Educational Leadership Faculty Bios


Alesha Baker

Alesha Baker is an instructor in the Library Media and Information Technology program on the Broken Arrow campus. She is working on her Ph.D. in Educational Technology from Oklahoma State University with a cognate in Online Teaching. She earned her Master of Science degree in Library Media and Information Technology in 2011 and her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education in 1999, both from Northeastern State University. She has taught in the public schools for 13 years: 10 years as a special education teacher and three years as a school librarian. She also has experience teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses which include multiple Library Science courses, Academic Strategies, and Applications of Educational Technology. Alesha received a research fellowship from the Open Education Group and has presented a local, national, and international conferences. Her areas of research interests include open educational resources and teacher professional development.

Renee Cambiano

Dr. Renée L. Cambiano is tenured Professor of Education on the Tahlequah campus. She holds a doctorate in adult and vocational education from the University of Arkansas, an M.S. in instruction and curriculum leadership from the University of Memphis, and a B.S. in biology with a fisheries emphasis from Northeastern State University. She currently serves as program chair of for the Master of Education in Instructional Leadership and the Master of Science in Higher Education Leadership programs at Northeastern State University, where she has taught since 2000. She has published and presented at regional, national, and international conferences. Her interests in cultivating global-minded teachers began in 1999 when she spent time in Taiwan visiting schools. This trip validated the need to ensure that our future teachers in the United States form a global perspective. She has spent time in many countries studying and feels that one must immerse oneself completely in another culture to understand and teach future generations. Areas of research include: learning styles instruction; brain-based learning; global minded-teaching; the learning process (moving from teaching to learning); innovative learning environments; and technology enhanced learning.


Ron Cambiano

Dr. Ron Cambiano is an Assistant Professor of Education on the Tahlequah campus.  Dr. Cambiano earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Tulsa. He served as NSU Dean of Student Affairs for more than 20 years. Currently, Dr. Cambiano serves as Special Assistant to the NSU president to whom he reports and works on a regular basis. His main functions are to work with the president to provide leadership and oversight for key planning and implementation processes that impact teaching, research, and service functions at NSU. He also coordinates the university's efforts for the Northeast Oklahoma Regional Planning and Making Place Matter efforts where the university has made a commitment to the region to establish alliances for regional stewardship. Dr. Cabmiano also serves as the NSU liaison to the Cherokee Nation, working closely with the Principal Chief, Secretaries of State, Leadership, Education, Career Services, Cultural Resources, and the Tribal Council. Dr. Cambiano earned his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of New Mexico.


Karen Carey

Dr. Karen Carey is a tenured Professor of Education on the Tahlequah campus. Dr. Karen Carey holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a math minor, and a master’s degree in education administration with an Oklahoma elementary principal certificate.  She completed a doctorate degree in adult education, May 2001 from University of Arkansas.  Her public school teaching experience includes two years of sixth grade at Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas, and seven years teaching math and language to fifth and sixth graders in Moore, Oklahoma at Plaza Towers Elementary.  She was voted Teacher of the Year by her building peers during her last year in public education. She served on resident year committees as a university representative for over seven years.  Her love for children and elementary teaching did not change, but as she began working with adult students as an adjunct field service coordinator in the College of Education at Northeastern State University, her passion for teaching directed her to supervising and training intern teachers.  Dr. Carey worked with over 350 interns at NSU and mentored teachers through teacher training seminars in the northeastern region of the state of Oklahoma.

Kelli Carney

Dr. Kelli Carney, Assistant Professor of Library Media, joined the faculty at Northeastern State University in 2012. Dr. Carney earned her PhD in Curriculum Studies from Oklahoma State University in 2013. She is an alum from NSU, earning degrees in both Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education (1998), as well as a Master’s degree in Education (2002) and Library Media Certification (2005). Following her degrees at NSU, she earned National Board Certification in Library Media in 2007. Her public school experience includes teaching fourth grade for six years and serving as a school librarian for seven years. Dr. Carney is passionate about working with both future and current school librarians in the dynamic “harvest field” of school librarianship. Other research interests include children’s reading motivation and reading attitudes.

Maria Christian

Dr. Maria Christian is an Assistant Professor on the Broken Arrow campus and has taught in higher education for over 14 years. She has experience teaching traditional, online, and blended courses, having worked at Tulsa Community College, University of Arkansas, and Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master's of Science in College Teaching the Language Arts from Northeastern State University. In 2007, she earned her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Oklahoma State University. She is a certified Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Instructor and winner of the John & Susanne Roueche Excellence in Teaching Award, and OSU A&M Regents Distinguished Teaching Award. Her publications and conference presentations include topics in technology in education, online learning, classroom management, leadership, and English Composition. She has served as curriculum co-chair, assessment coordinator, and committee member for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education English PASS Standards Review. Dr. Christian joined the faculty of NSU in 2015.


