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Distinctive Departments: Dr. Suzie Thomason, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator

Dr. Suzie Thomason graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary – Early Childhood Education in 1994 and immediately began serving children in a Title I school. After four years in that position, she transitioned to a newly opening university lab school affiliated with the University of Louisiana at Monroe. During her two years there, she supervised numerous student teachers, presented at state conferences, and also completed her Master of Education in Administration and Supervision. In 2000, she and her husband, Shannon, moved to Missouri where she began working in the Branson R-IV School District. Shortly thereafter, she served as a model kindergarten classroom with the Comprehensive Literacy Model. This ignited her passion for providing high-quality literacy experiences to early childhood students and later fueled her return to school to study under Dr. Linda Dorn at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Reading.

During her tenure as a public-school teacher, she has taught grades K-4 as well as serving as a Reading Recovery teacher. While serving as a Reading Recovery teacher, she became aware of students in the community who were homeless. The Lord guided her to Elevate Branson (FKA Jesus was Homeless), where she has volunteered her time and talents for the past 3 years to create unique learning opportunities for children in poverty, specifically those who are residing in extended-stay motels. Dr. Thomason has a heart for the underserved and hopes to eventually provide high-quality early childhood opportunities for these children and their families.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role at Evangel?

​I am most looking forward to combining my love for our Lord and my passion for early childhood education.  As we partner with families, listen to their needs, and strengthen early childhood education, we are essentially strengthening our work force in our communities and building a better tomorrow for everyone!

What is your connection to Evangel?

I received my Reading Recovery certification through Evangel and have also served as an adjunct professor in the department of education for the past year.

What is the current outlook for the field of Early Childhood Education?

While enrollment numbers across the field of education have shown a decline in recent years, our department is encouraged by the growth we are seeing and hope to increase the number of students pursuing a degree in this foundational level of education.

What are the qualities you look for in a future educator?

There are numerous qualities that a future educator should have including kindness, compassion, the ability to skillfully listen, and the desire to reflect on instructional practices. Future teachers also need to be critical thinkers who strive to make a difference in the field of education and in the lives of children and their families.  

What are the main highlights of the Early Childhood program?

Our Early Childhood Program is a comprehensive major that includes Elementary Education. Students who complete our program are eligible for both early childhood and elementary certification with Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) from birth-6th grade.

Early Childhood majors have many opportunities to serve our community in field experiences working with infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and students in elementary grades.

Our professors bring decades of experience in early childhood and elementary schools. Our program has an excellent reputation in Southwest Missouri and around the world with over 98% of our graduates consistently placed in teaching positions each year.

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