Category Archives: Non-news

Nominations open for 2019 Alumni Achievement Awards

The UMKC School of Education has many alumni who could easily be recognized for their outstanding work in their field or community.  Now is the time to do that.


Nominations for the School of Education Alumni Achievement Award for 2019 are open until March 23.  Faculty, staff, students, other alumni and community members/friends may all submit nominations/letters of support—although since this process is confidential, individuals should not be told they are being nominated.


Contact Tamara Morris at or 816-235-6173 with questions.


Notice of Upcoming Accreditation Review

Third-Party Comments


The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education is hosting an accreditation visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) on March 19-20, 2018. Interested parties are invited to submit third-party comments to the site team. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet the Council’s criteria for accreditation. Please note that comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the party’s relationship to the provider (e.g., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates). Copies of all correspondence received will be sent to the university for comment prior to the review. No anonymous testimony will be considered.


We invite you to submit written testimony to:

1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
or by email to:


All comments must be received by February 1, 2018.

A Q&A with the SOE’s Mary Phyl Dwight

Dwight, at left, second row (in hat), from team handball’s 20-year reunion in Lake Placid, New York.

While Olympic swimming, gymnastics and women’s soccer and beach volleyball seemed to capture attention of the masses during the (2012 summer) London games, the UMKC School of Education’s Associate Clinical Professor Mary Phyl Dwight focused on the lesser known team handball, “staying up late or [getting up] early in the morning to watch,” she said.


Despite a following of 7 million players worldwide, it’s a sport that’s still fairly unknown in the U.S. but nonetheless, one that’s near and dear to Mary Phyl’s heart—as a former U.S. Olympian herself!


The School of Education Dean’s Office caught up with Mary Phyl this summer to learn more about her nine years on the National Team, her team’s 4th place finish at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and her worldwide travels for the sport where she competed in more than 100 international games on five continents and in 28 countries.  Additionally, her work as technical director for team handball for the Special Olympics was acknowledged by Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver.


When did you start playing handball?

“I started playing in 1975 after a tryout in Ames, Iowa, where they were looking for multisport athletes to try this game new to USA.  It is not much in the U.S.—like soccer used to be many years ago.  I had just graduated as a multisport college athlete and my athletic director told me about the tryouts.”


Was going to the Olympics a childhood dream?

“Yes, the Olympics was a childhood dream, even though I was pre Title IX and had no opportunity for any organized high school sports.  I played varsity softball, volleyball, basketball, track, and cross country at Southwest Missouri State.”


What was your training regime like?

“I was a full time athlete and lived at US Olympic Training Centers for the 2 ½ years leading up to the 1984 games.  Over the ten years on the National team, I lived about 4 years as a full time athlete.  The rest of the time, I trained at home (had a college coaching job) and went on competition trips.  When we were living at the Olympic Training Centers, we basically trained twice a day, made various competition trips for 3-4 weeks at a time in Europe, Asia, and Africa.”


What did it mean to you to represent the United States at the ’84 Olympics on our ‘home turf?’

“Playing at home was special.  My family was able to attend and we had great home town crowds even though people were seeing handball for the first time!  They were cheering for USA!  Coming from behind and winning our first game against China was a highlight of the games.”


You’ve traveled the world in your role for the Special Olympics.  What country or one person whom you met had the greatest impact on you?

“For Special Olympics, I held clinics in several countries and directed the Special Olympics team handball competition at several International Summer Special Olympic Games.   During a clinic trip to Calcutta, India, our small group of three was able to meet with Mother Theresa for tea.   She was so interested in what we were doing with Special Olympians—what a special person who embodied the difference just one person can make in another person’s life.”



This article originally appeared in 2012.

UMKC Legacy Award honorees include two SOE alums

Josephine Mannino Cisetti (B.A. ’45) and John Cisetti (M.A. ‘79, Ed.S. ‘85) among 24 alumni from three connected families honored with UMKC’s 2017 Legacy Award


John Cisetti has been the director of bands at Kansas USD 416 and band director of the Louisburg (Kansas) High School Band for 38 years where he teaches hundreds of students in grades five through 12 every weekday.


Under Cisetti’s direction, the Wildcat Band at Louisburg High School boasts 139 members and is the largest organization at the school. Cisetti and the band have made appearances at local, regional and national events in places like New York City, Washington D.C., Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago and Dallas. They have played in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, in the Indy 500 Parade and at patriotic events such as the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, PA.   Cisetti will lead the Louisburg High School Band in the 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA, on January 1, 2018—only one of 13 bands nationwide chosen to march in that parade.


“I want my students to have a lifelong love for and appreciation of music,” asserts Cisetti. “But the lessons of band go beyond music. In band, students work together on a complex project with many different parts to produce a product in which they can all take pride. America needs citizens who have that collaborative, creative skillset in order to be successful in the modern, competitive world. I believe that what I do day in and day out is vitally important for my students, for the community, and for the nation.”


Throughout his time as an educator, Cisetti has been honored with a number of awards and recognitions. He was named Louisburg Master Teacher of the Year in 2000, a semifinalist for the 2001 Kansas Teacher of the Year, the Wal-Mart Local Teacher of the Year in 2007, and, most recently, he received the 2015 Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association Outstanding High School Band Director Award.


Mannino Cisetti’s granddaughter and Cisetti’s daughter, Catherine, is an elementary teacher currently enrolled in the Education Specialist degree program at the School of Education.


