This past year, the College of Education started a new program recognizing outstanding alumni early in their careers.  The individuals listed below were nominated by fellow alumni and were evaluated and selected by the Capstone Education Society’s (the College’s alumni group) Board of Directors.  They will be recognized at the 2021 College of Education Homecoming Reception on October 22nd in Tuscaloosa.  We are glad to have the opportunity to acknowledge those that are following their passion and making lives better for others.

Amber Barton

4th Grade Teacher, Huntington Place Elementary | Creativity Inspirer | Cheerleader

Mrs. Barton is teacher with a heart of compassion, excitement, creativity and true love for education and investment in the lives of her students.  She infuses her students with a passion for education through unique methods of instruction to ensure that students feel comfortable and more like a home environment vs. being in school.  Mrs. Barton shares with her students that she struggled with sitting still and focusing during class. As she started her career in education her goal was to provide an environment where everyone felt equal regardless of income or where they came from, everyone felt loved, appreciated and safe, everyone felt like they had a home regardless of what their “home-life”may be away from her classroom. Each day she ensures that each student knows that she loves them and they are important not only thru her words but actions.

Prior to COVID restrictions in the class, Barton had a room full of couches, kitchen tables, video chairs and even a food booth from a restaurant. And while her room may not have those unusual sitting arrangements this past year, she made it a point to ensure that her room was decorated in café lights, full Harry Potter, a locker full of snacks where all of the students feel free to get what they want or maybe that some need without anyone knowing and is always the room of that “extra” teacher and the kids and families love it!  As kids enter her room, they take their shoes off (just like she tells them she does as soon as she gets home) and pick a place where they are the most comfortable for the day (or maybe just the hour because some of the students need to move around). The flexible seating options provides for students of all types to find where they are the most comfortable to engage in learning for the day. She has students with different intellectual talents and limitations, the classroom style provides resources for all of them and to find a commonality between each other vs seeing the differences.  Being a Multiple Abilities Program (MAP) graduate from The University of Alabama has aligned her for success in providing a creative atmosphere that takes the standard education material and presents it in a way that provides for team work, collaboration, creativity and the development of skills that will expand far from her 4th grade classroom. Her love for music and art is an integral part of her teaching. She is always researching and looking for ways to make the material engaging and exciting for the students! It is not uncommon to go by Mrs. Barton’s room and she has the entire room taped off like a crime scene, her dressed in some crazy outfit, students working together on clues to solve the mystery. Little do they know of the skills they are learning with math, science, writing summaries, organization and collaboration, they just think they are detectives for the day.  She is always their cheerleader in the classroom and outside the classroom.  Teachers all educate kids but very few empower and make a lasting impact on the lives of students; she is that teacher and for that reason.

Aaron Brazelton

Director of Admissions and Advancement, Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering | International Advocate | Leader 

Aaron holds an undergraduate degree in secondary education from The University of Alabama and an advanced certification in school leadership and management from Harvard University. Additionally, he is pursuing his M.Ed. in enrollment management and policy from the University of Southern California.

Aaron’s accomplishments in the External Affairs world are well documented and impressive. Highlighted by the Southern Living Magazine as one of 50 People Changing the South, Aaron has received international recognition for his work in both development and admissions– in the United States and abroad. Southern Living stated, Aaron Brazelton traveled to Serbia for the first time as a 15-year-old…He founded The Serbia Fellowship Experience [at UA], which acts as a mediator between students in Serbia and their counterparts in Tuscaloosa with the aim of helping young people learn the value of experiencing new cultural experiences.”

Brazelton spearheaded the creation of the The Serbia Fellowship Experience, an educational and social partnership between The University of Alabama Honors College, The University of Novi Sad and the municipality of Blace, Serbia. As a result, the U.S. Department of State selected Aaron, out of a pool of one million people, to receive the International Alumnus Award in 2015.

Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell

Executive Director, Phi Eta Sigma | Lean On: Alabama, Founder | 30 Women Who Shape the State (AL)

Mary Lee CaldwellAn alumna of Troy University and The University of Alabama, Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell serves as the Executive Director of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. With previous experience in leadership development, student governance, and citizenship, Dr. Caldwell has previously served as the Director of the Believe UA program, the Student Government Association Advisor, and the Assistant Director of the Blackburn Institute at The University of Alabama.

