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About the School of Education

School of Education

When the doors of the Salem Normal School opened on September 14, 1854, a total of 121 women were enrolled, each one determined to become the best teacher she could be and to serve in the Commonwealth’s public schools. One hundred and sixty years later, on September 2, 2014, 850 men and women enrolled in the School of Education at Salem State University, many of them with the same goal of becoming a classroom teacher. However, a large number are now focused on one of the several other careers in education that are integral to Massachusetts society in the twenty-first century.

Then and now, the School of Education remains dedicated to providing the highest-quality, progressive education for the widest cross section of society, and to graduate top-flight educators who work for the good of their communities.

Today’s School of Education offers undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs for individuals eager to have careers in public schools, early care and education centers, colleges and universities, and nonprofit, community-based education enterprises. We welcome “traditional” students coming directly from high school, transfer students, career-changers, veterans, and people who are first in their families to attend college. And, as we have since our earliest days as a school, we seek engaged students who are as diverse in their backgrounds, beliefs, and goals as are the citizens of the Commonwealth they will eventually serve.

Promising careers in education abound in communities across the Commonwealth—from preschools, universities, childcare centers and after-school programs to national parks, museums, group homes, health centers and hospitals. Ask around and you’ll find Salem State University’s School of Education alumni engaged in any number of great jobs in your town.

In fact, nearly 20,000 of our graduates are making a difference as public school teachers, early childhood professionals, counselors, higher education administrators, community educators, and nonprofit directors.

If you want:

  • A career that makes an impact, whether in a school classroom or a position in the greater community
  • A rigorous preparation program that marries deep theoretical learning with continuous field-based practice
  • Small classes with expert faculty
  • A caring community of leaders

…then we’re the school for you.

Take a tour of our website. Discover our remarkable history. Learn about our top-tier programs of study. Familiarize yourself with our community and school partners. Get to know our terrific faculty. Meet some of our current students and alumni. I think you’ll agree that a degree in education from Salem State University is the gateway to a truly satisfying career.

My best,
Joseph Cambone, EdD

Salem State University’s School of Education opened in 1854 with a mission to prepare teachers for the “common” (public) schools of Massachusetts. Heeding local hero Horace Mann’s call for professional training for teachers, the townspeople of Salem competed to host the Commonwealth’s fourth “normal school” (teacher education institution) and won on the basis of Salem’s reputation as a place of culture, scholarship and enterprise.

The tenth such school in the country and the second for women only, the Normal School at Salem opened educational and career doors for women at a time when their opportunities for higher education and work were limited. Teaching was one of the few acceptable ways that women could work outside the home.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Salem Normal forged a practice-teaching relationship with Salem schools and a partnership with what is now the Peabody Essex Museum, the first of many collaborations with community organizations and landmark institutions in the region. Men were admitted in 1898, and by 1932 the three-year normal school became the four-year Salem Teachers College. And, in 1954, the education programs earned recognition by achieving national accreditation by the brand new National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, voluntary national accreditation that we have held for 60 years.

As we continue to respond to workforce and community needs, the School of Education reaffirms its 160-year commitment to graduate imaginative, innovative and effective school and community educators who serve the people of the region and the world.


I’m married and have a couple of kids, so I wasn’t your traditional student. Salem State University thankfully made it easy to earn my master’s degree in special education. They did a great job with keeping the program rigorous and yet meeting students at their level, whether they were single or had a family like me. Not only did they offer the night classes I needed—many in my special education major, I also had plenty of opportunities for one-on-one instruction with my teachers. My academic advisor in the School of Education, Patricia Reblin, went out of her way to help me with my plan of study and to find courses she thought might suit my idea of special education.

Aside from important teaching skills for the special education classroom, the School of Education gave me the foundation I needed for collaboration with general education teachers. It also prepared me for all the data collection required in this field, like status reports, and informed me about the special education laws that are vital to the services I provide.  

Salem State is a great school and I loved the diversity on campus. Earning my degree there was a great experience. Now I’m teaching special education at Salem Academy Charter School for ninth and tenth graders.

I felt like my teachers in Salem State’s School of Education were always accessible to me, for both my bachelor’s and master’s degree. And during my master’s program, when I was working full time and had two small children, I was able to attend classes because of the flexible scheduling. It was very manageable and a great fit. I did a lot of accelerated, intensive courses—including three in one summer—to move quickly through the program and get my degree.

Today I’m still connected to Salem State’s School of Education through the work I do at North Shore Community College administering a large regional grant. The goal is to improve the quality of early childhood education programs for young children through professional development, and Salem State is one our partners.

It’s really exciting to see the growth of Salem State and the community they’ve developed. I’m proud that I went to school there. 

Salem State was supposed to be a temporary stop on my way to a degree. I had gone to a Rhode Island university the first semester of my freshman year and realized, at age 17, I was just too young to be on my own. My plan was to attend Salem State until I was old enough to transfer, but I ended up falling in love with my professors at the school. They were so invested in me doing well that I couldn’t imagine leaving. Whether it was for research, a project or just the general track I was going down, they made sure I had a plan and stuck to it. I’m still really close to a lot of my former professors, and every time I’m home from Colorado I see them. I was also fortunate to have their support during a time when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, luckily, she’s been in remission for four years, but while she was battling it I didn’t want to leave home again. Salem State was thankfully such a great fit.

Michelle Pierce in the School of Education and Brad Austin in the history department were the ones who suggested I look at informal education when I realized I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher. I ended up interning with Salem’s National Park Service and it all fell into place. I had a wonderful experience and was able to design field trips that were aligned with the new public school curriculum. This summer I interned with the Peabody Essex Museum and Essex National Heritage Area, which never would’ve happened without the guidance of my former professors. I’ve definitely relied on their support way after graduation and they’ve been more than willing to offer it. They keep me motivated and make me feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. I’m so appreciative of that. I’m pursuing a master’s degree in museum and field studies at the University of Colorado and I’ve just accepted a job with Essex Heritage in Salem as a development and communication assistant.

Everyone told me I needed to go to Salem State because they had the best teaching and nursing programs. I was undecided between the two. When I visited the campus, however, I fell in love with the education program along with the great location and community.

I had a lot of real-world experience through the School of Education. Instead of just reading books and theorizing how teaching worked, the program helped me understand what it was truly going to be like. Right away you’re able to do classroom observation and see what teachers actually go through−and make an educated decision about whether it’s the right path for you.

Salem State was the best option for me and I’m so glad I went. Now I’m teaching special education high school math for ninth and tenth grade in Lynn Public Schools.

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