WKU Welcomes 37 New Principal Candidates

This semester WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research welcomes Cohort II of the newly-revised principal preparation program.  Thirty-seven principal candidates representing 14 school districts launched into a new learning journey as WKU classes commenced this week.

These candidates join 15 others from Cohort I in WKU’s unique principal training program that emphasizes on-the-job leadership experiences and coursework delivered in a blended learning format.

Principal candidates in Cohort II include the following:

  • Jeremy Byrn (Allen Co. Schools)
  • Julie Croft (Allen Co. Schools)
  • Julie Shelton (Allen Co. Schools)
  • Melissa Jones (Allen Co. Schools)
  • Shari Alexander (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Ken Cook (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Olivia Dooley (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Lee Johnson (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Rachel Perkins (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Luke Pniewski (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Heather Shelton (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Lauren Simmons (Barren Co. Schools)
  • Jackie Williams (Breckenridge Co. Schools)
  • Hannah Jones (Campbellsville Independent Schols)
  • Weston Jones (Campbellsville Independent Schools)
  • Erica Frierson (Elizabethtown Independent Schools)
  • Danne Johnson (Fayette Co. Schools)
  • Michael Jones (Fayette Co. Schools)
  • Shannon Cates (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Lea Ann Frank (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Tonya Hill (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Ashley Johnson (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Kim Smith (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Lorie Sutherland (Grayson Co. Schools)
  • Autumn Jones (Hardin Co. Schools)
  • Alison Langely (Hardin Co. Schools)
  • Carrie Prater (Hardin Co. Schools)
  • Keisha Fulson (Jefferson Co. Schools)
  • Nichele Washburn (Jefferson Co. Schools)
  • Dwan Williams (Jefferson Co. Schools)
  • Jennifer Kelly (Mead Co. Schools)
  • Savannah Denning (Simpson Co. Schools)
  • Samuel Evans (Simpson Co. Schools)
  • DarBy Haas (Simpson Co. Schools)
  • David Carmichael (Todd Co. Schools)
  • Kadi Ralston (Todd Co. Schools)
  • Leah Renfrow (Warren Co. Schools)

WKU plans to launch Cohort III of the principal program in Spring 2015.  Read more here.

Hear Stephen Ritz at the 2014 Mary E. Hensley Lecture

Stephen Ritz
Stephen Ritz

The WKU College and Educational and Behavioral Sciences will proudly present the 2014 Mary E. Hensley Lecture on September 9, featuring Bronx teacher and administrator Stephen Ritz, founder of the Green Bronx Machine.

What started out as a science project in his classroom became a massive community-based agriculture initiative in which Ritz’s students have grown over 30,000 pounds of vegetables feeding over 450 students and their families. Ritz’s efforts have helped student attendance skyrocket and created 2,200 youth jobs.

Watch Ritz share his story in this TED Talk here.

Stephen Ritz will speak at 7:00 p.m. on September 9 in Van Meter Auditorium on WKU’s Main Campus. The event is free and open to the public. Educators, parents, and the community are encouraged to attend.

EALR welcomes new faculty member, Dr. Kimberlee Everson

Dr. Kimberlee Everson

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research is delighted to welcome our newest faculty member, Dr. Kimberlee Everson.

Dr. Everson is a specialist in quantitative research methods and will teach primarily in the Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD) program.

A 2012 graduate of Brigham Young University with a PhD in Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation, Kim has research interests in teacher evaluation and school accountability.  Prior to her arrival at WKU, Kim was the Director of Academic and Institution Assessment at LDS Business College and has extensive experience teaching statistics and research methods. Her work on value-added measures of teacher effectiveness was recently published in the Harvard Educational Review.

“I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a lifetime of learning and researching together with students and other faculty at WKU, ” Dr. Everson said.  “I appreciate the warmth with which I have been welcomed.”

Apply now for Spring 2015 WKU Principal Certification Cohort

WKU’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research is now reviewing applications for admission to the Spring 2015 principal certification program cohort.  Click here for more information about principal certification at WKU, and click here to access an application packet.

For priority consideration, applications should be received by September 15, 2014.  Please email program coordinator Dr. Gary Houchens, gary.houchens@wku.edu, with questions or to express your intent to apply.

WKU seeks highly-effective teachers with at least 3 years of successful classroom experience, a Master’s degree, and a 3.0 minimum Master’s-level grade point average for application to our rigorous, cohort-based certification program.

