Dr. Chris Burkett
Head, Division of Education
Associate Professor of Education
Dr. Chris Burkett came to Columbia College in the summer of 2006. In the Divergent Learning Program, Dr. Burkett primarily teaches courses relating to action research, classroom technology, and classroom management/mediation. Dr. Burkett also teaches in the undergraduate Middle Level Program. Before coming to Columbia College, he 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, Dr. Burkett was named the Exemplary Teacher Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Association of Teacher Educators. Dr. Burkett’s research interests include educational technology, best practices, and classroom management. He currently serves as the Head of the Division of Education.
Administrative Assistant, Graduate Programs
Dr. Sandy Ayers
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
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.
Director of Field Experiences for Education
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.
Kimberlee A. Crass, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Speech Language Pathology
Dr. Kimberlee A. Crass earned her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her M.S.P. and Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia College, Dr. Crass worked as a speech-language pathologist and clinical supervisor at the University of South Carolina Speech and Hearing Research Center. She also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at USC managing the Language Processing Lab, teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses and mentoring undergraduate research. Dr. Crass' areas of interest include auditory-verbal therapy, aural (re)habilitation, cochlear implants, and speech-perception and production. She also holds the Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist (LSLS Cert. AVT) certification from the A.G. Bell Academy.
Carol Hoyle, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Dr. Carol Hoyle joined the faculty of Columbia College fall of 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Special Education. She has a B.S. and a M.Ed. from Winthrop University. Dr. Hoyle, whose doctoral research focused on school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (SWPBIS), received her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Before coming to Columbia College, she taught students with disabilities for 23 years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in a variety of settings. Dr. Hoyle is an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) holding positions in both local and state divisions.
Administrative Assistant, Division of Education
James C. (Jim) Lane, Ph.D.
Professor of Elementary Education
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.
Dr. Doris Blackwood Giles Layton, Ph. D.
Director of M.Ed. Program in Divergent Learning
Associate Professor of Education
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.
Dr. Randy Lee
Senior Lecturer of Education
Dr. Randy Lee has been with Columbia College since 2002. He teaches courses in assessment, education and society, and research in the Divergent Learning Program. He received a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Prior to coming to Columbia College, he taught at both the middle and high school levels and was Chief Financial Services Officer for a public school district.
Lynne Steyer Noble, Ed.D.
Professor of Early Childhood Education
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
Marla Sanders will join 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.
Mary Steppling, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor of Speech-Language Pathology
Dr. Mary Steppling, Professor of Speech-Language Pathology, has been with the college since 1995. Prior to her work at Columbia College she worked as a speech-language pathologist in schools, hospitals and private practice. Her interests are language, literacy and linguistics. She teaches Phonetics, Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing, Articulation and Phonology and Language and Literacy courses. Dr. Steppling received both her bachelor and master’s degrees from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. She received the CASE Award for South Carolina Professor of the Year 2001. Dr. Steppling has served as Chair and Vice-Chair of Columbia College Faculty and was previously Head of the Education Division.
Jason Roop, M.A.
Director of Teacher Education,
Mr. Roop received a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in intellectual history from the University of South Carolina. He serves as the main academic advisor for teacher certification majors. Mr. Roop assists candidates in all departments on their journey to becoming certified in South Carolina and serves as an on-campus resource for information on that process. In addition, he helps the professional education unit prepare for and maintain its national accreditation status.
Dr. Tracy West
Associate Professor of Special Education
Dr. Tracy West, Associate Professor of Special Education and Special Education Program Leader, teaches in the areas of special education. In addition, Dr. West is the campus director for the Columbia College Teaching Fellows program. 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.