Family to establish WCU scholarship in memory of Janice Holt

Full announcement from Western Carolina University:

CULLOWHEE – The family of the late Janice Hooper Holt, Western Carolina University executive director of teacher recruitment, advising and career support, is creating a scholarship in Holt’s memory in the wake of her recent death.

Holt, of Webster, died unexpectedly Nov. 1, at the age of 58. A faculty member in the WCU College of Education and Allied Professions, Holt was a National Board Certified teacher who arrived at WCU in 2000 after more than two decades in Jackson County schools. She was instrumental in developing the university’s programs to support beginning and career teachers and maintain partnerships with regional schools. She had been in her current position since 2010.

“Teachers, new or experienced, have lost a champion, someone who understood them, who loved them, and who worked to support them throughout her career,” said Dale Carpenter, interim dean of the WCU College of Education and Allied Professions.

Holt held bachelor’s (1976), master’s (1977) and education specialist (1987) degrees in middle grades education from WCU. In 2012 she earned her doctorate in educational leadership from WCU, receiving the American Educational Research Association’s Research on Teacher Induction special interest group’s first Dissertation Award. Holt said her work supporting beginning teachers in Western North Carolina sparked her interest in the topic that developed into her dissertation, which examined teacher retention and student achievement.

“I believed that findings could assist educators to develop evidence-based comprehensive programs that provide critical support to beginning teachers, improving their effectiveness and ultimately improving the learning of their students,” Holt said on receiving the award.

Holt was named the 1999 National Science Teachers Association/Space Foundation National Space Educator of the Year. At WCU she taught the freshman seminar for the WHEE Teach Living Learning Community and methods courses for the School of Teaching and Learning. She received grants totaling more than $1.5 million that focused on the support of beginning teachers and college access.

Individuals who want to contribute to the scholarship can write a check payable to the WCU Foundation and note that it is for the Janice Holt Scholarship Fund. Send checks to Brett Woods, Office of Development, 201 H.F. Robinson Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., 28723. Gifts also may be made online at Select the College of Education and Allied Professions from the “area of giving” drop-down box and note in the comments box that the gift is for the Holt scholarship. For additional information, contact Woods at


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