miller and McIntyre, to different forms of cancer.
Elesha Coons, a native of Macon, Georgia, received her bachelor's degree in mathematics education from the College of Education in 2014. As a student, she was awarded the HOPE Scholarship, Del Jones Memorial Scholarship, and the Mary Murphy Robinson Scholarship. She is also a former Hooten Award nominee and student representative of the College's Scholarship Committee. Coons currently lives in Athens, Georgia, and serves as a high school math teacher, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker who dedicates her time to impacting the lives of teens and young adults. She strives to empower women and today's youth through conferences, community service, religious organizations, and extracurricular activities.
With over 10 years of professional experience as an educator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, Donnie Davis began his career as a classroom teacher and has held a variety of roles since then. In June of 2018, Davis was named as the new principal of Peachtree Charter Middle School in the DeKalb County School District. He obtained his master's degree in social studies education from Georgia State University before completing his doctoral degree in educational administration and policy from the College of Education in 2012. Donnie and his wife reside in Marietta, Georgia.
Bynikini M. Frazier learned the joy of teaching as a fifth-grade student at Hodge Elementary School in Savannah, Georgia, where she helped fellow students with their reading and writing. Today, she serves as lead first-grade teacher at the same school. Frazier was named the 2015 Savannah Chatham County Public Schools District Teacher of the Year and was also selected by Governor Nathan Deal as a winner in the Innovation in Teaching competition. Along with holding leadership positions in several national honor and service organizations, Frazier serves as a mentor for the Teacher Induction Program. Most recently, Frazier was selected as a member of the Class of 2014 40 Under 40 and, among other notable honors, has been placed on the 2016 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice Honor Roll.
Triple Dawg Danielle Free graduated from the College of Education with a bachelor's degree in middle grades education, a master's degree in adult education, and a specialist degree in instructional design and development. She currently serves as a data analyst for the Office of Principal and Major Gifts at the University of Georgia, where she helps support the fundraising efforts of several offices within the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. Free is an advocate for education and also currently serves as an adult education instructor at Athens Technical College.
Double Dawg Pam Garcia received both her bachelor's ('06) and master's ('12) degree in special education from the University of Georgia's College of Education. Since then, she has worked to provide Athens-Clarke County with the tools and programs to effectively implement special education programs. Prior to serving as special education coordinator of Clarke County School District, Garcia was a special education teacher and team leader at both Howard B. Stroud Elementary School and Barnett Shoals Elementary School. From 2014 to 2015, she served as the interim special education director of CCSD and provided leadership in developing new programs and services for students with disabilities. Garcia was born and raised in Athens, Georgia, where she currently lives with her husband.
Emily Gray is currently in her ninth year of teaching at Red Cedar Elementary School in Bluffton, South Carolina. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in sports studies from the College of Education in 2002 and has enjoyed educating today's youth ever since. Gray strives to help all of her students—as well as her three daughters—develop into active, healthy, and happy adults. During her free time, Gray likes to run, volunteer at her local church, and spend time with her girls and husband, Paul.
Bonnie Holliday is the executive director of the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia, a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. Before joining the SCSC staff, Holliday served as executive director of the state's academic accountability agency-the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. She also worked previously in the Office of Planning and Budget as the accountability manager for Georgia's Race to the Top Innovation Fund. Holliday currently serves on the state's Children's Cabinet as an executive cabinet member and was named to Governor Deal's Education Reform Commission in 2015 where she was a member of the school choice subcommittee. She was also a member of the 2014 Leaders Cohort for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
Sylvia Hutchinson has spent four decades with the College of Education as a student, professor and administrator. She began as an assistant professor in 1978, moving up to the associate dean role in 1991. She holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, all from the College of Education. Most recently, she is serving as director of academic partnerships and initiatives for UGA Student Affairs. She also organizes mentoring initiatives such as the Coca-Cola Foundation's First Generation Scholarship program and is involved in community organizations such as Kiwanis and Jeanette Rankin Society.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Dick Hyer received his doctoral degree from the College of Education in 1978. After retiring in 2002, Hyer served as an education consultant and onsite evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Hyer was also an instructor in the Department of Education at Mercer University and a counselor to physically disabled students. In 1976, he began his role as superintendent of the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon, Georgia. In the past, Hyer served as the Rotary International district governor, the vice president of the National Accreditation Council, and an adjunct professor at Florida State University, Tift College, and UGA. He is married to Marsha Liles Hyer, and the two have three children.
Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Courtney Jones-Stevens is a proud Double Dawg! In 2010, she completed her bachelor's degree in history and later received her master's degree in college student affairs administration in 2013 from the College of Education. Since graduating, Jones-Stevens has dedicated herself to social justice education, has served on the Hands on Atlanta Day Planning Committee, and has been featured on TIME.com. She is currently the assistant director for community engagement at Emory University where she works to facilitate local and national service opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys Bulldogs Athletics, yoga, and experimenting with vegan southern cuisine.