The program requires a minimum of 18 credit hours completed over a three-semester timeframe.  Many candidates can be eligible for Level I certification in as little as 18 months.  Candidates may complete the program for certification only or for Rank I status (requires a minimum of 30 credit hours).  Options are also available for completing principal certification as a component of the Educational Specialist (EdS) degree or Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD) program (additional admissions requirements apply for both options).

WKU’s principal program is offered in a hybrid format, blending online learning and approximately four face-to-face Saturday classes per semester.  Principal courses heavily emphasize field-based experiences that immerse candidates in leadership opportunities in their own schools and districts.  A mentoring component ensures principal candidates receive on-going feedback and support at the district level as they progress through the program.

All principal candidates who are graduates of WKU’s College of Education and Behavior Sciences or who are employed in a district belonging to the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative are eligible for the Topper Educator Graduate Scholarship, which could save candidates thousands of dollars during the duration of their program.

WKU strongly supports diversity in school leadership and encourages all minority candidates to apply.

Currently 52 principal candidates in two previous cohorts representing 16 districts are participating in WKU’s newly-revamped certification program.  Candidates admitted for Spring 2015 will join this group of aspiring administrators on an exciting leadership journey.

Again, send your questions or intent to apply to Dr. Houchens (gary.houchens@wku.ed) and submit your application by September 15, 2014 for priority consideration.


EALR Welcomes New Department Chair, Dr. Margie DeSander

Dr. Marguerita DeSander

The Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research is delighted to welcome a new department chair, Dr. Marguerita DeSander, who joined EALR on July 1. Margie joins us from George Washington University where she previously served as assistant professor of educational administration and directed the department’s online Master’s and Specialist degrees and Doctor of Education program.

Dr. DeSander has a rather unique background in that she is a former practicing attorney (J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School), specializing in employment law. Her professional interests led to roles as assistant superintendent and district-level director of personnel in school districts in North Carolina and Virginia. She earned a PhD in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership from the College of William and Mary, where her dissertation was directed by James Stronge, a prolific scholar whose work has heavily influenced improvements in teacher and administrator evaluation in Kentucky and other states. Margie conducts research and regularly writes about teacher evaluation and school law, publishing with prominent figures such as W. James Popham. She is the past president of the Consortium for Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation (CREATE). 
Margie shared the following thoughts about her arrival at WKU:
I am honored to join the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and the EALR department. It is exciting to work with such an incredibly talented, productive and student-centered faculty. I look forward to working with our students and developing innovative courses and programs that prepares each student for careers in administration and leadership in P-12 and higher education. 
We look forward to Dr. DeSander’s leadership of EALR and her involvement in the Kentucky education community.

EALR bids farewell to Dr. Jill Cabrera

Jill-CabreraIt is with a heavy heart that the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research bids farewell to beloved faculty member Dr. Jill Cabrera.  Jill has accepted a faculty position at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.  A graduate of the University of Mississippi, she has deep ties that area.

Dr. Cabrera, a former Texas teacher and administrator, joined the faculty of WKU in 2011.  She played a key role in the launch of EALR’s recently-revised principal certification cohort, teaching classes and advising students in that program, served as an advisor and facilitator to a number of initiatives with the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, and was involved in WKU’s Clinical Experiences in the Practice of Teaching (CEPT) grant.  Her contributions to the department, the college, and the wider educational community have been numerous.

Jill shared the following thoughts about her departure:

My experiences at WKU have been so positive, primarily because of the people I have met. Working with the students enrolled in the educational leadership programs has been a real highlight. I count myself fortunate to have served in EALR with dedicated, supportive colleagues who are continuously focused on improving education and preparation for graduate students. The opportunity to form partnerships with many educators in the region through collaboration with GRREC has also been a great experience.
As I move to another university nearer my family and loved ones, I feel blessed and enriched by the great opportunity I had to serve at WKU.

WKU EALR wishes Jill many blessings and great happiness in her future endeavors.


Interact with WKU EALR online!

Western Kentucky University’s Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research (EALR) is now pleased to sponsor several new social media platforms that will help us share news and events relevant to our students, alumni, and faculty.

Western Kentucky University is the state’s premier institution for educator training, and WKU EALR prepares aspiring leaders for high-impact careers in K12, higher education, adult education, or other organizational settings.

This blog will be the central location for posting updates and information for current students, as well as news about our alumni, faculty reseach and other activities, and information relative to practicing school leaders.

We have also launched a Facebook page, which can be found at http://www.facebook/com/wkuealr and a Twitter account, www.twitter.com/WKU_EALR.

We urge you to “like” and “follow” us to keep up with the latest happenings at EALR.  And if you know someone who would make a great educational leader, please urge them to contact us today.