Dr. Sara Helfrich

Dr. Sara Helfrich. Photo provided. Ben Siegel.

By Ben Peters

Athens NEWS Associate Editor

Ohio University named an interim dean to the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education Thursday since longtime Dean Dr. Renée Middleton plans to step down from the role in June.

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs appointed Dr. Sara Helfrich, senior associate dean for research and graduate studies and a professor of literacy in the Department of Teacher Education, to lead the college until the university names a permanent dean.

As interim dean, Helfrich’s salary will be $160,000, according to university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood.

“The opportunity to serve Ohio University and The Patton College of Education as interim dean is a great honor,” Helfrich said in a statement. “I look forward to continued collaboration with our dedicated faculty, staff, and students as we advance the college’s long-standing contributions to educational excellence through teaching, learning, and research.”

Helfrich has worked at the university since 2010. Prior to serving as senior associate dean, she was coordinator of the Department of Teacher Education’s reading program.

She also taught courses on reading methods, instruction and assessment, language and literacy development, and children’s literature. She was closely involved with the Center for Clinical Practice in Education, working with undergraduate teacher candidates and graduate teaching fellows in partner schools across southeast Ohio.

“Sara brings a proven track record of success to this role,” Sayrs said in a university news release. “Her background in leadership, academics and research is a tremendous asset to our University, and she will serve as an effective advocate for continuing The Patton College’s many successes during this time of transition.”

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