Garrett Center Sam Houston State University. Creating a path to your future. Families, Educators, Students.

About Us


About Us

The Eleanor and Charles Garrett Center on Transition and Disability Studies was proposed to the Dean of the College of Education at Sam Houston State University (SHSU)  in October of 2016. Dr. Stacey Edmonson, Dean of the College of Education, approved the proposal and supported the movement of the approval process through the SHSU Council of Academic Deans, the Office of  Provost, and the President. In February of 2017, Dr. Dana Hoyt, President of SHSU, approved the creation of the Eleanor and Charles Garrett Center on Transition and Disability Studies.

Mrs. Eleanor Garrett is an alumna of SHSU from Garland, Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1954 and with a Master of Education in 1955 at what was then Sam Houston State Teachers College. Mrs. Garrett taught in Trinity, Nederland, Vidor, Port Neches, and Garland before she and her husband started the Garrett Metal Detector Company.

Her late husband, Mr. Charles Garrett, was an engineering graduate of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Their company has grown into the world’s largest manufacturer of metal detection equipment for law enforcement, military, security, and hobby equipment.

The generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett has provided for the College of Education undergraduate and graduate scholarships. In addition, they have funded an Endowed Chair Position in Special Education.

Portrait of the GarrettsIn 2008, Mrs. Garrett was named SHSU Distinguished Alumna of the Year. In 2010, she was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. The Teacher Education Center at SHSU is named after alumna Eleanor Garrett and her husband, Charles.

The Garretts shared a common goal to help improve education services for children, and in particular children with disabilities, in Texas. Several of the graduate and undergraduate scholarships for education majors are dedicated to College of Education majors studying special education. During childhood, one of Garretts' children acquired a disability as a result of a serious childhood illness. The Garretts experienced first hand the joys and challenges of raising and educating a child with a disability while supporting their son to have opportunities for a better life in adulthood. The Garrett Center is dedicated to carrying on their mission by making a difference for all children with disabilities in Texas, their families, and the educators and community partners who serve and support them.

The center is the first of its kind in Texas to have a dedicated focus on the practitioner aspects of transition services. It will serve as a gateway of information for transition team members including educators, students with disabilities, their families, and community partners.

The purpose of the Garrett Center is to provide information, professional development, training, and resources to educators, students with disabilities, their families, and the community. The Garrett Center facilitates multi-level and wraparound systems change to improve post-school results for people with disabilities. The Garrett Center provides tools and information on its website and conducts program evaluations of all facets of transition services including work-based learning and 18+ adult transition services. The Garrett Center staff also provides services such as training and technical assistance for all stakeholder groups.

 

 Staff 

mitchell   Dr. Vickie J. Mitchell, Co-director of the Garrett Center

Vickie Mitchell is the Eleanor and Charles Garrett Endowed Chair in Special Education for the College of Education at Sam Houston State University. She is also an associate professor and the co-director of the Garrett Center.  In 2017, Dr. Mitchell was awarded the Donn Brolin Award for State/Province Leadership and Service at the International Conference of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Career Development and Transition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has been a general and special education teacher; special education administrator; Transition Specialist for the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston, Texas; and a private consultant working with school districts and regional education service centers. Her teaching and research interests include transition services, self-determination practices, work-based learning, and program evaluations of all areas of transition services.​

Duran   Dr. Jaime B. Durán, Co-director of the Garrett Center

Jaime Betancourt Durán is an assistant professor and the co-director of  the Garrett Center  at SHSU. He has served in south Texas public schools as an elementary special education resource teacher, as a high school special education life skills teacher, and as an educational diagnostician at a middle school. He has also taught and supervised post baccalaureate students seeking special education certification. Dr. Duran's research and teaching interests include transition services, family involvement in the transition process, transition assessment, disability advocacy and legal issues, and culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners.

leena landmark    Dr. Leena Jo Landmark, Associate Director of the Garrett Center

Leena Landmark is an associate professor of special education and associate director of the Garrett Center at SHSU. She holds Texas educator certifications in pk-12 generic special education and the principalship, and she taught students with disabilities at the middle school level for seven and a half years. She has worked on the state and federal grant projects at Texas A&M University and Ohio University, and she was an associate professor of teacher education at Ohio University. Her research focuses on the instruction and transition of secondary students with disabilities. She researches topics such as self-determination, transition planning, classroom management, family involvement, leadership experiences, and postsecondary educational practices, all related to individuals with disabilities. 

corrina headshot    Dr. Corinna V. Cole, Assistant Director for Culture and Diversity

Corinna Villar Cole is an assistant professor; the graduate coordinator and  advisor of the master's degree programs in Special Education, Educational Diagnostician, and Bilingual Diagnosticians; and the assistant director of the Garrett Center at SHSU. Her research interests include English learners’ special education assessment practices, special education, bilingual education, early childhood education, and second language acquisition. Her area of teaching expertise includes preparing educational diagnosticians to conduct special education assessment of students with suspected disabilities. She teaches assessment courses that include the administration of achievement, cognitive, and adaptive behavior instruments in English and Spanish, as well as the use of informal assessment instruments, how to determine language dominance and proficiency for English learners, and how to interpret results and make recommendations for learners in school settings. Dr. Cole is the University Advisor for HOUMET, the Houston Chapter for the Texas Educational Diagnostician Association (TEDA) and has been a member of the Houston area Bilingual Assessment Leadership Group (BALG) for over 25 years.

fry   Ms. Lauren Fry, Fall 2017 Intern for the Garrett Center

Lauren Fry is the Garrett Center Senior Intern for Fall 2017. She is a senior in the College of Fine Arts in Mass Communications studying PR/Advertising, with a minor in Community Leadership. Lauren has spent her whole life working with people with disabilities and has had three internships in the disability advocacy field. She also spends many weekends volunteering for a respite program for children with disabilities. Her dream job is to work in a non-profit organization benefiting people with disabilities.​


Garrett Center, Huntsville, Texas