MACON – Mercer University's Tift College of Education will host its inaugural Fall Forum on Education, which will feature a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary film "Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture," on Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Medical School Auditorium on the Macon campus.
The event, which is open to the public, also includes a panel discussion and reception following the screening. The following Middle Georgia educators will take part in the panel discussion following the screening:
- Dr. Quintin Green is the principal of Ingram-Pye Elementary School in Macon. His focus at Ingram-Pye is instruction that addresses differences in learning styles while allowing students to develop academically, socially, emotionally and physically.
- Dr. Stephanie McClure is an associate professor of sociology at Georgia College. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Georgia. She teaches classes on racial stratification, social theory and the sociology of education. Her research interests are in the area of higher education, with a focus on college student persistence and retention across race, class and gender, with special emphasis on post-college student experiences that increase student social and academic integration. She has published in the Journal of Higher Education, Symbolic Interaction and the Journal of African American Studies.
- Amanda Miliner is the 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year. By virtue of this honor, she will spend the year speaking to educators around the state and will return to her position at Miller Elementary in Houston County next year. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in early childhood education from Valdosta State University. She has also earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and an education specialist degree is in teaching and leading from Georgia Southwestern State University. She also holds several educational endorsements in science, gifted education and English language learners. A former Miss Georgia who won second runner-up in the Miss America Pageant, Miliner has been a national spokesperson for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She also worked with a non-profit organization that provided the opportunity for her to travel to East Africa, and with the Georgia Association of Educators. She decided to become a teacher because of her love for the profession and desire to positively impact the lives of children. Her teaching career has included positions in pre-K, fourth and fifth grades. As a classroom teacher in Title I schools, Miliner has been an Early Intervention Program host teacher to students who struggle with reading and math skills and a lead teacher for students identified as gifted and high achieving. She is a member of the board of directors for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, and is on the advisory council for the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation.
- Tammy Strickland is an 18-year veteran of secondary mathematics education who teaches high school mathematics to advanced middle school students. She is a Georgia Master Teacher and Teacher Support Specialist who has used her gift of teaching to impact students in the classroom, as well as to broaden students’ schooling experiences through extracurricular activities such as competitive cheerleading, Math Counts competition team and Prayer Club. Her awards include school-level Teacher of the Year, Georgia finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching, Air Force Association Teacher of the Year and Who’s Who Among Teachers. She obtained her master’s degree in secondary mathematics from Mercer in 2002, and she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Mercer. She plans to continue positively impacting students’ lives for as long as she is blessed to do so.
- Dr. Sharon Murphy Augustine is an assistant professor in the Tift College of Education at Mercer. She earned her B.A. in English from Agnes Scott College, M.Ed. in secondary English from Georgia College and State University, and Ph.D. in language and literacy education from the University of Georgia. She is the director of graduate studies in Macon and teaches a variety of literacy, theory and writing courses in the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. Dr. Augustine has been in higher education for 12 years and taught high school English for nine years. Her research interests include poststructural and socio-cultural theories of teaching and learning, adolescent literacy, writing pedagogy, qualitative research methods and gender in education. She has published in the Journal of Teacher Education, English Education, English in Australia, The Teacher Educator and Qualitative Inquiry.
"This event provides an avenue for our community to come together to continue to advocate for our children in Middle Georgia," said Dr. Joseph R. Jones, coordinator of Tift College's fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program.
The film calls viewers to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success, featuring the heartbreaking stories of students across the country who have been pushed to the brink by over-scheduling, over-testing and the relentless pressure to achieve. Interviews with educators, parents and education experts reveal an education system in which cheating has become commonplace; students have become disengaged; stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant; and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.
"As teachers negotiate the age of accountability in education, we hope to offer a place to hear the stories of teachers, students, administrators and parents whose lives have been impacted by this overfocus on assessment," said Dr. Augustine.
"Race to Nowhere" has been shown across the world at over 6,000 schools, universities, cinemas, hospitals, corporations and community centers, becoming the centerpiece of a nationwide grassroots movement for the transformation of education.
About the Tift College of Education
Mercer University's Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta, Savannah and the University's four Regional Academic Centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. The College offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the "Transforming Practitioner," which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students.