David O. McKay School of Education

Dean's Office

Dean's Office

  • Dean

    Mary Anne Prater


    Prior to becoming dean, Mary Anne Prater was a professor of special education at BYU for 12 years, 6 of them as Chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education. Previously she was a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Dean Prater earned her PhD at Utah State University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky. She has worked in the field of special education for over 30 years, having served as a special educator and parent educator, as well as a professor and administrator. Her research interests include instructional strategies for students with mild disabilities, preparation of future special educators, special education for multicultural students, and portrayal of disabilities in juvenile literature. She is the author or co-author of eight books and over 100 research articles in refereed journals. Dean Prater enjoys traveling, reading and counted cross-stitching.

  • Associate Dean

    Tina Dyches


    Dr. Dyches is a professor of special education at Brigham Young University who currently serves as an associate dean in the McKay School of Education. Dr. Dyches earned her doctoral, master's, and undergraduate degrees at Illinois State University, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University. She has worked with individuals with disabilities and their families for more than 25 years as a special educator, consultant, professor, and administrator. Her academic interests include adaptation of families raising children with disabilities, children’s literature that includes characters with disabilities, and provision of appropriate services to students with disabilities. She has published over 50 book chapters and refereed articles, has co-authored several books, and has made over 180 professional presentations on topics related to students with disabilities. Dr. Dyches likes to ride bikes, snowboard, play games, and travel with her husband, David, and son, Logan.

  • Associate Dean

    Lynnette Erickson


    Lynnette Erickson joined the McKay School faculty in 1996 as an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education. She received her bachelor’s degree (1978) in elementary education and master’s degree (1987) in teaching and learning from BYU. After teaching elementary school for six years, she became a liaison to BYU–Public School Partnership schools for the Department of Elementary Education. She left that position to earn a doctoral degree at Arizona State University (1996) and was hired at BYU immediately following her graduation. Two years after her return to BYU, she accepted a position as associate chair of the department which she held for eight years.

  • Assistant Dean

    Al Merkley


    Mr. Al Merkley received his BS in sociology from BYU and an LLB from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He practiced as a trial lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia for 14 years. Al joined the McKay School in 1993 and later received an LLM from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. He has served as the assistant dean of the McKay School since 1996. He loves to ride his road bike whenever weather and time permit.

  • Controller

    Gary Arnoldson


    Mr. Arnoldson received his BS in accounting from Utah State University and has worked in industrial, public, and governmental accounting. Before receiving his education, he served his country for over nine years in the military. He received his MBA from the University of Phoenix and served as controller of Snow College for 24 years. He has been with the McKay School of Education since June 2010. He sings with the EDLF Presidents Trio and likes ice fishing.

  • Executive Secretary

    Jeanna Nichols


    Mrs. Nichols earned her BA in English from Brigham Young University as a non-traditional student in 2008. She worked at Intermountain Healthcare for 10 years and completed her time there as a quality assurance specialist in transcription, which involved mentoring and training new employees as well as maintaining the quality of medical documents. Jeanna has been with the dean’s office of education at BYU since April 2011, serving as the executive secretary to the dean, which includes managing the dean’s office affairs. She is married and has two children, who can both attest that Jeanna’s favorite thing to do is read.

Administrative Personnel

    • Kristine Abbott

      Assistant Controller

      Manages payroll and travel expenses



    • Sharon Black

      Editor and Writing Consultant

      Assists faculty, staff, and administrators with writing and editing



    • Steven Burton

      Information Technology Systems Administrator

      Manages computer hardware, software, network, and data

      175-C MCKB


    • Carol Kounanis

      Coordinator of LDS Philanthropies

      Coordinates donations to the McKay School

      574 SWKT


    • Nina Lewis

      Technology Administrator

      Manages TEC Lab, MSE Studio, LTTL Lab, and AV deliveries



    • Shauna Valentine

      Alumni and Mentor Coordinator

      Directs public relations work, college alumni affairs, and publications



    • Jay Oliver

      Student Services Director

      Directs advisement, licensing, scholarships, and student teaching



    • Aaron Olsen

      Director Website/Data Development

      Directs development of educational software for research projects and manages the MSE websites.



    • Aaron Popham

      Assessment and Accreditation Director

      Coordinates MSE and EPP assessment and accreditation

      201-C MCKB


    • Cynthia Glad

      Public Relations Director

      Public Relations