Educational Leadership – The Citadel Today Mon, 30 Aug 2021 15:10:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Educational Leadership – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 West Ashley High’s Adam ‘AJ’ Barnes named 2021 CCSD Teacher of the Year Mon, 30 Aug 2021 15:09:59 +0000 Adam AJ Barnes 1Adam AJ Barnes 1Both Adam “AJ’ Barnes and runner-up Abigail Best have benefited from the Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel.]]> Adam AJ Barnes 1Adam AJ Barnes 1

Note: Both Adam “AJ’ Barnes and runner-up Abigail Best have benefited from the Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel. Barnes attended Educational Leadership classes in 2020 through a certification program and Best graduated with a Masters in Educational Leadership in 2020. (Photo courtesy: Grace Beahm Alford, The Post and Courier)

As seen in The Post and Courier, by Libby Stanford

For Adam “AJ” Barnes, being a teacher is about more than giving lectures and helping students ace their tests. It’s about building relationships and a community where students thrive.

The Charleston County School District named the West Ashley High School social studies teacher and baseball coach its 2021 Teacher of the Year. Barnes is in his fifth year teaching and coaching at the high school. 

Barnes was joined by his family, colleagues, the West Ashley cheerleading squad and many balloons when he accepted his award Aug. 26.

The teacher was one of five finalists throughout the district. In order to receive the recognition, Barnes had to give a tour of the high school, provide a model lesson to be critiqued and go through an extensive interview process with a panel of judges.

The other four finalists for the award included runner-up Abigail Best from James B. Edwards Elementary School, Candace Bare from Ladson Elementary School, Katie Johnston from the East Cooper Center for Advanced Studies, and Vickie Klatt from St. Andrew’s School of Math and Science.

Although he’s grateful for the recognition, Barnes was quick to put the focus back on the students.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “I’m tremendously honored and humbled to represent this district, this school, our community and, most importantly, our great kids.”

The past year and a half has been like no other. Barnes, like so many other teachers, spent the 2020-21 school year juggling in-person and virtual classes via Zoom.

He’s watched as students and staff members test positive for COVID-19, were put in and out of quarantines, and manage to keep it all together while everything remains uncertain.

While he’s proud of what he was able to accomplish, Barnes said it’s even more impressive to see the capabilities of the students.

“Especially this past year, with everything that we’ve gone through, you begin to appreciate the resiliency of those kids,” he said.

The relationships that Barnes has cultivated with students in his U.S. history classes and on West Ashley’s baseball team have been even stronger during the pandemic.

The teacher said he has found himself more invested in student home lives and families now that they’re faced with these challenges.

“Teaching is about being the whole package and caring about the whole student,” he said. “If anything, (the pandemic) has brought that to the forefront. It’s emphasized, once again, for so many of us why we do what we do.”

Barnes’ dedication to his students and his ability to problem solve, especially during the pandemic, make him stand out amongst the crowd of teachers, said West Ashley Principal Ryan Cumback.

Being able to recognize teachers for their accomplishments is especially important during the pandemic, Cumback said.

“They have hands down the toughest job right now,” he said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get day to day. … It’s just tough. Teachers can get burnt out really quick and we try and pamper them as much as humanly possible because they deserve it.”

As teacher of the year, Barnes will lead the Teacher of the Year Roundtable, where he will read applications and help choose finalists for the next year’s winner.

West Ashley High School social studies teacher AJ Barnes is congratulated by his niece Harper Spellman, fiancee Kristen Pignatello and nephew Cole Spellman after the Charleston County School District announces Barnes as the 2021 Teacher of the Year on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in Charleston. (Courtesy: Grace Beahm Alford, The Post and Courier)

Three finalists for superintendent of Berkeley County School District include two Citadel graduates Wed, 19 May 2021 21:16:30 +0000 The Zucker Family School of Education and Berkeley County School District have a longstanding relationship, which is set to enter a new era.]]>

Photo: (left to right) Glenda Gibson Levine, Ed.D., ’21; Anthony Dixon, Ed.D.; and Deon Jackson, ’99, ‘ 05, ’13.

