Educational Leadership

Couple Tackle Master’s Together

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FamilyFrederick County natives John Ridenour and Jessica Zentz tend to do things by twos. Both have pursued their entire teaching careers with Frederick County Public Schools. They have two small children and two cats. (Only their dog is a singleton.) So it’s not unusual the husband-and-wife team decided to get their master’s in Educational Leadership together.

“We have similar interests in education and furthering ourselves professionally,” says John, who teaches fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary. By taking classes together, they “balanced each other’s different ideas and opinions about concepts.”

For Jessica, who currently teaches second grade at Walkersville Elementary, the program has “opened doors” in her career, inspiring her to take risks and providing networking opportunities with other FCPS professionals.

John agrees. “The program encouraged me to actively engage in aspects of school leadership that teachers do not typically participate.”

The two aspire to leadership roles in education – with FCPS, of course.

Finishes at the Top, Moves into the Top Seat

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img3Rod Kerbs is a role model for the Graduate School’s Educational Leadership program. Not only did he knock the top off the SLLA (School Leaders Licensure Assessment) on the first try in 2013, but he was hired for a principalship right after completing the program. Now principal at Mt. Aetna Adventist School in Washington County, MD – which serves record-level enrollment in grades preK-8 – Rod has 12 years’ experience in education, including three as an assistant principal.

Rod found that the Educational Leadership program took his know-how to the next level. “It equipped me with the confidence to create a vision and the patience and knowledge to push that vision forward through collaborative leadership practices.” Reputation, affordability and proximity to his Hagerstown home were key factors in choosing Hood to advance his education, says Rod. “I’d recommend it. The learning is relevant, and it has directly impacted my school in positive ways.”

Grad Lands the Job Fast

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2013-09-28 01.44.06-1Already armed with a master’s in special education, Emily Quinlan took Hood’s certification preparation path toward a future in educational leadership. Program director Roger Stenerson says he wasn’t surprised when Emily landed a teacher specialist position within two months of completing the 18-credit program in 2013. “She has tremendous energy, a strong sense of diplomacy and well-developed leadership skills.”

Emily credits the curriculum and faculty for equipping her with effective new mentoring, collaboration and professional development strategies for working with teachers of varying experience levels. “It is a great program for discovering your own leadership qualities while learning how to build positive relationships with other educators.”

As an itinerant teacher specialist with Frederick County Public Schools, Emily delivers consultative and direct services to students with disabilities and their instructional staffs at eight middle and six high schools. She mentors teachers, conducts observations and monitors instructional programming – as well as provides professional development.

New Educational Leadership Cohort in West Virginia

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Starting the summer of 2014, aspiring leaders in the Berkeley County, West Virginia, school district will no longer have to drive two hours to take the classes that lead to certification as an assistant principal, principal or supervisor. The Graduate School at Hood College has signed an agreement with the 17,000-student district to establish a cohort of 14 to 18 teachers. Together, they will complete one year of coursework followed by year-long internships, finishing certificate requirements by spring 2016.

According to Roger Stenersen, program director, the Berkeley cohort will follow the same delivery model as the one Hood uses for Washington County Public Schools, Maryland.  “We’re talking with district leaders and teachers alike to ensure that we successfully transfer the DNA of their education culture to our program. That said, our partnership with every certificate student—no matter where they teach—is the same: to grow them to School Leaders Licensure Assessment standards. SLLA is our program’s conceptual framework. Performance on this benchmark test is a measure of how well we’re preparing our students for leadership.”

Roger said, “In 2013, 99 percent of our students passed the licensure test on the first take. I can count on one hand the number of students who haven’t.”

Hood’s Educational Leadership program has been comprehensively evaluated and nationally accredited according to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education research-based standards for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.