Dr. Melody Deprez, Graduate Professor at Georgetown College.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Melody Deprez, Graduate Professor of Learning and Behavior Disorders

What programs do you teach at Georgetown College? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?

I teach in the M.A.Ed. Learning and Behavior Disorders and Moderate to Severe Disabilities programs. Disabilities personally impacted me since I grew up with two uncles who had mental and physical disabilities 

I am excited about the new practices, strategies, and expectations that have evolved over the years for students with disabilities. They were a forgotten population early in my career in the school system, but legislation has enabled them to finally get the instruction they so deserve.

How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we’re in?

Our faculty in Learning and Behavior Disorders and Moderate to Severe Disabilities programs are experienced educators of these children, and we are fully aware of the challenges involved in meeting the needs of these K-12 students. In our instruction, we have always addressed the social-emotional needs of this student population; it is even more critical now that we address these needs.

There is always technology usage in the instruction of these students, but now even more because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our future teachers will learn about new ways to use technology in the classroom.

What attracted you to Georgetown College to teach at? What sets them apart?

I had just moved back to Kentucky, and I was teaching LBD in an elementary school before I was asked to be the teacher mentor of a first-year special education teacher in my school. That teacher was in the Georgetown College Learning and Behavior Disorders graduate program. I had a wonderful experience mentoring her and had been looking for a position as a professor; so I felt that it was meant to be. I also liked the fact that the graduate education program was online, offering students great flexibility.

Georgetown College is a caring institution known for its high-quality curriculum. As a small institution, we can understand our students and address their individual needs. My colleagues and the staff work hard to make sure all students have a positive experience. We have a powerful Education Department.

What is your professional background as an educator?

I have a B.A. in Psychology with Minors in Elementary Education, Kindergarten and Learning and Behavior Disorders from Marymount Manhattan College, an M.A. in Elementary Education from New York University, and Ed.D. in Education Leadership from Spalding University. I have been an Assistant Professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Seton Hall, and Xavier University. I have taught in elementary education, kindergarten through eighth grade, in New York City and Louisville for many years, and also in Learning and Behavior Disorders classrooms in Jefferson County Public School.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?

I was drawn to teaching because of my two uncles with disabilities. One lived with my grandmother, and when I was young, I would always try to teach him things using pencil and paper. I think that experience sparked my curiosity and indeed stayed in my heart. I have taught in many different settings and locations; they have all been different but interesting experiences. Some have been wonderful, and some have been highly challenging. In the challenging ones, I always learned a lot about the students and how to teach them better.

What would you tell prospective students considering your programs about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?

I have a broad range of experiences in different classrooms and locations. I am a life-long learner committed to issues that improve the lives of students and especially devoted to the topic of diversity.

I have had many challenges in life but never give up: I am a hard worker. For example, I was a professor in New York City on 9/11. It was the first day my student teachers were in their field placements, and I had to help them work through their fears and trauma of that day.

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their graduate education degree in elementary education, special education, or education administration and supervision? How can people stand out in these fields?

You need to be prepared to work hard and maintain confidence in your own abilities. You must have your K-12 students in your heart and be committed to their whole well-being. It is also important to have a growth mindset and project that to your students so they have the courage to keep trying.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Teachers need to take care of their own well-being too. Make time for yourself through hobbies such as exercise, yoga, music, mediation, or whatever you enjoy. Your job is demanding, and this will revitalize you.