She's been an educator for over 40 years and impacting Gordon students since 2001. Retiring in May, she left Gordon's walls with mixed emotions. "I've enjoyed the students and the opportunity to shape the next generation who view teaching as a calling," says Dr. Stella Pierce, professor and chair of the Department of Education. "I'll miss the daily contact and interaction with students."
Specializing in special education and foundations of education, she will be a huge loss. Donna Robinson, associate professor of education, says, "Stella Pierce has been a leader with vision who organizes the details—both needed in education. Stella sees the big picture and the steps needed to complete it. We'll miss Stella's careful and caring ways. Advising students, planning of any kind, and teaching have been her hallmarks. Students have benefited from her commitment and advocacy on their behalf. Both the Education Division and its students will feel her absence."
Stella took her first job as a speech therapist—the first African American to teach in three all-white schools in Georgia during the late 1960s, recruited for the job by the superintendent. Over the years she served as a speech and language pathologist, special education teacher and director in schools in Georgia, Texas and New Hampshire, and was a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
"I often feel responsible to advocate for marginalized students and those with disabilities, especially because I grew up during the Civil Rights Movement and was set apart because of race. I am delighted at how far our country has come in our struggle to live and worship together, and to educate all students. But history has also taught me how much more we have to learn about loving our neighbors, and that the achievement gap persists for many students of color."
Stella looks forward to traveling, gardening, spending more time with her family including her husband, four adult children and eight grandchildren. She will also work on a research project on the academic achievement gap found in groups defined by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
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