EL Faculty


Faculty & Staff

Chair & Admin
Dr. Andrew Ryder
rydera@uncw.edu  910-962-7318
Administrative Associate
Marybeth Phillips
phillipsma@uncw.edu  910-962-3040


Emeriti Faculty


Educational Leadership Faculty

Dr. Marsha Carr

Business Doctorate in Management, University of Phoenix
Associate Professor

Dr. Marsha L. Carr, an award-winning educator, is a former superintendent, director of curriculum, principal and reading specialist. In 1993, Carr designed a 20-book emergent level reading series named StoryMakers, which became an international success and was published in two languages. She was bestowed Teacher of the Year Award while in Maryland and was recognized by the Maryland House of Delegates as well as received the Maryland Governor's Citation for her work in and out of the classroom. In 1994, Carr was honored with the  Milken National Educator Award, the most coveted educator award, and joined a prestigious family of outstanding educators around the nation as well as serves as a Fulbright Specialist. At UNCW, Carr was awarded the 2015 Start-Up Award in faculty entrepreneurship for her work in self-mentoring, a concept she developed and owns a registered trademark, and was honored by North Carolina as the 2016 Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year in professional development (self-mentoring). She is the author of Self-Mentoring: The Invisible Leader (also available in Spanish),  Self-Mentoring: The Invisible Leader ManualEducational Leadership: From Hostile Takeover to a Sustainable Successful System and a co-author of  The School Improvement Planning Handbook Focusing on Transition to Turnaround .

Carr's areas of research include Organizational Management, School Culture, Coaching, Mentoring, and Self-Mentoring which includes teacher/administrator leadership and self-efficacy in leadership.

She earned a B.A. in Art and M.A. in Reading from West Virginia University (WV), M.A. in Administration from Frostburg State University (MD) and a business doctorate in Management from the University of Phoenix; Phoenix, Arizona. 

Dr. Donna DeGennaro

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Dr. DeGennaro
Associate Professor

Donna obtained her PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Her passion for creating socially just learning designs that are technology-mediated and youth-driven fueled her work with youth in informal learning environments in the US and abroad for the past 10 years. During this time, she developed an innovative pedagogical model that simultaneously addresses the digital divide, culturally responsive learning, and social justice education. After being perpetually inspired by the ways that the pedagogical model not only unleashes youth voice & agency, but also opens spaces for young people to envision and create their own futures she was motivated to start Unlocking Silent Histories, a non-profit that sparks the potential of indigenous youth to critically analyze how they are represented in the media and creatively express their worlds through documentary film making.

James DeVita Dr. James DeVita

Ph.D., University of Tennessee Knoxville
Associate Professor 
Interim Director of Applied Learning

Dr. James M. DeVita is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education, a newly developed graduate program in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Watson College of Education. He earned both his doctorate in Higher Education Administration and M.S. in College Student Personnel from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where his dissertation included three research projects on the experiences and development of gay male college students. His research is focused on examining the educational experiences of marginalized and targeted populations in higher education, particularly related to issues of identity development, as well as issues of access and success during college and the transition from secondary to post-secondary institutions. Current research projects include a mixed-methods study on the educational experiences of LGBTQ identified youth, and a qualitative project that examines ally identities.

Dr. DeVita currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Student Affairs and Research and Practice (JSARP). He has presented at numerous national and international conferences, including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). He has also published several book chapters and research articles in journals such as the Journal of African American Studies and NASAP Journal

Dr. Amy Garrett Dikkers

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Associate Professor

Dr. Amy Garrett Dikkers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at UNCW and teaches in all graduate programs in the department. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota in 2006, a M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Wake Forest University in 1996, and a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1995. Before her doctoral study, she taught secondary school English domestically and abroad. The focus of her doctoral study was international development education, specifically the education of children in difficult circumstances, such as street children, ethnic minority children, refugee and immigrant children, and other groups often not served effectively in formal school settings around the world.

She has taught face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in educational reform, school technology leadership and vision, comparative education, human rights education, research design, and the foundations of education. Her professional interests include the preparation of educational leaders and the use of technology-enhanced and online learning in higher education. Her current research centers on reflective practice, maximizing online learning, incorporating community professionals into courses through technology, and the use of video to provide authentic voice in the classroom.

Dr. Denise Henning

Ph.D., New Mexico State University

Dr. Denise Henning has a career in higher education that has spanned 23 years in both the United States and Canada, as well as working as graduate faculty in New Zealand. Denise has served as president and CEO at Medicine Hat College, president and CEO of Northwest Community College, president and vice-chancellor for University College of the North and Vice-President of Academic and Research at First Nations University of Canada. Denise is a proud Cherokee/Choctaw/British woman, born in Creek County in Oklahoma.

