Congratulations seniors and graduates of the class of 2021!
Congratulations to the Mountaineers graduating this spring — especially those graduating from the Reich College of Education and all teacher education majors at the university. We are so proud of all you've accomplished! Visit appstate.edu/commencement to see the ways you can view and participate in the commencement ceremony.
Social Media Participation
Tag us too - #Firstteach #Firstlead #RCOEalumni
Recommended accounts to tag in commencement posts:
And add us too - @AppstateRCOE
RCOE Commencement Message and Student Teacher of the Year Recognition
Undergraduate Student Speaker
B.S. Middle Grades Education, Social Studies and Language Arts
Alexis Borlase is a proud middle grades education major from Mooresville, North Carolina, graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors. During her time at App State, Alexis was an active member in many organizations, including serving as Outreach Chair and Treasurer for the Appalachian Educators club, as a worship leader for Reformed University Fellowship, and as a College Life Fellow for the Scholars with Diverse Abilities program. Alexis also enjoyed four years in the Appalachian Community of Education Scholars. Alexis believes that everyone has a story to tell and hopes that her speech will inspire others to rejoice in the voices they have found through their time at Appalachian. After graduation, Alexis plans to move to Hendersonville, North Carolina, and pursue a career as a Middle Grades educator.
Graduate Student Speaker
Diamond Slone Couch
M.A. Marriage and Family Counseling
Diamond Slone Couch is graduating from the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program. She serves as a non-commissioned officer in the Army Reserves and worked as a graduate assistant for the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) office where she advised the undergraduate Leadership Studies Minor and co-facilitated an undergraduate course, Leadership for Social Change. As an advocate for the wellbeing of her community, Diamond is an AAMFT Minority Fellow and co-president of the Black Graduate Student Association in which she dedicates time and space to the care of black students and other marginalized communities.
Diamond holds a B.A. in psychology and linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mace Bearer Recogntion
Dr. Barbara Howard
Professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies
Dr. Barbara B. Howard ’91 ’97 has 32 years of service in education in North Carolina. She earned a B.A. in history education from Wake Forest University and a M.A. in middle grades education and Ed.D. in educational leadership from Appalachian State University. In addition to serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and Executive Director for Staff Development in North Carolina public schools, she worked as a Program Specialist and Project Director for SERVE Regional Educational Lab. While at SERVE, she worked in the Assessment, Accountability and Standards Program for almost a decade, focusing on teacher evaluation and classroom assessment practices. Her teacher evaluation systems were adopted in districts and states across the United States.
Howard has been engaged in international work since coming to Appalachian in 2008. This led to numerous projects with App State’s partner universities in Russia, Poland and South Africa. In 2014, she began work on developing international courses with colleagues at Novgorod State University in Russia, which expanded to a four-course Graduate Certificate in International Leadership and now includes faculty and students from the University of Free State in South Africa. In 2019, she served as a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein South Africa. She continues to publish and present extensively on international collaboration with her colleagues.
Howard’s service to App State includes serving as a program director in school administration, a faculty senator, and Chair of the Faculty Senate for two terms. She is the current Vice Chair of the UNC System Faculty Assembly. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation. She led the development of standards in both personnel evaluation and classroom assessments for K-12 teachers and reviewed the standards for program evaluation. She is a recent President of the North Carolina Professors of Educational Leadership and past President of The Consortium for Research Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness (CREATE).