Originally from Atlanta, Double Dawg Sandy King earned both her bachelor's and master's degree in early childhood education from the College of Education. In 1979, she married her high school sweetheart and began teaching in Rockdale County Public Schools where she served all 33 years of her career in education. After receiving a leadership endorsement and later an educational specialist degree, she became an assistant principal of instruction, earning her school multiple Gold and Silver Level Awards and one Bronze Award in the area of Highest Performance in Student Achievement. In 2014, King retired and relocated to Athens with her husband. During her free time, she enjoys fitness classes, attending UGA sporting events, and spending time with her family and new granddaughter.
Prisca Lewis received her bachelor's degree in middle school education from the College of Education in 2013. After graduating, she began working as a 2013 Teach for America corps member in Kansas City, Missouri, where she helped set a vision for the area's new middle schools and worked to provide resources and strategies for culturally responsive teaching. In June of 2015, she relocated back to Atlanta and now works as an educator for The Kindezi Schools, one of Atlanta's top performing public charter schools focused on holistic learning. Outside of the workplace, Lewis spends her time volunteering with various organizations and exploring different parts of the world.
Boen Nutting is currently the principal of Mount Mourne School, an IBO World School and one of the highest performing public middle schools in the Charlotte metro region of North Carolina. Prior to serving in her current position, Nutting spent 10 years as a building level administrator for various elementary, middle, and high schools in North Carolina. She has also been a teacher, a public information officer, and a director of human resources. Nutting believes that teaching is the noblest calling and that the quality of a child's education is predicated on the quality of the teacher in the classroom. She received her bachelor's degree in early childhood education from the College in 1992 and also holds a master's and doctoral degree in educational leadership from UNC Charlotte.
Raymond Patricio is a retired educator who received his master's degree in music education from the College of Education in 1973. He was a band director for 20 years and a school administrator for 17. Residing in Savannah, Georgia, he enjoys playing bassoon in area orchestras and the Savannah Winds Community Wind Symphony, teaching privately, and being active in his church. He also enjoys football in the fall, running, and working out.
Jennifer Phinney received her bachelor's degree in English education from the College of Education in 1991. After graduation, she taught English at Dalton High School for nine years before becoming the school's advanced programming coordinator in 2000. In 2005, Phinney and her family relocated to North Carolina where she became an assistant principal at McMichael High School in Madison, North Carolina. In 2006, she returned to Georgia to serve as the assistant principal of Whitfield County Career Academy in Dalton, Georgia, and then later as principal of Morris Innovative High School. Today, Phinney is the director of secondary education of Dalton Public Schools. She has been married to her husband, Wes, for 25 years, and together they have three daughters, Emma, Kate, and Meg.
Triple Dawg Stephanie Powell earned all three of her degrees in education from the University of Georgia's College of Education. After attending Gwinnett County Public Schools her whole life, Powell knew she wanted to go back and serve her own school system after graduation. She accomplished this by teaching second-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in the public school system before serving as an assistant principal at Riverside Elementary School in Suwanee, Georgia. Today, Powell serves as the chair of the Weekday Preschool Council at Johns Creek Baptist Church and has been responsible for planning and establishing its program for the past five years. In addition to the COE Alumni Board, she serves UGA through volunteer work with Greek Life and the Redcoat Band Auxiliaries. Powell has three children and was recently elected to the Board of Trustees for the Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
David Ragsdale has taught English and advised student publications since 2001 at Clarke Central High School in Athens, where he advises the Odyssey Newsmagazine, Odyssey Online and Iliad literary-art magazine, all among the top high school literary journals in the country. In his classroom, Ragsdale provides a place that empowers students to both succeed and fail, while engaging them in masterful storytelling.
Lisa Sheehy graduated from the University of Georgia College of Education with three degrees and has been teaching math for the past 28 years. She believes that math can help engage students and inspire them to be more creative, artistic, visual, and organized. Today, Sheehy teaches mathematics in the E2 STEM Academy at North Hall Middle School in Gainesville, Georgia, and is developing new digital math courses. She is the recipient of several awards, including the College's Crystal Apple Distinguished Alumni Award, the Hall County Masters in Teaching Award, Teacher of the Year, and STAR Teacher. In her spare time, Sheehy enjoys hiking, reading, volunteering with Young Life, attending church, working with rescue animals, and serving others in her community.
In his decade of teaching, Ric White has made a significant impact on education across Georgia. Currently serving as the math department chair at the Atlanta Girls' School, White works to improve mathematics curriculum, moving it beyond formulas and equations and into real-life applications. He specializes in problem-based learning and received recognition as a 2014 NAIS Teacher of the Future. In his previous work in social studies, his units on the impact of immigration on America earned him National Geographic Teacher of the Week honors in 2015. A strong advocate for the use of technology in the classroom, he has presented on this topic at many conferences over the years. White earned his bachelor's degree in middle school education from the College of Education and his master's degree in independent school leadership at Vanderbilt University.