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Mary Register is a teacher at Stanley High.
Teacher earning master's degree on-line
Program complements instruction capabilities
Leah Jackson

NATCHITOCHES – Mary Register felt a calling to be a teacher when she was in fifth grade.

“I would sit in class during a lesson and think about what I would do differently or the same if I was teaching the lesson,” she said. “I had a very special teacher, Debbie Silver, who would write individual notes to us in our journals every night. I always want to be as dedicated to my students she was to us.”

Register is a TAP Master Teacher at Stanley High School in DeSoto Parish and will receive a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction with an add-on certification as a Teacher Leader in May. Her experience with Northwestern State’s curriculum and instruction program has already impacted her job performance.

“I know that advanced degrees hopefully lead to an advancement in career opportunties, but this graduate program has improved my instructional and leadership capabilities,” Register said. “As a TAP Master Teacher I analyze student and school-wide data, engage in school improvement planning, as well as implement and track the plans. I observe and coach teachers toward their own pursuit of instructional improvement. I have reflected on my own teaching and developed action plans for improving my own teaching skills. All of these tasks were supported by my experiences in the NSU program.”

Register earned her undergraduate degree in education at LSU-Shreveport in 1992 and was certified in English. She added certification as a school librarian in 1999. In 2009 she earned National Board Certification as a library media specialist. Register resides in Logansport with her husband, Dean, a Methodist minister. They have three children, ages 21, 17 and 12.

Register earned the degree entirely on-line.

“Some may believe that online learning is easier. Although it was ‘easier’ fit into my busy work and personal schedule, the coursework is extremely demanding,” she said. “The reading, analysis and synthesis of information is the totally the responsibility of the online learner. Online instructors facilitate and guide instruction, but in the end, the online student is accountable for the learning. I think that this has led me to very closely read and study information in the courses. Discussion among class participants requires that I use the information that I read and learn within the context of real life situations.”

The curriculum and instruction program at Northwestern State provides certified teachers advanced knowledge in research, pedagogy and content. The degree offers continued professional development in several concentration areas including English education, reading, professional teaching standards, school librarian and transition to teaching.

“As I learn about data, best practices, curriculum standards, instructional reflection and instructional improvement through the NSU program, I am able to live these educational experiences out in my role as a Master Teacher,” Register said. “I am a far better educator because of how my learning experiences and my role as Master Teacher have complemented each other.”

For more information on Northwestern State’s graduate programs in education, visit the Department of Teaching and Learning webpage at, call (318) 357-6288 or e-mail