Update: Deon Jackson has been selected as the new superintendent of Berkeley County School District.

Even before the three finalists for superintendent were named, there was a longstanding relationship between The Citadel’s Zucker Family School of Education and the Berkeley County School District.

Now, with two graduates from the ZFSOE in the final three for the district’s top spot, that connection is expected to enter a new era and grow even stronger.

“The Zucker Family School of Education prides itself on its history of exceptional programming but moreover, its promise of ongoing support through The Citadel for Life program,” said Evan Ortlieb, Ph.D., dean of the ZFSOE. “Glenda and Deon are exemplary examples of principled leadership in Berkeley County and we wish them the best for their superintendent candidacy.”

In addition to providing candidates for leadership, the ZFSOE plans to serve as Berkeley County’s higher education provider for three programs:

For more information on graduate cohort programs, contact Lee Westberry, Ed.D., at

As seen on WCBD – Count on 2, by Tim Renaud

The Berkeley County School District’s Board of Trustees has named three finalists in their search for a new superintendent.

It comes after Dr. Eddie Ingram announced his plans to retire as superintendent back in January.

The board of trustees voted on the three finalists during a special meeting last month – their decision comes after a thorough review of all applicants, and interviews with semi-finalist applicants.

“The Board of Trustees was very pleased with the caliber of all of the finalists,” said Dave Barrow, BCSD Board Chair. “We look forward to the next phase in the search.”

The three finalists include Dr. Anthony S. Dixon, who has served as the Chief Administrative Officer – School Services (Secondary Schools) for the Berkeley County School District since July 1, 2020, Deon D. Jackson who currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for Pupil Services for the Berkeley County School District, and Dr. Glenda Gibson Levine who actively serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Berkeley County School District.

Dr. Anthony S. Dixon has served as the Chief Administrative Officer – School Services (Secondary Schools) for the Berkeley County School District since July 1, 2020. Prior to this, he served as the Executive Director of Academics and Innovation as well as principal of Sanders-Clyde and Memminger School of Global Studies. He served as principal for Philip Simmons High School, Philip Simmons Middle School and Cainhoy Elementary School. He previously served as an Assistant Principal at Daniel Island School and Boulder Bluff Elementary School and as a Special Education Teacher at St. Stephen and Memminger Elementary Schools. Dixon earned his Ed.D. and Ed.S. degrees from South Carolina State University, Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from The University of Charleston and a B.S. from College of Charleston.

Deon D. Jackson currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for Pupil Services for the Berkeley County School District. Prior to this, he has served as the Senior Associate Superintendent of Operations and Administration, Interim Superintendent and Chief Administrative Officer in Berkeley County. He also served as a principal at Cane Bay Middle School and St. Stephen Middle School. Jackson served as a classroom teacher in Berkeley County for four years and in Lancaster County for two years. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He earned his Ed.S. and M.Ed. from The Citadel.

Dr. Glenda Gibson Levine currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Berkeley County School District. Prior to this, she served as the Chief Human Resource Officer and Director of Secondary Education in Berkeley County. She previously served as a principal of Hanahan High School, assistant principal of Stratford High School, a teacher evaluator, and a classroom teacher at Stratford High School and Goose Creek High School. She also served as a classroom teacher in the Williamsburg County School District. Levine is currently pursuing an Ed.S. from The Citadel. She earned an Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University, an M.Ed. from Charleston Southern University, and a B.S. from Benedict Collect.

The board expects to name the superintendent by the end of May.

Gov. McMaster presents ‘Order of the Palmetto’ to North Charleston Principal Henry Darby, CGC ’07 and ’10 Tue, 09 Feb 2021 15:39:38 +0000 Through the Zucker Family School of Education, Darby earned a M.Ed. in Secondary School Education in 2007 and an Ed.S. degree in 2010.]]>

Note: Henry Darby earned two degrees from The Citadel Graduate College. Through what is now the Zucker Family School of Education, Darby earned a Master’s of Education (Secondary School Education) in 2007 and an Education Specialist degree in 2010.

