What program do you teach at Concordia University Chicago? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?
I teach a number of the leadership courses in the Concordia University Chicago Teacher Leadership, Principal Preparation, and Superintendent Endorsement programs. In addition to teaching, I am very proud to serve as the Program Leader for the Concordia Teacher Leadership program. Having served in various educational leadership roles over the years, it is always so rewarding to help support and mentor students that are interested in leadership positions. Teacher Leadership is a newer area of school leadership with the focus on educators sharing leadership. It has been exciting to watch how teacher leadership has helped to build capacity and improve teacher, student, and school outcomes.
How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we are facing?
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly provided challenges to not only families and communities but also our schools and universities. Both classroom and university teachers have had to quickly shift from teaching in person instruction to an online modality. Not only was Concordia University Chicago at the forefront with meeting the online instructional delivery but also in working with our students to address the social and emotional issues that students have and continue to experience as a result of our pandemic. Meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of all of our students has always been a priority for our Department of Leadership.
What attracted you to teach at Concordia University Chicago? What sets them apart?
Concordia University Chicago has always, and continues to, have a superior reputation in the educational world. The curriculum, instruction, and internships in all of our programs set us apart from other universities. In addition, all our professors have previously served in leadership roles and share their practical insights and knowledge with our students. Concordia’s Teacher Leadership, Principal Preparation, and Superintendent Endorsement programs do an excellent job of providing students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to succeed in their leadership roles.
What is your professional background as an educator?
My professional background includes graduate studies and over 30 years as an educational leader. My graduate degrees include a Master’s in Teacher Leadership, Master’s in Leadership, Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and a Doctorate in Leadership, with endorsements in Teacher Leadership, Principal Preparation, and Superintendent. I have served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant to the superintendent of curriculum & instruction, district associate administrator, school board member, university elementary education undergraduate coordinator, associate graduate professor, program leader and assistant chair of the department.
In addition, numerous service organizations have afforded me volunteer opportunities to learn and better understand the needs, values, and experiences within the community. My graduate studies coupled with my experiences in educational leadership roles have provided with the research and practical experiences to share with my Concordia University Chicago graduate students.
Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?
My journey and passion of the learning, teaching and leading process began as a young girl. Born to parents who immigrated to America from Germany only a few years prior to my birth, I was raised speaking two languages and learning two different cultures. My mother and father taught me the importance of accepting and understanding one another, the meaning of hard work, the love of learning, appreciating diversity, and spiritual guidance.
My teachers provided me with the confidence to continue to learn and gain knowledge and experiences to lead and serve others. I have always loved learning and teaching so I believe leading others was a natural extension. It has been so rewarding to share my knowledge, skills, and experiences with students and to watch them develop into educational leaders.
What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I have always emphasized to my children and students the need to continue learning throughout their lives. In fact, I just returned to the classroom to complete an additional graduate degree. The graduate program not only provided me with new knowledge, skills, and experiences in the area of teacher leadership, but it also allowed me to better understand graduate school from a student’s’ perspective. This experience showed that you are never too old to pursue a learning opportunity as well as emphasized the importance of learning and leading together.
What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their leadership degree? How can people stand out in this field?
There are many formal and informal leadership roles in our schools and school districts. Informal and formal educational leadership roles may include a team leader, PLC leader, teacher mentor, department chair, PD leader, instructional coach, dean of students, assistant principal, principal, curriculum coordinator, and/or superintendent.
If you are interested in an educational leadership degree, it is important that you discuss and share your areas of interest. Our Concordia University Chicago graduate advisors, as well as our program leaders, are all here to help guide and support students throughout the graduate school process and program.