Education and Human Development

Faculty & Staff

*Dr. Tammy Cook, Professor & Program Coordinator-Secondary Education
Tammy Cook Curriculum Vitae

*Frances Courson, Instructor, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs
Dr. Frances Courson Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. Jennifer “JiJi” Davis, Professor & Program Coordinator of Elementary
Dr. Jennifer Davis Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. William Hooper, Professor of Elementary Programs
Dr. William Harper-Hooper IV Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. Lynn Kirkland, Professor of Elementary Programs
Dr. Lynn Kirkland Curriculum Vitae

*Danielle Parks, Administrative Assistant

Danielle Parks is an alum of the university and a current graduate student in the College of Education and Human Development. She serves as a student advisor for HerCampus, Best Buddies, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Ms. Parks actively serves on the University of Montevallo Junior Board of Directors as the Professional Development Chair, executive board. Her involvement at UM also includes being a member of the UM Staff Senate as of 2022 and being a mentor to students .

*Dr. Donna Ploessl, Professor of Elementary Programs
Dr. Donna Ploessl Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. Cassie Raulston, Professor of Elementary & Instructional Technology Programs
Professional Website:
Dr. Cassie Raulston Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Cassie Raulston is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education at The University of Montevallo. She earned her B.S. degree in Elementary Education/ Early Childhood from The University of Alabama as well as her M.Ed. and Ed.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Gifted Education. She also obtained her Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from The University of Alabama. At the University of Montevallo, Dr. Raulston teaches in the Elementary, Secondary, and Instructional Technology programs. She has had the privilege of collaborating with colleagues to develop and direct multiple summer Coding Camps for elementary-high school students.  Previously, Dr. Raulston was a Gifted Education Specialist, Instructional Technology Specialist, and developed various training for educators.

*Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray, Professor & Program Coordinator-Advanced Programs
Secondary Education/Instructional Technology
Professional Website:

*Dr. Amy Samuels, Professor & Program Coordinator of Instructional Leadership Programs
Dr. Amy J Samuels Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Amy Samuels is an associate professor of instructional leadership and coordinates the instructional leadership and teacher leadership programs at the University of Montevallo. She earned a B.S. in Secondary Education Social Studies, with a minor in Black Studies, from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She earned both an M.Ed. and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida, where she specialized in curriculum policy and development, critical race theory, and practices for fostering equitable schools. Dr. Samuels’ research aligns with educational justice, culturally responsive practices, and implications of race and racism in educational contexts.

*Dr. Gregory Samuels, Professor of Secondary Programs
Dr. Gregory Samuels Curriculum Vitae
Before arriving at UM’s College of Education, he previously taught in Baltimore and Tampa with more than 10 years in the social studies classroom. After earning his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction/Social Science Education at the University of South Florida, he joined the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Technology at UM. In addition to teaching courses on classroom management, diversity, literacy, and social justice, he supervises teacher candidates in the Secondary Education Master’s Program and serves as UM’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. His research interests include pedagogical applications in the social studies, teaching and learning for social justice, facilitation of critical pedagogy and working to include marginalized voices throughout the social studies curriculum. He can be contacted at

*Dr. Almir Smajic, Professor of Elementary & Secondary Programs/STEM Coordinator
Dr. Almir Smajic-Curriculum Vitae
Dr. Almir Smajic is an Associate Professor of Education at the College of Education at the University of Montevallo. He obtained his B.S. degree in Mathematics and M.Ed. from Freed-Hardeman University, as well as his Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education from Texas Tech University.  At the University of Montevallo, he has been teaching mathematics methods, education, and diversity education courses to undergraduate and graduate students. Previously, he taught mathematics methods courses at Texas Tech University, mathematics courses at Gulf Coast Community College, and ESL and mathematics at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels in his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
B.S., M.Ed., Freed-Hardeman University; Ph.D., Texas Tech University

*Dr. Alvin Taylor, Professor of Instructional Leadership Programs
Dr. Alvin Taylor Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. Alisha Wheeler, Instructor of Elementary Programs
Dr. Alisha Wheeler Curriculum Vitae

*Dr. Jenifer Moore, Professor
Dr. Jenifer Williams Curriculum Vitae