Flexibility and Patience are Keys to Success for Educator Dr. Kelly Alves

Flexibility and Patience are Keys to Success for Educator Dr. Kelly Alves

MOUNT OLIVE-Every educator knows that you have to be flexible to be successful.  As an adjunct instructor in the Education Department at the University of Mount Olive (UMO), Dr. Kelly Alves certainly understands and demonstrates flexibility in her work every day.

Alves teaches undergraduate online special education courses at UMO. She is also Vice President of the NC Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (NC DADD) and an Executive Board Member for its parent organization, the North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children.

In April, Alves was scheduled to be a presenter at the NC DADD spring conference.  The purpose of the event was to develop and provide high quality professional development designed to help educators, students, administrators, parents and other stakeholders in education. However, COVID-19 happened.  Instead of giving up, Alves and many others were determined to produce a successful event, so they adapted the conference to an online virtual event.  Participants from eight states and over 50 cities in North Carolina remotely attended.

According to NC DADD President Elect Xaviera Johnson, Alves was instrumental in the success of the online event. “Dr. Alves collaborated with educators, administrators and support staff across four states from ten institutions of higher education,” Johnson said.  “She generously shared her time and expertise with our members and conference attendees by presenting time sensitive information to attendees, monitoring the technology, troubleshooting during the conference, as well as creating and editing video presentations.” 

As an educator for over 23 years, Alves understands the need for flexibility in the classroom as well. She has worked with students across all grades and ages from preschool/early childhood through adults. “Many times, when a child struggles to learn or has challenging behaviors all they need is someone to understand the problem and adjust accordingly,” she said.  “Children cannot always advocate for themselves.  Those with special needs may not know exactly how to express what they need.  Often, just having someone who cares and pays attention can make all the difference in how a child responds.  I believe all children have the potential to do something great.  It is up to us to find out what that is and help them get there.  I also believe that the need to advocate for individuals with special needs does not stop when they become adults.  Far too many individuals with special needs never go to college or become employed.  I feel that it is equally important to be a support for these individuals as they move into higher education or the workforce.”

Alves holds a BS degree in elementary education from Tennessee Technological University, a masters in special education with a specialization in autism education from Liberty University, and a doctorate (Ed.D.) in curriculum and instruction from Liberty University.  She is a member of Gateway Community Church in Pikeville, serves on the Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities, and is a Board member for the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.

“I think the role of an educator can be summed up by Matthew 25:40, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ While this verse is not specifically about children, I do believe educators have the same responsibility to their students – to advocate for children is our calling.”

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.