FLORENCE, S.C. – Four Francis Marion University School of Education alumni received 2007 awards at a wine and cheese reception, Feb.15, as part of Homecoming activities.
Shannon Small received the Novice Educator Award, Wanda Hodge received the Veteran Educator Award, and Sharon Dixon received the Educational Administrator Award. This year, FMU’s School of Education gave a new award in recognition of excellence in education leadership. That honor, the Education Leader Award, was given to Stephen Taylor.
Small is a teacher at McLaurin Elementary School and is in her second year of teaching. She was one of three finalists for Outstanding First Year Teacher for Darlington County School District in 2006. Small earned a B.S. degree in early childhood education from FMU, an associate’s degree in art from Florence-Darlington Technical College and is pursuing a graduate degree in elementary education. While attending FMU, Small was named FMU’s Early Childhood Student of the Year for 2005. Small is a member of Hoffmeyer Road Baptist Church.
Hodge is a 1983 graduate of FMU with a B.S. degree in mathematics and earned an M.Ed. degree in 1990. She is a teacher at Mayo High School for Math, Science and Technology and an adjunct professor at Coker College. Hodge has also taught at Socastee High School, Florence-Darlington Technical College and Hartsville High School. She not only obtained advanced placement certification but is also national board certified. Hodge was the 2004-2005 Teacher of the Year at Mayo High.
She and her husband David, also an FMU alum, have two daughters, Danielle and Ashlyn. Danielle is a senior at FMU while Ashlyn is a sophomore at Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology.
Dixon has been employed as principal of North Vista Elementary School for 11 years. Prior to coming to North Vista, she worked as an assistant principal, curriculum coordinator and classroom teacher.
She attended Marion County public schools. Dixon is a 1987 graduate of South Carolina State University with a B.S. degree in elementary education and a master of education degree in early childhood education from Francis Marion University in 1988. She completed educational administration certification in 1995 at the University of South Carolina and is currently seeking an Ed.D. degree in administrator leadership for teaching and learning from Walden University.
Dixon is a native of Marion but now resides in Florence with her husband, Tommy, and their son Trevonte.
Taylor has been employed at FMU as a professor in the School of Education’s graduate program since 1991, six years of which he worked as director of graduate studies. Taylor also owns the consulting firm, Dr. Stephen Taylor & Associates. Before making his way to FMU, Taylor worked as the executive director of psychology services and exceptional education for Darlington County Schools. He was accreditation supervisor and coordinator of training for the S.C. Department of Education, an assistant professor for the graduate school at USC and held other positions benefiting children with disabilities.
Taylor received a B.A. degree in English/psychology from Clemson University, an M.Ed. in learning disorders from FMU in 1975 and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in psychology of handicapped/disadvantaged education research, human growth and development in 1981.