As the spring semester comes to a close, the School of Education celebrates the retirement of two of its most beloved and longest-serving professors. Lori Korinek, professor of special education, and Gail McEachron, professor of social studies education, were granted the status of professors emeritae by the Board of Visitors during their April session in recognition of a combined 66 years of service to William & Mary.
Korinek received her undergraduate degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin and her master’s degree in elementary and early childhood education from William & Mary. After completing her Ph.D. in special education at the University of Florida in 1985, she returned to her alma mater as an assistant professor in special education. Between degrees, she worked as a team leader at a residential facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities; a public school teacher in Chesapeake, VA; an instructor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA; and an educational diagnostician, instructor, and clinical supervisor for the University of Florida in Gainesville.
During her 34 years as a W&M faculty member in the School of Education, Korinek has fulfilled the roles of teaching, scholarship and professional service including coordination of the Special Education teacher preparation program. She is among the most productive W&M faculty in securing external funding with over $30 million to her credit as principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI on 35 federal and state personnel preparation and technical assistance grants. Since 1996, she has been a PI for the W&M Training and Technical Assistance Center project sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. Center staff provide professional development services for educators in high needs schools in Eastern Virginia to increase their capacity to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. For the past decade, Korinek has also been a member of the Virginia Department of Education training team for the Aspiring Special Education Leaders initiative across the Commonwealth.
Korinek’s primary areas of expertise include interventions for students with behavioral and learning disabilities, and collaboration among the adults who support their success in schools. In her teaching, scholarship, and service, she is dedicated to ensuring that research translates into effective practice and positive outcomes for K-12 students with disabilities and their educators. She has authored or co-authored numerous journal articles, chapters, and books. She has nearly 140 refereed or invited national and international presentations to her credit, in addition to many regional and state workshops and seminars. In recognition of her exemplary accomplishments, Korinek has received the Plumeri Research Award, a W&M Chair for Teaching Excellence, two Dean’s awards for collaborative initiatives, and a W&M Alumni Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching as well as their Recognition for Public Service award.
McEachron received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in elementary education from Arizona State University and her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at Austin. She has been working in the field of education for 47 years and for 32 years has been teaching courses in foundations, social studies and language arts, as well as supervising student teachers at William & Mary.
McEachron is the past-president of the Virginia Educational Research Association, where she has held a leadership role for the past three years. Her most recent research study on interdisciplinary social studies and science teaching with technology integration, conducted with Williamsburg-James City County classroom teachers, was published in The Social Studies Review (2019). In addition to scholarly publications including a book, book chapters, research reports and numerous articles, McEachron published curriculum projects as a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
In 2015, McEachron received the Phi Beta Kappa, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is the only person from the School of Education to receive the award, which recognizes the importance that PBK places on the quality of undergraduate teaching, and “shall be made to a faculty member who has demonstrated a commitment to the concept of an academic community in which teachers and undergraduate students work together to advance knowledge.”
International education, multilingual education and cross-cultural understanding are long-standing research interests. From 2005-2006, McEachron served as Acting Dean of the Reves Center for International Studies. McEachron has taught in, observed in, or collected research in more than 60 PK-16 schools in the United States and more than 30 PK-16 schools in Europe, India, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. The breadth and depth of these experiences enhanced her teaching and research primarily in the fields of social science and humanities education. Over the course of her career, she has taught 11 different undergraduate courses and 13 different graduate teacher education courses, in addition to professional development courses and/or seminars for experienced teachers.
McEachron was director of the ESL Dual Endorsement Program, which enables W&M students to become licensed K-12 ESL teachers, from 2011 to 2016. The program received the VA-ATE Partnership Award in 2013. Recently, McEachron was a Reves Center for International Studies Faculty Fellow; she received a matching grant with a colleague from Bath Spa University to involve BSU and W&M students in data collection on language support in elementary and high schools in England and Virginia.
McEachron has also shared her talents with the broader academic community. She taught in the Summer Enrichment Program through the Center for Gifted Education for elementary, middle and high school students and was a summer camp counselor in California for siblings of children who had terminal illnesses. She created partnerships for William & Mary students with the Muscarelle Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Colonial Williamsburg, Lee Hall Mansion Museum, Endview Civil War Living History Museum, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Literacy for Life, and Montessori Schools. In addition, she created partnerships with three public school divisions (WJCC, Newport News, and Henrico County) as well as Hampton Roads Academy for the ESL Dual Endorsement Program.
“It is impossible to sum up the careers of these two extraordinary scholars in just a few words, and even more difficult to convey the depth of their impact on generations of educators,” said Spencer Niles, dean of the School of Education. “Lori and Gail have been trusted colleagues, inspiring mentors, valued collaborators, and dear friends to so many in the School of Education community. We are incredibly grateful for their many contributions to the school and to the field of education, and we’re excited to see where their talents lead them in this next phase of their careers.”