The members of Hood College’s doctoral program not only want to learn more for themselves, but are now in the position to really help others. For some, like elementary school principal DeVeda Coley, this includes opportunities to present to others. As she explains “Dr. Jennifer Cuddapah, a Hood doctoral professor, encouraged all in our cohort to present at conferences on our topic as we are working on our capstone project. Dr. Cuddapah shared that presenting at conferences helps to keep us on target and motivated to continue to read and research our topic of interest.” Coley recently presented at the 2018 National Title I Conference in Philadelphia.
Teaching at Title I schools (schools designated for extra support due to being in low income communities) is a key part of DeVeda’s experience. Of her 25 years as an educator at Frederick County Public Schools, 20 have been in such schools. As a product of FCPS herself, Coley is proud to have continued being a part of that community. She earned her undergraduate degree from Mount St. Mary’s, where she is currently an adjunct professor, and her Master’s degree from Hood, where she is a member of the college’s first doctoral cohort. She is currently the principal at FCPS’s North Frederick Elementary School.
When the opportunity to present at the conference came up, Coley was encouraged by Dr. Pattie Hosfelt, a Hood Professor, FCPS principal and friend. DeVeda was excited to present at this particular conference because “I love the challenges, ability to think out of the box, and flexibility that one has when leading Title 1 schools. I am passionate about ensuring that every child gets the best education, no matter their home circumstances. It was an honor to share some of the great things that we do in Frederick County.” Her presentation, entitled ‘Strategic Use of Staff, Budget, and Time to Provide Effective Professional Development’, shared ideas on the importance of job-embedded professional development, different ways to make PD job-embedded and how to creatively use staff, budget, and time to provide quality professional development. It was an interactive workshop where participants shared ideas and reflected on things they could adjust in their buildings. She was able to include information from class research projects in the presentation, received positive feedback, and was thrilled it went well.
Reflecting on her experiences, Coley explains “our Hood classes have forced us to research topics and reflect upon them in our current leadership roles. Professional development and strategic leadership are two areas that I have reflected upon in my classes. The doctoral program promotes ongoing reflection of our leadership styles, actions and tactics. I look to continue to be grow as an authentic leader in Frederick County. In the far future, I hope to be a consultant for Title 1 schools and hopefully come back and teach some classes for the Hood Doctoral program. I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it.”