Phoenix Feature: Dr. Michael Pigg

Dr. Michael Pigg

Dr. Michael Pigg joined Cumberland in the Fall of 2021 as the Director of the Master of Arts in Education Program and Assistant Professor of Education after serving four years as the principal of Castle Heights Elementary in Lebanon, TN.

Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Pigg moved to Nashville in 2001 where he received a Bachelor of Science from Lipscomb University. As a graduate student at UT-Knoxville, he was a private math tutor and taught undergraduate math courses at the university. After teaching at a Knox County high school, it became clear that education was his passion. He moved around the state until 2011 when he settled in Lebanon with his wife Stephanie and served as a building-level principal in Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District. He completed his terminal degree at Lipscomb in 2019.

Dr. Pigg shared that his passion for education runs in the family. 

“My grandfathers were preachers and teachers, my mom was a middle school and high school math teacher, and my dad was an adjunct professor in accounting for several years at local colleges in Montgomery,” said Dr. Pigg. 

Throughout his career, guiding students through the problem-solving process has become his favorite part of teaching. 

“I love to take what looks like a really foreign and complex task and simplify it into a series of logical steps,” said Dr. Pigg. “Seeing the “light bulb” come on for students is extremely rewarding.”

With over 16 years of combined experience as a teacher and school administrator, Dr. Pigg believes in the importance of sharing the lessons he has learned throughout his career with students in the classroom who want to follow the same professional path. 

“I’ve been blessed to work with so many gifted educators over the course of my career, and I’ve tried to take small pieces of each of them with me along the way,” said Dr. Pigg.

By joining the CU family, he believes that his impact on the educational community is growing as he works one-on-one with students and helps teachers develop their instructional and leadership skills. With the Masters of Arts in Education program, Dr. Pigg helps established teachers improve and develop their instructional and leadership skills. As a result, he believes that this creates opportunities for instructors to mentor and lead their colleagues. 

“Instructional effectiveness becomes contagious, spreading across schools, and this positively impacts communities across our state and anywhere else our CU graduate students serve,” said Dr. Pigg. “The fact that our program is fully online allows us to work with professionals across the state, across the country, and even across the world.”

As Dr. Pigg begins his work at Cumberland, he remembers the advice that was given to him years ago that is still the driving force behind everything he does. 

“A long time ago, a mentor of mine said this to me: “Michael, wherever you find yourself working or living, however long you are there, you just want to leave it better than you found it.”

Because of this advice, Dr. Pigg’s goal is to positively impact every student and colleague that he interacts with. In just the short time he has been here, the Cumberland community is already inspired by Dr. Pigg’s enthusiasm and devotion to the MAE program, students and the university. 

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