Three Francis Marion University School of Education alumni received 2013 awards at a reception Feb.12, as part of Homecoming activities.
Chasity Davidson (’10) received the Novice Educator Award, Dawn Fowler Walker (‘11) received the Veteran Educator Award, Dr. Robert L. Heaberlin (‘84) received the Administrator Award and Amy McAllister-Skinner (’07) received the Education Leader Award and serves as the 2013 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.
The Novice Educator Award recognizes a successful FMU graduate who demonstrates leadership in education and has been an educator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level for one to three years. In addition, the candidate must convey a strong sense of pride and loyalty for his/her alma mater, demonstrate success in his/her educational endeavors and serve his/her community through active involvement in civic and/or charitable and service organizations.
The criteria for the Veteran Educator Award and the Administrator Award are the same as outlined for the Novice Award but he/she must be an educator or administrator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level with four or more years’ experience.
Davidson graduated from FMU in December 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. In August 2011, she was hired as a first grade teacher at Savannah Grove Elementary in Florence School District One. She serves on both the science and social studies vertical teams and the Field Day Committee at the school. She lives in Effingham with her husband Josh who is also a graduate of FMU. The couple has a one-month old daughter, Mckinley.
Before making her way to FMU, Walker graduated from Emory University with a joint degree in philosophy and religion. Walker decided that she wanted to be a teacher and went back to school. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Coker in December 2008. She began working in Florence School District One at Timrod Elementary in January 2009. She currently teaches fifth grade science and social studies. In December 2011, Walker earned the M.Ed. in instructional accommodations from FMU.
She is currently the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year for Timrod Elementary. Walker was also chosen as an Honor Roll Teacher, which is one of the top four in the district and finalist to the District Teacher of the Year. Walker lives in Quinby with her husband, Mitch, and twin eight-year old boys, Will and Harrison.
Heaberlin has been an educator for 41 years with 29 years in public schools in Florida, Ohio, and Georgia and 12 years of private school in South Carolina and Georgia. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and also been a principal at all three levels of education.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in elementary education in 1972; a master’s degree in elementary education from FMU in 1984; a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from West Georgia College in 1990; and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Georgia in 2000.
In 2004, Heaberlin was selected as one of 15 principals nation-wide to be a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ No Child Left Behind Task Force. In 2007, this task force made 21 recommendations to Congress and 11 of them were adopted that affected changes in the law. He was also named the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Middle Level Principal of the Year for 2011-2012 and the University of West Georgia’s Alumni of the Year in Education. In addition, Heaberlin was named the National Distinguished Educator of the Year by the Association for Middle Level Education for 2012-2013.
Heaberlin is currently the principal at Lee Middle School in Coweta County, Ga., which he opened in 2006. The school was designated as a National School to Watch in 2012 by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Level Learning and was also named a Georgia Lighthouse School to Watch, the highest honor that a middle school can attain.
He and his wife Jane live in Newnan, Ga. They have three children and two grandchildren.
McAllister-Skinner is an English teacher at Johnsonville High School and is the 2013 South Carolina Teacher of the Year. She earned a bachelor’s degree from FMU and master’s degree in literacy from Coastal Carolina University. She is involved with her local chapter of the National Writing Project and the S.C. Council of Teachers of English. She received her National Board Certification in 2011 and just completed her fifth year of teaching. Currently, she resides in Lake City with her husband, Hank.