Hello, my name is Joseph Spera, and I am currently the Director of Athletics at New Foundations Charter School located in Northeast Philadelphia. I have been a teacher for 18 years. This current school year is my first one out of the classroom as full-time director of athletics.
I began the educational leadership graduate program at Holy Family University in the spring of 2016. At that time, I was teaching three different high school math curriculums, coaching football, basketball, and softball, working as athletic director for my middle school and high school athletic programs, and running two different athletic leagues. I knew it was time for me to go back to school to earn my degree in educational leadership, but was worried about managing the time with the rest of my responsibilities.
That is when I found the program offered at Holy Family. The blended format over five semesters worked in a manner that I could still maintain my job responsibilities while balancing the course work required in a graduate program. Each course ran for eight weeks, and we met face-to-face on three occasions through those weeks. All of our assignments were due online through a virtual portal. The assignment due dates were given to us at the beginning of each class, which allowed me to develop a schedule to ensure all of my expectations were being met. I do not think I could have completed this program without this type of format. Along with this, the professors were easily accessible and helpful throughout each of my courses. Every time I reached out to a professor for guidance or support, they immediately responded with feedback.
Another part of the program that I really enjoyed was meeting and working with my classmates. We had a solid mix of educational professionals from a diverse background of schools. Their experiences offered unique perspectives to many of our topics throughout the entire program. As a future school leader, it was extremely beneficial to learn from other future leaders along with our professors. Still, just over a year after completing the program, I consult with some of the people I met through my classes to discuss current issues I face in my school. This type of collaboration would not have been possible if I did not choose the program at Holy Family.
I would recommend this program to any professional educator looking to continue their career in school leadership. The work is demanding, and expectations are high, but the knowledge and experience gained will be worth the time and effort.