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Dr. Cassandra Allen Holifield: A Passion for Special Education in Atlanta and Beyond

For Dr. Cassandra Allen Holifield, Walden University’s social change mission made all the difference.

Dr. Cassandra Allen HolifieldATL. A-Town. Hotlanta. The list of nicknames for the state capital of Georgia is as diverse and storied as the city itself. Burned to the ground by General William T. Sherman during the Civil War, the phoenix is considered the symbol of Atlanta’s rebirth—a city that quite literally rose from the ashes. Tenacity and passion are woven into the fabric of the community.

Dr. Cassandra Allen Holifield—contributing faculty for The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a specialization in Special Education (K–21) at Walden University—is a proud native Atlantan. As an active member of her own community, Dr. Allen Holifield sought a forward-thinking university committed to advancing social change. That’s why she chose to join Walden, believing deeply in the university’s vision and mission.

Dr. Allen Holifield says there is no place quite like Atlanta. “We have the best food, culture, arts, music, and diverse experiences in the Southeast. Atlanta is a place that once you visit, you’ll never want to leave.” This perhaps explains why Atlanta continues to be a growing city that’s becoming more diverse each year. For Dr. Allen Holifield, it’s this diversity that makes Atlanta such a great place for individuals from all walks of life to thrive.

Despite the economic, social, and political diversity of metro Atlanta, Dr. Allen Holifield notes that the city is still undeniably a part of the south—a region of the U.S. that birthed the civil rights movement and paid witness to decades-long disenfranchisement and racial segregation. True to its symbolism, Atlanta continues to rise as city leaders, organizers, and mentors achieve success and mobilize those around them. Dr. Allen Holifield is part of this community involvement. Working with her sorority Rho Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she dedicates her time to empowering the black community and beyond, including initiatives that promote voter registration, fundraise for scholarships, and build economic literacy and wealth among women.

Just as Dr. Allen Holifield is an invaluable member of the Atlanta community, she’s also an invaluable member of Walden’s faculty. When asked about her decision to choose teaching at Walden over other universities, she said, “Walden is truly committed to contributing to positive social change and the current events that are occurring in society and in the community in which I live. I am blessed to work at Walden.”

Become a More Effective Educator With a Master of Arts in Teaching at Walden

For prospective and future Walden students, Dr. Allen Holifield’s advice is, “to come prepared to grow and excel academically. Walden University is an online university that offers rigor, relevance, and results. Every student’s performance reflects the quality of Walden.”

Walden has provided working professionals with the support they need to advance their careers and inspire social change for more than 50 years. At Walden, an accredited online university, you can earn your Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree—or another degree offered by Walden—while you continue to work full time. That means you don’t have to put going back to school for your degree on hold. With online education, you can balance work and family life by taking classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you earn your bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree and position yourself to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden University is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator and Licensing Standards Board to offer the Master of Arts in Teaching, which leads to Minnesota Tier 3 licensure in special education (K–21). However, before Walden can recommend a candidate for teacher licensure, the candidate must also pass the required exams for Minnesota licensure adopted by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, undergo a Minnesota background check, and complete any other Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements beyond completion of Walden’s state-approved teacher preparation program.

Individuals interested in pursuing teacher licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify for a comparable license by virtue of completing the Walden Minnesota-approved teacher preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s teacher licensing regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. Prospective students seeking to be licensed in states other than Minnesota must research their state licensure requirements to determine (1) if they are required to complete a state-approved licensure program, and (2) if there are any other requirements that apply, especially requirements pertaining to programs provided by out-of-state (except Minnesota) or online institutions. Additionally, prospective students are advised if they choose to relocate to carefully review, evaluate and understand the requirements of the applicable licensure board in the state in which they intend to relocate. Learn more about professional licensure.

Individuals enrolling internationally must be supervised by a teacher with a valid U.S. state teaching license, in a school that follows a U.S.-based curriculum at the appropriate grade level for the license. Prospective students must check that the program is accepted for a teaching credential in the state in which they reside.

Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide general information on state licensure; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all licensure requirements in the state in which they reside. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.

Note to prospective Alabama students: State authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P–12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at

Note to all Pennsylvania residents: Walden University’s teacher preparation program is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board as leading to licensure. Because this program is not reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, candidates are instructed to apply for Pennsylvania certification as out-of-state graduates of a teacher preparation program.

Note to all Washington residents: Eligibility for initial educator certification in Washington is based on completion of a state-approved educator preparation program. This program is approved in Minnesota and is authorized for field placements in Washington by the Professional Educators Standards Board. Even though you may be residing in Washington while in this program, your application for educator certification in Washington will be processed as an out-of-state application. Go to for more information. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for teacher advancement.