EALR welcomes Kelly Foster, Wayne Young as adjunct instructors

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research is delighted to welcome two well-known and highly-regarded Kentucky education leaders as adjunct instructors for the Spring 2015 semester.

Dr. Kelly Foster

Dr. Kelly Foster, Associate Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education, will teach EDFN 576, Issues and Trends in Education.  Dr. Foster is a former English teacher who served as an administrator in the Nicholas and Montgomery County Schools before joing KDE in 2013 as Associate Commissioner for Next Generation Schools and Districts.  Dr. Foster oversees KDE’s comprehensive efforts to support and lead school improvement across the Commonwealth.

“I’m looking forward to teaching at WKU next semester,” Dr. Foster said.  “I believe my experiences in education across the state will inform some great discussion about current issues and trends in the field.”  EDFN 567, which is taught fully online, is a required course for certifications such as Director of Pupil Personnel and Supervisor of Instruction.

Mr. Wayne YoungEALR will also welcome Mr. Wayne Young, Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, to the faculty team.  Mr. Young will teach EDAD 677, School Law.  A graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, Mr. Young joined the staff of KASA in 1983 as legal counsel and lobbyist, becoming executive director in 1989.  He is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on school law in the Commonwealth.  EDAD 677 is a co-requisite course in the WKU principal certification program and required for all administrative certificates.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with WKU and with students who are at the beginning of their journeys as school leaders,” Mr. Young said.  “Having a solid grasp of legal concepts that impact schools is a foundational element in their future success, and I am honored to be able to share my experiences with them.”

EALR Department Head Dr. Marguerita DeSander said WKU is fortunate to have educators with the statewide profile and successful reputation of Dr. Foster and Mr. Young as a part of the faculty.  “Kelly and Wayne are regarded as key leaders in K-12 education in Kentucky,” she said.  “Our students will be greatly enriched by learning from their expertise.”

 

EALR professor Jim Berger honored for COABE work

Berger COABE AwardDr. Jim Berger, professor of adult education in WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, was recently recognized for his years of service to the Commission of Adult Basic Education.  Dr. Berger received an award of appreciation celebrating his past service as a member of the COABE board, and as editor of the COABE’s Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary, and Basic Education.

COABE provides research, professional development, and technical support for practitioners and scholars in a variety of adult education disciplines.

The COABE award adds to the crowded shelf of recognitions Dr. Berger has accumulated, including a recent President’s Appreciation Award from the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education.

EALR congratulates Dr. Berger on his well-deserved honors.  To learn more about WKU’s Masters of Arts in Education in Adult Education, which Dr. Berger coordinates, visit the program website.

 

First cohort of new EALR principal program graduates

Cohort 1 pic
Cohort 1 of WKU’s Principal Certification Program

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research is pleased to congratulate the first graduating cohort of its recently-revised principal certification program.  This week members of Cohort 1 completed the final core courses of the program.  Once they have successfully passed their licensure exams these principal candidates will be fully eligible to seek administrative positions in schools.

In recent years the Kentucky Educational Professionals Standards Board directed WKU, along with all other state-approved university programs, to make significant changes in its principal certification coursework.  As a result, EALR adopted a new cohort-based principal training model utilizing hybrid (online/face-to-face) learning and a heavy focus on practical field-based experiences, all with a major emphasis on the role of the principal as instructional leader.

Cohort 1 began core courses in Fall 2013, completing their program 18 months later.  Cohort 2 launched in Fall 2014, including 37 new principal candidates, and EALR anticipates approximately 18 incoming principal candidates in Cohort 3, which will begin Spring 2015.

Cohort 1 includes 15 outstanding principal candidates representing 9 school districts:

  • Andrea Diggs, Jefferson County Schools
  • Annette Fackler, Meade County Schools
  • Rachel Fairman, Simpson County Schools
  • John Gray, McLean County Schools
  • Ashley Hayes, Jefferson County Schools
  • Ashley Hendrick, Barren County Schools
  • Gena Jeffries, Hardin County Schools
  • Sandra Light, Bowling Green Independent Schools
  • Nicole Lyons, Warren County Schools
  • Joey Norman, Warren County Schools
  • Susan Pfefferman, Warren County Schools
  • Jon Porter, Allen County Schools
  • Dan Robbins, Hardin County Schools
  • Carlos Quarles, Warren County Schools
  • Shawn Quinn, Warren County Schools

EALR congratulates these aspiring school leaders for their outstanding efforts in completion of their Level I principal certification coursework.  They served as worthy pioneers for the new program format and set a high standard of excellent for future cohorts.  We look forward to hearing of their great successes as they move into the next phase of their careers.

To learn more about principal certification at WKU, click here.

