Kellie Alston was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to a UNC School of Social Work graduate student and a Vietnam Veteran. She grew up in Durham, North Carolina and attended Durham Public Schools until her eighth grade year when her mother enrolled her in Cresset Christian Academy. At Cresset, she excelled in academics, earning the honorary seat of valedictorian for the class of 1989.
Set on being an educator, she attended what was once named "The Teacher's College", Winston-Salem State University and graduated in (1993) with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. Wanting to learn how to teach students how to become better readers and writers--something that she did not learn in her undergraduate studies, Ms. Alston applied to the prestigious Curry School of Education Graduate Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she received a master's degree in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in reading (2001). As a result of her studies, Ms. Alston became certified in three areas: K-6, Early Childhood, and as a K-12 Reading Specialist. At NCCU, she has been teaching full-time as an early childhood distance education instructor in the Department of Human Sciences since August 2004.
During the span of her career, Ms. Alston has held the following positions: preschool teacher (3's and 4's); K-2 teacher; K-2 reading teacher; curriculum facilitator, course developer, and college instructor. She has taught in the largest school systems in North Carolina: Wake County Public Schools (2001-2003, and 2005-2006); Guilford County Public Schools (2003-2005), and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Schools (1994-1999) in which these various positions were fulfilled.
As a young teacher at Clemmons Elementary School in Clemmons, North Carolina, Ms. Alston was mentored by Dr. Dottie Hall, co-author and co-creator of the 4-Blocks Literacy Model. Dr. Hall served as the curriculum coordinator of the school, but also worked closely with Dr. Patricia Cunningham, a Professor of Education at Wake Forest University, on developing manuals, seminars, and conferences for teachers all over the globe on the 4-Block Literacy Model. As a result of Ms. Alston's mastery of the framework for literacy instruction, she was featured in the first 4-Blocks video (1995) and was often used to train and demonstrate the Writing Workshop Block.
Ms. Alston's love for writing did not stop there. In the summers of 1995 and 1996, she was hired to teach writing at the Mount Tabor Summer Enrichment Camp in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to four different groups of first graders. She also served as the Production I and II teacher for the middle school students at the camp, successfully writing and directing a play called The Unhappy Clown for the culminating presentation at Open House.
Understanding the importance of professional affiliation, Ms. Alston was a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators by way of the National Education Association for almost a decade. She is currently a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association.
To quench her entrepreneurial thirst and her desire to help struggling readers, she has owned her own tutoring businesses--KEAS (Kellie's Educational Assistance Services) in the Triad area and Books As Friends in the Triangle area. She is happy to say that through her services, she was able to help several children in North Carolina overcome their fear of reading to develop a love for reading that propelled them to the top of their classes, earning scholarships for college.
In the elementary classroom, her favorite grade to teach is second grade; although kindergarten and first grade play a very close second. At NCCU, she enjoys teaching all of her courses; but her utmost favorites are Language and Literacy (FCSC 3650) and Preschool and Kindergarten Program Development (FCSC 3630) because they both touch on the foundation of all learning, which is literacy.
Ms. Alston has now been bitten by the virtual instruction bug. She absolutely loves enhancing learning through the virtual experience. Her courses can be described as engaging, writing, reading, and speaking-intensive. Recently, she was able to earn a certificate of completion for the Applying the QM Rubric training offered by the Quality Matters Program. The Quality Matters Program is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Ms. Alston actively works hard to ensure that her courses exemplify the high standards set by the program and aspires to make her courses even more effective for her students.
After having taught online for 10 years, she believes that she has quite a bit to offer to up-and-coming online instructors. As a result, she is currently writing a series of books and instructional manuals that she hopes will transform the way colleges and universities deliver instruction online.
Ultimately, Ms. Alston believes that the field of education is the most dynamic field on Earth. After all, it is the foundation of all other industries and careers. She hopes to continue to guide, support, and challenge prospective teachers with meaningful learning experiences that stretch far beyond her virtual classroom doors. As she continues to hone her craft both in the virtual and early childhood worlds and impact thousands of future early childhood educators, she is inspired and motivated by one simple question: How might they learn unless they have a divine, purpose-driven teacher? It is her desire to be that teacher.