New interim dean of education aims for student success

Joyce Piveral has been a teacher her whole life. "When I was a child, we would go to my grandmother's for Sunday family dinners," Piveral said. "She had a drawer that she put things in like circulars and mail she didn’t want. I would get it all out, sort it, organize it and make my cousins sit in rows. I would pass it out like it was my lesson and have them do lessons on these pieces of my grandmother kept for me." Most of her teaching career was spent in Fillmore and St. Joseph, Missouri.
Photo by Kyle Rainey

KYLE RAINEY | News Editor

Joyce Piveral’s favorite subject is reading because she said she knows how important it is to be educated. 

Her grandmother, a certified teacher who never taught, read to her on many evenings during her childhood while she still lived on a Missouri dairy farm and milked cows at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day.

“That was a great influence as a child on my life, and I wanted to help other children develop a love of reading,” she said.

Piveral was hired in July as Lindenwood’s interim dean of the School of Education. Piveral has one year to evaluate the school with outside eyes and to find a replacement dean. She has held the position of either principal or dean in Missouri for most of her life. 

The School of Education’s previous dean, Cynthia Bice, led the department for 11 years and helped establish Lindenwood’s education doctoral program before announcing her retirement at a faculty meeting in late May, according to the Lindenwood Digest.

“I’ve accomplished the goals I set out to accomplish more than a decade ago,” Bice said in the announcement. “Most importantly, the programs at the School of Education Lindenwood are sustainable, and the teacher education program will continue to be one of the leaders in Missouri and nationally.”

Prior to Lindenwood, Piveral was interim dean, and then dean, of the School of Education at Northwest Missouri State University, according to the Northwest Missourian. When she retired from Northwest, Lindenwood officials reached out to her following Bice’s departure.

Piveral said her first goal as interim dean is to help search for a new education dean.

Her second goal is to review the department using data and to look into how the department should develop going into the future.

“I’m that outside pair of eyes that hasn’t been here or grown up here to help lend a new lens of ‘How can we focus on the future and progress?'” she said.

I really like the unique opportunity to be here and try to do some things.

Joyce Piveral

The department already has data, but it hasn’t been turned into information. She said she wants to “use that data for action steps” and to help her do things like change the number of students each faculty member advises.

From handing out reading, writing and math problems to her cousins while growing up, to spending more than 30 years teaching and serving in administration in western Missouri high schools and at university, Piveral’s postponed retirement will take her back to the farm.

When her husband, an engineering teacher, retired, he bought land in northwestern Missouri and built a house. Although he cannot always be with her at Lindenwood away from their bean crops and garden, he’s often on her mind.

“It’s hard to leave that [life] and not think about things happening there, but I really like the unique opportunity to be here and try to do some things,” Piveral said. “It’s exciting all over again.”

She said being a high school principal and dean of a college were similar.

“No matter what level you are, you’re serving students,” Piveral said. “You may be serving them in a different way, but you’re serving students and trying to meet their needs so that they’re successful. That really is the end goal for me: making sure students are successful.”

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