Most recently, Dr. Henning developed and now serves as CEO of the collaborative of Kiona – Oxendine & Associates, LLC which works with women who aspire to be tenured faculty and administrators in both higher education and K-12 school districts. Dr. Henning serves as the Director and Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Higher Education Leadership – Community College Leadership graduate program.
Dr. Henning believes in the principles of Appreciative Inquiry, asking the right questions and being part of the solution. She has earned a reputation for cultivating and sustaining positive relationships, building collaborative teams and energizing people in ways that foster their innovative spirit through an appreciative environment.

Her approach to leadership is valued by those who have had the good fortune to work with her. Graduates from the National Education Leadership Institute for potential Vice-Presidents (VPNeli) and the CHERD Women’s Leadership Institute, value her authentic and “REAL” approach. Her passion for employee wellness, and strong focus on the needs and inclusivity of students, communities, economic and social development has earned Dr. Henning a reputation for being a wholistic and visionary leader.

Denise lives in Carolina Beach, North Carolina and continues to work on initiatives for higher education in both the US and Canada.


Dr. Steven Hooker

Ph.D., University of Cincinnati
Assistant Professor

Dr. Steven D. Hooker is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He earned a B.A. in Communication Arts from Ball State University, and M.A. in Educational Studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati in 2010. Before transitioning into higher education, Dr. Hooker was a middle school communications/public speaking teacher, a high school language arts teacher, and a K-8 elementary school principal in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, he worked for the Indiana Department of Education as a Curriculum and Staff Development Specialist for seven county school systems in southeastern Indiana.

Dr. Hooker is co-author of Creating Digital Safe Spaces for Gender Expression and Sexual Diversity in O. Oliver & D. Polly, Teacher Education for Ethical Professional Practice in the 21st Century, He has also published, Consultation in Bullying Prevention: An Elementary School Case Study. Dr. Hooker has presented his research at various international and regional conferences.

Dr. Hooker’s research areas include social justice issues in K-12 schools, educational policy, school culture/climate, LTBTQ issues in education and society.

Mr. Dar Mayweather

Pursuing an Ed.D. at Eastern Michigan University

Dar Mayweather is a full-time Lecturer in the Leadership Studies Minor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His pronouns are he, him, and his. Dar is a first-generation college student, with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, Masters in Education with a focus on College Student Affairs Leadership both from Grand Valley State University, while currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University.  Dar's work focuses on Black student protest, meaning-making in the leadership process, and inclusion in higher education. Dar has over 10 years of professional experience developing co-curricular classrooms and diversity trainings in higher education. He credits a lot of his professional growth to the Social Justice Training Institute and the Intergroup Relations Department at the University of Michigan. He received the King Chavez Parks Future Faculty Fellow Award from the State of Michigan, the Student Engagement and Success Award from Eastern Michigan University, the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Pan African Network Sawubona Award, multiple Residence Life Hall Council Advisor awards, and many other nominations. A father and husband, you'll often find him watching superhero shows with his son and reality TV with his wife.

Kevin McClureDr. Kevin R. McClure

Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
Associate Professor

Dr. Kevin R. McClure is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Watson College of Education. He also coordinates the higher education specialization of the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Dr. McClure earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned his B.A. in History and Spanish from the University of Richmond. Prior to joining the department, Dr. McClure held various professional positions in academic affairs and international programs at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is active and in several professional organizations, including the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), and American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Dr. McClure is an expert in higher education finance, administration, and management. His research can be found in print or forthcoming in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Journal of Student Affairs Research and PracticeJournal of Student Financial Aid, Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, Philanthropy & Education, Innovative Higher Education,  Policy Futures in Education, Academe, International Journal of Educational Development, and  Compare: A Journal of International and Comparative Education. A regular blogger, he has authored opinion and advice pieces for popular outlets like The Chronicle of Higher Education. Recent research projects include a study of patterns in giving by philanthropic foundations to higher education institutions, which won the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s 2016 John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Educational Advancement. He is also principal investigator for a grant-funded study examining the role of public comprehensive universities in college access and affordability.

Dr. Wilson K. Okello

Ph.D., Miami University
Assistant Professor

Dr. Wilson Kwamogi Okello is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Bridging the scholar-artist divide, his research draws on Black feminist theories to think about the relationship between history, the body, and epistemology; anti-Blackness in education; racial violence and stress in educational contexts; critical qualitative inquiry; and anti-deficit curriculum and pedagogical praxis. His work is published in venues such as the Journal of College Student Development, the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. He is active in several professional organizations, including the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), American Educational Studies Association (AESA), and American College Personal Administrators-International (ACPA). Dr. Okello earned his Ph.D. from Miami University; his master’s degree is from the University of Rhode Island, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University.

