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Making a Difference Through Educational Leadership

How can a degree in educational leadership help transform our school system? Sue E., pursuing a Master of Education at the University of Cincinnati, discusses the impact of this field.

What made you want to pursue a career in educational leadership?

I decided to pursue a career in educational leadership because I have been in and out of the classroom for about 18 years, and although I love it, I am ready to step into an administrative position. I will hopefully not only get to help students but also teachers grow. I enjoy the personal relationships with students and staff and feel like I can use my strengths to reach a wider range of people. 

How has being in a program prepared you for your future career?

The University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Education in Educational Leadership program has been instrumental in my growth as I am trying to make a transition from classroom to administrative office. I have always enjoyed learning and constantly look for ways to improve my teaching to help my students, and this program has helped me take the next step in becoming the leader of a staff, students, and community. I appreciated the organized structure of the program from the beginning and the wide variety of classes that will make me feel more confident to address the needs of a school.

Most of all, Dr. McCauley was so great at supporting all of the students. He understood the demands of working full time and having a family, while encouraging us to get the most out of the program that we could. I feel the hands-on experiences were the most beneficial: scenarios to consider and discuss with my mentor principal, observing another principal in a different district, participating in observations, interviewing other staff members, and leading my master’s project. It was definitely a lot of work, but two classes at a time was manageable. Dr. McCauley was great at communicating and that helped me stay on schedule so I could arrange for the out of school experiences in a timely manner. My goal was to gain the necessary information and experiences to lead a school successfully and I think I achieved that through this program.

How do you plan to implement things you’ve learned as an educational leader?

There is so much that I will implement, but here are some of the things that come to mind: creating a collaborative culture; building relationships; supporting staff; instilling high expectations; having the confidence to have difficult conversations if necessary; make school-wide decisions based on the vision and mission; use data to make decisions, hire, and retain quality teachers; support new teachers and help them grow; advocate for equity; follow the law to meet student needs; recognize staff strengths and build on them; and most of all, grow students socially, emotionally, and academically. I know my success will depend on my relationships and the culture that is established, so my first priority will be to observe and learn what is already there and how we can make it even better as a team. 

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