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Catawba College News Service
Dr. Lou Ann Kasias, a Catawba College professor of education and coordinator of the college’s graduate program, believes teachers in the region need to know just what Catawba offers in its master of education in elementary education.
“We go out of our way to make this personal,” said Kasias, a 20-year veteran in Catawba’s sole graduate program. “We actually visit the graduate students’ classrooms and give feedback to our students regarding their implementation of best practices. Moreover, despite this extra attention our program is affordable — only $160 per semester hour.”
Kasias noted that it only takes 33 semester hours of coursework for a student to earn a master of education at Catawba, and if the student has National Board Certification, an additional three semester hours of credit are transferred in.
“While teachers are earning a master’s in elementary education, they could possibly earn an initial reading license without additional courses. That’s two potential license changes within one program without additional coursework.”
While convenient location, colleagues’ recommendations, and reasonable costs all figured in the decision of some Rowan County teachers to pursue their master’s degrees at Catawba, the desire to deepen their knowledge and better serve students motivated two recent graduates.
For Theresa Pierce, a curriculum coach at Overton Elementary School in Salisbury, earning her master’s degree was an opportunity to finish what she had begun.
“Thirty years ago, I started graduate school. It was my dream to complete my master’s degree. The teachers at Overton encouraged me to try Catawba. I told them, ‘I’m 50 years old and I will be 53 when I finish.’ They said, ‘You will be 53 with a degree.’ Their encouragement and the support of my family were just what I needed to begin the process.”
“Going through Catawba’s graduate program was the single most rewarding experience of my 23-year career as an educator. Everything I learned was applicable to the classroom. I have a shelf in my classroom full of Catawba materials that I refer to often. As a curriculum coach, I am always using the skills I was taught at Catawba with teachers and students.”
Amy Pruitt, a fifth-grade teacher at Enochville Elementary School, chose the graduate program at Catawba after she had been in the classroom a while and had a strong grip on the curriculum.
“I wanted to deepen my knowledge base to better serve my students,” she said. What she found as a graduate student was that “each course I took was pertinent to my classroom needs.”
Today, she said she is “a more reflective teacher.” “Graduate school helped me see how vital it is to examine each child as a learner and meet my students’ needs daily. It reinforced teaching techniques that I had been using and gave me an arsenal of new, effective tools to push my students to be more successful. Attending Catawba’s graduate classes also made me hungry for current, research-based activities and practices.”
For information on Catawba’s Master of Education Degree in Elementary Education, contact Dr. Lou Wilson Kasias, graduate program director, at 704-637-4462 or by e-mail at lakasias@catawba. edu. Or, visit the college website for information on admissions requirements and application forms for the program at www.catawba.edu/graduate.

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