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Saundra Shorter

Saundra ShorterSaundra Newby Shorter, Ed.D., Professor, Chairperson, Department of Elementary Education; B.S. Psychology with certification in Special Education (emphasis in Mental Retardation) and Elementary Education (K-7), Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA, June 1964.   M.Ed. Special Education with emphasis in Mental Retardation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, June 1968.  Ed.D. Community College Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, May 1983. 

Dr. Saundra Shorter has had a wealth of experiences since she embarked upon a career in teaching in 1964.  She has served as a teacher of mentally retarded children at the Petersburg Training School in Petersburg, Virginia from 1964 –68.  She accepted a job at her alma mater, Virginia State University in 1968 and has been in higher education since that time.  She has taught at Norfolk Sate University (1970-81) and has been at Fayetteville State University for the last twenty five years.  During her tenure at Fayetteville State University, she has served in several leadership positions to include Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Assistant Dean in the School of Education and Interim Dean of the School of Education for 3 ½ years.  Currently she is the Chair of Elementary Education.

The departmental faculty view Dr. Shorter as an outstanding leader who knows how to make each person feel a part of the team.  While being outspoken, she is always sympathetic and willing to help solve problems.  She continues to teach courses in special education, diversity and birth – kindergarten and is revered by her students who find her to be a warm, friendly, witty, knowledgeable professor who always has time to answer questions and ask if all is well.  Her office is always open to those who need her help. 

She is generous with her time and has participated in many community activities.   She has served on the boards of the United Way, Fayetteville Committee for Troubled Children, and Children’s Creative World.

Dr. Shorter is a dynamic speaker who has the ability to keep her audiences on the edge of their seats.  Her travels throughout the country speaking at professional education organizations, civic groups, schools and churches has provided her with many awards. She served as Chair of the Diversity Team to rewrite the Diversity standards for the State Department of Public Instruction and continually serves on Accreditation teams throughout the state.  She is diligent in her work and conscientious in all that she does.

Her specific areas of expertise include diversity issues, teaching strategies for children and developing on-line classes.

Selected Publications
Shorter, S. & Locklear, Z. (2001). "Recruiting and retaining minorities in teacher education: Implementing the value-added approach". in Patterns of Excellence: Promoting Quality in Teaching Through Diversity; Southern Education Foundation, Atlanta. (pp. 95-109).

Shorter, S. & Locklear, Z. "Project TEAM: A Qualification Model for the Recruitment and Retention of Minorities in Teacher Education."  North   Carolina Journal of Teacher Education, Spring, 1994, Vol. VII, No. 1.

Dickens, V., Hadley, W. and Shorter, S.: Teachers Perception and Uses of the Whole Language Approach to Teaching Reading, Educational Issues, Fall, 1990.

Shorter, S. N. & Creamer, D. "Effects of a Desegregation Policy on Social and Academic Integration of College Students", The College Students Affairs Journal, Spring 1985, p. 10-18.

Courses Taught

SPED320 Education Exceptional Students
SPED470 Student Teaching in Exceptional Education
EDUC 350 Introduction to B-K
EDUC 307 Infants, Toddlers and Twos
EDUC 308Observation and Assessment of Young Children
EDUC 361 Child, Family and Community
EDUC 346 Math, Science Social Studies in B – K
EDUC 319 Music, Art, Drama, and Movement in B-K

EDLE 701 Cultural Diversity in American Schools
EDUC 610 Planning and implementing Instruction for Diverse Learners
SPED535 Psychology of Mental Retardation
ELEM 623 Advanced Studies in Teaching Language Arts
ELEM 534 Advanced Studies in Teaching Social Studies

 Published: 07:45 AM, Sun Nov 10, 2013

Sunday Salute: Dr. Saundra Shorter, profound professor

Chick Jacobs

Saundra Shorter was born to be a teacher.

Everything else, she picked up along the way.

Shorter, who died on Oct. 24 at the age of 71, had the skill and charisma to be anything, from a preacher to an actress to game show host, but her heart remained in education.

And two generations of students are glad it did.

"We've heard from so many people from just all over the place," said her husband, Floyd Shorter. "From Alaska, from countries around the world. All of them were students of hers, and they all say she made an impact on their lives."

She was a natural teacher, in part because both of her parents were educators.

Saundra Newby was born in May 1942, the only child of Dewey and Dorothy Newby in Hertford. Her dad was a school principal, and her mom a teacher.

She excelled as a student, earning an education degree from Virginia State University. From there, she became one of the first black women to receive a master's degree from the University of Virginia. She earned a doctorate in education from Virginia Tech. She focused on teaching children with special needs, become an instructor at the Petersburg Training School for the Mentally Retarded.

"She could have taken her education and just launched her career from there," her husband said. "But she had a place in her heart for those children. She loved them."

She loved music as well, and one night attended a concert by Little Anthony and the Imperials. Afterward, she met a young second lieutenant named Floyd "Shorty" Shorter.

"She was just the most beautiful thing I had ever seen," Shorter said. "And smart. Man, was she smart!"

In January of 1969, the couple married. Afterward, their careers led them to Fayetteville, where Shorter became a professor at Fayetteville State University.

"We aren't the kind of folk who wanted to keep moving around," her husband said. "We liked it here, so we sank our roots in this community. We raised or daughters and grew old here."

She taught with parables, explaining lessons through stories. She loved a good joke, and was a wizard with crossword puzzles.

"And she was the star of any event," said Shorter's daughter, Melanie Cooper. "She didn't have to do anything but enter a room. People just gravitated toward her."

She had a saying for any event, often making any setback a teaching moment. In time, Shorter became an interim dean and department chair at FSU, and she was an affiliate with the state's Department of Public Instruction. She remained active in Bethel AME Zion Church, and when she wasn't involved in one of her community organizations, you could probably find Saunders in her craft room at home, busy with needlecraft of scrapbooking.

"She was creative, and loved to be busy," her daughter said. "She lived her life and did everything she wanted. I think that's one reason her leaving was so peaceful.

"She was a woman who did more than just talk the talk. She walked the walk. She was a genuine person. ... I think that's the best way to put it. Some people put on an act, you know? But not mom.

"She was very caring, very giving. she made a difference in a lot of lives."

Staff writer Chick Jacobs can be reached at 486-3515 or

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