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Appalachian State University to host inaugural conference of Women in Educational Leadership Symposium; Appalachian’s Chancellor Everts to be among the keynote speakers

By: Ken Keuffel

BOONE—Dr. Sheri N. Everts, the chancellor of Appalachian State University, will be among the keynote speakers at the inaugural conference of the Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS), which Appalachian will host Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

The conference, with a theme called “Advancing the Leader Within: Building Capacity,” will also feature keynote addresses by two other education leaders in the state: Dr. June Atkinson and Dr. Stelfanie Williams. Atkinson is the state superintendent of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and Williams is the president of Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson.

All the keynote speakers will tell the stories of how their careers progressed and why they chose education.

“They’ll illuminate the joys and challenges of their work,” said Dr. Precious Mudiwa, WIELS’ executive director and associate professor of leadership and educational studies in Appalachian’s Reich College of Education. “And they’ll provide advice to other women.”

The conference is designed for anyone involved in or aspiring to leadership in all education sectors, including K-12, community colleges, universities, consulting firms and the private sector. Attendees will have opportunities to participate in sessions on various leadership topics of interest to women in education.

“We encourage professionals, aspiring professionals, and those who are advocates for women in leadership to attend,” Mudiwa said. “The conference is aimed at women who are interested in learning from others and those who are willing to share skills and expertise. It will provide personalized learning and mentoring opportunities for those who are serious about leadership.”

The symposium has attracted participants from eight states, 13 countries and all of the University of North Carolina system, Mudiwa said. There are also a fair number of participants from K-12, community colleges and private institutions such as Wake Forest University, Meredith College and High Point University.

“Women from the private sector are also registered and how exciting that we also have men presenting at this conference,” Mudiwa said.

Specifically, conference participants will have opportunities to:

  • Learn from and interact with scholars and leaders in education;
  • Select concurrent sessions involving best practices and research;
  • Engage in critical conversations about issues affecting women;
  • Meet with mentors to develop action plans; and
  • Participate in or observe role-playing related to real world job scenarios.

All conference events will be held on the Appalachian campus, and conference participants can register for them onsite. Conference check-in will be Sept. 30 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Grandfather Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union. The Sept. 30 program, featuring an address by Everts, will begin at 4 p.m. Events on the conference’s subsequent days will be held in the Reich College of Education. Both Atkinson and Williams will speak Oct. 1.

To view a full conference schedule, visit

Online registration is open through Sept. 27 at


WIELS is a partnership between faculty members in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies at Appalachian and practicing educators, with a mandate to develop an “armoring process” that will equip women with pragmatic knowledge, skills and dispositions that prepare them for success as educational leaders. To accomplish this mission, WIELS serves as a clearinghouse for information on issues facing women in educational leadership, and sponsors an annual symposium to provide networks of mentors, colleagues and role models to assist women in achieving their career goals. For more information, visit

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.