At UA, Dr. Caldwell advises Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, and she was the recipient of the 2018 Crimson Spirit Award and the 2017 SGA Foundation Award. Her students selected her as a member of the Anderson Society and the XXXI Women’s Honorary. She also served as the chair of the 125 Years of Women at UA celebration in 2018.

Dr. Caldwell is an active member of the Tuscaloosa community. She founded Lean On: Alabama, a statewide non-profit that focuses on the promotion of collaboration among women of all generations in the state.

Dr. Caldwell has been a member of the Alabama Girls State program’s staff for more than 15 years. She is also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Rotary Club, the United Way of West Alabama’s Volunteer Allocation Team, and the Women of the Capstone. Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell was named by the Alabama Media Group as one of 30 Women Who Shape the State in 2017.

Doris  Edwards

Elementary Education Classroom Teacher | School Counselor, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools | Student Advocate

For the first eight years of her educational career, Ms. Edwards was a classroom teacher in third grade and later in fifth grade. She received her M.A. in school counseling in 2015 and when an opportunity opened at Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools, she moved to TMS as school counselor. She just completed my third year as school counselor.

She blends her passions and talents to do something that makes a difference in the lives of the next generation. So much of her job is collaborating with staff, parents, and students so that she can best advocate for the needs of my students.

She believes in a comprehensive counseling program that addresses the academic, career, personal/social, and emotional development of all students.

Through a variety of classroom lessons, students learn to embrace each other’s differences, be open-minded, encourage kindness, and have a growth mindset. Students face many challenges before they even enter the doors of our school, so she makes sure that her classroom and office is a place of comfort, acceptance, and love for every one of them. She works feverishly to provide opportunities and solutions to help her students and families overcome the different barriers that they face.

She sets high expectations for her students and encourages them to be problem solvers, so that they can continue to grow and become the best versions of themselves.

Amber Emerson

National Board Certified Science Teacher | Middle School Biology Teacher of the Year | Tuscaloosa City School Ambassador

Amber EmersonAmber Emerson has been teaching 7th and 8th grade science for six years in Tuscaloosa. She holds a B.S. in biology and a M.A. in secondary science education, both from The University of Alabama. She is pursuing a post-secondary certificate in instructional leadership from the University of West Alabama. Mrs. Emerson has had many accomplishments in her career, two being becoming a National Board Certified Teacher and winning the Middle School Biology Teacher of the Year from the Alabama Science Teachers Association (ASTA).

Mrs. Emerson speaks at many conferences and professional developments and has two main platforms she speaks on, incorporating Standards Based Grading (SBG) in the classroom and inspiring other teachers to become National Board Certified (NBCT). Both of these topics uphold the principles of the overarching ideals of the College of Education. SBG has teachers look and analyze ways to make their classroom fair for all students and grade them based on their needs allowing for diversity in the classroom. And the NBCT process asks teachers to be reflective on their practice and collaborate with others in order to do what is best for students.

Though Mrs. Emerson does not plan to leave the classroom for a while, she does plan to become a principal in the future in order to support teachers in their professionalism and to aid students in their success. She currently serves in many roles for her school district. She is a Tuscaloosa City School Ambassador aiding in recruiting and the retention of teachers; she is on the district’s NBCT leadership team promoting the process and helping teachers through it; she is the science department head in her school, Westlawn Middle School; she mentors both new and student teachers; she serves as a director for the district’s summer learning programs.

Mrs. Emerson lives with her husband Drew, their two dogs, Watson and Amelia, and their cat Currie. In the little down time she has, she enjoys the going to the beach, attending and serving through her church, Hope City, and working with youth in the community.

Mark Fleming

Entrepreneur | Fitness Studio Owner | Disability and Autism Advocate

Mark Fleming is an autistic entrepreneur who owns and runs a fitness studio in Tampa called Equally Fit where he provides exercise training to those with disabilities and specializes in working with autistic individuals.

