Four faculty members recognized with Jack Miller Awards
The Jack Miller Faculty Awards are given annually to recognize Georgia Southern University College of Education (COE) faculty for demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching, service and/or scholarship. Awards can be given in each area along with an additional Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes scholarship in all three of the considered areas.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, four COE faculty members received Jack Miller Awards including Katie Brkich, Ph.D., Kelly Brooksher, Ed.D., Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D., and Alma Stevenson, Ph.D.
Katie Brkich, Ph.D., received the Jack Miller Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity. An associate professor elementary science education, Brkich’s research interests include place-based, inquiry science teaching and learning, science for social justice, as well as race and socioeconomic bias in science. Since joining the College in 2011, Brkich has received a competitive research grant from the College (2017), a College program innovation award (2015), and the Georgia Board of Regent’s Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative award (2015). Brkich is the program director of the M.Ed. Elementary Education degree program and was also instrumental in the development of the College’s fully-online M.A.T. in Elementary Education program.
Since 2016, Brkich has completed an ongoing professional development and collaborative research efforts with Mattie Lively Elementary and Langston Chapel Elementary Schools, specifically working with fifth grade science teachers to develop effective elementary instructional practices. Brkich completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary Science Education) from the University of Florida, where she also completed a master’s in education. Her undergraduate degree was completed at the University of South Florida in environmental science and policy.
Katie Brkich, Ph.D., received the Jack Miller Award for Scholarship and Creative Activity. An associate professor in elementary science education, Brkich’s research interests include place-based and inquiry elementary science teaching and learning, science for social justice, as well as contextually-mitigating factors in science education. Since joining the College in 2011, Brkich has received a competitive research grant from the College (2017), a College program innovation award (2015), and the Georgia Board of Regent’s Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative award (2015). She has also authored or co-authored 12 peer reviewed publications since 2011. Brkich is the program director of the M.Ed. Elementary Education degree program and was also instrumental in the development of the College’s fully-online M.A.T. in Elementary Education program.
Since 2016, Brkich has completed an ongoing professional development and collaborative research efforts with local elementary schools, specifically working with fifth grade science teachers to develop effective elementary instructional practices. Brkich completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary Science Education) from the University of Florida, where she also completed an M.Ed. in Elementary Education. Her undergraduate degree was completed at the University of South Florida in Environmental Science and Policy.
Kelly Brooksher, Ed.D., recipient of the Jack Miller Award for Service, is an assistant professor of special education who began her higher education career at Armstrong State University in 2012. Prior to joining the College of Education, Brooksher taught in elementary and middle school classrooms Gwinnett County Public Schools and finished her public school career as an assistant principal. Brooksher was the former program coordinator of the B.S.Ed. and M.A.T. Special Education degrees on the Armstrong Campus (2018-2019), where she planned and assisted with the transition of programs to unite curriculums between Armstrong State and Georgia Southern. She provides professional development training to area teachers in schools within Chatham and Bryan Counties on topics including interviewing new teacher candidates, homework, dyslexia and support for struggling readers, and inclusive classrooms.
Brooksher sits on the Technology and Teacher Education Committee for the Association of Teacher Educators, and she serves as a reviewer for the Action in Teacher Education, the journal of the Association of Teacher Educators as well as the Georgia Educational Researcher. She earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Samford University where she completed research on teacher perceptions regarding grading practices, assessment practices and professional learning needs.
The Jack Miller Award for Teaching was awarded to Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D., associate professor of educational leadership. McBrayer is a double eagle alumna, having earned both an Ed.S. and Ed.D. in Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. She also completed an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from Ohio University and a bachelor’s in biology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. McBrayer joined the College as a faculty member in 2015 and serves as a co-program director for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership as well as the program coordinator for the M.Ed. and Tier 1 Certificate in Educational Leadership and endorsement in teacher leadership. McBrayer currently chairs seven dissertation committees for students completing their doctoral studies, and serves on the committee of six additional candidates. An additional 46 doctoral and specialist candidates have received guidance and mentorship from McBrayer to complete their action-research and dissertation work during her tenure.
McBrayer was recently awarded a Research Assistantship from Georgia Southern to assist in her current scholarly practitioner research efforts that include ensuring the effectiveness and accountability of educational leadership and teacher preparation programs. This research is focused on purposeful, collaborative, and sustainable professional learning, specifically professional learning communities.
Alma Stevenson, Ph.D., was named the winner of the Jack Miller Educator of the Year. An associate professor of literacy, Stevenson teaches undergraduate and graduate students in reading education in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading. During her years in the College, Stevenson has developed and co-developed five of the reading and English Language Learner (ELL) courses taught to students at the graduate level.
The recipient of Insight into Diversity magazine’s Inspiring Leaders in STEM Award (2017), Stevenson has been recognized for her work on several STEM grant-funded projects including Georgia’s GEAR UP! Grant, focusing on the professional development of eighth, ninth, and tenth grade mathematics and science teachers. This year, Stevenson has also worked alongside COE colleagues at the Boys and Girls Club of Statesboro, offering STEM literacy camps and education. Her current research focuses on creating culturally relevant science stories that connect students’ lives to classroom curricula.
A past recipient of the College’s Jack Miller Award for Scholarly Activity (2015), Stevenson serves in voluntary roles with Bulloch County Schools and the Georgia Department of Education’s Migrant Education program, including presenting workshops for parents and teachers and participating in statewide assessment initiatives.
About Jack Miller
Jack Miller was the former Dean of the College of Education at Georgia Southern. He endowed the Jack Miller Faculty Awards in 1994 after leaving to accept the position of Dean of the College of Education at Florida State University. Miller retired in 2016 from his position as the President of Central Connecticut State University. Miller passed away in April 2018, leaving behind a legacy as a passionate and dedicated leader in higher education across the nation.
For more information about the Jack Miller Awards or to view past recipients, visit https://coe.georgiasouthern.edu/awards/
Posted in Faculty Highlights