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Through dynamic learner-centered programs that support lifelong study, our department faculty members prepare undergraduate and graduate candidates to meet the teaching demands of a culturally diverse 21st century society. Candidates use our resources ranging from the award-winning Early Childhood Laboratory and SFA Charter School to master the pedagogy and technology needed to develop classrooms appropriate for prekindergarten through 12th grade students.

Lifelong Learning Conference

Call for Proposals

The 2024 Conference Committee invites you to submit a proposal for the annual Lifelong Learning Conference, which will be held June 28. Our aim is to create a dynamic and engaging community that highlights innovative approaches, best practices and research findings in education.

Lumberjack Spotlight

  • Providing early intervention

    Dr. Kathy Sheriff, associate professor in special education, accepted a position on the Board of Directors for The Helping House in Nacogdoches. The Helping House provides early intervention services to local children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum and other sensory and development delays.

    Kathy Sheriff

    Dr. Kathy Sheriff

  • Pursuing her dreams

    Inspired by the passion and dedication of her own high school teachers, recent secondary education graduate Katie Peterson was awarded the Ann Rogers Scholarship from the Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association during her final semester at SFA. Peterson said the award, which she received while student teaching 11th grade U.S. history at Cy-Fair High School, meant everything to her and was an “immense help in pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming an educator.”

    Katie Peterson

    Katie Peterson

  • Helping students learn and teach math

    Dr. Mark Montgomery has combined versatile passions into a career filled with educational enthusiasm. His work to create a positive space for SFA students to learn both mathematics and effective ways to teach the subject to elementary and middle-level students earned him a 2019 Teaching Excellence Award.

    Mark Montgomery

    Dr. Mark Montgomery, 2019 Teaching Excellence Award recipient

  • Bringing the nation to Nacogdoches

    Dr. Heather Olson Beal, professor of secondary education, is a trailblazer in SFA’s Perkins College of Education. She’s brought national programs to our East Texas campus, such as the Barrio Writers creative expression summer program, and she has helped craft many meaningful connections between SFA teacher candidates and area schoolchildren.

    Heather Olson Beal

    Dr. Heather Olson Beal

  • Coming full circle as ECHL director

    Lifelong resident of Nacogdoches Crystal Adams took the helm of the Early Childhood Laboratory this summer, serving as its director after spending the past 11 years employed with Nacogdoches Independent School District as a teacher, counselor and assistant principal in middle and elementary schools. She said she is looking forward to getting to know the children and learning more about them and their families. Her new role at the ECHL allows her to connect with not only children attending the ECHL but also SFA education students who are training to be tomorrow’s educators.

    Crystal Adams

    Crystal Adams, Director of the SFA Early Childhood Laboratory

  • American Foundation for the Blind honors SFA’s Dr. Shannon Darst

    A career’s worth of experience teaching the blind and visually impaired – and preparing other teachers to do the same – was recognized at a national level for Dr. Shannon Darst, assistant professor of education studies.

    Darst, along with two cocreators, received the Corinne Kirchner Research Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for a learning tool called the Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas, or VISSIT, which identifies the level of instruction a blind student needs in order to succeed.

    Dr. Shannon Darst playing guitar

    Dr. Shannon Darst

Transformative Experiences

Meet Our Students

  • Libby Rosipal

    Libby Rosipal

    “The university has helped prepare me to become a teacher in so many different ways. Starting with observing classrooms and moving into teaching the students myself, I’ve had the chance to grow as both a teacher and a learner. This type of hands-on learning has helped prepare me to be confident in my own classroom one day.”

  • Lauren Zbranek

    Lauren Zbranek

    “SFA provides hands-on experience with children during your first semester, and you learn so much from the very beginning! Each semester builds on the other, so you never miss a beat. The professors offer so much wisdom that allows you to feel like a natural when teaching. I’m very appreciative of SFA’s education program and all it has done to help prepare me for my future classroom!”

  • Raymond Newton

    Raymond Newton

    “The SFA middle-level grades education program provided me with real-world experiences in the classroom and the opportunity to work with actual educators. I feel prepared for my career because I’ve learned the best strategies to use with middle-level-grade students.”

want to contact the department of education studies?


    Phone: 936.468.2904


    Room 209
    Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood
    Research Center
    2428 Raguet St.

    Mailing Address:
    PO Box 13017, SFA Station
    Nacogdoches, TX 75962