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, 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 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, 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 family.


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.



Steve Christensen

Steve graduated from Southern Utah University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He spent five years in public accounting, working in the audit and tax arenas. During that time, he earned a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Phoenix. In 2010, Steve came to Continuing Education at BYU as a financial manager. While working at BYU, he earned a second master’s degree, this time from Instructional Psychology and Technology (IP&T). He was recently admitted into the IP&T doctoral program. Steve is married to Mandy Christensen, who is a certified nurse midwife, and they have four children: one daughter and three boys. Together, they enjoy all things outdoors, movies and video games, and trying new restaurants.


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


Assistant Controller

Kristine Abbott



Editor and Writing Consultant

Sharon Black



Information Technology Systems Administrator

Steve Burton

175-C MCKB


Coordinator of LDS Philanthropies

Lin Brown

242 HC


Alumni and Mentor Coordinator

Shauna Valentine

331 MCKB

Education Advisement Center Director

Brandan Beerli

350 MCKB


Director Website/Data Development

Aaron Olsen

175 MCKB



Amber Richardson

301 MCKB


Public Relations Director

Cynthia Glad

331 MCKB


Grants Administrator

Jaynie Mitchell 

306-C MCKB


Recruitment and Marketing Specialist

Sarah Rollo 

306-C MCKB