WCU School of Education posts record graduation numbers

Published 12:00 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

The William Carey University School of Education has broken another record.

WCU graduated a record number of education students during commencement ceremonies in May and August of 2022. During the two ceremonies, 632 education students received diplomas – 197 at the undergraduate level and 435 at the graduate level. 

“As we prepare quality teachers and leaders, we are grateful for our university administration and our partnerships with school districts across our state. Both provide mentors and resources to not only recruit, but retain, quality teachers in our state,” said Dr. Teresa Poole, dean of the WCU School of Education.

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“It’s encouraging to see the number of teachers who will enter the classroom for the first time because of our traditional or alternate route programs – or who will return to their districts with advanced education degrees.

WCU’s summer commencement included three graduates who are already leaders in the Petal School District, but returned as students to seek advanced degrees at William Carey University.

Joel Bowman, principal of Petal Middle School, earned a doctorate in educational leadership.

“The instructors understand that as a professional, I am balancing my work life, personal life, and school life. They worked with me to ensure success, creating a plan that was both challenging and manageable. Part of the way that they do this is through real-life assignments that benefitted me educationally and professionally. Nearly every week, I am faced with something that was part of a lesson at William Carey University,” Bowman said.

Tyler Watkins, principal of Petal High School, earned a specialist degree in instructional leadership.

“Going back to William Carey was an easy decision. From the high-quality instructors to the flexibility of class schedules, William Carey University is the best fit for working professionals. I know that with what I have learned at WCU I am able to make a positive impact on my school, district, and community,” Watkins said.

Rob Knight is Petal School District’s assistant superintendent of secondary schools. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration.

“From the moment I first stepped on the campus of William Carey University, it felt like home. The instructional staff challenged me in my coursework, but was always there for support. They truly cared about my success and the instruction and experiences at William Carey prepared me for the challenges of my career. I am forever grateful,” Knight said.

Dr. Ben Burnett, WCU president, is a former dean of the School of Education.

“To be able to post these kinds of numbers in the midst of a teacher shortage crisis is extremely gratifying. I am beyond thankful and proud of our dean, Dr. Teresa Poole, and her entire team at the WCU School of Education for their creativity in recruiting students during such a difficult time,” Burnett said.

As of the fall term, 1,700 students were enrolled in the WCU School of Education.