McClelland Named Chair of Teacher Education at UM

Educational leadership expert to continue role on permanent basis

After serving more than two years in an interim capacity, Susan McClelland will has been named chair of teacher education at UM.

After serving more than two years in an interim capacity, Susan McClelland will has been named chair of teacher education at UM.

OXFORD, Miss. – After serving more than two years as interim chair, Susan S. McClelland has been selected to serve as chair of the University of Mississippi Department of Teacher Education.

McClelland’s appointment begins July 1 and marks her third major move at UM. With more than 1,000 students and more than 40 full-time faculty in the areas of elementary, literacy, secondary, special and early childhood education, the department is one of the university’s largest individual academic units.

“As the flagship university in Mississippi, it’s our job to ensure we are preparing pre-service teachers to meet the demands of educating the children in our state,” said McClelland, who also serves as an associate professor of educational leadership. “In Mississippi, we face challenges like low literacy rates and high poverty rates and we must constantly look at how we can improve our programs to better prepare our pre-service teachers to be effective, innovative educators.”

During McClelland’s tenure as interim chair, the department has grown to include new programs such as the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program, an all-inclusive four-year scholarship and teacher preparation program for top-performing students. The program has an average incoming ACT score of 29.

The department also offers new coursework in early childhood education as well as a new doctorate in special education. An emphasis in health and physical activity for elementary education majors is also in the planning stages. McClelland’s vision for the department includes a two-year plan to revise the unit’s undergraduate curriculum and a reevaluation of its master’s and doctoral programs.

“Dr. McClelland is an excellent educational leader who has been instrumental in the development of new programs at the School of Education,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “She has both the experience and the understanding of educational issues in our state to help us prepare highly effective educators. I am excited to have Dr. McClelland continue her leadership and work as the chair of teacher education at Ole Miss.”

Before serving as chair, McClelland was the founding director of the Principal Corps, a highly selective educational leadership program with a 99 percent success rate in placing outstanding Mississippi educators into K-12 leadership positions. She was hired at UM in 2005 as an assistant professor of educational leadership to design the program after the School of Education received a $2 million startup grant from the Jim and Donna Barksdale Foundation.

A 21-year veteran of public K-12 education in Mississippi, McClelland has served in a variety of educational leadership positions in north Mississippi, including stints as assistant superintendent of the New Albany School District, principal of New Albany High School and vice principal of Oxford High School. She holds a doctorate and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UM, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English education from Blue Mountain College.

“Our department should continue to be a community that both challenges and provides resources for faculty and students,” McClelland said. “The School of Education’s teacher education program should be a place where faculty feel supported and students go on to become influential educators and leaders who transform education in Mississippi and beyond.”

About Andrew Mark Abernathy