July 16, 2009


Master Teacher Experience Program Held at NACC

Northeast Alabama Community College recently served as host of the Master Teacher Experience, a program that brought twenty-six faculty members and nine staff members to the NACC campus for professional development activities. Participants in the program all represent schools in the Alabama Community College System (ACCS).

ACCS Master Teachers 2009The Master Teacher Experience is a faculty-based professional development program that is supported by colleges and their Presidents from the ACCS. Northeast was selected as the campus site for the program and activities, and sessions were held on the Northeast campus as well as various venues in DeKalb and Jackson counties.

“The program first began in 1999,” said Barbara Anne Spears, staff co-coordinator of the Master Teacher Experience. “We have always had a college president as the overseer who spearheads events. When a site for the program opened up, it was a natural progression, we felt, to have Dr. David Campbell, President of NACC, to take over since he was involved with the Teaching and Learning Initiative first held in Virginia.”

“The college staff and students have gone above and beyond to help provide excellent experiences for our participants,” continued Spears. “We have had a magnificent experience here at Northeast.”

Dr. Ron Van Houten, co-coordinator for the program, stated that, “We can’t provide all the support needed – it’s a team effort. Northeast is a huge player on that team to provide the support we needed to conduct this seminar. It’s been very diverse – we have had a fantastic experience here at Northeast.”

One of the participants, Tracy Driscoll, Bishop State Community College, added, “I didn’t know what to expect – but this has exceeded my expectations. It has been a great experience. The campus is beautiful and everyone has been so accommodating. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Dr. Campbell stated: “We are very pleased to serve as host for this program. It is a very valuable experience for the faculty members who participate – one of those things that can be a highlight in someone’s career. I know the participants are appreciative to the college Presidents and schools who provide them with this opportunity, and Dr. Ron Van Houten and Mrs. Barbara Ann Spears do just an extraordinary job in conducting this program.”

Campbell noted that a number of businesses throughout the area had made donations or loaned services to the program. “Logistically, the program is a rather involved undertaking, so we are very thankful for all the help we’ve gotten not only from our staff but from our local citizens and businesses.”

While participating in the program, the Instructors and staff did have some activities planned that permitted them to see local attractions in the NACC area, such as DeSoto State Park, Mentone, the Goosepond Recreational Complex, Unclaimed Baggage, and Gorham’s Bluff. For some participants, this was their first visit to Northeast Alabama, and after having seen the area they stated that they wanted to return to spend more time in such a beautiful part of the state.

The NACC participants included Dr. Sharon Totten and Rachel Walker, who represented the Northeast faculty in the program. Dr. Daphne Huntley and Don Reeves, NACC Instructors, served as program staff members. The committee assisting in organizing and conducting the event included Susan Barron (chair), Sam Dobbs, Julia Everett, Jane Hopson, Kent Jones, Joan Reeves, Andrea Wheeler, Pat Wildman, and Nicky Willmon. “Our staff, as always, did just a tremendous job with helping organize this program,” Dr. Campbell stated. “They know how to get things done and they are always so personable with everyone. I couldn’t be more proud of them for the work they do.”

Following one of the sessions, one group of participants posed for a photo: (L-R) Khalilah Burton, Drake; Sharon Horton, Wallace-Hanceville; Tracy Driscoll, Bishop; Candy Smith, Trenholm;Katherine Lawson, Calhoun; Dr. Ron Van Houten, CACC (Alabama Master Teacher Experience Director); Phyllis Brewer, Calhoun; Tommy Gaillard, Alabama Southern; John E. Carpenter, LBW; Sandy Roberts, Snead; Alton Rice, NW Shoals; Jane M. Blankenship, Southern Union; Dr. Daphne Huntley, NACC (AMTE Facilitator); Crystal Fleeton, Alabama Southern; Kathleen Thompson, CACC; Mary Simonton, CVCC; and Rachel Walker, NACC.

(Article and photo by Debra A. Barrentine, Director of Promotions and Marketing at NACC)