In total, 25 Roos help comprise the Cisetti-Orozco-Madden family.  They were honored at the 2017 Alumni Awards luncheon held on campus in April.


View the video tribute to the family.

Dr. David Sharp named School of Education’s 2017 Alumni Achievement Awardee

David Sharp’s decision to become a teacher honored the “long lineage of teachers that helped me through school, although if someone would have told me I would be a principal when I was younger, I would have laughed.  I was going to go into the family business, because I came from a lot of headstrong people and was going to be a Chicago cop, no question.”


Instead, he became the first in his family to graduate from college.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri and his master’s degree and Educational Specialist degree in Higher Education Administration both from UMKC.  He fondly recalled former professor Dr. Sue Thompson as a “very passionate” educator and considers adjunct professor Dr. Paul Rutherford (Ph.D. ’99) a mentor to this day.  Sharp earned his Ed.D. from Baker University.


His early career returned him Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo., his alma mater, as assistant principal.  “I felt it was my duty to give back to a lot of kids that struggled like I did, and some who struggled a whole lot more.  It meant the world to me to be able to walk the talk.  I spent hours working with kids that needed guidance, mentoring, money, clothes.  I would go get kids that were truant, bought books, and helped single parent families pay bills.  I gave back to the best of my ability.”


Sharp was assistant principal at Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West High School from 2004-06, director of Summit Technology Academy—also in Lee’s Summit—for four years, and has now been principal at Lee’s Summit West since 2010. (He will assume the position of assistant superintendent of the Lee’s Summit R-VII School District as of July 1.)


Lee’s Summit West was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013 and Sharp was selected both the Greater Kansas City Principal of the Year and the Missouri State Principal of the Year for 2015-16.  He modestly credits “the people with whom I get to work with daily” for the honors.


“My most important work is student success, and empowering teacher leadership to improve practice,” Sharp explained.  “I live by the mantra: every student, every classroom, every day. I am a visionary leader that seeks to chart a clear course that everyone understands, high expectations, and demonstrate a genuine care and concern for our students. I am responsible for student learning, rigorous curriculum, quality instruction, a culture of learning, and continuous improvement.”

Carolyn Barber published to Child Indicators Research

Barber, C., & Ross, J. (2017). Cross-cohort changes in adolescents’ civic attitudes from 1999 to 2009: An analysis of sixteen countries. Child Indicators Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s12187-017-9452-0


Abstract: Adolescents develop civic attitudes that are shaped by both proximal and distal social contexts; in turn, these contexts change over time due to cultural and historical shifts. This study uses data from the 1999 IEA Civic Education Study and the 2009 IEA International Civics and Citizenship Education Study to assess changes in governmental trust, conceptualizations of citizenship, and inclusive attitudes toward racial/ethnic and gender equality in sixteen countries participating in both surveys. Well-fitting scales were created for each of five attitudes examined, indicating that the structure of attitudes was similar in both cohorts. While attitudes toward racial/ethnic and gender equality became more inclusive in nearly every country, patterns of change in citizenship norms and trust were more varied across countries. Gender gaps also became less pronounced over time for every outcome except for social movement citizenship, which indicated a continuing presence of gender-based norms for civic engagement.

Rhianna Thomas published to Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education

Thomas, R. (2016) Discovering our own whiteness. Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education, 3. Retrieved from:


Rhianna Thomas published to Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education. Perspectives and Provocations is the journal of the Early Childhood Education Assembly, which works to support and integrate the efforts of NCTE constituents concerned with language and literacy issues in Early Childhood Education.



Dr. Laurel Watson publishes to The Counseling Psychologist

Laurel WatsonWatson, L. B., Velez, B. L., *Brownfield, J., & *Flores, M. J. (2016). Minority stress and bisexual women’s disordered eating: The role of maladaptive coping. The Counseling Psychologist, 44, 1158 – 1186. doi: 10.1177/0011000016669233


The purpose of this study was to explore the link between bisexual women’s experiences of anti-bisexual discrimination and disordered eating, while examining potential mediating variables underlying this link: outness/identity concealment and maladaptive coping (i.e., coping via internalization, detachment, and drug and alcohol use). A total of 353 bisexual women participated in this study. The relationship between outness and disordered eating was not significant. Higher levels of anti-bisexual discrimination were related to more disordered eating behaviors, and this relationship was mediated by coping via internalization. However, anti-bisexual discrimination was directly related to more coping via detachment and drug and alcohol use. Findings from the study suggest that attending to bisexual women’s experiences of discrimination in counseling is particularly important. Moreover, assisting bisexual women in resisting internalization of discriminatory experiences may be a potential point of intervention for mental health professionals working with bisexual women experiencing disordered eating.

December 6th Lunch and Learn

Please join us on December 6th from 12 Noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 307 for an SOE “Lunch and Learn” with Dr. Etta Hollins, Dr. Kindel Nash, and Ms. Leah Panther.


The purpose of this Lunch and Learn is  for Drs. Hollins and Nash and Ms. Panther to share their evolving conceptual model of high leverage literacy practices in high-performing urban school settings based on the data they have collected through their Spencer Foundation grant.  Most importantly, they look forward to talking through some of their initial interpretations of the data and receiving feedback in conversation with you.


Lunch will be provided by the Dean’s office if at least 20 people attend, so please RSVP.  All are welcome, including graduate students!

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