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Dr. Valeisha Ellis, Ph.D.: Building a Foundation in Education

December 2017

Dr. Valeisha EllisAccording to the U.S. Department of Education, school districts still feel the effects of a national teacher shortage. Some reasons for the shortage are low pay, evaluation methods, and testing requirements. 

Spelman College continues to tackle the issue one student at a time.

“Spelman College is preparing highly qualified teacher candidates every day,” said Valeisha Ellis, Ph.D., an assistant professor and Teacher Performance Assessment coordinator for Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. 

Dr. Ellis has been teaching for 15 years. Her strategic approach is uniquely designed to be a training ground for future educators, providing real-life experience through community partnerships. Results show that students gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

“Spelman has a 100 percent first-attempt pass rate among students who take the Teacher Performance Assessment,” said Dr. Ellis, adding that preparation is key to the College’s success. “One hundred percent of students recently surveyed by Spelman’s Education Department said they felt fully prepared to take the examination after attending Spelman.” 

Spelman’s Department of Education is committed to academic excellence and strengthening pathways in the classroom for students specifically interested in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“We value the importance of engaging our students and implementing STEM concepts into the core of our curriculum,” said Dr. Ellis.

Over the past five years, 34 percent of the College’s student body pursued majors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, physics, environmental science, or engineering (dual degree program), and 25 percent of graduates received degrees in STEM disciplines. 

“A strong foundation in math and science is key for graduates who are thriving in STEM careers and navigating today’s modern-day workforce,” said Dr. Ellis.

Dr. Ellis is one of Spelman’s 54 full-time faculty in the STEM departments and programs, of which a rare 83 percent are racial/ethnic minorities and 52 percent are women. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in special education, a master’s degree in education, and a doctorate from Florida State University.

Dr. Ellis teaches several courses, including Early Childhood Development, Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education, and How Children Learn Math.

Dr. Ellis can provide perspective on the following topics: teacher shortage, early childhood education, STEM, teacher evaluation methods and testing requirements, and special education.