Dean's Office Staff



Mary Anne Prater

Prior to becoming dean, Mary Anne Prater was a professor of special education at BYU for 12 years, six 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 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 coauthor of eight books and over 100 research articles in refereed journals. Dean Prater enjoys traveling, reading, and counted cross-stitching.


Associate Dean

Tina Dyches

Tina Dyches is a professor of special education at Brigham Young University who currently serves as an associate dean in the McKay School of Education. Professor Dyches earned her doctoral, master's, and undergraduate degrees at Illinois State University, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University, respectively.

She has worked with individuals with disabilities and their families for more than 30 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, coauthored several books, and made over 180 professional presentations on topics related to students with disabilities. Professor Dyches likes to ride bikes, snowboard, play games, and travel with family.


Associate Dean

Lynnette Erickson

Lynnette B. Erickson, associate dean of the David O. McKay School of Education, has worked at Brigham Young University for a total of 26 years. Professor Erickson graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and worked as an elementary and junior high school teacher for six years. She returned to BYU for a master’s degree in teaching and learning and subsequently served as an instructor and a BYU–Public School Partnership liaison from 1986 to 1991. She left BYU in 1991 to earn a PhD from Arizona State University, returning again to BYU in 1996. As a professor, she taught social studies methods and democracy in education courses. Her research focuses on teacher preparation, program accreditation, social studies education and pedagogy, and democracy in the classroom. She has authored and coauthored numerous articles, chapters, and books on these subjects.

Professor Erickson considers herself “cougar blue through and through.” She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, quilting, and dreaming of fulfilling all the items on her bucket list.


Assistant Dean

Al Merkley

Al Merkley received his bachelor’s of science in sociology from Brigham Young University 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.


Executive Secretary

Jeanna Nichols

Jeanna Nichols earned her bachelor’s in English from Brigham Young University as a nontraditional student in 2008. She worked at Intermountain Healthcare for 10 years as a quality assurance specialist in transcription, which involved mentoring and training new employees and 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. She is married and has two children, who can both attest that Jeanna’s favorite thing to do is read.

Administrative Personnel


Editor and Writing Consultant

Sharon Black



Coordinator of LDS Philanthropies

Lin Brown

242 HC


Information Technology Systems Administrator

Steve Burton

175-C MCKB


Public Relations Director

Cynthia Glad

331 MCKB


Grants Administrator

Jaynie Mitchell

306-C MCKB


Data / Website Development Director

Aaron Olsen

175 MCKB


Recruitment and Marketing Specialist

Sarah Rollo

306-C MCKB


Alumni and Mentor Coordinator

Shauna Valentine

331 MCKB