After years of teaching internationally as a Middle School Teacher Librarian at Singapore American School, Jamin Bookhamer returned to the States to pursue his K-12 principal certification through Point Park University. Read more about his time studying online through Point Park, and oversea teaching experiences.
Why did you decide to pursue a K-12 principal certification?
I decided to pursue my K-12 principal certification as an additional certification to my master’s in educational leadership. I completed my master’s degree with the State University of New York, while teaching in Bangkok, Thailand. That degree did not provide me with a Pennsylvania K-12 principal certification though.
Heading into my 23rd year in education, I have held numerous teacher leader roles, and I am considering school administration to finish my career as my wife and I return to Pennsylvania. I would like to take all that I have learned as a professional in amazing international school environments and bring that to the leadership of a school in Pennsylvania. The Point Park University program was a perfect addition to my master’s degree. It allows me to be more prepared for an administrative role in a Pennsylvania school district.
How did you find out about Point Park University’s principal certification program, and what factors made you choose it?
I am originally from the western Pennsylvania area, though we have lived all over the world during our international teaching careers and currently live in Singapore. I know several administrators in Pennsylvania who did their principal certification program with Point Park and had fantastic experiences. I reached out to Director of Graduate Programs, Richard Gutkind, to see if there was a way that I could do my work while overseas. I chose Point Park’s program because I could do the reading, webinars, video studies, discussions and writing work on my own timeline during my busy school year, despite being halfway around the world and 12 hours ahead of the east coast time zone.
How does our program facilitate a fulfilling educational experience, even while you’re thousands of miles away?
What I like about Point Park University’s program so far is that the texts, articles and webinars chosen by the professors are applicable to all educational contexts: public, private, U.S., international, rural, urban, etc. Through great discussions and reflection with other outstanding professionals, you really start to see areas for growth in your own practice and school community. It challenges you to use what you have learned to solve real workplace problems that you will encounter as an administrator in the future.
Each of the professors I have had so far have done a wonderful job facilitating the coursework. The content of the courses has been carefully curated to create meaningful discussion and reflection to allow each student to grow in the areas they want to take away from the course. Given the wide level of teaching experiences, positions and school communities we work in, the Point Park program provides an excellent opportunity to grow as an educator and prepare for a teacher leader and administration role within your school.
How do you incorporate what you’ve learned in your courses into your role as a librarian?
My role as the middle school librarian is unique because of the scope and size of the job. We have over 1,000 middle school students and over 100 staff that I work closely with throughout the year. The coursework has challenged me to continue to grow in my ability to co-teach, co-plan, and look at interdisciplinary units as a way to be a learning resource to our staff and students.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am still undecided if I will ever make the jump from teacher leader within my school to administration because I love working closely with students and teachers on a daily basis. I do feel extremely confident though that if I decide to take the step forward, the Point Park University program will have prepared me well for the position to lead a school community well.