New faculty join School of Education

The UMKC School of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of new faculty members, effective this fall:


Hilary McNeil is a new one-year instructor in Elementary Education.  Now pursuing her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the UMKC School of Education’s Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies division, she holds an M.Ed. in ESOL from Mid-America Nazarene University and an M.A. in Elementary Language Arts from Western Illinois University.  Her research interests include the teacher’s role in elementary literacy development and high-leverage literacy instruction.  When not in the classroom she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking and being outdoors.



Melissa Patterson-Hazley now serves as a one-year instructor in Higher Education Administration for the Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundation division.  Earning her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Hazley holds her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the UMKC School of Education.  Her research interests include motivation and self-regulation with a special interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.  She enjoys spending time with her family at the zoo, Science City or the pool; and she and her husband enjoy trying local Kansas City restaurants.



Nora Peterman is a tenure-track assistant professor in Language and Literacy, holding both her M.S.Ed. and Ph.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Peterman’s research interests include adolescent literacy; children’s and young adult literature; critical, sociocultural approaches to literacy teaching and learning; digital literacies; and the cultural, political, and intergenerational dimensions of health and education disparities in urban schools and communities. In her spare time, Peterman enjoys exploring the many parks and neighborhoods of Kansas City with her two dogs.



Rhianna Thomas joins UMKC as a one-year instructor in Early Childhood Education.  Mrs. Thomas is pursuing her IPh.D. within the UMKC School of Education and holds an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education from UMKC. Her research interests include young children’s conceptions of race and equity issues in early childhood education.  When she is not in the classroom or working on her studies, Thomas likes to play outside with her two children.  Every once in a while she gets to sit down with a cup of hot tea to crochet or embroider.