Education Briefs: Catawba announces professional certifications

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

SALISBURY — Catawba College is offering online professional certifications as a cost-effective and convenient avenue for people to further their careers. 

Catawba Online has partnered with Coursera and SkillStorm, two leaders in online educational content in some of the most in-demand professions.

These certifications are designed for students and professionals at any stage of their journey allowing them to further develop essential business skills and achieve more effective results.

“We are excited to offer certifications in key fields that are projected to grow over the next 5 to 10 years,” Director of Online Programming Christine Lynn said. “These certifications will provide new options for people looking to further their careers in an affordable and convenient way. These courses help elevate and distinguish resumes in the job market.”

The partnership with Coursera via Acadeum is providing leading professional certifications from Google, IBM, Facebook and more. These in-demand certifications are available completely online and on-demand, and have a strong emphasis on developing specific skills needed to change or advance careers. Each course includes a series of hands-on labs and projects to help develop skills and apply them in real-world settings. Courses are completed in three to five months on average.

Through the SkillStorm partnership, individuals can pursue an AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification and an AWS Solutions Architect Associate Certification. Both self-driven classes offer people the flexibility to attend when convenient for them, while also providing access to one-on-one mentoring and training from industry-certified instructors and opportunities to collaborate with classmates. Courses are completed in 4-10 weeks, less than half the time it takes with other training programs on the market.

“SkillStorm’s instructor-led courses expand upon the personal touch that Catawba College is recognized for. We are delighted to partner with a leading private liberal arts college and provide courses of the caliber Catawba College is synonymous with,” stated Joe Mitchell, SkillStorm COO.

“These partnerships with Catawba Online provide benefits to students and professionals gaining the opportunity to elevate their skills and accelerate their careers, and to businesses and organizations obtaining certified talent,” added Lynn.

Browse the full list of available courses on Catawba’s website at

Catawba College students, faculty, staff, and alumni along with active military members and veterans, are able to take advantage of a 20% discount off the cost of the course. Discounts are also available to groups of five or more.

Chanel Sidbury Selected to Serve as Executive Director of Professional Learning 

SALISBURY – North Carolina — Chanel Sidbury will serve as the Executive Director of Professional Learning for Rowan-Salisbury Schools (RSS). 

Sidbury will lead the district’s coordination, planning, development, implementation and evaluation of all professional learning within the district with a particular focus on the advancement of student engagement in instructional practices. 

Sidbury began her educational career as a math teacher with Pitt County Schools at E.B. Aycock Middle School. Over the course of several years, she served as a teacher and math curriculum coach for Pitt County Schools and a curriculum facilitator for Wilson County Schools. Since 2015, she was a secondary math specialist and has held a variety of roles including most recently the executive director for K-12 curriculum and instruction for Durham Public Schools. 

Her educational focus is on innovative learning for each and every learner. She is committed to increasing student outcomes and developing community partnerships. In her current role with Durham Public Schools, she and her team have reduced the number of low-performing schools from 18 in 2017 to 11 in 2019, and improved the number of schools meeting or exceeding growth from 37 schools in 2017 to 42 schools in 2019. 

Sidbury obtained her bachelor of science in middle grades education and a master of school administration from East Carolina University. She was also named a North Carolina Association for Middle Level Education Central Office Professional to Watch in 2019.

“We are so excited to welcome Ms. Sidbury to RSS. Her professional learning expertise and trend data match our emerging strategic plan priorities of increasing enrollment, increasing school growth, and decreasing state-identified low performing schools,” RSS Superintendent Tony Watlington said. “I look forward to working with her as a valued member of our team.” 

Outside of work, Sidbury enjoys spending time with family and friends, including her two fur babies. She also enjoys East Carolina football and tailgating, the beach and hiking trails in the mountains.