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Cochran, Shelley Take on New Roles in School of Education

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 15:18pm | By: David Tisdale

Two University of Southern Mississippi (USM) faculty members are taking on new roles this semester with the USM School of Education.

Dr. Noal Cochran, a teaching professor in educational administration, and Dr. Kyna Shelley, professor of educational research and administration, are serving as interim director and associate director of the school, respectively.

Dr. Noal CochranDr. Cochran joined the School of Education in 2018, after spending most of his career in P-12 education, including as a teacher, coach, and school district superintendent. He has also served mental health agencies as a therapist and administrator. Through his work, whether inside or outside of academia, he has spent considerable time speaking with young people about the power of personal narrative, and overcoming obstacles to achieve success.

As an alumnus of USM, Dr. Cochran said he’s keenly aware of its roots as a teachers college (USM was founded as Mississippi Normal College in 1910), and wants to build on that proud tradition for the school as it prepares educators to make a positive difference in the lives of the students, families and colleagues they encounter in their careers and communities.

“Having the opportunity to serve as Interim Director of the School of Education means I have a chance to lead a passionate group of professionals who truly believe the work we are doing is going to change the next several generations,” Dr. Cochran said.

“My goals are simple. I always want my leadership to be marked by integrity. I want to give everything I have to those who can make the greatest difference in the lives of others. Operationally, we want to be good stewards of what we have been given.”

Dr. Kyna Shelley*Dr. Shelley is also a graduate of USM. She joined its faculty in 2004 after working at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she was a recipient of the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award, among other honors. At USM, she teaches courses in its Research and Foundations program, including Quantitative Analysis I, Survey Research, Applied Research I and II, and The Dissertation Process, and also serves as a faculty associate in the School of Education’s Research Support Center.

A highly experienced program evaluator, Dr. Shelley has been published in multiple academic journals. In 2010, her collaborative research on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on K-12 students in Mississippi, funded by the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute, garnered statewide and national attention. She is a past recipient of the USM Faculty Senate/University President Award in recognition of achievements in research teaching, mentoring, and community service.

The USM School of Education is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. For more information on the school and its programs, visit