Bluefield University in the News

Bluefield University Undergraduates Complete Student Teaching

by | Dec 10, 2021

Bluefield, VA “My time in the teacher education program has helped prepare me for teaching not only how things would be normally but also how to be a good and effective teacher during a pandemic,” said student Tessa Saiia. “I have learned many tools, skills, and resources I can use for the years to come.”

Three education students at Bluefield University completed their student teaching this fall: Emma Hyatt of Randleman, North Carolina; Leah Plott of Bluefield, Virginia; and Saiia of Baraboo, Wisconsin.

“My most memorable experience that I had in the program was one specific class I took with Professor Brandy Smith,” Hyatt said. “Her class, Human Growth and Development, taught me how to not only teach students but to understand how to help them learn through different traumatic experiences in their lives.”

Hyatt, the daughter of Scott and Jennifer Hyatt, graduated from Level Cross Christian School before attending Bluefield University. She was mentored by Ashley Meadows at Graham Middle School and Cindy Young at Tazewell High School. She received the Heather M. Scholarship Award and contributed to The Bluestone Review literary journal.

The wife of Kody Plott and daughter of Kristen Mackey, Plott graduated from Tazewell High School. She taught with Cynthia Largen at Graham High School and Breanna Gillespie Lewis at Abb’s Valley-Boissevain Elementary. She is a member of the Student Virginia Education Association (SVEA) and National Education Association (NEA). She is also a Virginia High School League (VHSL) judging official for cheerleading in the Southwest Virginia District.

“During this time, I made several friendships that I will cherish forever,” Plott said. “I loved getting to know all my students at Graham High and my first graders at Abb’s Valley, where I am finishing my student teaching as a long-term substitute. The faculty at both schools have been amazing and helped me with everything I needed.”

Saiia is a graduate of Baraboo High School. She was mentored by Juda O’Quin at Tazewell Primary School and Natasha Simpkins at Tazewell High School.

“The education department at Bluefield University has challenged me and pushed me to be the best version of myself. Because of how involved we are as education students in the local school district, we are given the opportunity through observations and student teaching to make connections in the district that will benefit us after graduation,” Saiia said.

Hyatt, Plott, and Saiia were all named to the Dean’s List in spring 2021.

Bluefield University’s School of Education & Social Sciences offers a variety of undergraduate programs with teacher licensure related to arts, sciences, special education, and more. It also offers Early Childhood Education and Psychology & Human Services undergraduate programs without teacher licensure in addition to minors and graduate programs. BU’s Teacher Education Program received TEAC accreditation from the Inquiry Brief Commission of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

For more information about BU’s School of Education and Social Sciences, visit,

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Meet our core Counseling faculty

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Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

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