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Administration Bios

Photo of Founding Dean George Petersen

George J. Petersen

Professor and Founding Dean

George Petersen has been a public school teacher, administrator and university faculty member. Prior to this appointment with the College of Education, he served as dean of the Graduate College of Education at California Lutheran University. He was the chair of the Department of Graduate Studies at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and co-director of the University of California-Santa Barbara and Cal Poly Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. He was a tenured professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and served as associate director of the University Council for Educational Administration, a national research and policy organization.

Petersen is the author or co-author of three books and more than 100 book chapters, professional articles, research papers, monographs and commissioned reports. Much of his scholarly work has focused on the executive leadership of district superintendents and their beliefs, roles and work in the area of instructional leadership and policy.

In recognition of his scholarship and service, Petersen received numerous awards, including the University of California-Santa Barbara's Gevirtz College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award and the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He was also was a finalist for both the Outstanding Teaching and Distinguished Scholarship Awards at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. As a public school teacher, he was the recipient of the Sallie Mae Outstanding Teaching Award, given to the top 100 teachers in the United States.

Photo of David Barrett

David E. Barrett

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research

Dave Barrett oversees all academic affairs within the College of Education, including the Department of Education and Human Development, Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development, Department of Teaching and Learning, Office of Graduate Programs, and the Office of Field Experiences.

Barrett has been a member of the Clemson faculty since 1986. From 2006-2015, he held the position of Alumni Distinguished Professor of Teacher Education, a designation bestowed on him by the Clemson Alumni Association in recognition of his excellence in teaching. Prior to his arrival at Clemson, Barrett served academic appointments at the National Institute of Mental Health’s Laboratory of Developmental Psychology and Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital.

Barrett’s research has been published in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Pediatrics, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Remedial and Special Education, and Teaching and Teacher Education, among other journals. He is associate editor of the Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

A licensed psychologist, Barrett has served as chair of the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology and a member of the Item Development Committee of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Michelle Patrick Cook, Associate Professor, Science Education

Michelle Patrick Cook

Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs

In this position, Michelle Cook provides leadership in undergraduate programming and clinical and field experiences, supports assessment and accreditation, and participates in policy development and implementation.

Cook has served as a faculty member in science education since 2006.  She earned her Ph.D. in science education from North Carolina State University.  She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to Clemson, Cook was a high school biology teacher in Raleigh, N.C.

During her time at Clemson, Cook has prepared pre-service teachers in the College of Education’s undergraduate and MAT science teaching programs.  She has provided statewide professional development to in-service science teachers though Improving Teacher Quality, Mathematics and Science Partnership, and Advanced Placement Teacher Institute grants.  Cook’s research has been funded by several NSF grants and has been included in journals such as Science Education and the International Journal of Science Education.

Photo of Kathy Headley

Kathy Headley

Senior Associate Dean, Division of Collaborative Academic Services

Kathy Headley, professor of literacy education, has been a faculty member at Clemson University since 1987. With undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia, she began her career as a teacher and reading specialist in Georgia before completing her doctorate in reading from Auburn University.

Headley’s areas of expertise include adolescent literacy and writing with specialized interests in comprehension and vocabulary. She has published articles on young adult and children’s literature in journals such as The Reading Teacher and The ALAN Review along with research on adolescent motivation in The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Headley served an elected three-year term on the Board of Directors for the International Reading Association (International Literacy Association), and she remains active regarding policy development and implementation for literacy improvement in South Carolina.

In her current role as senior associate dean, Headley provides leadership across the College of Education and the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences for the Academic Advising Center, Information Technology Services, the Office of Communications and Public Relations, and the Center for Research and Collaborative Activities.

Photo of Rob Knoeppel

Robert Knoeppel

Professor and Chair, Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development

Rob Knoeppel oversees the areas of athletic leadership, educational leadership, human resource development and student affairs within the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development.

Knoeppel has been on the Clemson faculty since 2008. Before coming to Clemson, he served on the faculty of the University of Kentucky, and also worked as a guidance director and school counselor on the elementary, middle and high school levels.