He obtained his B.S. and M.A. in exercise science from The University of Alabama, where he also joined Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Inc. and served as the chapters Vice President of Internal Affairs and Membership Educator.

He has spent time working in Applied Behavior Analysis and has coached Special Olympics, where his athletes all won gold at the state competition level.  His involvement in Special Olympics helped to spur him to start his own business for athletes with disabilities who were finding a lack of resources outside of Special Olympics.

He has been featured on, the University of Alabama Alumni Magazine, various websites and other magazines as well as on every local news channel in Tampa.

He currently serves on the Autism Friendly Tampa Advisory Board, the constituency board for C.A.R.D-USF, and the executive board for the A E Wood Foundation.

Dr. Maureen  Flint

Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research, The University of Georgia | Race and Gender in Higher Education Researcher | Artist

Picture of Maureen FlintMaureen Flint is an Assistant Professor in Qualitative Research at the University of Georgia. She graduated from the University of Alabama with her PhD in Educational Research in May 2019. Her scholarship explores the theory, practice, and pedagogy of qualitative methodologies, artful inquiries, and questions of social (in)justice, ethics, and equity in higher education. Flint’s dissertation, “Methodological Orientations,” which explored how college students navigate the socio-historical context of race on campus, was the recipient two dissertation awards including from the American Educational Research Association’s Qualitative Research SIG as well as the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry.

Flint also holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama, along with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from Pratt Institute. She has background in college student affairs and student leadership development, having also worked in a variety of capacities in student life at the University of Alabama including in residential life and housing and with the Crossroads Community Center before graduating with her doctorate.

In addition, she has served as an Associate with the National Sustained Dialogue Institute since 2015, facilitating workshops on intergroup dialogue on campuses across the country. Maureen’s work has been published in such venues as Qualitative Inquiry, the Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 

Will  Flowers

Social Studies Teacher, Alberta School of Performing Arts | Cross-curricular Collaborator | Storyteller of Lives and History 

Mr. Flowers was born and raised in Tuscaloosa with The University of Alabama at his backdoor.  Ever since he was a child, he knew he wanted to be an educator.  He fell in love with school during his time as a student in both the Tuscaloosa City and County school systems.  There, he was impacted by so many great educators who not only helped him fall in love with the content, but also the idea of passing that knowledge along.  The College of Education allowed me to work under the expertise of professionals in education, and more specifically, social studies education.  Because of the College of Education, he passes on his love of history on to others.
He noted that the most important thing that he learned in his career is the fact that he is not teaching a class, he is teaching individuals.  Each individual comes into the room with a different experience, and while there may be similarities in stories, each student’s journey is uniquely theirs.  His big passion in teaching, besides the content, is creating environments where students can feel safe and grow.  He said, “It doesn’t matter who reaches the finish line first, but rather that we all finish…Mastering the standards is the goal, however the starting line isn’t always the same (fair isn’t always equal). But with scaffolding or extension activities, we can meet our students where they are while still holding high expectations for them.”
He has spent the last six years teaching in Tuscaloosa City Schools at the Alberta School of Performing Arts, teaching 7th and 8th grade social studies.  In his time teaching, cross-curricular collaboration is key to not only his success as an educator, but more importantly, the success of his students.  He said, “When we can support our own content with the other subjects and with the arts, we create more meaningful lessons.  Our lessons should not only be meaningful, but also powerful and applicable.  When we draw on a student’s experience or prior knowledge we can make more lasting connections.  We make our content relevant.  We make our content lasting.  We create critical thinkers who are invested in their communities, in their world.  My goal as an educator is to make history come alive in my classroom by helping my students understand that they are the writers and creators of history.  Their story is important. Their voices matter.”

Dr. Amanda Glaze-Crampes

Assistant Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Science Education, Georgia Southern University | Science and Society Expert | NPR Contributor

Amanda Glaze-Crampes specializes in science teacher education, evolution education research and outreach, and professional development, alternating her time between the classroom and the field as an Assistant Professor of Middle Grades & Secondary Science Education at Georgia Southern University. Her research centers on the intersections of science and society, specifically the acceptance and rejection of evolution in the southeastern United States and the impact of the conflict between religion and evolution on science literacy. Her work has been featured on NPR’s video/radio series Science Friday as well as on social media outlets such as the NCSE Science Education Blog,, and She served as an expert panelist for Science Friday’s education focus #TeachTheE and works with organizations including NCSE, the Smithsonian Human Origins Program, and National Geographic funded Umsuka project at the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa.

