Educational Leadership

Vanguard Teacher Program – Leadership Development

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Hood College and Frederick County Public Schools have partnered to offer the Vanguard Teacher Program, a leadership development program that aims to develop competency-based teacher leadership in public schools across the county.

The program focuses on four areas of teaching competencies: mindset, instructional technology, teaching practices, and professional learning and networking.

Mindset competencies include the core values or beliefs that guide a teacher’s thinking, behaviors, and actions, and which also help them shift toward new forms of teaching and learning.

Instructional technology skills help educators utilize technology to enrich their lessons. The goal is to transform learning experiences so they result in higher levels of achievement for students.

Teaching practice competencies are personal characteristics and patterns of behavior that help educators make the transition to new ways of teaching and learning. These qualities include integrating digital content, small group instruction, opportunities for student reflection and data-driven decision making.

Professional learning and networking skills are a more general set of skills that apply across roles and subject areas. These include collaboration and problem solving and are complex; they help practitioners tackle new tasks or develop solutions in situations that require organizational learning and innovation.

The Vanguard Teacher Program aims to develop competency-based, teacher leadership in public schools across the county. Vanguard Program candidates will be able to earn credits toward a related master’s degree in education at Hood while completing the program. Hood will provide up to nine graduate credits to participants who desire the graduate credits, provided they apply and are accepted to Hood College’s Graduate School as non-degree seeking students. Classes will take place in FCPS facilities.

Roger Stenersen, the Program Director of the Educational Leadership programs at Hood College, believes that the Vanguard Teacher Program constitutes an important addition to the FCPS-Hood partnership.  Stenersen said, “This new dimension incentivizes teacher growth toward system-identified priorities by providing a pathway to teacher salary increases as well as the option for teachers to earn graduate credits which can be counted toward a master’s degree at Hood.”


Hood College’s Educational Leadership Programs

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Educational Leadership programswhich include the Educational Leadership Certificate and Master of Science in Educational Leadership – are among the most effective preparation programs for school principals in Maryland. Hood’s Educational Leadership program contains both on-campus and cohort-based programming and serves nearly three hundred candidates across the region who are seeking their professional credentials to become a school principal. Many of these Hood graduates are now practicing principals in school systems across the greater Frederick region.  Hood College has strong partnerships in the region which provide access to the program for candidates in four regional school systems.

Candidates in their master’s degree or post-master’s degree study benefit from the instructional expertise and knowledge of practicing school and school system leaders.  Following their coursework preparation, candidates turn theory into practice by engaging in the capstone experience of the program: a year-long internship under the mentorship of their principal.

For further information please visit and

Apply Now for New Doctoral Program

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Hood College is now accepting applications for a new organizational leadership doctoral program. The 60-credit, three-year experience leads to a choice of two degrees: (1) Doctorate of Organizational Leadership (DOL) – For those in public and private education, the non-profit sector, training and development, government or military. (2) Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) – For those employed in business and industry who hold business and related graduate degrees.

The multidisciplinary program is structured by cohort. Both DOL and DBA candidates advance together through core and research courses. They then begin to differentiate their degree pursuit—DOL or DBA—by specializing in business, psychology and counseling or education courses. Finally, they complete their capstone work.

Classes are held on the college’s Frederick, Md., campus on a schedule that accommodates working professionals. The application period for the first cohort closes May 15, 2016. Learn more.

Alum Finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year

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Amanda Portner
Photo courtesy FCPS

Hood Graduate School alum and Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Amanda Portner has learned that she one of seven finalists for the 2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year Award.

A literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School, Maryland, Amanda holds both a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Hood. A panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations selected the seven finalists from among the state’s 24 district Teacher of Year recipients. Read more here.


Massey Tapped for Outstanding Educational Leadership Award

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Jennifer Massey with Prof. Roger Stenersen and Hood President Ron Volpe

Jennifer Massey with Prof. Roger Stenersen and Hood President Ron Volpe

The 2015 Award of Excellence for the Educational Leadership Master’s degree program went to Jennifer Massey.  The award is funded by Dr. Keith Harris ’99.  