As seen on WCBD – Count on 2, by Tim Renaud

Governor Henry McMaster on Monday bestowed South Carolina’s highest civilian honor upon North Charleston High School Principal Henry Darby.

The principal and Charleston County Councilman spends many of his nights stocking store shelves at Walmart in North Charleston to earn extra income – not for himself but to support low-income students and families in their time of need.

“I didn’t expect the attention,” he told News 2. “I simply wanted to work for Walmart without fanfare and to use those resources for my students. But my very first night someone yelled out ‘hey, Mr. Darby, you work for Walmart? Aren’t you the principal?’ and it blew me out the water,” he said with a laugh.

Why a North Charleston high school principal spends his nights stocking store shelves to support students in need 

But news began to spread across the community and through the national media about his efforts to give back, and a GoFundMe that was set up to assist the principal’s efforts to give back started to surge.

The Today Show was in the Lowcountry last month to honor Darby, and Walmart donated a $50,000 check to the school during their live broadcast.

“We thought, what a cool story to share with the rest of the country,” said Melvin in an interview on News 2 Today. “We decided to come down and share the story of a man who really embodies what a lot of educators have become over the past year in the midst of this pandemic.”

Melvin went on to say that working as an educator during the day and then stocking store shelves overnight – simply for the betterment of others – that is the kind of story that people cannot get enough of right now, a story of hope and helpfulness.

The Charleston County School District announced over the weekend that Governor Henry McMaster was going to present Darby with the Order of the Palmetto, it’s the state’s highest civilian honor awarded to citizens of South Carolina for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance.

A ceremony was set for Monday morning outside North Charleston High School.

During his remarks, Gov. McMaster reflected on Darby’s accomplishments throughout his life and career in education before speaking about his selfless efforts to provide support to those who need it the most.

“Henry Darby is a remarkable man,” said Gov. McMaster. “One of the finest things about him is he’s 100% all ours – born here, educated here, been all around the world teaching what he knows – this is the kind of man that we’re proud of.”

Gov. McMaster presented Darby with the prestigious award before turning the microphone over to the high school principal so that he could deliver his thanks to the school district, the community, and share words about why he felt the need to give back.

A veteran, student, alumnus and coordinator — meet Jesse Brooks Mon, 09 Nov 2020 20:30:02 +0000 An integral part of The Citadel is the Veteran Student Success Center, open to both day and evening veteran students.]]>

The Military College of South Carolina is, in addition to being a leadership laboratory for the Corps of Cadets, where many former service members choose to complete or continue their education.

An integral part of The Citadel’s support for those students is the Veteran Student Success Center (VSSC), open to both day and evening veteran students.

In addition to supporting academics, one of the VSSC’s primary missions is to foster social interaction and community-building for veterans on campus.

These things would not be possible without the Veteran Services Coordinator, Jesse Brooks; he also assists the school’s certifying official.

Jesse Brooks, a Citadel Graduate College student and Veterans Services Coordinator, works in the Veteran Student Success Center at The Citadel

Brooks, one of The Citadel’s many student veterans, is also a full-time employee. He processes students’ VA Education Benefits, while also planning, coordinating and collaborating on events for veterans.

If that weren’t enough, Brooks also serves as the advisor for The Citadel’s Student Veteran Association, which also works to help further veteran initiatives, while building relationships both on and off campus.

When he’s not in the VSSC, Brooks is working towards completing a Master’s of Education in Higher Education Leadership.

“When I am not at working here or at home doing school work, I enjoy spending my time with my daughters, Adalyn and Kayla. They were a big driving force for me to continue my education and to get my degree, just so I could hope to be a good example for them. I always tell them to question things until they are satisfied learning about it, and to go in with as much interest as possible.”

