Somer Lewis Receives Robert E. Tyndall Service Award

Friday, December 09, 2016

Somer Lewis, director of the Professional Development System in the Watson College of Education, is the 2016 recipient of the Robert E. Tyndall Service Award. The award is presented every two years to a non-tenure-track WCE employee in recognition of dedication to teaching, commitment to the college, ability to work well with all constituents and the capacity to lead his or her area in a new direction.

“Given Dr. Tyndall’s leadership in pioneering the PDS-based work that Somer provides today, it is a powerful link across history that the work he led as dean would be continued as creatively and effectively as Somer does now,” said WCE Dean Van Dempsey. “She is a phenomenal leader in the Watson College, in our PDS relationships across campus and with our partnership across southeastern North Carolina.”

As PDS director, Lewis cultivates the partnerships with local schools that are essential to UNCW’s teacher preparation programs. Her responsibilities include leading professional development and organizing workshops for partnership teachers, district personnel, faculty, staff and students.

She was nominated by colleagues who wrote: “As we have witnessed the remarkable work that she does, we are continually impressed with her understanding of the partnership as central to our teaching. She is the ambassador of our programs, the person with whom our partners interface when making decisions and the person who most intentionally carries the mission and values of Watson into the schools.”

The nominating letter noted that Lewis organized six conferences and contributed to four others in the 2015-16 academic year, supported school-based site coordinators and facilitated numerous meetings for teacher candidates, teachers seeking board certification and school partners. Together her efforts reached more than 2,300 teachers, students and school district employees.

The Robert E. Tyndall Service Award honors the leadership and vision of Robert E. Tyndall, who served as dean of the education school from 1991 to 1999 (later named the Watson College of Education). He also served as UNCW’s associate provost and vice chancellor for information technology systems and is still a WCE faculty member.

Among Tyndall’s accomplishments was a focus on recruiting non-tenure-track employees to enhance the college’s educational mission. Tyndall also established the Razor Walker Awards, which have been presented since 1993 to people who have made a difference in the lives of young people.

-- Tricia Vance