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 university preservice teachers, practicing educators from Early Childhood Special Education through 18+ programs, students with disabilities, their families, state agencies, and the community. The Garrett Center facilitates multi-level and wraparound systems change activities through program evaluations and technical assistance to improve post-school results for students with disabilities. Multiple information pathways were created to support the information and training needs of educators, such as the use of technology, Zoom training and social media, as well as face-to-face professional development.

 Recently, the Texas Education Agency awarded the Garrett Center a grant to lead the Student Centered Transitions Network, which is responsible for working with the 20 regional Education Service Centers to provide resources, training, and support to the 1,260 school districts and charter schools in the state.