Her research has been referenced in mainstream media outlets such as Scientific American, Forbes, and Newsweek and can be found in Science Education, The American Biology Teacher, Education Sciences, the International Journal of Mathematics & Science Education, and others. Her work in science and faith has led to her being named a “boundary pioneer,” one who bridges gaps across areas of conflict and helps others better understand and interact in places of contention. Her work is focused on cultural diversity in that it seeks to improve scientific literacy in all people, regardless of their backgrounds, by creating spaces where discourse and growth can occur. Her work is centered around her own experiences, growing up in a Southern Baptist ministry family in rural Alabama where she experienced first-hand how principles that are fundamental to science can cause concern and fear among others when their cultural beliefs and historical experiences do not align with what is being taught. In sharing her research and experiences through traditional and newer mediums such as podcasts, blogs, and documentaries, she has had opportunities to collaborate not only with major national institutions of learning and research but also classroom teachers and others among the public who have a far-reaching impact on how science is communicated with future generations.

Dr. Matthew F. Kerch

Executive Director, Housing and Residential Communities, The University of Alabama | Residential Housing Planning Expert | Higher Education Co-curricular Relationship Builder

Dr. Matthew F. Kerch serves as the Executive Director of Housing and Residential Communities and as a special assistant in the Division of Student Life at The University of Alabama, and has more than a decade of higher education administration experience. He is recognized as an exemplary leader who demonstrates his commitment to the advancement of other higher education and student affairs professionals through educational and training opportunities. Passionate about helping young people find their place on campus, Dr. Kerch has worked to foster a culture of collaboration and develop relationships across campus to broaden the co-curricular experience for students residing in on-campus residence halls. He has developed new relationships leading to learning opportunities, educational partnerships, and advancements to student life on campus. In his current role, Dr. Kerch oversees and leads a department serving over 8,500 on-campus students and is responsible for a multi-million dollar annual budget. He has managed multiple high-level construction projects and is completing one of the largest construction projects in UA history in the new Tutwiler Residence Hall, slated to open in August of 2022. In addition, he has implemented a long-term strategy for new construction and a renovation plan for existing residence halls over the next 10 – 15 years.

Dr. Kerch believes that working with students’ co-curricular experience is essential and we must continually re-evaluate the way we approach our work. This calls for aligning efforts with academic missions, developing close working relationships and collaborations, and creating a strong student experience. Dr. Kerch has worked tirelessly in an attempt to create learning environments aimed at developing the holistic student. This learning is grounded in student development, experiences, and individual core competencies. This includes continued collaboration between his department, the Division of Student Life, Academic Affairs, and the greater campus community. Dr. Kerch sits on multiple institution wide committees, serves on the Crisis Behavioral Intervention Advisory Board, and represents the University at various recruiting functions each year. He has also had the opportunity to represent the University at local, regional, national, and international conferences presenting information related to the great work that is being done on campus. Dr. Kerch strives to manage multiple priorities, maintain a visible public role, and foster a culture of collaboration and inclusivity.

Dr. Kerch has served in multiple roles in the Division of Student Life, and is dedicated to providing students a safe environment in which they can live and learn during their time at UA. He is also an adjunct Faculty member in the College of Education and is serving on a dissertation committee as well. He has held positions focusing on the areas of student life, residence life/housing, assessment, strategic planning, budget/finance, first year experience, judicial affairs, student activities, staff development, policy development, and instruction at multiple institutions. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kerch joined The University of Alabama in 2012 and earned his Doctorate of Education in 2017 from UA. He was a member of Cohort 8 of the Executive Ed.D. Program, led by Dr. Arleene Breaux. His wife, Dr. Cailin J. Kerch, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Education and the two have a five-year-old daughter, Anna, who is an aspiring soccer star, DJ, and Big AL’s biggest fan.  Roll Tide!

