Educational Leadership and Counseling

Student and Alumni Spotlight


MSA Alumnus Leads PSRC with Passion

Dr. Wooten

Dr. Shanita Wooten, a 2011 graduate of the Master of School Administration (MSA) program, currently serves as the interm superintendent for the Public Schools of Robeson County (PSRC).  Dr. Wooten recently stated, "My mission as superintendent is also my passion and is the reason I do what I do. That is, to maintain and grow a rigorous teaching and learning environment that provides every student with a sense of belonging while helping students to grow intellectually, emotionally and socially."  She believes it is critical to every student’s success that they graduate from high school with the habits of mind and skills necessary to pursue and achieve their goals and dreams.  Dr. Wooten is most passionate about leadership development... to build capacity in her district and school leaders so they can make a powerful difference in the lives of PSRC students.  

She is committed to developing the skills and dispositions of future leaders who want to:

  • Learn how to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities facing schools,
  • Lead and nurture the capacity of others toward a vision of excellence for all demographic groups of students, and
  • Transform schools into dynamic learning communities that focus on results.

"The demands on educational leaders are evolving," said Dr. Wooten. "To face these challenges and create transformative change in education, it is imperative that I understand the role of educational leadership and all the responsibilities I have as I work to help the schools in Robeson County," she added. As an educational leader Dr. Wooten works with teachers and other education professionals on systemic plans to improve educational programming and outcomes in the PSRC. 

Dr. Wooten plans to continue in educational leadership. She stated that she is, "appreciative of the ongoing support UNCP’s Department Of Educational Leadership And Counseling has provided over the years. They provide support to me, as a leader, and to the Public Schools of Robeson County. The advice, feedback, and support is invaluable."

Dr. Wooten is affiliated with Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Inc.  Her favorite quote is “If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important and you do that by being genuine and humble” by Nelson Mandela.



Counseling Programs Alumus Aims for Doctorate

S. Valenzuela



Sitonja Valenzuela (Saint Pauls, NC), a recent graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program was admitted into the Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral program at Walden University.  She anticipates graduating in 2021.  Sitonja is passionate about multicultural issues and plans to seek employmenet as a director of a college counseling center and teach upon graduation.

Sitonja was asked about advice she may have for incoming students.  She recommends working on writing skills stating, "scholarly writing and critical thinking are very important."  Sitonja is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), and the Higher Education Case Managers (HECMA).  Sitonja says her greatest challenge as been, " working full-time and attending school full-time.  Her favorite quote is: "They told me I couldn't, so I did" --Author unknown.



Professional School Counseling Student Awarded Scholarship


Jessica Oxendine (above), a student in the Professional School Counseling Program recently received a scholarship in the amount of $324 from the North Carolina School Counselor Association.



Another Counseling Graduate Pursues Doctorate


Kristen Sessoms (above), a recent graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is pursuing a doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision at Capella University.  Read more here to learn about her journey and experience at UNCP.



Counseling Graduates Accepted into Doctoral Progams 


Three recent graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program were accepted into counselor education doctoral programs. Jacob Blackstock (left) was admitted into the doctoral counseling program at UNC Greensboro.  Click here to read about his experiences in the CMHC program here at UNCP.  Bredell Moody (middle) and Samantha Simon (right) begins their doctoral studies at North Carolina State University.  Learn more about Bredell's journey into professional counseling by clicking here.  Samantha shares here experiences and describes the level of training she received at UNCP here.   See the Robesonian's article titled, "UNCP Graduates in Line to Earn Doctorates."



Bredell Moody: There was no way to avoid meeting this challenge (The Fayetteville Observer)