College of Education

College of Education awards graduate students in Teaching and Learning master’s program


The Clemson University College of Education has awarded four graduate students its Teaching and Learning Online M.Ed. Award to recognize exemplary educators who show evidence and potential as leaders in their field. Leadership in the Department of Teaching and Learning has recognized one graduate student from each of the M.Ed. program’s specializations with the award.

The College of Education was named the #1 online graduate education program in the nation in 2024, and the M.Ed. program was one of three to be included in the ranking.


Kelly L. Manning
Kelly L. Manning

Kelly L. Manning is the awardee from the M.Ed. program’s STEAM specialization. Manning said the program has allowed him to grow as an educator while implementing the practices and principles obtained in his classroom. He said his most fond experiences have been with faculty who have cultivated collaboration and engagement alongside authentic and relevant coursework in a fully online setting. He enrolled in the program to be a “servant leader,” so seeing faculty demonstrate those ideals with him and his fellow students was heartening.

“I enrolled in the program not to gain notoriety or accolades but to be a servant leader for my colleagues, students and educators nationally and globally,” Manning said. “When my professors gave out their personal phone numbers, I knew this was more than an ‘online program,’ and my growth and development as an educator and student was highly important.”

Experiential Learning for Early Childhood

Sara King
Sara King

Sara King is the awardee from the M.Ed. program’s Experiential Learning for Early Childhood specialization. As a full-time early childhood educator, King said the program allows her to seamlessly integrate her studies with her role as a teacher, fostering a learning experience without compromising her professional responsibility.

“The program has made me a better teacher by promoting strong research skills to find dynamic, culturally responsive ways to meet the needs of my little learners,” King said. “Specifically, the program’s curriculum has deepened my understanding of play-based learning and child brain development while furnishing me with essential strategies to advance literacy, math and science skills in my classroom.”

Effective and Reflective Teaching

Becky Miller
Becky Miller

Becky Miller is the awardee from the M.Ed. program’s Effective and Reflective Teaching specialization. Miller works with math students across the United States, and most of those students perform below grade level, speak English as a second language and come from minority backgrounds. She said she has learned a tremendous amount from her professors and the assigned readings, online discussion boards and collaborative projects, so much so that she is already incorporating the lessons learned into her work.

“Faculty members emphasized how having students engage in reflection increases understanding, encourages student ownership of learning and helps close the education gap; Dr. Cynthia Deaton helped me learn how to improve student motivation and understanding through student dialogue,” Miller said. “I have already implemented these and other valuable lessons with my current students.”

Instructional Coaching

Katie Black
Katie Black

Katie Black is the awardee from the M.Ed. program’s Instructional Coaching specialization. Black said the coursework has already begun to prepare her for my next steps in the process of becoming an instructional coach.

“My experience in the program so far has been incredible,” Black said. “I have received multiple tools and resources that I can carry with me throughout the rest of my career in education, no matter what position I am in. I have grown as an educator immensely since starting this program, and I can’t wait to continue reaching my professional goals through it.”

Students enrolled in their second semester of coursework could apply for the award by developing an essay discussing how they plan to use the expertise gained as part of their degree to grow as leaders in their field or educational setting. Applicants also provided a letter of support from an administrator, supervisor or colleague. Awardees will enjoy a $6,000 tuition reduction as part of the award recognition.

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