Jennifer, a middle school science teacher at Mary of Nazareth Roman Catholic School in Darnestown, Maryland, already holds one degree from Hood, a BA in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies.  For her master’s degree she came back to her alma mater, where she has maintained a perfect GPA of 4.0.  In addition, Jen’s score on the School Leader’s Licensure Assessment – the “Praxis for Principals” – was among the highest ever achieved by a Hood candidate.

Jennifer has also sought out opportunities to grow beyond the requirements of her program, such as attending the Graduate School’s Professional Development Institute. This seminar series is designed for graduate students who want to enhance their marketability, sharpen their workplace skills and experience great networking and learning opportunities.

Stenersen Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

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Professor Roger Stenersen (center) with Daryl Boffman, Vice Chair of the Board of Associates, and Dr. Edgar Schick, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Professor Roger Stenersen (center) with Daryl Boffman, Vice Chair of the Board of Associates, and Dr. Edgar Schick, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Professor Roger Stenersen likes to introduce himself as a reformed high school principal.  At Hood’s Graduate School awards ceremony in May, however, Dean Maria Green Cowles introduced him as the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty. 

Once a high school English teacher who later became principal at four public high schools, Roger knows what it takes to prepare future school leaders. Last year, under Roger’s direction, over 97 percent of recent Educational Leadership candidates reported that they passed Maryland’s required School Leaders Licensure Assessment the first time they took it. In fact, students’ scores far exceeded both the state and national averages across all major indicators.

Roger was first person in the Education department to offer a completely online course.  He thought teachers in the Washington and Berkeley County public school systems should be given the opportunity to grow their school leaders, so Hood now offers onsite certificate programs in these counties. And he was one of the leading collaborators in Hood’s proposed doctoral program in Organizational Leadership. 

Roger is a leader in his own right — as board chair of the United Way of Frederick and, before that, campaign co-chair of a successful $1.6 million campaign for the United Way of Washington County.  Roger also meets regularly with school leaders themselves to find out what they need today to be successful in the classroom, in the school system and in the larger community.  As one of his students wrote in his nomination letter, Professor Stenersen’s “talent and love for the field of education” are evident to everyone in the classroom.

Teacher of the Year Holds Two Master’s from Hood

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PortnerAmandaTOYAmanda Portner has just been named Frederick County Teacher of the Year! The school system’s most prestigious award recognizes outstanding members of the teaching profession.

An alum of two Hood graduate programs — Curriculum and Instruction in 2004 and Educational Leadership in 2009 — Amanda is currently the literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School. Among numerous leadership roles, she serves as an FCPS curriculum writer and teacher trainer and co-directs the Maryland Writing Project for Frederick, plus she’s taught English for the FCPS Virtual School.

Find out more about Amanda and her most recent achievement on the FCPS website.

Grad Takes School Leadership Post

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Tracy Flower

Tracy Flower says Hood’s Educational Leadership program helped her to identify her core values as a school leader and how she could inspire educators and garner the respect of the families she’d serve as a school administrator. The 2013 grad is now putting what she learned into action as assistant principal at Whittier Elementary School in Frederick, MD.

“My professors became my mentors, took personal interests in me, and even followed up with me after I left their classrooms. The skills and knowledge they shared–coupled with my authentic field-based experiences–set the foundation for me to be a passionate school leader.”

This is Tracy’s ninth year in education, having taught third and fifth grades for five years and served as a math specialist for three.

Reception for All New Students: August 20

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All students who are new to the Hood Graduate School for the Fall 2014 semester are invited to an orientation on Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The informal welcome reception, to be held at Whitaker Campus Center, will provide an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and fellow students.

The agenda includes a campus tour, introduction to the bookstore and Apple computer lab, a welcome from Graduate School Dean Dr. Maria Green Cowles, and dinner with the program directors. Get the complete agenda and then RSVP here 

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.