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Honors and Awards

Bonnie Fusarelli, Gail Jones and Hollylynne Lee Named NC State Professors of Distinction

Three faculty members in NC State’s College of Education — Bonnie Fusarelli, Gail Jones and Hollylynne Lee — have been named professors of distinction at NC State University.

Distinguished Professorships are granted to outstanding faculty who achieve at the highest level of national and international recognition. 

Read more about the three recipients below.

Bonnie Fusarelli

Bonnie Fusarelli, a professor of educational leadership and educational evaluation, has been named a Distinguished Professor.

“Being named a distinguished professor at NC State is a profoundly humbling honor and reflects the extraordinary support I receive from my family and amazing colleagues,” Fusarelli said. 

Fusarelli’s research focuses on educational leadership and policy, the politics of school improvement, educational equity and organizational change, with a particular focus on state-level education reform and leadership development. 

Fusarelli is the director of NC State’s Educational Leadership Academy (NELA), an innovative Master of School Administration program that has partnerships with 26 school districts in North Carolina and is one of only six in the nation to be identified as exemplary by the University Council for Educational Administration. Since NELA began in 2010, about 580 school leaders have graduated from NC State with a Master of School Administration. These graduates have a history of improving low-performing schools with 90% of program graduates meeting or exceeding growth expectations.

Earlier this year, Fusarelli received the University of North Carolina System’s 2022 Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service for her transformative work supporting K-12 educational leaders across North Carolina. That award honors faculty who exemplify the UNC System’s commitment to service and community engagement.

“Every graduation brings a new proudest moment. I’m blessed to work closely with students and help them achieve their goals, just as my mentors once did for me,” Fusarelli said. “The best part of my job is that I get to work with people who are committed to excellence, service and making a positive impact in the world.”

Gail Jones

Gail Jones, an Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor of science education, has been named a Distinguished University Professor.

“I am very honored to be awarded this distinction,” Jones said. “It has been an amazing academic journey, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to education and NC State University. Few people get to have careers doing work that they love, and my work as a professor has been rewarding and most interesting.”

Jones’ research examines the teaching and learning of science in a variety of sociocultural contexts, with a focus on how a variety of subgroups learn, and explores nanoscale in science education. 

In 2022, she was named an AERA Fellow, the American Educational Research Association’s highest honor that recognizes exceptional research contributions to education. She also received the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) 2022 Distinguished  Contributions to Science Education through Research Award.

She is currently leading the educational research component of the NSF Science and Technology Center – Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS),  located on NC State’s Centennial Campus and funded by a $25 million grant, and is working in collaboration with Appalachian State University to research teacher-directed microcredentials as a form of professional development.

“Some of the most meaningful and rewarding moments in my career have been hearing that my research has shaped aspects of education and my former teacher education students have found materials that I have developed to be successful and motivating to the students they teach. Hearing that one’s work impacts the next generation is perhaps the greatest reward an educator can have,” Jones said. 

Hollylynne Lee

Hollylynne Lee, a Distinguished Professor of mathematics and statistics education, has been named a Distinguished University Professor.

“I have been at NC State for my entire post-Ph.D. career, since 2000. So to earn the highest level of Professor of Distinction title really represents a pinnacle of my career that I did not even dream was possible in my early career days,” Lee said. “I love this institution and feel we have a very symbiotic relationship. I give a lot to NC State, but NC State has given a lot to me. I chose to come here, and stay here, because I believe in the mission of NC State as a land-grant institution and am dedicated to the research and teacher education vision in the College of Education and Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.” 

Lee’s research focuses on improving the teaching and learning of statistics and data literacy. She was the 2022 recipient of Baylor University’s prestigious Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. She’s also the recipient of Mu Sigma Rho’s 2023 William D. Warde Statistics Education Award.

Lee developed the Enhancing Data Science and Statistics Teacher Education through E-Modules (ESTEEM) project, which has been used by more than 150 teacher educators across the country, as well as Invigorating Statistics and Data Science Teaching through Professional Learning (InSTEP), a free personalized online learning platform that allows teachers in grades 6-12+ to develop their expertise in teaching statistics and data science.

Over the course of these and other projects, Lee’s work has impacted more than 15,000 pre-service and in-service educators across all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 100 countries around the world.

“Seeing my students succeed in their research and teaching are by far the proudest moments,” Lee said. “Knowing that I got to be a part of their learning journey continues to bring me great pride and joy. I am also extremely proud to be part of a group of colleagues and friends that share the same passion and mission in what we do together here at NC State. I’m just so proud to run with this Pack!”