Faculty

Chris Burkett, Ed. D.
Associate Provost- Administration
Associate Professor of Education
803.786.3784
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Dr. Chris Burkett came to Columbia College in the summer of 2006. Dr. Burkett teaches in the undergraduate Middle Level Program, the Divergent Learning Masters Program, as well as the Higher Education Administration Masters Program. Before coming to Columbia College, Dr. Burkett taught two years in the undergraduate teacher preparation program at Newberry College. Dr. Burkett spent eleven years in the public school classroom teaching social studies to high school students, as well as coaching various sports. While in public education, Dr. Burkett was the recipient of the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year Award for the state of South Carolina, the State Paper Teacher of the Year Award, and was also honored as the Dutch Fork High School Teacher of the Year. In 2008, the South Carolina Association of Teacher Educators selected Dr. Burkett as the Exemplary Teacher Educator of the Year by and in 2016, was awarded the Exemplary Service to the Teaching Profession by the same organization. Dr. Burkett’s research interests include educational technology, best practices, and classroom management. He currently serves as the Associate Provost, as well as teaches in the Division of Education.

Sandy Ayers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
803.786.3659
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Dr. Sandy Ayers has been a member of the Education faculty at Columbia College since the fall of 1996. She has a BA from Columbia College in Elementary Education and a MEd and PhD in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina—and feels that it is a privilege to return to her alma mater as a faculty member. Prior to joining the faculty of Columbia College Dr. Ayers was the Early Childhood Consultant at the South Carolina Department of Education. Dr. Ayers enjoys traveling abroad and has spoken at many international conferences, most recently in Paris, France and Rome, Italy about issues related to young children and literacy; and has published in several professional journals. Dr. Ayers has accompanied education majors abroad to Rome, Italy and Helsinki, Finland where the teacher candidates have completed an education practicum at International Schools.

 

Jessica R. Berry, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of Speech Language Pathology
803.786.3176
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Dr. Jessica Berry joined the Columbia College team in the Fall of 2015. She earned a BA in Communication disorders from Winthrop University, a MA in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from South Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Louisiana State University. Her doctoral work focused on use of grammar structures in Gullah/Geechee speaking children. Her research interests include non-mainstream English dialects such as Gullah/Geechee and African American English, regional dialect variation, language acquisition in culturally and linguistically diverse populations and non-biased language assessment. Dr. Berry has worked an early intervention speech pathologist and as a Gullah/Geechee transcriber/translator for the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture project. In her spare time Dr. Berry enjoys leading praise and worship, time with her husband and daughter at the beach and eating lots of crabs. She is a passionate researcher, writer, wife, and mother.

 

Karis Clarke, Ed.D.
Director of Teacher Education
803.786.3653
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Dr. Karis Clarke joined Columbia College as the Director of Teacher Education in June 2016.  Prior to coming to Columbia College, Dr. Clarke was the Interim Director of Teacher Education at Morris College.  She also served the institution as Title III-Teacher Education Improvement Activity Director, Early Childhood Education Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education.  Dr. Clarke has served as an Adjunct Instructor and University Supervisor at Winthrop University. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Clarke worked as an Early Childhood Educator in the Beaufort County School District.  Dr. Clarke completed her undergraduate degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechancial University.  She completed her Master's degree at the College of Charleston.  Her Specialist and Doctorate are in Educational Administration from South Carolina State University.  She has also completed post graduate studies at Florida State University.  Dr. Clarke is certified as an Elementary Supervisor, Elementary Principal, Superintendent and South Carolina Evaluator.  She is currently a Specialized Professional Association (SPA) reviewer for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Site Visitor, member of the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children (SCAEYC) Board of Directors, American Education Research Association (AERA), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Drifters, Inc.; and attends the Brookland Baptist Church, Northeast.  

