College of Education and Human Development

VISION: The College of Education and Human Development aspires to be one of the top five education programs in the country. As responsive educators with adaptive expertise, we provide exceptional leadership in research and professional practice that impacts the lives of students from prekindergarten to post-graduate education.              


MISSION: The College of Education and Human Development provides academic and professional practice in teacher preparation, K-12 leadership, counseling, psychometry, and higher education. We accomplish this through our curriculum and collaboration with the university and surrounding communties.


Program Operator Dr. Ingrad Smith is the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Jackson State University and Executive Director of the Association for Rural Education Policy and Practice. She has been an assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, university administrator at Florida International University and assistant professor at Mississippi State University.

She has a Bachelors Degree in English and a Masters Degree in Adult Education from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration with emphasis in school violence from Jackson State University.

Instructor Dr. Dennis Williams is the Director of the Masters of Arts in Teaching program for the College of Education and Human Development at Jackson State University. He has served in the capacity of coach, lead teacher, assistant principal, and athletic director at CM& I.

He has a Bachelors Degree in Business, a Masters Degree of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education, a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Co-instructor/Technologist Casey Johnson is a nine year educator and has taught multiple disciplines on different levels. He is currently a 6-8 Grade Math teacher at Siwell Road Middle School in the Jackson Public School District.  Mr. Johnson has been an Electronics Instructor at Hinds Community College on the Utica Campus. He has also held positions of coach, consultant, and technician.

He has a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Technology with an emphasis in Electronics and a Masters Degree in Technology Education from Jackson State University. He is currently enrolled in the Specialist Degree program for Secondary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics.

Co-instructor Chris Shepard is a 2 year educator that works at Cardozo Middle School in the Jackson Public School District.  He is an 8th Grade History teacher there and also assistant basketball coach. He holds a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and is currently in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Jackson State University. 

The group of young men that we have, come from diverse backgrounds and have some unique talents. Let us meet the guys. 

Israel Abiye is an 18 year old freshman at Jackson State University. He is one of four children and a native of Ethiopia. He is a very intelligent young man that majors in Civil Engineering. Israel's hobbies are soccer, reading, and current events. He is bilingual and speaks English and Amharic.

The Twins
Tevin and Kevin Bowman are 18 year old seniors at CM&I High School. These young men are musically gifted and played in the marching band for 3 years at their previous school Calloway High School. Tevin plays the drums or in his own words "I don't play the drums, Drums are what I do". Tevin also plans on attending Jackson State to play in the Sonic Boom marching band and major in Music. Kevin plays multiple instruments and has aspirations of joining the military as well as major in Music along with his brother. 
Nahom Tilahun is an 20 year old freshman at Jackson State University.  He attended high school at Piney Woods Country Life School.  Nahom is a Computer Science major at Jackson State.  He is also a native of Ethiopia. His native language is Amharic.  
Jamie Underwood is a 16 year old sophmore at CM&I High School. Jamie says that he is glad to be participating in BTBP. He is eager to learn about video editing. "I am trying to find out what I like to do!", is the what this young man said. Jamie enjoys life and having fun but says he is getting more focused on finding a major for college. 
Isaiha Watson is 18 years of age and finishing his senior year at CM&I High School as well. Isaiha plays basketball for CM&I. He enjoys sports, movies, and comedy. He is a very active and energetic young man that believes in facing challenges head on.

Week 1 

Beyond the Bricks Jackson started up successfully.  Dr. Dennis Williams presented at the round table discussion giving the protocol for the program. The participants introduced themselves and told about their backgrounds as well as their goals and interests. 


Mr. Johnson covers the first month project with participants.  Isaiha Watson was intrigued by the media messages that were linked.  He said he will think more about what he watches and sees more often.


Week 2 


With cameras in hand, the young men venture off to take some shots of campus life at Jackson State to get a glimpse of what challenges participants Israel Abiye and Nahom Tilahun are undergoing in their STEM majors. (Civil Engineering and Computer Science)

Nahom Tilahun

Week 3

The guys went to their computer stations as we covered the curriculum for week 3 days one and two. 

Cinematography and Oral History

Week 4

In the pursuit of all things, there comes a time when certain skills are needed. We had the guys meet with Dr. Frank Giles and his wife Dr. Gloria Dansby-Giles to give the guys some pointers on work readiness skills.