Faculty and Staff

Cindy Reed

Dr. Cindy Reed is the Director of the Truman Pierce Institute (TPI), a research and outreach unit in the College of Education at Auburn University and the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology. As Director of the Institute, Dr. Reed oversees numerous programs and research activities related to educational reform and leadership development [Note: Many of these programs and research activities are described on the TPI webpage]. Most of these programs are supported by contracts and grants. Additionally, Dr. Reed continues to be an active participant in various state-level committees, commissions, and task forces. Currently, she is a commissioner on the Alabama Select Commission of High School Completion and Drop Out Prevention.

Dr. Reed is the Executive Editor of The Professional Educator and is on the editorial review board of several national and international journals. In Fall 2008, she was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), an international professional organization focused on high quality leadership preparation and research (www. ucea.org). She currently serves as President of UCEA. Additionally, Dr. Reed is a member of the Board of Trustees for the School Leadership Council of Greater New Orleans, an organization providing professional development and leadership capacity building for public, private, parochial, and charter schools in the greater New Orleans region.

Cindy has a Doctorate of Education (1997) from the University of Pittsburgh in Administrative and Policy Studies with specialization in Educational Policy, Planning, and Evaluation. Her B.S., M.S., and administrative certification (C.A.S.) are from universities in the State University of New York system (Oswego and Cortland respectively). She began teaching fifth grade in 1978 and has experience as a public school teacher, specialist in gifted education, middle school assistant principal and principal, and director of collaborative at-risk education and college access programs among multiple K-12 schools and institutions of higher education before coming to Auburn University in 1997. She teaches courses on educational policy and politics and serves as chair/committee member on dissertation committees. Her research focuses on applied transformational leadership; leadership development; educational policy; community and civic engagement; and collaborative educational reform efforts. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on educational issues and is a regular presenter at national and international conferences.


Linda H. Dean joined Truman Pierce Institute in 2012 following fifteen years at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where she was Director of Education and executive director of the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts.  She has edited textbooks and instructional materials for McGraw-Hill, Holt, and Prentice-Hall, and has taught literature, composition, and theatre courses at secondary and college levels.   She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar and past secretary of Shakespeare Theatre Association.   At TPI, she currently works with the Anti-Bullying Summit and with “BUILD,” a leadership PLU that supports school/ community collaboration in anti-bullying initiatives. 


Sheniqua Griffin is a native of Dadeville, Alabama. She graduated from Dadeville High School in 2008. Sheniqua graduated from Southern Union State Community College in 2010 with an Associates Degree in Science. She joined the Truman Pierce Institute staff in August 2010. Sheniqua currently attends Auburn University and is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Industrial/Organizational psychology. Her research area of interest focuses on attitudes in the workplace. She believes that possessing great character, a hard work ethic, and a positive attitude are keys to success. Sheniqua is also an orientation student leader. As such, she empowers first-year transfer students and their parents with skills needed to sustain and establish a permanent position in the Auburn family.

Chris Groccia

Chris Groccia joined the Truman Pierce Institute staff through Temporary Employment Services in September 2006.  She has over 25 years experience in education including 13 years with the federally funded Head Start Program. She collaborated with Auburn faculty to design and write a preschool curriculum that offers a global perspective balancing Chinese and Western culture and language. She served as the Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Director creating partnerships at the local, state, and federal level supporting multi-agency and private/public partnerships for preschool children and their families. Currently she is a Project Director working with 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool programs across the state.  

Elaine Jordan

Elaine Jordan is the Administrator Support Associate for Truman Pierce Institute.  Her role is to provide clerical and administrative support with an academic department with responsibility for a broad variety of office support duties and tasks.


Teresa Smoot joined the Truman Pierce Institute in October 2011 as a Special Projects Coordinator . She has numerous years in education experience as a teacher and an administrator.  She earned her B.A. in Political Science from Jacksonville State University.  She also earned a B.S.E and M.S.E. with double majors in Biology and Political Science from Jacksonville State University.  She earned an Administrative certification from Samford University. Teresa loves the idea that there are limitless opportunities for our children’s future endeavors.

Anna Weinstein has served as editor of the Truman Pierce Institute's peer-reviewed academic journal, The Professional Educator, since 2007. The Professional Educator is a nationally disseminated, peer-reviewed electronic journal that focuses on current issues, research, and innovations related to educational partnerships. Anna has been working in educational publishing for more than a decade. She has written and edited educational materials for publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt, Guilford Press, Heinemann, Stenhouse, Peoples Education, Rosen Publishing, and education.com. Anna is a project editor for Cengage Learning's ed2go.

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2014

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