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Newberry College Receives Major Gift for Speers Street School Revitalization Project

August 08, 2012

NEWBERRY, S.C. – The Institute for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Education (EDIE), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and enable educators to base more of their decisions on scientific evidence, recently showed its support of Newberry College’s Speers Street School revitalization project by giving a major gift toward the renovation of the property.

In recognition of the gift, Newberry College will name a LearnLab in the renovated facility in memory of Dr. Myles Friedman. Dr. Friedman was the E. Smythe Gambrell Professor of Education at the University of South Carolina and a distinguished professor emeritus of USC since his retirement. He was the former president of EDIE, author and developer of the Educational Research Program.

“EDIE is pleased to continue and expand its partnership with Newberry College,” said Dr. Charles Hatch, president of EDIE. “We look forward to playing an active role in the exciting new activities and endeavors now being undertaken by Newberry College that center around the Speers Street Project.”

In January, Newberry College announced it acquired the Speers Street School property from the Newberry County School District and planned to move its Department of Teacher Education and Sport Professions into the renovated Speers Street building upon its completion.

“We are growing and we need space,” says Dr. Cindy Johnson, assistant dean for transformative initiatives. “In addition to 10 degree programs leading to teacher certification, the department now includes degree programs in leisure services and sport management, as well as minors in areas like athletic training and coaching.”

Through its Department of Teacher Education and Sport Professions, Newberry College plans to offer a new master’s level program where practicing teachers can earn a degree in teacher leadership and sport professionals can earn a degree in sports administration.

In addition, the College plans to open the Institute for Leadership. “We’re looking to make Newberry a center of leadership development. This will be a place where the best in the field can come to learn and to study innovation in leadership,” said Johnson. “EDIE has recognized and confirmed the need for our transformative approach with its generous donation.”

Over the next few years, on the Speers Street property, the Department also intends to establish a lab school in partnership with the School District of Newberry County.

“We need a place for our teacher candidates to see every aspect of the educative process, from what happens in the office to what happens in the classroom and we want to continue supporting the amazing work happening throughout our local district,” says Jennifer Morrison, chair of Department of Teacher Education and Sport Professions. “Speers Street is founded on the idea of partnerships with the Newberry College community. This is a collaborative project – one in which we can all take pride. Speers Street will take the best and most current research and thinking in education today and make it real for teacher candidates and students at all levels.”

The Speers Street Campaign Committee is actively at work generating the funds to make the Speers Street project a reality. “Interest in this innovative project is welcomed,” said Johnson. “We anticipate that the donation by EDIE will provide the impetus for others to contribute to our vision of focusing the attention of our state and nation on Newberry College as a premier teacher education and leadership institution.”

For more information on the Speers Street School Revitalization Project, contact Dr. Cindy Johnson at 803-321-5206. For more information about EDIE, go to: http://www.edieinstitute.net/aboutedie.html

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