Jesse Brooks, USN (Ret.), Citadel Class of 2020
Jesse Brooks graduating from the Naval Nuclear Power School

Learn more about the former Navy nuclear machinist mate here:

When did you retire from service? Did you come to The Citadel immediately after? If not, what did you do between?

I honorably discharged in 2014.  Prior to discharging I had already had a job lined up in Atlanta, GA, at a natural gas plant. I worked there for three years before deciding I needed a career change and to go to college. I initially went to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree; but, after several life events, I realized what I really wanted to do was help people. It was at that point I transferred to The Citadel and began to work on my B.A. in Psychology.

Jesse Brooks with Bachelor of Arts degree from The Citadel

How did you hear about The Citadel, especially being from Hawaii? Where did you earn your undergrad?

So I am a military brat. I was born in Honolulu, lived in San Antonio, and finished middle school in Germantown, OH (about an hour north of Cincinnati). I first heard about The Citadel when I was stationed here, from 2010-2012, when I was going through the Navy’s Nuclear Training Pipeline. When my buddies and I would go downtown on the weekends, we would always see the cadets walking around, and we just ended up chatting with a couple of them. We were just asking each other about The Citadel, being in the military and enjoying conversing.

What do you hope to use your M.Ed. for after graduation? When do you expect to graduate?

I plan on using my M.Ed. to move up into high executive type positions within an institution. Ideally, I would love to become a department head of veteran/military affairs/services because this is a demographic of students and people in general that I enjoy working with and for. I expect to graduate in Fall 2021, if everything goes to plan.

What does it mean to you, being able to help other veterans earn degrees and to be part of a community here on campus?

Helping veterans, to me, is the very least I can do for these people. Regardless, if someone does one year or retires, these people made a sacrifice that I will always be grateful for. I grew up in a military family, these are the people that I am used to. Any one of them would drop whatever they are doing to help out someone else. I just want to be that person to help them.

What’s your favorite part of your job or The Citadel as a whole?

My favorite part of my job is when I can just take a small break from the computer and talk to a student. Doesn’t have to be advising, counseling, about school, but I usually bring the conversation back around to how things are going here, any issues with classes or the VA and then just let them know that if they need help to reach out.

What I enjoy most at The Citadel, especially as a student, is the atmosphere. I feel had I gone to any other college, I would have been less motivated to do the work. At The Citadel, there is this feeling of discipline and structure that is so reminiscent of the military, that I knew I could do nothing but succeed.

Do you ever interact with cadets? If so, how? Do you ever give advice or support to those planning to go into the military after graduation?

I do interact with cadets, less now, than when I was in my undergrad, but I still interact with those who are using VA Education Benefits. I never really “advised” many cadets unless they were wanting to go into the Navy, and especially if they were wanting to go into the Nuclear Program. I feel like I know enough about those two to give a cadet enough information. Regardless, I would (and still do) support those who plan on joining the military. To me there is nothing more selfless you can do than to serve your country, in peace or war.

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Upcoming News from The Citadel – October 2020 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:00:00 +0000 A look at some of the events happening in and around The Citadel’s campus, including a virtual town hall for parents and more.]]>

President’s Virtual Engagement with Parents

Thursday, October 1
7 – 8 p.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, open to the public

In order to make campus operations as close to normal as possible, the President of The Citadel, Gen. Glenn Walters, USMC (Ret.), will hold a virtual town hall for parents on October 1 at 7 p.m. EST.

He will be joined by the Provost and Dean of the College, Sally Selden, Ph.D, SPHR and the Commandant of Cadets, Capt. Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.).

Parents can connect with Walters, Selden and Paluso by submitting questions via the Facebook Live link while watching the event.

This event is intended to replace the annual engagement that the president holds for cadets’ family members during Parents Weekend; all of those events had to be cancelled due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Emerging Topics Lecture Series about national security issues

Thursday, October 1 at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 20 at 4 p.m.
Thursday, October 29 at 8 a.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, open to the public

Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, The Citadel Department of Intelligence and Homeland Security
Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., moderator for the series

The Citadel’s Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, one of the fastest-growing programs on campus, is launching a new, virtual lecture series to cover a wide range of topics related to national security.

