Spring 2022 Newsletter

A Note From Our Dean

Dear Bellarmine educator,

This summer, we bid farewell to two longtime faculty members known and beloved by many classes of initial certification students: Dr. Christy McGee, who will be retiring from Bellarmine, and Dr. Mary Ann Cahill, who will move on to the role of associate dean of professional programs and the director of teacher education and counseling at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Ind.

Dr. Cahill pioneered the initial certification team’s cohesiveness, as well as the Bellarmine-Bullitt County Literacy Project. From her time as an associate professor of literacy at Boise State University in Idaho, she brought her passion for teaching the written word to students of all ages, starting with the Bullitt project in 2015 (and continuing to the present day). At the same time, she was chair of the MAT program for five years, chair of undergraduate education for five, and taught in the undergraduate, MAEd. Literacy program and Doctoral programs. She is excited at the prospects ahead, rooted in her experience here: “Bellarmine will always be in my heart and gave me many opportunities to grow my leadership abilities and instructional skills,” she says, acknowledging the affection she carries for the Knights students, faculty and staff she has met along the way. “I will most miss the incredible people I have had the great fortune to work with, and definitely ‘The Bellarmine Difference.’”

Dr. McGee is looking at major life changes as well. After a career as an elementary and high school teacher, the Tennessee native earned her doctorate from UofL and served on the faculty at IUS and the University of Arkansas. She came to Bellarmine as a full professor 17 years ago and has an extensive record of service to the field and to the university, including as the interim dean in 2014 and chair of both the curriculum division and the parent and community network of the National Association of Gifted Children. She has received multiple high-profile awards, most recently Bellarmine’s 2022 Faculty Merit Award. She will not be idle, however—she intends to continue working at the Village School of Louisville, where she has research interests and is vice-chair of the board; furthermore, she is looking forward to sharing a future full of travel, gardening, and grandchildren with her fiancé. Ever with an eye on self-improvement, Dr. McGee encourages students to “keep learning and trying new things. Be the best you can be. Teaching is an avocation! Our children deserve the very best we have to offer.”

In honor of Dr. McGee, she has been appointed Professor Emerita. This rank is conferred on retiring full professors who have served Bellarmine with distinction. Dr. McGee’s career demonstrates distinguished leadership and a fierce passion for training teachers who make a positive difference in our world.

Likewise, we wish Drs. Cahill and McGee the very best as they continue to make that difference.

A faculty search will begin this fall.

Elizabeth Dinkins, Ph.D.
Dean, Associate Professor
Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education


Student and Alumni News

Doctoral reception, at long last

Nefris Chacha After a three-year hiatus, students, faculty, staff and of course alumni gathered to celebrate recent doctoral graduates and graduates-to-be at a reception in April. Honorees included Dr. Brittany Adkins and Dr. Shakir Ali (Dissertations of the Year 2021), Dr. Jess Metzmeier (Dissertation of the Year 2022), Dr. Diane Courington (Dr. Robert B. Cooter Jr. and Dr. Kathleen S. Cooter Social Justice Award 2021), candidate Deb Amend (Dr. Robert B. Cooter Jr. and Dr. Kathleen S. Cooter Social Justice Award 2022), Dr. Marcus Stubbs (Fred Rhodes Collegiality Award 2021) and candidate LaDaya “Kami” Owens (Fred Rhodes Collegiality Award 2022).


Educators Rising

PanelAudience at the conferenceIn March, the School of Education hosted the 2022 Educators Rising statewide conference. Nearly 300 future educators, teacher leaders, teacher organization representatives, and presenters from all over the Commonwealth gathered for seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and of course camaraderie. Ava Vanderkolff ('23) said, “I think a lot of teaching content is understanding, 'They have to learn this, they have to know how to do this.’ But you’re also talking them how to be people, how to interact with the world around them in an empathetic, kind way.”


Bullitt service visits

Dr. Cook holding a snake 

Students in Bookmobile Also in March, members from the Bellarmine chapters of Kappa Delta Pi, Educators Rising, and the Council for Exceptional Children delighted young children from Bullitt County Public Schools' Maryville and Shepherdsville Elementary Schools as they shared the magic of reading. Alumna Lynette Ward (’04, MAT ’07) drove her bookmobile, the Dream Express, to the schools to allow the burgeoning readers the opportunity to select stories for themselves.


Open-air ed

Dr. Cook holding a snake 

Student holding a tortoise For aspiring teachers who might enjoy working in a different kind of classroom, Dr. Kristin Cook took her Elementary Science Methods students to the Louisville Nature Center to learn about alternative teaching career paths. Olivia Kaiser, the education programs manager at the Nature Center, served as their guide as they got hands-on experience with some scaly and shelled animal friends.