EALR honors retirees Carolyn Hunt and Dr. Ric Keaster

 

Carolyn
Carolyn Hunt & CEBS Dean Sam Evans

This week WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research honored two beloved colleagues on the occasion of their retirement.

Carolyn Hunt, EALR Office Associate for 16 and a half years, and Dr. Ric Keaster, EALR professor for 12 years, are were honored by College of Education and Behavioral Sciences dean Dr. Sam Evans.  Dr. Evans presented Carolyn and Ric with a gift of appreciation for their many years of service, noting how a generation of aspiring and practicing school leaders have been touched by their contributions to WKU.

Ric
Ric Keaster and CEBS Dean Sam Evans

EALR wishes our dear friends Carolyn Hunt and Ric Keaster the greatest of happiness in their retirement.  They will be deeply missed!

Dr. Jie Zhang presents Spencer Fellowship project to National Academy of Education

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research is pleased to congratulate and celebrate Dr. Jie Zhang, Assistant Professor, Research Methods, for presenting her postdoctoral fellowship research at the National Academy of Education (NAEd) Annual Meeting and Fellows Retreat, November 14, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Dr. Zhang was one of only twenty postdoctoral fellows selected nationally by NAEd for the 2013-2015 award cycle, receiving grant funding in the amount of $55,000 to support her research focused on English Language Learners (ELL) titled, “Morphological Awareness and Word Learning in First and Second Language.”

“I am extremely honored to be part of the NAEd/Spencer postdoc fellow 2013 cohort,” said Dr. Zhang.  “The research project and professional development activities throughout the fellow retreats have significantly enhanced my capacity and passion in being an educational researcher.”

Dr. Zhang’s research examined how children use morphology (word parts) to infer the meanings of new words while reading or in isolation, and whether morphological awareness facilitates word learning ability, which in turn, contributes to reading comprehension in both their first and second languages.

“Struggling ELLs seem to read texts as fluently and accurately as their native English speaking peers, but they don’t know what the text is all about,” explained Dr. Zhang.  “A big obstacle of reading comprehension difficulties for ELLs is their limited English vocabulary and background knowledge. Given the increasing text complexity in the common core reading era, helping struggling readers to achieve the goal of reading for understanding is important yet challenging.”

About 400 fourth- and fifth- \graders from two school districts in Bowling Green, KY participated in the study.  Major findings from the study include:   1) native English (NE) speaking students and fluent English proficient (FEP) ELLs are better able to use morphological analysis to derive new word meaning than the limited English proficient students; and, 2) word reading fluency mediates the relationship between morphological awareness and reading comprehension for the LEP group, but word meaning inference ability mediates the relationship for the NE and FEP groups.

The findings deepen understanding of how morphological awareness supports reading comprehension in first and second languages and call for attention to the role of English proficiency in investigating the underlying mechanism between morphological awareness and reading comprehension. An educational implication is that instructional programs that link instruction in decoding to word meaning inference strategies while reading are critical for LEP students.

Dr. Zhang’s presentation on her research was well-received by the Fellows during the retreat.  Her research presentation was facilitated by noted scholar Dr. Kenji Hakuta, Lee J. Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University and expert in the implementation of the common core standards with ELL.  Over the past year while working on her research, Dr. Zhang has been mentored by two of the most prestigious scholars in language and literacy education, Dr. Catherine Snow from Harvard, and Dr. Annemarie Palincsar from the University of Michigan.

“Dr. Zhang is a bright star and emerging scholar in educational research,” said EALR department head Dr. Marguerita DeSander. “The Educational Administration, Leadership and Research department is proud of her accomplishments.”

EALR Office Associate Carolyn Hunt retires

After 16 and a half years as Office Associate for the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research, Carolyn Hunt has announced her retirement, effective December 31, 2014.

Carolyn is well-known to a generation of education administration students whom she supported with advising help, information, support, and friendly service.

“This job has kept me young,” she said.  “I have most enjoyed helping students, and wish them all the very best and encourage them to continue their education and the good work they do with their students.”

Carolyn Hunt worked for 22 years in the insurance industry before coming to WKU, where she first served as office associate in the Department of Education Leadership, the predecessor to WKU’s current Departments of Counseling and Student Affairs and EALR.  She estimates that over the years she worked with thousands of students and close to a hundred faculty members.

“Carolyn has been the glue that has held this department together through many transitions and program developments over the years,” said EALR department chair Dr. Marguerita DeSander.  “She will be missed and we wish her all the best.”

Carolyn looks forward to spending time with her grandsons and volunteering in her church.

EALR students and alumni can send Carolyn congratulations and well wishes to her email address, carolyn.hunt@wku.edu.

EALR professor Dr. Ric Keaster is also retiring effective December 2014.  Read about his accomplishments here.