Carl Farinelli

Dr. Carl Farinelli is a tenured Professor of Education on the Tahlequah campus. Dr. Farinelli is a high school dropout from Madison County, Arkansas. After dropping out of high school in 1968, he went to the Gary Job Corps Center in San Marcos, Texas where he earned his GED and trained in the printing trades.  After completing his Master's degree in English and Counseling at SHSU, Farinelli began his educational career through the inner-city schools of Houston, Texas, where he served as a classroom teacher, hospital/ homebound teacher, and as the first white counselor at an all-black high school. When the US Justice Department forced the integration of that school, Farinelli used his Job Corps background to coordinate the curriculum development of an alternative high school for the district. He then went on to become the principal of a predominately Hispanic elementary school, where he helped to engineer a dramatic turnaround in the school's test scores in just three years. Next he was named principal of a magnet school for the creative and performing arts and was later asked to lead the Apple School of the Future. It was during his years as a public school educator that Farinelli was listed three times in the Outstanding Young Men of America publication and in 1977 was placed in the National Job Corps Hall of Fame. In 1987, Farinelli received his doctorate in Educational Administration from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 1988, Dr. Farinelli was hired by Northeastern State University. He taught a variety of courses in NSU’s College of Education from Theories of Public School Administration to School Law from 1988 to 1995. During those years, Farinelli also distinguished himself though his work in the community and area though many work-shops and presentations. the Oklahoma Heritage Theater in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Another of Farinelli and Walker's plays, Mark Twain Dreaming, has been published by Encore Publishing of Orem, Utah. In the Fall of 1995, Dr. Farinelli moved to NSU's College of Arts and Letters, where he still teaches The American Song as Literature, Teaching English in the High School, Freshman German classes, and special sections of College Strategies and Freshman Composition for nontraditional students.


James Ferrell

Dr. Ferrell is an Assistant Professor of Education and Chair of Educational Leadership department and School Administration program. He graduated from Oklahoma City University in 1992 where he majored in history.  After receiving his teaching credentials from the University of Central Oklahoma, Dr. Ferrell began teaching social studies and Spanish at Union City Schools in western Oklahoma.  Dr. Ferrell received a master’s degree in history from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2000.  After passing the state certification exams for principal and superintendent he moved to Stillwater where he began working on his doctorate at Oklahoma State University.  After a short stint working at Agra Public Schools where he taught social studies and Spanish, Dr. Ferrell accepted a teaching position at Caney Valley Public Schools where he taught Spanish.  After two years of working in the classroom, he accepted the position of middle school principal and served in that capacity for six years.  Dr. Ferrell earned his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 2008.  His research interests include poverty and the impact that can have on education, school curriculum, school reform, and equity issues.


O. Susan Frusher

Dr. O. Susan Frusher, (Ph.D. Applied Behavioral Studies, Oklahoma State University) is a tenured Professor of Education and Chair of the M.S. in Higher Education Leadership graduate program, has been in the educational field for over 30 years.  Her teaching field includes multicultural education, leadership studies, instructional strategies, educational psychology, and motivation of learning.  Additionally, she has served as interim associate dean of education at NSU and has been active in many committees, including the American Indian Heritage Committee for 20 years.  She has also been a program evaluator for federal grants; a grant recipient; has been involved in community outreach, and has produced multimedia documentaries about various aspects of education and culture. Research interests include instructional strategies, the challenges of distance learning, as pertaining to digital distance learning.   Professional organizations that Frusher has been or is a member of include the National Association for Multicultural Education, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Social Science Association. 

Judy Moody

Dr. Judy Moody is a tenured Associate Professor and offices on the Broken Arrow campus. After completing an Elementary Education degree, Dr. Judy Moody completed a Masters in Computer Science, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education. She worked as a computer programmer for ten years, taught elementary school for nine years, and has taught in higher education for over ten years. Dr. Moody has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, which include computer programming, fundamentals of computers, technology in education, educational psychology, clinical internship, educational research, curriculum development, and Advance Measurements. Judy has presented around the world at local, national, international, and virtual conferences. She is the author of a book titled, Career decisions in computer technology fields: influences, barriers, and gender issues. She contributed to a global sourcebook with a section titled, Feminist writings from ancient times to the modern world.


Paula Schornick

Dr. Paula Schornick is a tenured Associate Professor of Education, Co-Chair of the School Administration program and offices on the Broken Arrow campus.  She received a Ph.D.  in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 2008 from the University of Oklahoma, a Master’s Degree in School Administration in 1997 from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Mathematics Education in 1994 from Northeastern State University.  Paula has served 19 years in education including working as a high school mathematics teacher and head coach, college mathematics instructor, high school administrator, university director, and university assistant professor.  Paula is very involved in exercise and fitness and teaches both indoor spin classes and group fitness classes in Claremore.  She provides test prep seminars for students throughout the state and has served as a consultant for Cameron University. Paula also works closely with future principals and superintendents across the state to prepare them for the Oklahoma principal and certification exams.   Her research interests include instructional leadership and professional development.