Kathy Coskrey, MAT
Director of Field Experiences for Education
803.786.3901
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Kathy Coskrey is the Director of Field Experiences for Education. She coordinates the field placements of teacher candidates in Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Level, Special Education, Dance, Music, English, and Math Education in local area school districts. She has worked as a college supervisor for Columbia College since Spring 2004. Along with supervision, she teaches the math strategies course for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education majors and the directed teaching leadership course that is taken in conjunction with directed (student) teaching. She has worked with several ITQ grants focusing on math education during her time at Columbia College. She received a BS in Finance from East Tennessee State University and an MAT in Elementary Education from University of South Carolina. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA). She serves on Lexington Middle School’s School Improvement Council (SIC) and is an active member at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Lexington, where she resides with her husband, Ernie, and three teenage children, Abigail, Christopher, and Rosemary.

Justin Dagit 
Administrative Assistant, Division of Education
803.786.3747
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Amy Ellisor, M.Ed.
Lecturer of Education
803.786.3751
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Amy Ellisor has enjoyed mentoring students and working with colleagues at Columbia College for many years.  She began teaching courses as an adjunct instructor in the Education Division.  She is a College Supervisor and is the Director of the Teaching Fellows and Teacher Cadet Programs.  She also has taught human growth and development, science methods, children’s literature and educational technology courses.
 
Before coming to Columbia College she worked for seventeen years in public education serving as a teacher, principal, and district technology integration specialist.  She is also a Richland School District Two Honor Roll Teacher, South Carolina International Reading Association’s Distinguished Teacher of Reading and a Dwight D. Eishenhower Award Recipient.  She served as a Teacher Specialist for the SC State Department of Education and was a featured author in T.H.E. Journal for her work in customized learning.
 
She earned both a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and a M.Ed. from the University of South Carolina where she received the Mary J. Heimberger Scholarship.
 
Bookman Road Elementary is a very special place for her where she was named the school’s first Teacher of the Year and now serves as a mom on the School Improvement Council to support her children, Lucy and Deon.  She her husband, Casey and the children are active members of St. David’s Episcopal Church and dedicated volunteers at the Jeep Rogers YMCA.   During the evenings, weekends and holidays the Ellisors are in the water competing in, teaching or just enjoying swimming.

  

Falicia Harvey, Ph. D.
Head, Division of Education 
Lecturer in Higher Education Administration
803.786.3558
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Dr. Falicia Harvey joined Columbia College as the Director of Teacher Education in July 2013. In addition, Dr. Harvey is a lecturer in the Higher Education Administration program. Prior to coming to Columbia College, Dr. Harvey worked as the teacher recruiter for Richland School District Two in Columbia, South Carolina. She spent twelve years managing the alternative routes to certification at the South Carolina Department of Education and previously worked in the University of South Carolina College of Education as the certification coordinator. Prior to working with K-12 education, Dr. Harvey worked with corporate sponsored campus programs and as the Director of Student Activities at a women’s college in Virginia. Dr. Harvey completed her undergraduate degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN with a BS in Speech Communications. Her Master’s Degree and Doctorate are in student personnel/higher education from the University of South Carolina.

James C. (Jim) Lane, Ph.D.
Professor of Elementary Education
803.786.3568
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Dr. James Lane, Associate Professor of Education, joined the faculty of Columbia College in 1997. Prior to his work at Columbia College, Dr. Lane spent 14 years in public education in South Carolina where he was an elementary school teacher, assistant principal and principal in various school districts. Dr. Lane’s areas of specialty include educational leadership and policies, multicultural education, and social studies education. He received his bachelor, masters, educational specialist and doctorate degrees all from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Lane received the Columbia College Spirit of Inclusion Award (2008-2009), the Faculty Excellence Award (2008-2009), and the Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award (2009). He also has served as a Leadership Fellow and a Career Fellow for the Division of Education. For fun and relaxation, Dr. Lane heads to the beach, reads, attends Gamecock athletic events and spends time with his partner, Justin, and their two dogs, Maggie and Mackenzi.

 

Doris Blackwood Giles Layton, Ph. D.
Director of M.Ed. Program in Divergent Learning
Professor of Education
803.786.3905
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Dr. Layton has been at Columbia College since 2000. She earned a BA in History from Winthrop College (now University), and her Master’s studies were in History and Education. Her doctoral work focused on practices in public education of teaching about religion. Dr. Layton has previously taught Social Studies in secondary school. She has also taught at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, SC, Morris College, an HBCU in Sumter, SC and has done adjunct teaching in the Graduate Counselor Education program at South Carolina State University. Dr. Layton is presently an Associate Professor in Education at Columbia College and Director of the Master of Education in Divergent Learning program. Learning about, and then teaching others, how to help all students become successful learners is Dr. Layton’s academic focus. She enjoys traveling, both international and domestic, likes to read, and enjoys water sports. Her greatest love is family, especially the 18 grandchildren.

