Four Reich College of Education Students Inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates

Four Reich College of Education (RCOE) students have been inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates:

  • Anne Berryhill,
  • Nakia Hill,
  • Loretta Shoaf, and
  • Holly Weaver. 

The society is designed to include each year’s top graduates of the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School at Appalachian State University – approximately the top 2%. Students are chosen based on their academic performance, their engagement in their discipline, and their potential for leadership.

Anne Berryhill

Anne Berryhill, originally from Waxhaw, North Carolina, received her Bachelor of Science in middle grades education from App State. She will graduate with her Master of Library Science in December 2023.

“Receiving this award is such an honor,” said Berryhill. “As a working wife and mom, I strive to show my students and my daughter the importance of hard work and perseverance.” 

“My family and my students stay at the center of the work I do each day — including my work during graduate school,” she continued. “To receive this award not only celebrates and affirms my work but also celebrates the dedication, enthusiasm, cooperation, and collaboration of my family, my students, and my colleagues.”

Berryhill decided to pursue a graduate degree in library science because of her undergraduate experiences with App State and the Reich College of Education. 

“As an undergraduate student, I learned the importance of collaboration, continual learning, and community,” noted Berryhill. “When I saw that Appalachian offered a Master of Library Sciences in an online platform, I knew that not only would my thinking be challenged, but I would be well prepared to be a librarian.”

With this degree, she hopes to “provide focused support for students and adults as they discover books and resources to grow their thinking and learning.” 

Berryhill is currently working at South Providence School in Union County, North Carolina, as a culture coach supporting both students and staff. She hopes to find a school or public library that matches her goals and desires for a library program. 

Nakia Hill

Nakia Hill, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, completed her bachelor’s degree in middle grades education with a concentration in language arts and social studies from East Carolina University. In August, she completed her Master of Arts in higher education from App State.

“I am very proud and grateful to have been given the honor of being inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society of Outstanding Graduates,” said Hill. “As a first-generation college student, I never imagined pursuing another degree outside of my bachelor's. This award makes me feel reassured in my decision to keep pushing forward because I am capable!”

After attending a graduate information session, Hill decided the higher education program at App State was the perfect fit. “I knew I would be learning from a dedicated and knowledgeable faculty,” she noted. “Plus, I felt at ease when applying to the program knowing I would be receiving an in-depth holistic education.” 

With her degree, Hill hopes to make an impact in students’ lives and be able to provide them with additional support as they obtain a higher education. 

“The higher education graduate program covered topics including diversity, advising, student development, leadership, and much much more,” said Hill. 

“I am eternally grateful for my professors and their stewardship over my education because I absorbed so much from not just class content but their professionalism and authenticity,” she added.

Loretta Shoaf

Loretta Shoaf, originally from Mount Airy, North Carolina, completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Lees-McRae College. She will graduate with her Master of Arts in literacy education in December 2023.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor that validates that others can see the deep devotion that I have toward literacy education and the effort that I have put in,” said Shoaf. “This award motivates and encourages me to continue the work of advocating for diverse literature and to help each student succeed in reading.”  

“I hold this award with great esteem but also with great humility, as I acknowledge the tremendous support that I have received from the staff, colleagues, and my family — without their encouragement and belief in me, I would not be here today,” she added.

“My drive for reading instruction came from being personally connected with many who struggled to read,” said Shoaf. “I wanted to know why and how to evoke change so every child could be provided with the opportunity to explore the world through the pages of print.”  

“Along with this came the desire to fill each classroom with rich literature where students could see themselves and broaden their knowledge and understanding of those around them,” she added. “This program helps me build the path to reach these endeavors.” 

Shoaf plans to continue her journey and love of literature by enrolling in the multicultural and transitional literacies online program at East Carolina University this spring.   

Holly Weaver

Holly Weaver, originally from Cullowhee, North Carolina, completed her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in secondary English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In August, she completed her Master of Arts in curriculum specialist from App State. 

“Receiving this award is encouraging to me to continue the work that was started long before me,” said Weaver. “I am inspired to continue learning about systems of oppression within education and identifying ways we can eliminate barriers to postsecondary success.”

Weaver decided to pursue her graduate degree because she knew how curriculum could empower students. 

“I was at a place in my life where I wanted to think beyond the four walls of my classroom and form a deeper understanding of the larger systems at work,” she noted. “I felt the curriculum specialist program would broaden my understanding of students’ K-12 experiences across all subject areas.”

Weaver currently works for the RCOE’s College Access Partnership program. “My current role is in teacher support while I help teachers navigate self-directed learning through completing micro-credentials,” said Weaver. 

She added, “Working with teachers in this capacity has been a dream!”