About the Dean


Dr. Erin Harrel, Ft. Myers

Dr. Erin Harrel, Dean of the School of Education at Florida SouthWestern State College, is a leader in the local community, as well as in the higher education industry. Dr. Harrel takes great pride in leading an innovative and professionally diverse faculty and staff that ensures graduates from the School of Education are placed and retained in school districts in Florida and across the United States. Dr. Harrel is attributed with establishing the first school, The School of Education, at Florida SouthWestern State College. She also oversaw the team that attained the Florida Department of Education State Approval for six education baccalaureate programs, and guided the development and implementation of those programs at Florida SouthWestern State College. Students who have completed any of the School of Education programs have seen great success in being placed in a position after graduation.

Dr. Harrel’s commitment to educational excellence spans beyond the five county districts currently served by Florida SouthWestern State College. She remains an active member of the Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education as well as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In the spring of 2014, Dr. Harrel accepted the nomination to serve as President Elect of this influential organization. She has also served as a Lead Reviewer for the Florida Department of Education Program Approval process for Florida Universities and State Colleges. She received appointment from the Florida Commissioner of Education to the Florida Department of Education Program Approval Board beginning July 2011-July 2016. Additionally, she was appointed by the Florida Commissioner of Education to the Teacher and Leader Preparation Implementation Committee. This committee is part of a national reform effort charged with rewriting the Leadership Standards and Program Approval for Teacher Preparation in the State of Florida.

Remaining focused on national and international trends and best practices, the School of Education at Florida SouthWestern State College ensures candidates are prepared for a global and diverse teaching experience. Dr. Harrel stays abreast of national trends through her various and prestigious appointments. Dr. Harrel received an appointment as one of eight United States Auditors for the Association of Childhood Education International, and has served as a reviewer or lead reviewer for more than three hundred reviews of Elementary Education program in colleges and universities across the world.

Additionally, Dr. Harrel has led more than 100 reviews of college and university teacher preparation programs both nationally and internationally with the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE). In 2011, her leadership with the national accreditation team earned her appointment to the prestigious Board of Examiners for NCATE. In 2013, Dr. Harrel received an appointment to serve as a reviewer for the newly formed Council of Accreditation for Educator Preparation.

Dr. Harrel has also served as a College Liaison to the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and led the SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation Monitoring Reports and on-site visits to assure institutional compliance for Florida SouthWestern State College. After more than 10 years of service to the college, Dr. Harrel remains committed to ensuring the School of Education at Florida SouthWestern State College produces highly qualified teachers prepared for today’s global marketplace.

Her most notable achievement is parenting three wonderful children. An amazing and active mother of three, she makes sure to participate in the School Advisory Council for each of her children’s schools and attends the numerous cheer and lacrosse events that take place throughout the year.