Dr. Kristalyn Lee

Vice President for Administration and Liaison to the Board of Trustees, University of Montevallo | Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant and Expert | Community Collaborator

Dr. Kristy Lee is a lifelong learner and advocate for life advancement through education. Her passion is helping students persist to graduation in order to transform their futures by the power of knowledge gained from degree completion with a strategic emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

It was growing up in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama that Kristy first discovered her passion for education. She set a goal and graduated from her first academic love, Auburn University, in 2003 with a B.S. in Microbiology. She proudly holds a J.D. from The University of Alabama School of Law, as well as her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama. She has also obtained certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from the University of South Florida. It is the knowledge gained from her ascension through academia coupled with the insight acquired in former careers as a middle school educator, financial advisor and college recruiter that have propelled her to her existing role as Vice President for Administration and Liaison to the Board of Trustees at the University of Montevallo.

Acknowledging the beauty of balance and importance of community collaboration, Kristy has shared her civic gifts with the metro-Birmingham community through organizations like Urban Ministry, YWCA Central Alabama, AmeriCorps National Service, Birmingham Dream Center and Easter Seals of Birmingham. She has innovated and led programming for minority students at University of Montevallo including Montevallo MADE (Minorities Achieving Dreams of Excellence), a program designed to help minority students prepare for the academic, social, personal and professional challenges experienced by minority students in college. She also serves on Auburn University’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board and the Higher Education Partnership, Board of Directors. She was honored by Auburn University as an outstanding alumni for the College of Sciences and Mathematics and by the Birmingham Business Journal with the 2020 Women to Watch award. Kristy has also participated in Leadership Shelby County.

Dr. Kristy Lee is a single mom on a mission to educate and empower. In her spare time, she enjoys nurturing future world changers, her daughters Kassidy and Kennadi, and empowering them with a love for education. She also enjoys nurturing her passion for cooking and traveling with family and friends to broaden her appreciation of life and the people she is fortunate enough to serve every day.

Caitlin Elizabeth McCamy-Smith

Head Kindergarten Teacher, McDonnell Elementary School 

In her role as a teacher, Caitlin exemplifies the ideals of fairness and equity. She believes that education is the great equalizer and lives that belief daily. She is guided by her conviction that all children, regardless of background, should have equal access to learning experiences that will equip them for a successful future. Caitlin teaches at a Title I school in a neighborhood where it isn’t easy to grow up. Year after year, children arrive in her class excited about school and eager to learn despite disadvantages due to poverty, racial discrimination, inadequate supervision due to parents working long hours at their jobs, and sometimes sudden homelessness. She works tirelessly to ensure that her students get a good start academically. But beyond academics, she tries to give children the basic ingredients they need to help them take advantage of the chance to learn. She treats every child as special and worthy and by the time they leave her class, they know that they are valued, deserving, and loved. She knows that for many of her students, school is the only safe and consistent environment they have. Her class is the bright spot where they feel acceptance and belonging. Like all good teachers sometimes do, she provides a lot of extra guidance beyond academics. It is her habit to put food in the backpacks for children who will not have enough food for the weekend. When they have food during the weekend and don’t go hungry, the students are attentive and ready to learn the following Monday. She also puts clothes in backpacks of children who need clothing. Other students don’t see these extras. Only the students who need food and clothing know about the surprises that appear in their backpacks. Adequate food and clothing level the playing field somewhat for these students.

Caitlin constantly evaluates and changes her teaching practices to fit students’ needs. She is tirelessly innovative in developing learning experiences that engage students and make learning enjoyable. She pays attention to cues from students and provides differentiated experiences that elicit growth and achievement for each student. She uses her knowledge of neurology of learning so that she understands how the brain learns and what her students need physically to be able to optimize their learning experience. Her students enjoyed the “brain breaks“ during the day and they are fun. However, quick “brain breaks” and other forms of exercise and healthy snacks provide increased oxygen and fuel to the brain and promote attentiveness and better learning. Caitlin is continually evaluating professional best practices and new research regarding learning that she can use to give her students an advantageous academic beginning.