Dr. Symphony Oxendine

Ph.D., UNC Greensboro
Assistant Professor

Symphony Oxendine, Cherokee/Choctaw, is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership. Symphony worked in Student Affairs for 6 years before pursuing her doctorate. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Studies with a concentration in Higher Education and a doctoral minor in Educational Research Methodology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she also received her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration. She received her B.A. from Oklahoma State University in Applied Sociology.

Her research interests include critical awareness of the social and institutional issues that affect the educational performance and institutional support of American Indians and other underrepresented groups, graduate preparation programs, cultural identity development, Historically Native American Fraternities and Sororities, student involvement and its impact on retention, leadership development, policy, and political processes within post-secondary education institutions. Her concentration on these research areas will help shape the direction and development of higher education professionals by assisting in the understanding of various institutional, psychosocial, and political processes as a means to support development for underrepresented students.

Dr. Michele Parker

Ph.D., University of Virginia

Dr. Michele A. Parker is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her doctorate is in Research, Statistics, and Evaluation from the University of Virginia. She teaches an instructional technology course for prospective teachers and research courses for graduate students. Her research interests include the use of technology in K-12 and higher education as well as methodological issues in conducting research.

Dr. Parker has experience with several large-scale research projects. Currently, she is the Lead Analyst for two HillRAP evaluation contracts in Carteret County and Brunswick County Schools in North Carolina. Also, she is collaborating with staff from Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky to examine how neural network analysis can be applied to educational settings and how sampling stratification can be used to increase parent survey response rates.

Dr. Kerry Robinson

Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University 
Assistant Professor

Dr. Kerry Robinson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership in the Watson College of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University, her administrative licensure from Virginia State University, her M. A. in special education from Kean University, and a B.A. in English literature from Michigan State University. Prior to her appointment at UNCW, Dr. Robinson was an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee. Previously, she worked in K-12 schools for 17 years in New Jersey and Virginia as a teacher, building level administrator, and district-level administrator. Dr. Robinson’s primary areas of research include women in leadership, the superintendency and leadership preparation. A current research project is exploring the topic of stress and health in the superintendency. Dr. Robinson is also very active with a number of special interest groups (SIGs) for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) including Leadership for Social Justice, Stress, Coping & Resilience, and Research on Superintendency for which she is the current chair-elect.

Dr. Andrew Ryder Faculty

Ph.D., Iowa State University
Associate Professor

Andrew J. Ryder is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Andy earned both his Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in higher education from Iowa State University and has 12 years of professional experience in student and academic affairs. Andy's research and scholarly interests include the role of higher education in a democratic society, the history and practice of student affairs, and community college completion. Andy is part of the Personal and Social Responsibility research team based at Iowa State and former project director for the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory. He teaches courses related to assessment, civic engagement, and foundations of higher education and has published chapters in the New Directions sourcebooks for higher education and institutional research and the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

Dr. Marilyn A. Sheerer

PhD.,  Ohio University

Dr. Sheerer is currently holding the position of Provost at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, having served as the former provost for 8 years at East Carolina University (ECU).  Her work in higher education administration has spanned over 25 years and included 10 years as the Dean of the College of Education at ECU and one year as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Advancement.  Previous to ECU, she served as department chair at two other Midwestern universities.

At the UNC System level, Dr. Sheerer has been active in numerous committees and efforts; has served on the Public School Forum Board; and co-chaired the renewal of the Articulation Agreement between UNC institutions and community colleges in North Carolina.  Additionally, she has served as an ongoing instructor in the BRIDGES program at UNC-Chapel Hill.   

Dr. Sheerer received her B.S. in Education (English) from Bloomsburg State College, Pennsylvania; her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Syracuse University; and her Ph.D. in Education (interdisciplinary between Education and Psychology) from Ohio University.  Her work within the university environments in which she has worked has included the following:  initiation of Honors College programs; initiation of distance education programs including faculty development and support; community engagement work including an Outreach Scholars Academy; mentoring for women in leadership; successful funded grant work to serve teachers and administrators in public schools; and successful fundraising.

Dr. Sheerer looks forward to returning to her faculty position as Professor in the Higher Education Leadership program in the fall of 2020.

Dr. Dana Stachowiak

Ph.D, Cultural Foundations in Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Associate Professor
Director of Women’s Studies and Resource Center

Dana M. Stachowiak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and is Director of the UNCW Gender Studies and Research Center. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies and Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before coming to UNCW, Dr. Stachowiak was an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a teacher and curriculum specialist in North Carolina. She teaches, researches, and consults internationally about inclusive and equitable curriculum, social justice in education, trans/gender topics in education, and healing centered engagement. Dr. Stachowiak publishes and speaks extensively in these areas as well.

