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Teaching, Leadership & Technology

Faculty & Staff

*Dr. Tammy Cook, Professor & Program Coordinator-Secondary Education

Tammy Cook Vitae Fall 2018

*Dr. Hollie Cost, Professor & Program Coordinator-Special Education
Hollie C. Cost is a Professor of Special Education and the Coordinator of the Special Education program. Dr. Cost earned a Ph. D. in special education from Auburn University with an emphasis in Behavioral Disorders. In addition to her work in special education, she is committed to empowering youth in civic life through initiatives such as the Kettering Foundation Community Politics Exchange, Montevallo Junior City Council and David Mathews Center for Civic Life Students’ Institute. Dr. Cost joined the University of Montevallo faculty in 2000. Dr. Cost’s honors include the Outstanding Service-learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award, UM Commitment to Service Award, Academy for Civic Professionalism Award and Outstanding ACE Mayor Award.
Hollie Cost Vitae Fall 2018

*Dr. Jennifer “JiJi” Davis, Professor of Elementary Programs
Jennifer Davis Vitae Fall 2018

*Dr. Sandra Edwards, Professor of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program
Sandra Edwards Vitae Fall 2018

*Instructor Lucy Gilmore, Professor of Elementary Programs
Lucy Gilmore Vitae Fall 2018
Lucy Lee Gilmore is an Elementary Education Instructor in the College of Education.  She earned her B.A. degree in Elementary Education from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.  Her M.A. degree was earned from Auburn University of Montgomery in Reading Education.  Before coming to the University of Montevallo in 2013, she served as a Reading Coach and taught in elementary and middle school classrooms for 17 years.  She enjoys volunteering in the community and being involved in her daughter’s school and activities.

*Danielle Parks, Administrative Assistant
Professional Resume 2018

*Dr. Donna Ploessl, Professor of Elementary Programs
Donna Ploessl Vitae 2018


*Dr. Donald Ratchford, Professor of Elementary Programs
My name is Donald Ratchford. As a military ‘brat’ and a retired employee of the Department of Defense school system, I have lived in ten states and three countries. I earned my doctorate from the University of Oklahoma and have over 40 years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher, Title I reading teacher, special education teacher, reading specialist, director of special education, assistant principal, principal and college professor. I am a member of several microcultures. As an educator, I am part of the Academic World (microculture). I have taught in the United States, Panama and Europe. This has afforded me many opportunities to meet people of varied backgrounds and to experience, first hand, their customs and cultures.  As I am learning the traditions and culture of the university, I am being given the opportunity to express my passion for preparing teachers for this challenging profession. As educators we need to find ways to reach every learner regardless of their personal and educational background, ethnicity, religion, and/or culture.
Donald Ratchford Vitae 2018

*Dr. Cassie Raulston, Professor of Elementary & Instructional Technology Programs
Professional Website:
Dr. Cassie Raulston is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education at The University of Montevallo. She earned her B.S. degree in Elementary Education/ Early Childhood from The University of Alabama as well as her M.Ed. and Ed.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Gifted Education. She also obtained her Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from The University of Alabama. At the University of Montevallo, Dr. Raulston teaches in the Elementary, Secondary, and Instructional Technology programs. She has had the privilege of collaborating with colleagues to develop and direct multiple summer Coding Camps for elementary-high school students.  Previously, Dr. Raulston was a Gifted Education Specialist, Instructional Technology Specialist, and developed various trainings for educators.

*Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray, Professor & Program Coordinator
Secondary Education/Instructional Technology
Professional Website:

*Dr. Amy Samuels, Professor of Instructional Leadership Programs
Amy Samuels Vitae 2018
Dr. Amy Samuels is an assistant professor of Leadership and teaches in the Instructional Leadership and Teacher Leadership programs. 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, Professor of Secondary Programs
Gregory Samuels Vitae 2018
Before arriving at UM’s College of Education, he previously taught in Baltimore and Tampa with 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, he joined the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Technology at UM. In addition to teaching courses on classroom management, diversity, literacy, and social justice, he supervises teacher candidates in the Secondary Education Master’s Program. His research interests include pedagogical applications in the social studies, teaching and learning for social justice, facilitation of critical pedagogy and working to include marginalized voices throughout the social studies curriculum. He can be contacted at

*Dr. Julius Shanks, Professor of Instructional Leadership Programs

*Dr. Almir Smajic, Professor of Elementary Programs
Almir Smajic Vitae 2018
Dr. Almir Smajic is an Associate Professor of Education at the College of Education at the University of Montevallo. He obtained his B.S. degree in Mathematics and M.Ed. from Freed-Hardeman University, as well as his Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education from Texas Tech University.  At the University of Montevallo, he has been teaching mathematics methods, education, and diversity education courses to undergraduate and graduate students. Previously, he taught mathematics methods courses at Texas Tech University, mathematics courses at Gulf Coast Community College, and ESL and mathematics at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels in his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
B.S., M.Ed., Freed-Hardeman University; Ph.D., Texas Tech University


*Dr. Jenifer M. Williams, Professor & Program Coordinator of Elementary Education
Jenifer Moore Williams Vitae 2018

*Dr. Alvin Taylor, Professor of Instructional Leadership Programs
Alvin Taylor Vitae 2018

*Dr. Elizabeth Thrower, Professor of Traditional Programs & Department Chair
Dr. Elizabeth Eller Thrower is the Chair of the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Technology at the University of Montevallo. She received her BA degree from the University of Tennessee in Psychology, her MA from the University of Alabama in School Psychology, and her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Educational Psychology/Research. Before coming to the University of Montevallo, she served as a school psychologist in Wilson, North Carolina. She was later employed as faculty/school psychologist at Valdosta State University. She joined the faculty at the University of Montevallo in 1996. In 2005, she received the Earnest Award for Outstanding Commitment to Teaching from the University of Montevallo.
Elizabeth Thrower Vitae 2018

*Dr. Glee Whitsett-Booth, Professor of Internship Programs & EdTPA Coordinator