Jonatha W. Vare, Chair of Curriculum and Pedagogy and Professor of Educational Psychology in the Richard W. Riley College of Education at Winthrop University, has over 35 years of experience in education. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Secondary English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she taught in Gaston County Schools before moving south to Alabama. While completing master's and specialist's degrees in gifted education at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, she taught in Vestavia Hills Schools, where her students won awards at the Birmingham International Film Festival, and as a part-time instructor for the School of Education at UAB.
Dr. Vare then served three years as an Educational Specialist for the Alabama State Department of Education, Division of Exceptional Children, before returning to UNC-Chapel Hill to complete a doctorate in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Culture, Cognition, and Personality. While at UNC-CH, she taught courses as a visiting assistant professor and served as a Research and Public Relations Assistant for the National Paideia Center.
In 1992 Dr. Vare joined Winthrop University and began her career in higher education. She was awarded the Singleton Endowed Professorship of Teacher Education in 1999-2002. At Winthrop, she has taught undergraduate courses in learning and development and graduate courses in educational psychology, educational research, middle level education, and the Master of Arts in Teaching capstone. She also frequently supervises students in their undergraduate field experiences and teaching internships and has served as a Professional Development School faculty liaison. Since 2000, Dr. Vare has devoted a good deal of her time to leadership within the College of Education at Winthrop. She has chaired three departments in the College of Education: the Center for Pedagogy for nine years, Curriculum and Instruction for one year, and now Curriculum and Pedagogy.
Dr. Vare's many different public school and university experiences have informed her work in higher education concerning school-university collaboration. While at Winthrop she has directed three Improving Teacher Quality grants involving school partnerships: Pee Dee Leadership Academy; Leadership for a New Millennium-District Aspiring Leadership Academy; and Partners for the Enhancement of Clinical Experiences. Dr. Vare is a Leadership Associate with the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) and participates as part of a national review panel for the Improving teacher Quality Grants Program, NC QUEST.
Her scholarly activities include publications and presentations in several areas: assessment of dispositions in teacher preparation; assessment of impact in professional development schools; collaboration in partnership work; issues of equity for diverse learners; and programs for middle level education. Her record of professional service includes organizations such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), American Educational Research Association (AERA), the South Carolina Middle School Association (SCMSA), and the South Carolina Network for Educational Renewal (SCNER).