A widely published researcher, Knoeppel has presented at conferences around the nation and abroad, and has been published in numerous publications including Educational Considerations, the Journal of Education Administration, Educational Policy, the Journal of Education Finance, Leadership and Policy in Schools, the Journal of Education Policy, Planning and Administration, the Journal of Research in Education, and the International Journal of Leadership in Education.

Knoeppel serves as associate chair of the National Education Finance Association, an editorial board member for the Journal of Education Finance and Educational Considerations, and a member of the finance committee for the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. He has received many awards for his teaching and research, including the National Education Finance Conference Distinguished Research and Practice Fellow Award, the Educational Considerations Scholarly Paper Award and the College of Education Excellence in Teaching Award.

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Jeff C. Marshall

Professor and Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning

Jeff Marshall oversees the areas of curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, elementary education, middle level education and secondary education within the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Prior to becoming chair, Jeff Marshall served as a professor of science education and assistant chair in the department. He is also director of Clemson’s Inquiry in Motion Institute, which seeks to improve the motivation, potential and achievement of students and teachers through sustained engagement in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM). He was a key player in the development of Clemson’s Master of Education in teaching and learning online program.

Marshall’s research over the past several years has focused on improving teacher professional development experiences and teacher effectiveness. A recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, he has published five books, more than 60 articles and given more than 130 presentations in the last 10 years. He also serves as an educational consultant for school districts, universities and grant projects across the country.

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Debi M. Switzer

Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Education and Human Development

Debi Switzer oversees the areas of clinical/mental health counseling, educational foundations, learning sciences, literacy, school counseling and special education within the Department of Education and Human Development.

A member of the Clemson faculty since 1990 and full professor since 2004, Switzer has focused her teaching on educational psychology, including learning and motivation theory, and tests and measurements. She has collaborated on research projects with faculty in engineering, psychology, education, recreation, counseling, public health and business, supplying expertise in assessment and experimental design. A consulting editor for the Journal of Educational Research for two terms, she has engaged in research in motivation and assessment, and research design that has included the instructional benefits of virtual worlds and other technologies.

Switzer’s honors include the Harold E. Mitzel Award for Meritorious Contribution to Educational Practice Through Research by the Journal of Educational Research, the Prince Award for Innovation in Teaching by Clemson’s Undergraduate Student Government, and the Governor’s Distinguished Professor recognition by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. She spent the first nine years of her career as a secondary mathematics and computer science teacher.

Image of Jennifer Hein

Jennifer Hein

Director of Assessment and Accreditation

In this position, Hein designs and implements college assessments to measure institutional, student and alumni outcomes and analyze and report on key institutional metrics. She also manages and oversees all state approvals and accreditation processes and reviews, including state licensure programs and national accreditations.

Hein has served as a teacher or administrator since 2000 in Tennessee and North Carolina schools. Most recently principal at Brevard (N.C.) High School, she served as director of educator licensure and a common core leadership coach at the Tennessee Department of Education, and principal of Sycamore High School in Pleasant View, Tennessee. She began her career as a middle and high school teacher in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System in Tennessee, where she would later serve as assistant principal.

Hein has vast experience in research topics related to formative and summative assessment systems in education and classroom instruction. She is pursuing a doctorate in education leadership and policy from Western Kentucky University.

Image of Leigh Martin

Leigh Martin

Interim Executive Director, Office of Field and Clinical Partnerships and Outreach

Leigh Martin oversees all aspects of the Office of Field and Clinical Partnerships and Outreach, including guiding all facets of students’ field experiences. In this role, she also works with College of Education faculty and staff as they move towards developing policies and practices to create partnership models with school districts.

Martin has been a member of the Clemson faculty since 2011. Since then, she has held the position of lecturer, senior lecturer, and program coordinator. Prior to her arrival at Clemson, she worked as a mathematics specialist with the S2TEM Centers and taught middle school and high school mathematics.

Martin’s research interests include mathematics instructional coaching and preservice teachers’ noticing of students’ thinking. She has published in the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, and Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, and she has spoken nationally at dozens of conferences.

Martin also serves as a reviewer for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, and the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Additionally, she has served as vice president of post-secondary for the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and she is currently a member of Clemson’s Inaugural President’s Leadership Institute.