Southeastern News

Southeastern professor renews National Teacher Certification


DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Susan Morrison of Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently renewed her National Board Teacher Certification.

Morrison is a professor and coordinator of Elementary Education, and has been at the University since 2004. A former public school classroom teacher, she holds an Ed.D. from Texas A&M Commerce, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern.

National Board Certification is a public assurance that teachers have met the profession’s highest standards for accomplished practice. It also signifies that teachers are up to date on the knowledge and best practice in their certificate area.

To renew the certification, educators must submit a profile of professional growth demonstrating how their practice continues to align with the core


propositions in their particular area. In addition, as part of the renewal process, Morrison did classroom teaching in Kim Stafford’s kindergarten class at Washington Irving Elementary School in Durant.

Morrison first earned the certification in 1999.

This is her 30th year in the classroom. Prior to joining the Southeastern faculty, Morrison taught in elementary schools in McKinney, Texas, and Durant, for 16 years.

“The title that gives me the greatest joy is that of ‘teacher,’ ‘’ she said. “National Board certification/renewal is, in my opinion, the best professional development opportunity in which a teacher can engage. Renewal helped me stay connected and current and gave me the opportunity to practice and apply the skills that I teach my university pre-service teachers to use.’’


The certification is through the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

National Board Certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

More than 118,000 teachers across the United States have achieved Board certification.

Local optometrist offers tips to future teachers at Southeastern

Dr. Jason Rhynes makes a presentation to students at  Southeastern Wednesday.

Dr. Jason Rhynes makes a presentation to students at Southeastern Wednesday.

DURANT, Okla. – Research shows that 1 out of every 4 children has a vision problem that affects their ability to achieve.

This and other pertinent information was presented by a local optometrist to future educators Wednesday morning at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Jason Rhynes, a Durant native, discussed “Vision in the Classroom’’ during his engaging hour-long presentation, followed by questions-and-answers. His discussion touched on such topics as eye conditions and symptoms  that a teacher may observe in a child that may  be hindering learning and performance in the classroom.

“Many times, a (young) child may not be able to see up close, but doesn’t realize anything is wrong,’’ Rhynes said.  “The educator’s role is to recognize (potential problems) and refer (to appropriate person).’’

He added that it is recommended that a child have a professional eye examination at age 3.

His power-point program was well received by students in Dr. Susan Morrison’s “Teaching Reading in the Elementary School II’’ class.

“Partnering with community professionals strengthens the Elementary Education program at Southeastern,’’ Dr. Morrison said. “Since 2004, Dr. Rhynes has educated pre-service teachers about vision in the classroom — an important, but often ignored, aspect of the reading process. I believe this is an important first step in helping elementary students with vision-related issues that impact reading proficiency and learning in general.’’

$1.1 million federal grant to assist Native American students at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – For several years, Southeastern Oklahoma State University has received national attention for its programs that assist Native American students.

That recognition should continue as Southeastern recently received a $1.1 million (four-year) grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education. Principal Investigator (PI) and Project Director of this Native American Excellence In Education (NAEIE) Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Grant is Chris Wesberry, Director of the Native American Center for Student Success at Southeastern. Dr. Susan Morrison, Professor of Elementary Education, is Co-PI.

“This grant will enable us to better serve our students,” said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “Our goal is to equip these students to be the very best educators, while helping to fill a critical need in our communities. Chris Wesberry and Dr. Morrison are to be commended for their efforts in securing this grant.”

The grant, which will partner with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation, will serve 12 Native American Education majors pursuing degrees in Early Childhood and/or Special Education.

This is the third grant of this type that the University has received since 2005, according to Wesberry.

“We are fortunate to be able to offer this program again to Native American students who are pursuing a teacher education degree,” Wesberry said. “Along with our partners, we look forward to providing services to those who are selected to the program. This is a fantastic opportunity for our students.”

Students will be selected during the Fall 2014 semester and will begin the program in January 2015.

Students must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours, be Native American, and be admissible to the teacher education program while pursuing a degree in the required field.

Selected students will receive tuition assistance, textbook stipends, a monthly living stipend, professional development opportunities and academic services through the grant project.

The grant requires all student participants to agree to teach at a school that has a significant percentage of Native American students enrolled.

For more information and an application, contact Chris Wesberry at 580-745-2376 or email him at