The Emerging Topics Lecture Series is open to the public, and is especially designed for Citadel cadets and students, and others interested in hearing national security issues by Citadel faculty members, alongside other international experts.

Due to the COVID-19 environment, the Emerging Topics Lecture Series will be held virtually, via Zoom.

The first three forums will be held on different days — and at different times — in October.

The lecture names, panelists and Zoom links can all be found here.

Thinking of pursuing a Master’s degree? Join a virtual information session for prospective graduate students interested in an MBA, Project Management or Leadership Studies degree

Wednesday, October 7 at 6 p.m.
Monday, October 28 at 11 a.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, open to the public

With the pandemic changing how prospective students find the right degree program, The Citadel Graduate College is hoping to make things easier. The college will be hosting multiple virtual information sessions for prospective students. The sessions on Wednesday, October 7, and Monday, October 28, will be focused on The Citadel’s MBA, M.S. in Project Management and M.S. in Leadership programs.

The information sessions are program-specific, with representatives from the three departments, to better address questions from anyone attending.

The presentation will focus on the flexible course options available through the graduate college, as well as information on the application and admissions process. There will be an interactive Q&A session at the end of the session.

To register for the October 7 session, click here.
To register for the October 28 session, click here.

Citadel team helping with Soldiers’ Angels Food Drive

Friday, October 9
8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Elks Lodge; 1113 Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Charleston, S.C.
Free, open to the public

The Citadel community always looks for opportunities to give back to those who served and sacrificed for their country. That’s why The Citadel Health Careers Society will be volunteering with Soldiers’ Angels, working to supply low-income veteran families with food assistance.

The event will be held outside, regardless of weather.

Cadets and students can sign up to volunteer on GivePulse. Credit will be given for travel time along with the time given for service and will be considered healthcare community service hours.

Soldiers’ Angles has a global network of volunteers — representing all 50 states and 12 countries abroad — who work tirelessly to ensure that those who serve or have served are supported, uplifted and remembered through a variety of support programs.

Contact Dr. Sarah A. Imam at or Dr. Kimbo Yee at for further information. 

From the football field to restaurant franchise ownership, Bulldogs talk entrepreneurship

Tuesday, October 13
8 – 9 a.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, pre-registration required, open to the public

They started as Bulldog football players, and now they’re co-owners of a Zaxby’s franchise.

Through the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Speakers Series, The Citadel community and the public can hear from former quarterback Duran Lawson. He is a member of the Class of 2008 who graduated with a degree in Business Administration. His business partner, Andre Roberts, Class of 2009, currently plays for the Buffalo Bills.

In the virtual webinar, Lawson will discuss franchises as a business opportunity, how to build partnerships and more. Additionally, he will discuss how The Citadel experience, both on and off the field, prepared him for this opportunity.

“It was not foreign to me to have long days, and this is very important when you launch your business,” said Duran. “Second — what was the secret sauce between the both of us and the basis of our partnership — we were both military brats, came through sports together, we have similar values and share similar desired outcomes. We knew what we wanted in a business.”

To register for the webinar, click here.

Thinking of pursing a Master’s degree? Join a virtual information session about graduate degrees in Intelligence and Security Studies, International Politics, Military History or Social Science degrees

Wednesday, October 21
11 a.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, open to the public

With the pandemic changing how prospective students find the right degree program, The Citadel Graduate College is hoping to make things easier. The college will be hosting multiple virtual information sessions for prospective students. The session on Wednesday, October 21 will be focused on The Citadel’s Intelligence and Security Studies, M.A. in International Politics, M.A. in Military History and Social Science programs.

The information sessions are program-specific, with representatives from the all of the departments, to better address questions from anyone attending.

