I am Dr. Alicia Curry, and I currently serve as the Dean of the School of Education at Stillman College. I am a wife, a friend, a teacher, and I have a passion for working with the less fortunate students. I have been immersed in student education since my youth through my mom’s career as a Special Education teacher, Elementary Education teacher, and a Principal. During my childhood years, I watched my mom diligently work to improve her teaching skills and that greatly influenced my decision to become an educator. To that end, I enjoy working with small children, but I specifically enjoy working with children with learning disabilities and children that live in poverty-stricken environments. I have focused my career goals on obtaining the necessary credentials and skill sets that would allow me to make a difference in students’ lives. I received my B.S. (1999) and M.S. (2002) in Elementary Education from the University West Alabama. In addition, I completed my Ph.D. with a 4.0 GPA from Mississippi State University in Elementary Education in 2011.

My work history has led me to working in multiple diverse settings in which I have had the opportunity to utilize my skills to help students at all levels to achieve their educational goals. I have taught in both the elementary (2nd and 3rd grades) and higher education school systems (college), and I have served in many administrative roles. My teaching career started with my first job as a 2nd grade elementary teacher at Walker Elementary (Tuscaloosa County School System) in August,1999. I served approximately six years in this position. During this time, I was fortunate to be part of a looping class in which I moved to the next grade (3rd grade) with my 2nd grade class at the end of the year. From an educational standpoint, this proved to be greatly beneficial since my looping class was one of the classes that received the highest test scores on the Alabama Standardized Test for the state of Alabama. During my time as an elementary school teacher, I was selected twice as Walker Elementary Teacher of the Year, and I was nominated for the Jacksonville Teacher Hall of Fame. I was also nominated for the Alabama Teacher of the Year Award in 2002.

My career did not end there, and I continued to gain experience as an educator. In 2005, I accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of West Alabama. In this position, I worked very closely with various colleagues at all levels to train future elementary teachers. I continued my commitment by training elementary teachers at Tuskegee University in 2010. I served as an Associate Professor of Elementary Education and as the Field-Based Coordinator. Under this position, I was able to directly place teacher candidates in various Alabama school systems for hands-on classroom training.

During my tenure at Tuskegee University, I served on many National Science Foundation grant programs as an educational expert, researcher, and co-principal investigator to develop educational science modules. These modules are utilized in classrooms across the Alabama Black Belt region. In 2013, I received the Tuskegee faculty research award for my educational research and publications. Furthermore, I have published more than 15 educational modules that are currently being used in the school systems. In addition, I presented these educational modules at many local and national conferences. Throughout my career as an educator, my greatest joy has been to witness how the power of teacher education can change and shape the lives of students. Indeed, I learned from my mom at an early age that children will perform beyond belief when they feel they are loved. Therefore, I will continue to focus on education as seeds of growth and view it as a multifaceted career.

Dr. Alicia Curry is serving as Participant Observer and gathers data during the events outlined in the following timeline. A Participant Observer, a researcher, has been defined in the literature as the expert who is immersed in the culture of any group and who works alongside the group, observes the group, and develops a deep understanding of the group in order to disseminate knowledge for others for their use in replicating an innovation. The Talladega College Education Department is fortunate to have such an observer who has worked with us over several years. In order to understand the Talladega College Education Department, the person serving in this researcher's role becomes a student of the culture and the activities of the group. Discovering this insider’s view is a different type of knowledge from one that rests mainly on the outsider's view, even when the outsider is a trained social scientist. 1 (Spradley, 2016).