ASUN star is Scholar-Athlete of the Year

CJ holding ASUN Championship trophy

In a most exciting year for the newly minted Division I men’s basketball Knights, the team went as far as it could go under current NCAA rules, taking the ASUN crown. CJ Fleming, who graduated with his bachelor’s in education last May and is completing his MAEd. in Trauma-Informed Education this year, was a standout on the court as well, ranking among the top in the ASUN in points per game (18.4 in league play), free throw percentage (.896), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), and time played.


Alumnae recognized

Laura Neuhauser, WHAS11 News and LG&E and KU ExCel Award recipient
Congratulations to Laura Neuhauser (MAT ’13), who was named WHAS11 News and LG&E and KU ExCel Award recipient in February. The fifth-grade teacher from Okolona Elementary for six years said, “Voice and choice are really important in my classroom.” We could not agree more.

Jessica Goodman

Jessica Goodman (MAEd. ‘18), a K-5 STEM teacher at Farmer Elementary, received a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in April. Gov. Andy Beshear and Education Commissioner Jason Glass and others presented her with the award.



Recent graduates at the Reconnect eventOur second Bellarmine Reconnect dinner and professional development gave recent graduates a hands-on approach to understanding classroom management and STEAM techniques. The third and final event will take place in mid-May; attendees receive a stipend, supplies and equipment for their classrooms, as well as mentoring, ongoing support, and a membership to the professional education organization of their choice.


Knights on the move

Kristie Johnson We congratulate the following alumni named to leadership positions.

  • Keith Cathey (Ed.S. ’20) was named principal of Lyman T. Johnson Traditional Middle School.
  • Dr. Dan Edelen (B.A. ’14) will start a tenure-track position in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University this fall.
  • Dr. Terra Greenwell (B.A. ’09) was named executive administrator of the Middle School Explore program in Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Dr. Kristie Johnson (Ph.D. ’20) was named vice president of Institutional Advancement at Martin University in Indianapolis.
  • Dr. Tom Malewitz (Ph.D. ’18) was named assistant professor and interim director of the Ed.D. Leadership program at Spalding University.
  • Amy Whitehead (B.A. ’15, Ed.S. ’20) was named ESL Specialist of Intake and Assessment at Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Sheryl Woods (B.A. ’11, Ed.S. ’18) was named assistant principal at the New Haven School in Nelson County.


Congratulations to our new Ph.D.s!

  • Education and Social Change Ph.D. Carolyn Waters successfully defended her dissertation, Starting the Conversation: Race, Ethnicity, and Land in a Predominantly White Environmental Organization, in March.
  • Leadership in Higher Education Ph.D. (and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects in the President’s Office) Bryan Hamann presented Exploration of the Sense of Belonging Phenomenon for Students Who Commute at Private Not-For-Profit Four-Year Institutions in April.


New Degree Launches this Summer

The School of Education is proud to announce the launch of a new Master of Arts in Instructional Leadership P–12 degree starting the summer 2022 semester. This is a new program that will prepare educators for the role of school leadership.


Faculty and Staff News

Summer with BU

Amy Lein, assistant professor and chair of the Education and Social Change Ph.D. program, collaborated with Dr. Rob Kelley (Computer Science) to secure a $116,557 grant from the National Security Agency to fund the GenCyber Knights: Securing the Castle summer STEM camp. The camp will take place on campus from June 13–17, 2022 and will involve local teachers and be attended by 40 middle-school-aged girls from underrepresented and underserved populations.

Dr. Lein also serves as the faculty advisor for Bellarmine’s branch of Camp Kesem, a national organization that raises money to coordinate a free summer camp for children of those affected by cancer, with college students serving as camp counselors and advisers. Bellarmine’s Camp Kesem branch will host its annual Make the Magic Fundraiser in May.

In memoriam

Dr. Rose Howard, SCN The Bellarmine community lost a longtime friend and mentor on February 4, when Dr. Rose Howard, SCN died at the age of 85—with nearly a third of her life well spent in the School of Education. Dr. Rosie Young said, “She was wonderful—always so positive, and had a quick wit and sense of humor.” Read about her extraordinary life of education, service and faith here.

Chelsea Marie (Howell) Saltsman on the right at graduationWe also mourn the loss of Chelsea Marie (Howell) Saltsman (B.A. ’14) (pictured on the right), who passed away on April 13 at the age of 30 after a long illness. She taught Pre-K at Laukhuf Elementary School. Friend (and fellow Taylor Swift fan) Tiffany Williams (B.A. ’14, MAEd. ‘18) recalled, “She was the most genuine person I’ve ever met. We met during our first semester in the education program and became friends instantly. She would do anything for anyone and always had the biggest smile on her face. Even when she was sick in the hospital.”