She prepares better teachers

Through statewide connections, Diana B. Lys improves assessment of future teachers and leads educators who train them.

Graphic with photo of Diana Lys, reading
(Photo illustration by Andrew Jacobs/UNC Creative)

In honor of Women’s History Month, The Well introduces readers to women working at Carolina who are leaving their Heel print on the University and beyond. Read previous stories in the Women Making History series.

Why her work matters

Diana B. Lys is making sure that North Carolina has great teachers. The assistant dean for educator preparation and accreditation at the UNC School of Education helped create “Pathway to Practice.” The affordable, self-paced program enables people with a temporary North Carolina license, sometimes hired to fill an emergency vacancy, to earn teaching certification. She helped secure statewide use of the empirically rigorous performance tool edTPA for assessing how well college teacher candidates engage in successful teaching practices prior to being recommended for a license. In fall 2022, Lys became president of the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the leading advocacy group for teacher preparation policy issues. She also works closely with the UNC School of Education’s educator preparation programs to ensure that the teachers, counselors and principals who graduate provide the state’s schools with highly effective educators, resulting in a 100% placement rate of graduates in education jobs.

What people say about her

Beyond her important work in educator preparation, Diana maintains state-level relationships and connections. If high-level conversations in the state are happening about teacher education in particular or educator preparation in general, Diana is in the room — providing invaluable insights and evidence-based practices and championing the work of the UNC School of Education and of our students and graduates on behalf of K-12 students across North Carolina.

— Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor

Who she is

Lys’ research focuses on improving teacher education and has been published in the Journal of Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education and in multiple book chapters. She is a co-editor of the book “Using Data to Improve Teacher Education: Moving Evidence into Action” and a forthcoming book “Co-teaching for Equity.” She grew up on Long Island, New York. Her grandmother, aunt and mother were career educators. Early in her career, Lys spent eight years teaching in rural North Carolina, working with migrant youth and linguistically diverse students. She earned her doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Carolina. She met her husband Neil W. Morrison in the school’s Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Portions of this profile were adapted from an EducationNC article.