School of Education Alumni Spotlight

Spring 2018


photo of Dr. Mike Cory, '15

Dr. Mike Cory

Doctor of Education - Education Administration
Class of 2015

Comments about your experience at GWU:
The School of Education’s emphasis on research, collaboration and innovation has accelerated my growth and learning while creating unimaginable opportunities for our students. GWU offered several program options and I really liked the face-to-face meetings as the professors and students in my cohort created a unique experience that defines GWU. Relationships are at the core of the Bulldog experience and the professors challenge you to think critically and to create solutions that can serve others. The professors challenged me, encouraged me to be innovative and really helped me to think about things from different perspectives. They are more than professors, they are friends and their belief in their students makes all the difference. The GWU experience and their influence continues to be a blessing today, three years after my graduation.

Overview of your career and current employment:
Currently I serve as Principal of Gettys Middle School and our 1,350 students. Also, I am providing instructional support for Liberty Middle School as a Principal Specialist for a turnaround school initiative in the School District of Pickens County. As an accounting major out of college and working as a state auditor for the state of South Carolina, I felt led to impact others by becoming an educator and high school business education teacher and soccer coach. After four years in the classroom, I wanted to impact students even further through leading educational systems and began my eighteen year administrative career as middle school principal and also serving as a director of a career center.

Special Awards since entering/completing the program:
Gettys Middle School recently received national recognition for commitment to empowering students and was named a distinguished school for STEM and career learning program by Project Lead the Way (PLTW) for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Gateway. Gettys Middle is one of just 110 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of K-12 students and teachers in over 10,500 schools across the U.S. The innovative work at GWU also contributed to my collaboration with my district’s technology director whose department applied for a grant from AT&T, Samsung and Connected Nation to provide tablets and 4G broadband access for sixth and seventh graders at our school. Our district was one of 150 school districts nationwide to receive the grant, worth more than $5 million over three years. Equity in education for all students was emphasized in GWU’s radio interview that was a great experience. This technology initiative also allowed me to share this experience in a national webinar sponsored by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). I continued my learning and leadership development by successfully completing the South Carolina Department of Education’s Tapping Executive Educators Program is designed to enhance and foster knowledge and skills necessary to perform effectively the duties of a school superintendent.

Listen to Dr. Cory's Interview on WGWG

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Photo of Pamela Williams

Pamela Adams Williams

Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction
Class of 2017

Comments about your experience at GWU:
The Master of Arts online program at Gardner-Webb was a wonderful fit for me because it allowed me the flexibility I needed to pursue an additional degree while working full time in a school. I feel that I received the same quality experience I would have had sitting in an actual classroom. I am a former classroom teacher and I completed a Master’s program ten years prior to enrolling in Gardner-Webb. Initially I was apprehensive about acclimating myself to being a graduate student after such a long time. However, my professors were always helpful and I received tremendous support throughout all of my courses. The C&I degree truly complemented my elementary education and library science background. I learned a lot about myself as a teacher leader and I gained practical knowledge that I use in my daily interactions with students and teachers. As a result of the program I am much better prepared to collaborate with classroom teachers to support instruction. I feel that I now have a better understanding of assessment and creating differentiated learning experiences for students. Most importantly, I am more confident in my role as a teaching advocate working to make a positive difference in education!

Overview of your career and current employment:
I have been an educator for 19 years and a school librarian for the past 13 of those years. I am certified in elementary education as well as school library media. After beginning my career as an elementary teacher, I left the classroom to pursue a Master of Library and Information Science degree. I currently work as a high school librarian in Columbia, South Carolina.

Special Awards since entering/completing the program:
I was selected as the South Carolina Association of School Librarians School Librarian of the Year in 2016. I have been nominated as the 2018-19 President-Elect of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.

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