Dr. Bill Sterrett

Ph.D., Education Administration and Supervision, University of Virginia
Associate Professor

Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Outreach

Bill Sterrett serves as Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Outreach in the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Sterrett’s research centers on collaborative school leadership, including the role of the principal, school innovation, teacher leadership, STEM leadership and school improvement. His research has been funded by the U.S. State Department, the National Science Foundation, and the UNCW ETEAL Strategic Initiatives Award. He has authored three ASCD books and has (co-)authored articles in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, Journal of Educational Administration, and Educational Leadership. Sterrett has involved UNCW students—ranging from undergraduate to doctoral-level—in grant work, research projects, publications, and presentations. He earned his B.S. in Middle Grades Education at Asbury College (KY) and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education Administration & Supervision at the University of Virginia. Prior to coming to UNCW in 2010, Sterrett served as a middle grades science teacher, assistant principal, and Title I principal in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dr. Tamara WalserDr. Tamara Walser

Ph.D., Utah State University

Dr. Walser has worked in the field of evaluation for more than 20 years. Her purpose and passion is evaluation capacity building and advocacy. While at UNCW, she has served as Director of Assessment and Evaluation for the Watson College of Education, Interim Chair of the Educational Leadership Department, and Graduate Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Ed.D. program. Prior to coming to UNCW, Dr. Walser worked in non-profit and for-profit organizations as an evaluator, and as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University. She has taught courses in program evaluation, assessment, research methods, statistics, and academic writing; and has served as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Lead Evaluator, and as an Advisory Group member on numerous grants and contracts focused on evaluation. She has authored/co-authored journal articles, guidebooks, and resources on evaluation, including co-authoring the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use and maintaining her website/blog, Route One Evaluation. She is currently under contract with SAGE Publications to co-author another evaluation text. Dr. Walser has presented on evaluation topics nationally and internationally and is a former President of the North Carolina Association for Research in Education, a state affiliate of the American Educational Research Association. She obtained her Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation (2000) and her M.S. in Instructional Design and Development (1996) from Utah State University; she earned a B.A. in French (1989) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and began her professional career as a French teacher.


Emeriti Faculty

Dr. Robert Tyndall Dr. Robert Edward Tyndall

Ed.D., UNC Chapel Hill
Professor Emeriti

Dr. Tyndall is currently a professor in the Doctoral Educational Leadership Program in the Watson College of Education and an Executive-in-Residence in the Cameron School of Business. Dr. Tyndall has spent forty years serving education. He earned undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and did advanced graduate studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In addition to his current roles Dr. Tyndall has served in a wide range of leadership positions in public schools, including principal of three schools and Deputy and Associate Superintendent in Durham City and Durham County and Superintendent of Schools in Moore County. While serving in educational leadership positions in public schools, he also taught at North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University as a Resident Scholar, Adjunct Professor, and Visiting Executive Scholar, respectively. For three years Dr. Tyndall served as Special Advisor to the President of Duke University and Executive Director of the Research Triangle Education Consortium. Since arriving at UNCW in 1989 he has served as UNCW's Special Advisor to the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Systems and Associate Provost, Dean of the Watson College of Education, Associate Dean for Outreach and Partnerships, and Chair of the Department of Design and Management.

While serving as Dean of the Watson College of Education, Dr. Tyndall founded and served as the Executive Director of the Consortium for Advancement of Public Education (CAPE), comprising 14 school districts, 7 community colleges and 10 businesses; created the national award-winning Professional Development System (PDS); and founded the Razor Walker Awards. He is credited, along with Chancellor Leutze, with leading the effort that resulted in the construction of the new Watson College of Education which he refers to as "a powerful tribute to the profession of teaching."

Dr. Karen WetherillDr. Karen S. Wetherill

Ed.D., NC State University
Professor Emerita

Dr. Karen S. Wetherill is a Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership. She served as the Associate Dean for Outreach Alliances for 11 years prior to assuming a two-year administrative role as Interim Dean of the Watson College of Education. In that capacity, Dr. Wetherill was a co-founding leader for the development of the University-School Professional Development System Partnership. She has worked extensively with university-school partnerships since 1992 both at the university and the state level, providing leadership to move partnerships to higher, more meaningful standards and to address student- learning outcomes. She created the Learning-Centered Supervision model used across the partnership for intern supervision, designed the two foundational Supervision courses for graduate programs, and developed mentoring/coaching modules for use with other audiences.

Staff & Graduate Assistants

Marybeth Phillips

Administrative Assistant