Elementary Education certification, 2001
M.Ed. Reading, 2003
Kakeisha Ruffin Harris was convinced she would have to retake the research course required for her master’s degree before she even stepped into the classroom. She had heard stories about the difficulty of the coursework. When Harris came to the first class of the semester, nervousness overtook her and caused her to feel nauseous.
“Dr. Norris handed out his syllabus, and I almost fell to the floor before even opening it,” she says. “We went through the syllabus, and then he made us close it. Next, he looked us all in the eyes and said, ‘Research is rigorous, but we will get through this.’ It was the professor and his approach from the very first day that made the course endurable and informative.”
Harris, an eighth grade language teacher at Raceland Middle School, earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University. Because of her love for children and learning, she received certification in elementary education from Nicholls and went on to earn a master’s degree in reading and complete 30 additional graduate hours, focusing on early childhood development.
“Nicholls strives to empower its education students to know that we are capable of researching and providing practices that are effective and will transform children to another level,” Harris says.
Harris advises students to form relationships with both their professors and peers.
“Bring to classes the issues that communities, schools and families face,” Harris says. “Ask many questions and observe behaviors. Stop and reflect on what you do and why you make those decisions. This checks and balances system will open your mind to a new way of thinking so that maximum learning will occur.”