Caitlin is deeply committed to helping all of her students succeed. She teaches at an elementary school where the student body is composed of primarily Hispanic and African-American students. She is devoted to making sure her English language learner students make progress in reading and writing in English since they need to know the English language to succeed in the US. However, she makes sure to respect the cultures of all her students, celebrating traditions from their communities in the classroom. This makes students feel included and know that their background is important. She works hard to make the class feel like they are a community, able to work together to accomplish the common goals of learning and developing friendships. Appreciation of each others’ strengths and being able to work together are valuable skills that are introduced and developed in her classroom. To develop her own skills to further benefit her diverse students, Caitlin earned a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in differentiated instruction and teaching English speakers of other languages from the University of Alabama, Huntsville in 2016. She earned a scholarship to pursue this degree through Project Help, a program sponsored by the United States Department of Education under President Obama. Caitlin has served as the head teacher in her grade level and as a member of the school -wide Leadership Committee for seven years. Her leadership has resulted in a strong partnership and work ethic with her teacher colleagues. This spirit of unity ensures that their students experience academic success. She has also assisted the school principal and other staff members on school wide projects such as the anti-bullying campaign, the superhero behavioral program, and the school sponsored clothing closet. She has accepted student teachers for placement in her classroom to continue their education. She also mentors first year teachers. Attention to detail and her ability to encourage colleagues to work as a team are some of her strengths as a leader.

Tyler Merriweather

Fifth-grade Teacher, Southlawn Elementary | Youth Advocate | Winner, Realizing the Dream Awards, University of Alabama Division of Community Affairs

Maggie McDaniel Morrow

Lead Teacher, Alabama First-Class Pre-K, Slocomb Elementary School | 

Maggie Morrow graduated from The University of Alabama College of Education in 2013 with a dual certificate in early childhood and elementary education. She reside in Dothan with her husband, Paul, and their two dogs, Henry and Tiny. She recently completed her eighth year of teaching and is looking forward to number nine!

Her professional teaching journey began in a third grade classroom in Orange Beach.  After a year, she became the lead teacher for one of Slocomb Elementary School’s Alabama First-Class Pre-K programs for three years. She found her passion for teaching in the early childhood classroom and is excited to see where this path leads.

She stated, “As an educator, it is my responsibility to promote the four overarching ideals of the College of Education. I strive daily to be reflective of my practices while establishing a fair, safe classroom environment with a commitment to diversity. Creating a culture of collaboration and sharpening my students’ social-emotional skills are ways I hope to impact their lives, my profession, and our future.”

Allison Hiss Ramey

French & Spanish Teacher, The Altamont School | French Club Sponsor | Curriculum Designer

Allison RameyAllison is thirty-one years old and earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Alabama. I believe she upholds all of the ideals expected of a graduate of our college, and she has made a positive impact on the students in her classrooms as well as on her professional colleagues. She designs curriculum and teaches middle and high-school level French classes; coordinates and chaperones week-long trips to France for students as well as coordinates and chaperones the annual French Convention • Administer National French Contest for middle and high-school French students • Sponsor French Club

Allison has received many honors for her work in the classroom and for supporting other teachers of world languages throughout the state of Alabama. She currently serves as the President of The Alabama Federation of French Clubs and is the Vice-President of the Alabama chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. While in college, she received the University of Alabama Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Master’s Student. More recently, Allison was the recipient of The Edna Earle Mullins Endowed Teaching Prize. This is given by the Altamonte School to a teacher who has excelled in teaching and also has demonstrated leadership in the school and in the educational community.

Sarah Saint

Education and Human Rights Attorney | Special Education Law Expert and School District Consultant | Named to Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” for Labor and Employment Law in 2021

Sarah Saint, an associate at Brooks Pierce in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a successful attorney with a passion for education and human rights. She believes all children deserve a high-quality education and uses her background in school counseling to advocate for both students and educational institutions.

Sarah received her B.A. in psychology and M.A. in school counseling from The University of Alabama. While working on her master’s degree and immediately after, she served as the Coordinator of Educational Outreach for the Honors College at The University of Alabama, where she designed and implemented a college and career readiness program for 1,000 local children, matching them with mentors to work with the students on developing “soft” skills known to increase positive outcomes across socioeconomic status. She also worked as the Coordinator of Mentoring in the Office of the Dean of Students, where she designed a curriculum to help first-generation college students succeed.

