Published on March 7, 2022 by Leighton Doores  

Associate professor of teacher education David Little will retire in April after 33 years of service. When asked what he will miss most about teaching and working at Samford, he simply says, “The love of the students.”

This has always remained at the heart of teaching for Little, who says that the best teachers are those who teach from the heart.

Little started his career as a school counselor, but eventually went back to school to earn his master’s degree in elementary education and his doctorate of education.

After teaching elementary school students for 15 years in both Shelby County and Tuscaloosa City, Little accepted a substitute professor position at Samford for the summer that quickly turned into a full-time position. He went from teaching fourth grade students to graduate students over the period of a weekend.

While at Samford, Little first taught graduate students and then undergraduates majoring in elementary education. He also served as the director of the elementary education program and the fifth-year alternative master’s program. He has most recently served as associate professor teaching courses in foundational and diagnostic reading, phonics, classroom management, reading in the content areas, assessment, social studies methods and instructional leadership.

In addition to the numerous roles he has held in Orlean Beeson School of Education, Little also came alongside the greater Samford community in other ways. One of his proudest accomplishments is serving as the chair of the Davis Library building additions and renovations.

“When I go into Davis Library I always walk up those black marble stairs because I know I was chair of the committee that created that new addition,” said Little.

Little also directed the Samford Summer Institute for Teaching Excellence (SSITE) for more than 20 years, a program that conducted workshops for teachers throughout the state and the Southeast on how to be highly effective teachers.

“I directed that for years and years and really enjoyed it because it touched so many,” said Little. “The institute impacted so many thousands of teachers and to this day I still hear people say those are the best conferences they ever attended. 

With retirement on the near horizon, Little is looking forward to spending time with his wife, gardening, working on his Volkswagen Beetle convertible, exercising, hiking and camping.

We invite you to join us in celebrating Dr. David Little and his tremendous investments in the life of our Samford family by making a gift in his honor to the School of Education Learning Enhancement Fund. To make a gift in honor of Dr. Little, please click here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.