Clemson AnnualReport 2021 - Flipbook - Page 12
Momentum Through Our Excellence
Ed.D. in Education Systems Improvement
Science Graduates First Students >>>
When four South Carolina universities established a
cooperative pathway to a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
in education systems improvement science at Clemson
University, they did so with the intention of seeing the
program’s alumni quickly make positive, measurable impacts
in education across the state.
Students in the program didn’t wait until graduation to start
making a difference in their home schools and districts using
lessons learned through the Ed.D. program, but now the
program boasts three graduates, all from the Lowcountry.
In March 2021, Melissa LaBerge Ed.D. ’21 became the
first student to successfully defend her dissertation in the
program. LaBerge focused her dissertation on the use of
improvement science to increase teacher satisfaction and
teacher retention rates in an elementary school setting. She
completed the program while also serving as principal of
Cane Bay Elementary School in Summerville, South Carolina.
During a pandemic, no less. LaBerge said the program’s focus
on complex challenges in the state related to race, rurality and
poverty has benefited her work as a school administrator.
Natasha Harvin-Wright Ed.D. ’21 serves as director of
human resources in the Berkeley County School District,
and focused her dissertation on personalized professional
development using improvement science. Harvin-Wright
said she was attracted to the cohort model and Clemson’s
reputation. Through the program, she realized the value of
improvement science in education and saw how it would
benefit her work and that of induction teachers.
Top photo: Melissa LaBerge Ed.D. ’21 waves farewell to families
and students of Cane Bay Elementary School in Summerville, South
Carolina, when COVID-19 brought in-person learning to a halt.
Bottom photos: Natasha Harvin-Wright Ed.D. ’21 (left) and Aubrey
Moreland Ed.D.’ 21 are all smiles at graduation.
12 | College of Education
Aubrey L. Moreland Ed.D. ’21 serves as a school psychologist
in the Colleton County School District, and she focused
her dissertation on improving current practices to end the
disproportionate use of exclusionary discipline with Black
girls. Moreland said she chose the program because she and
the program share the commitment to reforming current
practices in schools by means of targeted interventions that
work in a practical way at all levels of education. She said she
will use the lessons learned through the Ed.D. program every
day to create systemic changes that better serve students and
improve their educational outcomes.