Concordia University Irvine, Irvine, California

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Tanya Tarbutton, Assistant Professor of Education and Program Director for M.A.Ed. Educational Administration

What programs do you teach at Concordia University Irvine? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?

I teach in the educational administration program at Concordia University Irvine. I currently serve as the Director of this program. As a young girl I dreamed of being a teacher. I felt it was my calling at a very early age. I continue to be excited about teaching by challenging myself to learn new skills and improve my practice. I have a growth mindset and recognize that there is always room for improvement. I pursue opportunities that require me to stretch my thinking.

How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we’re in, specifically with COVID-19 and the move to online learning?

The Master of Arts in Educational Administration cohort-based program is designed to prepare future leaders in private or public K-12 education. Concordia University Irvine’s program provides the opportunity for teachers to continue working while completing a graduate program as the content, pacing, and structure of the program were created employing adult learning theories. As students are completing their program, they are gaining hands-on experience in best online educational practices. The teacher is the student. Candidates are provided authentic opportunities to learn practical skills grounded in virtual learning design, which can be immediately implemented in their own classrooms.

What attracted you to Concordia University Irvine to teach at? What sets them apart?

In 2010 I started working in higher education, specifically teacher education. I worked for a nonprofit university as well as a for-profit university. In 2015 I joined Concordia University and I knew I had found my professional home. I am thrilled to be working for a Christian university  where my passion for education and the Lord can be fostered. Concordia University is truly a special place. I am blessed to be a part of a team of educators who are committed to providing a quality education for our students. Faculty and staff at CUI go above and beyond in building relationships and supporting students. The smaller class size allows instructors to serve students individually and get to know them. The benefits of building positive relationships can be seen in the success enjoyed by our graduates.

What is your professional background including degrees as an educator?

I have worked as a supervisor and instructor at several higher education institutions in Southern California, mentoring and supporting new administrators and teachers. In this capacity I evaluated and prepared administrative candidates as well as teacher candidates for teaching and learning in the 21st century. Before entering higher education, I worked as a site-based school administrator, resource teacher, and general education teacher. I have more than 20 years of experience as an educator. The following is a list of the degrees I have earned.

  • D, Educational Leadership & Management, Alliant International University, San Diego, CA.
  • A., School Administration, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA.
  • A., Curriculum and Instruction, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA.
  • A., Elementary Education, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • A., Sociology Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?

I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, where most of my family still resides. My grandmother was a teacher, my aunt was a teacher, and my mother went to school to become a teacher, although she followed a different career path. Teaching was in my blood. I loved children and was excited to work with them and help them grow and learn.

What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something your students and colleagues should know about you?

As part of my vocation I am called to be an expert in my field both in theory and in practice. This means knowing one’s newest trending content considerations and delivery platforms, as well as knowing one’s audience. I pride myself on supporting students and helping them successfully complete our program. Securing outstanding instructors and designing a stellar administration program are at the forefront of all of my decisions as the director.

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their educational administration degree? How can people stand out in this field?

For candidates who are interested in changing the status quo, there has never been a better time to enter school administration. As candidates complete our program, they are gaining knowledge and skills that can be beneficial during this unprecedented time of virtual learning. To stand out in the field it is important for educators to have hands-on experiences and accomplishments as they relate to virtual learning. Future administrators should be confident and in control of their online presence.

One other area that cannot be overlooked is the need for school administrators to be competent in building positive school cultures focused on the social and emotional well-being of their students and staff. This is critical in meeting the needs of all learners.