Recipient of the David A. Williams Award for Innovation, which recognizes educators who build on David Williams’ (former COE Dean) legacy for innovative ideas, research or programs
By: Dr. Robyn Conrad Hansen, Assistant Professor of Practice
Critical Need for an Accelerated Program:
Schools and school districts need effective leaders like never before to take on the challenges and opportunities facing education today and in the future. The College of Education’s, Department of Educational Leadership graduating class of 2020 includes some of the most well-prepared graduates to take on these challenges. In January 2019, the department implemented an innovative Accelerated M.Ed. in Educational Leadership that welcomed 14 eager students. These students were experienced classroom teachers, from various east valley districts, who have a sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of their students, families, staff, and communities while taking on the daunting task involved with school leadership.
The Accelerated Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, hosted by the Gilbert School District, moved the students through eleven master’s level courses in twelve months:
- Courses met 2 weekends each month with field work and personal learning during the week.
- The capstone event of the master’s program was a six-month internship with an experienced, respected principal within their district supported by an NAU supervisor.
- Students were guided through the program by respected full and part-time professors, all of whom are NAU alumni, with successful careers as Principals or Superintendents.
- Due to the hard work and dedication by both faculty and students, the entire cohort is graduating!
During Megan Callahan’s final internship presentation recently, she shared, “This experience has been like nothing I would have ever dreamed of! We all worked so hard and cannot believe it is the end of such an amazing experience. I also wanted to say every single one of you has taught me so much and have gained life-long friends and colleagues.”
Dr. Gayle Blanchard, one of NAU’s full-time faculty working with the cohort expressed, “Serving as an instructor for the accelerated cohort has been such a rewarding and motivating experience. The students in this program consistently inspire me by their commitment and aspirations in developing their leadership skills.”
Next cohort begins January 2021 and graduates in May 2022
The job of school leaders is continuing to dramatically change. The high turnover rate of principals nationwide points to the complexities, responsibilities, and relentless pressures and stress of the job. Aspiring school leaders need high-quality principal preparation programs at the university level with real-world, relevant job-related programs that meet this growing demand. We are proud of our principal preparation program and of our students. We wish them all the best as they prepare for interviews as school leaders in the fall. We are confident in them and know they are prepared and ready to make a difference in the lives of students, families, staff, and the communities they serve!
Learn more about the Accelerated M.Ed. Cohort Program at https://nau.edu/ed-leadership/med-principal-k-12/