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School of Education Hall of Fame Inaugural Inductees Announced

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 11:41am | By: David Tisdale

The newly-established University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Education Hall of Fame includes two educators who are proven leaders in the fields of P-12 and higher education as its first inductees.

The goal of the USM School of Education is to recognize and honor extraordinary graduates, and its Hall of Fame was created to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions and distinguished themselves in their field of expertise. School of Education programs include Elementary Education, Special Education, Educational Administration, Higher Education, Educational Research, and Student Affairs.

This year’s inductees include:

Shawnese Davis-Herrington, Ph.D.Shawnese Davis-Herrington, Ph.D.

Dr. Davis-Herrington graduated from USM with a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision in P-12 in fall 2017. She worked as a language arts teacher from 2010 – 2016, then as an academic coach for Hattiesburg’s Lillie Burney STEAM Academy, and now serves as an education consultant with the Bailey Group. Since graduating from USM, she has executed specialized training for students with specific learning deficits; provided instructional support to teachers in improving classroom strategies to create student success; facilitated ongoing professional development for teacher growth and accountability; and conducted and published research to add to the educational field, as well as analyzed school, data to devise specific plans to increase accountability.

“The University of Southern Mississippi played a vital role in providing me with a diverse learning experience, which has greatly benefited me in my professional work,” Dr. Davis-Herrington said. “Through the courses offered, I was able to expand my conceptual knowledge of leadership from the authentic interactions and perspectives of people from different cultures and extensive research projects on various educational topics. I was also afforded the ability to relate to and appreciate people from different cultural backgrounds, cultivating in me a sensitivity and appreciation of human differences -- a skill pertinent to success in today’s diverse workforce.

“Moreover, my experience at the university allowed me to explore concepts needed to manage instruction and lead students, teachers, and schools that I support. Because of my graduate studies, I have learned to better understand how to devise curriculum plans, analyze and respond to data and serve students and staff more effectively.”

Dr. Jo Hawkins-Jones, assistant teaching professor in the School of Education, said she observed and came to deeply appreciate the works of Dr. Davis-Herrington during her time with the Hattiesburg Public School District and as an educational consultant, and described her as “a committed educational leader, who inspires and builds the capacity of teachers working in low-performing schools.”

“Her ability to support teachers with diversifying instruction, and teaching beyond the boundaries, has led to her receiving accolades and continuous teacher and student success,” Dr. Hawkins-Jones said.

Joshua Schutts, Ph.D. Joshua Schutts, Ph.D.

Dr. Schutts graduated from USM with a Ph.D. in Research, Evaluation, Statistics and Assessment (RESA) in spring 2016. He also completed a M.Ed. in Student Affairs Administration in 2004. He is director of the Quality Enhancement Plan in the Division of Academic Affairs and a research associate in the College of Education & Professional Studies at the University of West Florida. He has published award-winning research in his discipline, and teaches multiple research courses. Considered an expert in his field on the nature of brotherhood and sisterhood, Dr. Schutts has served his professional association (Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors) in numerous volunteer capacities, including its board of directors. Before joining the University of West Florida in 2014, he served as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Greek Life at USM.

“Josh is an exemplar of a RESA graduate,” said Dr. Richard Mohn, associate professor in the USM School of Education. “He has taken what he learned in the program and made an impact within many contexts, including contributing articles to two different academic disciplines (education and psychology) and administratively in several areas of higher education. His work applying ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curve analysis to disciplines unfamiliar with the technique is particularly unique.”

Dr. Schutts said that, as a three-time graduate of Southern Miss (two degrees from the College of Education and Human Sciences), USM has “shaped the person that I am today.”

“The faculty, students, and staff who supported and encouraged me throughout my academic career made a deep and lasting impression on my commitment to education and character as a person,” Dr. Schutts continued. “I am proud to tell everyone I meet that I am a proud Golden Eagle.”

The USM School of Education is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. For more information about the school, including its faculty and programming, visit