Dr. Tara Brooks

Dr Tara BrooksDr. Brooks is the Director of Multicultural Affairs & an Assistant Professor in the School of Education, Health and Human Performance.  With support from Dean Dempsey, she formed the Diversity Task Force, secured funding from HEPC, and involved community members in the quest to increase diversity awareness on campus and within the community.   In hopes of bridging the gap, this project will create an archive of digital stories on diversity and identities, develop a professional development course for faculty, staff, and community members, and will lay the foundation for future work.


Dr. Van Dempsey

Dr. Dempsey is the Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance at Fairmont State University. His primary areas of professional interests have included school desegregation, school-university partnerships, and education policy. His research has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences for its impact on children, youth and families, and for warranting the attention of national policy makers. His recent interests have focused on connections between education, community, and economic opportunity. Van holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Dr. Sharon Smith

Dr. Smith is veteran educator with 32 years of experience in public and higher education. Sharon has certifications in elementary education K-8, special education – gifted, early childhood, and middle school. She currently teaches undergraduate courses at FSU and is a Professional Development School liaison at Barrackville Elementary- Middle School and Pleasant Valley Elementary. An accomplished presenter, she regularly does local, state, and national presentations on a wide range of topics.


Dr. Denise Lindstrom

Dr. Lindstrom had extensive teaching experience in diverse public school settings especial in those with majority ESL and African American student populations. She has California State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Cultural Language and Academic Development Emphasis and a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Iowa State University. She teaches Instructional Technology and Inclusive Practices and Individual Differences at Fairmont State University.


Dr. Claudia Nickolson

Dr. Nickolson earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University. She teaches in the School of Education at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Her teaching and research interests are wide ranging and include the areas of migrant education, English as a Second or Other Language education, language and literacy education, social studies education and rural issues in education. Dr. Nickolson is especially excited about exploring ideas connected to place based or community based education in the context of the work that this committee undertakes.


Ps. Lonnie Leo Riley, Sr

Pastor Riley graduated with an Associate degree in Sociology and a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Fairmont State College, and has worked with United Parcel for 31 years. Pastor Riley and his wife Pastor Rose-Riley both serve as pastors at the Christian Love Ministries, where they received their credentials. Pastor Lonnie Leo Riley, Sr. desires to fulfill the purpose and plan that God has predestined for his life; to be an example of God’s saving grace where of he was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto him by the effectual working of His power.


Ps. Regina Rose- Riley

Pastor Rose- Riley, a graduate of Fairmont State University , has served in many capacities while at Miracle Revival Center Ministries such as Youth Pastor, usher, youth choir director, praise team leader and Sunday school teacher. Pastor Rose- Riley’s steadfast believe in the purpose and plan of God for her life is a contributing factor to her disposition as a pastor at Christian Love Ministries, where she currently serves with her husband. As a Christian, Pastor Rose- Riley seeks the welfare and development of the entire community and likes to take advantage of every opportunity that endeavor to do so.


Dr. Julie Reneau

Dr. Reneau earned her M.A. and Ed.D in Special Education from West Virginia University and has certifications in elementary education (K-6) and multi-categorical special education (K-adult).  Prior to obtaining her position at Fairmont State, she worked with students who struggled and students with special needs in K-8 classrooms. She currently teaches special education courses in the School of Education. In her role as Professional Development School Liaison to Taylor County Middle School, Dr. Reneau supports teacher efforts to help students who have difficulty with reading and math.

Carol Tannous

Carol Tannous is the Director of Destination Education; a School of Education, Health & Human Performance initiative that addresses the academic, social and emotional challenges associated with the college student experience.   Carol’s 25 years in Higher Education have focused on supporting first generation, rural Appalachia and inner-city college students as they transition to college. Carol considers her previous work with the highly successful Philadelphia Partnership Program, a multi-year initiative that helps students from urban high schools to attend college, as some of her most rewarding work.

Dr. Judy Prozzillo Byers

Dr. Prozzillo is  the Founder and Director of the Frank and Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center on the campus of FSU and PC&TC.  Her scholarship in Appalachian folklore, storytelling, and creative pedagogy was studied at WVU and Indiana University along with being the executrix of the Ruth Ann Musick Folklore Estate.  Among her honors she has been named FSU Abelina Suarez Professor, Senior Level; WV Italian Woman of the Year; and both WV Teacher and Merit Foundation WV Professor of the Year.  She is Chair of the Appalachian Lit/Culture Assembly for National Council of Teachers of English and a Teaching Project mentor for the Appalachian Regional Commission.  

Daniel Tetteh-Richter

Daniel is pursuing his doctoral degree in Instructional Design & Technology at WVU. While earning his MA in Education, he served as a graduate research assistant at the WVU - TLC department. Daniel is passionate about history and religion and has made several presentations on the history, religious traditions and festivals of the Ga people of Ghana at the Department of Africana Studies at WVU. Daniel is currently teaching Intro to Instructional Technology and is a Diversity Fellow with the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He agrees with M. Forbes that, "Diversity is the art of thinking independently together".

Deacon Lawrence Harton

Mr. Harton graduated from FSU with a B. Sc. degree in Business Administration. He also has a M.Sc. degree in Social Work from WVU.  He is retired from the Veterans Administration Hospital where he was employed as a Social Worker and Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome programs. He is an involved community member, who hopes that through the Diversity Task Force to help facilitate bridging the gap between community and campus awareness of the need for diversity training for staff and community. Ultimately, he anticipates that students will become more aware of and able to deal with life in our increasingly diverse society.


Mrs. Mary Tate

Mrs. Tate is a retired educator with 35 years of teaching in the Marion County School System. She is a graduate from Fairmont State and WVU.  She is an active member of the Morning Star Baptist Church where she serves in many positions. Mrs. Tate has always and still remains to plant seeds of knowledge in children that they may someday sprout into strong trees and produce abundant fruit in this society called the "real world".


Dr. Jaci Webb-Dempsey

Dr. Jaci Webb-Dempsey teaches research methods, sociology of education, and teacher leadership courses in the School of Education; primarily in the graduate programs.  Jaci is currently the President of the FSU Faculty Senate and she also serves as the FSU Liaison to Simpson Elementary and South Harrison High School in Harrison County, working with teachers and FSU teacher candidates in these two Professional Development Schools.  Her scholarship has focused on school-university partnerships, school renewal policies and practices, and the educational opportunities of marginalized students.  Jaci holds a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Contact Info

Kaye Widney
Vice President, Student Services
Turley Student Services Center
Room 306
Phone: (304) 367-4303