GEAR UP Jefferson County

GEAR UP Jefferson County Executive Team

GU-JC Executive Team

Dr. Alvin Taylor, Principal Investigator

Associate Professor of Instructional Leadership Program

Dr. Taylor has over 30 years of experience working in both K-12 and Higher Education. He specializes in school law, residency of administrators and school finance. Prior to joining UM, Dr. Taylor served 26 years in education in the state of Mississippi, and retired as Superintendent of the Meridian Public School District in 2016.

Dr. Cassie Raulston, Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Professor of Elementary & Instructional Technology Programs
Department Chair – Teaching, Leadership, and Technology

Dr. Raulston earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood, M.Ed. and Ed.S in Special Education with an emphasis in Gifted Education, and Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership with an emphasis in Instructional Technology all from the University of Alabama. At the University of Montevallo, Dr. Raulston teaches in the Elementary, Secondary, and Instructional Technology programs. Previously, Dr. Raulston was a Gifted Education Specialist, Instructional Technology Specialist, and developed various trainings for educators.

Dr. Amy Samuels, Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Professor & Coordinator of Instructional & Teacher Leadership
Program Coordinator – Instructional Leadership

Dr. Amy Samuels teaches in the Instructional Leadership and Teacher Leadership programs at the University of Montevallo. She earned her B.S. in Secondary Education Social Studies, with a minor in Black Studies, from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She earned both her M.Ed. and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida where she specialized in curriculum policy and development, Critical Race Theory, and practices for fostering equitable schools. Dr. Samuels’ research aligns with
educational justice, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, and issues of race and racism.

Dr. Gregory Samuels, Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Professor of Secondary Programs
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Before arriving at University of Montevallo’s College of Education, Dr. Samuels previously taught in Baltimore and Tampa for more than 10 years in the social studies classroom. After earning his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction/Social Science Education at the University of South Florida, Dr. Samuels joined the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Technology at UM. In addition to teaching courses on classroom management, diversity, literacy, and social justice, Dr. Samuels supervises teacher candidates in the Secondary Education Master’s Program.


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