Sarah thrived on helping students achieve but continued to look for ways to have a broader impact in shaping the lives of young people. This led Sarah to education law, a pathway allowing her to shape policies and decisions that could impact more students. She attended Wake Forest University School of Law, receiving her J.D. in 2017. While in law school, she worked with the Council for Children’s Rights, focusing on children’s special education rights in public school.

Since entering private practice in September 2017, Sarah has focused much of her work on special education and helping school board members, administrators and teachers understand their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. While she often guides school districts holistically, Sarah also provides counsel in individual situations, including helping to make sure plans are developed to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities and that school discipline rules are implemented in compliance with the law. For the past year, much of her work has focused on helping school districts navigate the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her work has received recognition within the legal community, such as inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” for Labor and Employment Law in 2021, being named Young Lawyer of the Quarter for April-June 2020 by the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association and receiving the American Bar Association and Bloomberg BNA Awards for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law in 2017.

Sarah is involved in her community, holding many leadership roles, including serving as a member of the board of trustees for Triad Stage, a nonprofit professional theater, and recently ending a three-year term on the board of directors of the North Star LGBTQ Community Center, where she served as chair. She also gives considerable time to pro bono work to advance LGBTQ+ protections and rights.

Lindsey Thompson

Special Education Teacher | School Counselor | Assistant Principal

Lindsey Brown Thompson is a 2005 graduate of The University of Alabama earning a B.S. in collaborative special education. Upon graduation, she started her career as a special education teacher at West Blocton Middle School in Bibb County and two years later moved to Brookwood Elementary School in Tuscaloosa County Schools in the same capacity. She continued her education and earned a M.Ed in school counseling becoming school counselor at Brookwood Elementary. In 2012, Thompson became the junior counselor at Tuscaloosa County High School. During her six years as counselor at Tuscaloosa County High School, she continued to pursue her goal of becoming a school administrator and completed her Class A certification in Instructional Leadership. She was hired in her current position as assistant principal at Northside High School in Tuscaloosa County in 2018.

During her professional career, Thompson has received numerous awards for her outstanding leadership and dedication to her profession. Her awards/recognitions include the Most Outstanding Undergraduate College Student in Special Education from The University of Alabama in 2005; The Tommy Russell Award for the most outstanding student in special education from the Council for Exceptional Children and the Jacksonville State Teacher of the Year for Brookwood Elementary in 2008.

“I strive to collaborate with faculty/staff/students and parents to create relationships in which each stakeholder knows I am receptive to feedback and that I value their opinions. It truly takes a village working together and I am always willing to listen to other points of view. I hold myself to a high standard professionally and try to model fairness and equity in all my decision making. I truly feel being an educator is a calling and requires dedication and truly caring about each student I serve regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status. I believe my success is determined by the success of the students we serve.”

In her career, Thompson has encouraged and facilitated collaboration among all faculty and staff in creating a positive and productive educational environment. She does not hesitate to include students in the decision-making process.

Ms. Thompson is married to Robert (BJ) Thompson and has one son, Taylor, 14.

Dr. Amy Williamson

CrossingPoints Program Coordinator, The University of Alabama | Human Rights Advocate | Sexuality and Disability Researcher

Dr. Williamson completed her bachelor’s degree at The University of Alabama in 2006 and immediately took a teaching position in the CrossingPoints Program at UA. She taught in the program for more than twelve years before moving into the CrossingPoints Program Coordinator position as the program grew.

Williamson has been involved in securing over $6 million dollars in grant funding for the program and has served in various key personnel positions in those external projects. Throughout that time, she earned her master’s degree (2009) and Ph.D. (2017) in Special Education at The University of Alabama. Her research centers around human rights, transition programing, and other critically-related areas such as sexuality and disability.

In addition to numerous national and international conference presentations, Dr. Williamson has also co-authored several book chapters and articles related to transition and postsecondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. She also serves on various local, statewide, and national committees to advocate for improvements in transition opportunities both in the community and in Institutions of Higher Education.