 

Regina Lemmon, Ph.D.
SLP Program Coordinator
803.786.3090
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Dr. Regina Lemmon is a graduate of Columbia College (B.A.) and USC (M.S.P and Ph.D.). She joined the Columbia College faculty in 2015 and previously served as associate professor in the Speech Pathology & Audiology program at South Carolina State University. She has worked in various clinical settings as a speech-language pathologist. Her research interests are language & literacy, health literacy and cultural competence. She is the past president of the South Carolina Speech-Language Hearing Association (SCSHA) and Advisory Council member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). 

 

Lynne Steyer Noble, Ed.D.
Professor of Early Childhood Education
803.786.3435
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Lynne Steyer Noble, Ed.D. has been an Early Childhood Education faculty member since the fall of 1999. She has an A.B.Ed. from the University of Michigan (Go, Blue), and an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Virginia (Go Hoos). She has taught at the preschool, elementary, community college and university levels. She has also been long involved in child welfare issues, working for several years with the Center for Child and Family Studies. She has published in both trade magazines and professional journals, and written several training curricula. Over the 35+ years she has been working, she has presented at many conferences, been on many boards and served in a variety of roles in the community. Teaching is her passion. Her professional interests are child advocacy and play. Her personal interests are reading, knitting and basketry. She and her husband, Rick, are the parents of two grown children and the doting Oma and Opa to two incredibly cute grandchildren, Margo and Grey.

 

Marla Sanders, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
803.786.3067
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Marla Sanders joined the faculty of Columbia College in the fall of 2012. Marla earned the B.A. and M.Ed degrees from Columbia College and earned her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. Marla taught language arts in public schools in North Carolina and South Carolina for five years prior to pursuing her doctoral degree. Her research interests include preparing pre-service teachers for culturally diverse schools. During her leisure time, Marla enjoys reading and watching movies and college and professional sports.

 

Amanda Stefanski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
803.786.3610
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Dr. Amanda Stefanski, Assistant Professor of Special Education, joined the Columbia College community in the fall of 2016.  Dr. Stefanski has worked across a variety of special education settings ranging from public to private, as well as across the continuum of services, teaching in separate and/or self-contained programs, resource rooms, and co-taught classes.  During her time in the classroom, Dr. Stefanski received her National Board certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist, and the combination of that process and her increased involvement and interactions within the general education setting sparked an interest in the ways that teachers are prepared to instruct students with disabilities.  In order to bridge the fields of special and general education, she expanded on her master's degree in Special Education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland in College Park.  Her research interests focus on various aspects of inclusive education, especially the preparation of general education teachers for students with disabilities, as well as the many facets of school-community partnerships.  In her spare time, Dr. Stefanski works out and trains at Burn Boot Camp, which she often compares to CC because of the focus on strong women empowering strong women.  Her favorite things to do include hand standing, reading, listening to music, and most importantly, snuggling with her not-quite-a-puppy-anymore-puppy, Murphy.   

 

Tracy West, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education
803.786.3320
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Dr. Tracy West, Professor of Special Education and Special Education Program Leader, teaches in the areas of special education. She received her doctorate in Special Education from the University of South Carolina and has been on the faculty at Columbia College since Fall of 1999. Her teaching career began in 1988 as a public school teacher of students with disabilities and those 11 years ignited her passion to become involved in teacher preparation. Research interests include best practices in teaching students with exceptional learning needs in the general education setting and the translation of research to practice. Areas of service include membership in the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as well as campus advisor to the Columbia College student chapter of CEC, campus director for SC Project CREATE and an active member of her home church Lyttleton Street United Methodist in Camden, where she and her husband Shannon live with their 2 children Hampton and Elizabeth. For more information on the Special Education program, the Teaching Fellows program or Project CREATE at Columbia College please feel free to contact Dr. West.