For more information about this information session, please contact The Citadel Graduate College at

New Citadel physics and leader to speak at Exchange Club luncheon

Wednesday, October 28
12:30 p.m.
Halls Chop House; 434 King St, Charleston, SC
Open to members of the Exchange Club and their guests

One of the newest professors in the Physics Department, Scott Curtis, Ph.D., will speak to the Exchange Club of Charleston about the climate of water in the city — specifically, how trends in flooding and extreme precipitation affect the city, and how those issues can be addressed.

Scott Curtis, Ph.D., on the roof of Grimsley Hall at The Citadel

Curtis, who will serve as the John Lining Professor of Physics, joins The Citadel as the director for the new Lt. Col. James B. Near Jr., ’77, Center for Climate Studies. The center is under development, and was recently named for Near, who passed away in March of 2020, an alumnus, veteran and physics professor.

Curtis has authored more than 150 books, book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles and scientific white papers for presentations. He is engaged frequently to speak around the nation on issues including climate change, coastal water hazards and flooding. Curtis has participated as an editor for five scientific journals.

The Exchange Club is an all volunteer, national service organization for men and women who want to serve their community, develop leadership skills and enjoy new friendships. Exchange is made up of nearly 1,000 clubs and 33,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Biloxi Blues

Friday, October 30 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 31 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 1 at 3 p.m.
South of Broadway Theatre Company; 1080 East Montague, North Charleston
$30 for general admission and $20 for students, open to the public

Delayed by COVID-19, the Biloxi Blues performance is on its way back to the state. Though it was originally going to be held on campus, it’s been moved to a theater in Park Circle; however, it’s still supported by The Citadel Fine Arts program and has multiple Citadel cast members, as well as a Citadel alumnus as the director.

Biloxi Blues tells the story of young Army recruit Eugene Morris Jerome as he travels from Brooklyn to Biloxi, Mississippi for boot camp during World War II. On his quest to find love, achieve fame, and attain his manhood,

Last performed at the military college in 1988, the new production is directed by Citadel alumnus Bob Luke ‘76. Luke runs a successful acting studio in New York City and has enjoyed an illustrious career as an on-set acting coach for Hollywood movies including RansomRacing Stripes, and Enchanted.

Due to social distancing requirements within the theater, please contact to reserve tickets.

A Night in the Archives: Cadet Rebellions from Citadel History

Saturday, October 31
6 – 8 p.m.
Virtual, via Zoom
Free, open to the public

It started with five seniors sneaking out at night to go to a party, and ended with a riot that brought police to campus and resulted in the expulsion of 60 cadets. The biggest rebellion in Citadel history, The Cantey Rebellion in 1898, is just one of the events that will be discussed during a virtual version of A Night in the Archives.

On October 31, The Citadel Archivist, Tessa Updike, and the Archives Assistant, Alex Adler, will present stories of cadet rebellions dating back to the 1850s. In addition to rebellions, the event will focus on hunger strikes, food fights and more that have occurred over the years.

The Zoom discussion will be held on Halloween night, from 6 – 8 p.m. A link to the Zoom meeting will be posted here closer to the event.

Faculty expert spotlight

Lee Westberry, Ph.D., is a professor in the Zucker Family School of Education and the program coordinator for Educational Leadership.

She arrived at The Citadel with extensive educational experience, having served the last 21 years in Berkeley County Schools as a high school assistant principal, middle school principal, high school principal, Executive Director of Secondary Programs and Executive Director of Accountability and Assessment. 

Westberry’s recent scholarship activities include presenting at the National CTE Best Practices Conference, which highlighted her work with career academies. She recently published Putting the Pieces Together: A Systems Approach to School Leadership, which helps school leaders understand how to develop the systems to support the critical work of schools, in order to prevent the “putting out fires” mode of operation. Westberry will release a second title, focused on student support systems and the culture system, in December.

In addition to coordinating the program that helps train more educators in South Carolina, Westberry continues to work with schools across the state to assist with school improvement efforts — including curriculum and assessment alignment, principal mentoring, the learning process and more.