WKU profs provide “Rock Solid” program evaluation services

Rock Solid logoA team of professors representing several different departments at Western Kentucky University are serving as external evaluators on the $42 million Race to the Top grant being administered by the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC) and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC).

Calling themselves the Rock Solid Evaluation Team, this collaborative of WKU scholars and their supporting team of graduate assistants conducts on-going research assessing implementation of the Race to the Top grant and its impact on students in 122 participating schools.  The team includes Drs. Jie ZhangGary Houchens, and transitional retiree Steve Miller from the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research; Dr. Jenni Redifer from the Department of Psychology; and Dr. Amber Schroeder from the Department of Psychological Sciences.  Dr. Tony Norman, director of WKU’s Doctor of Educational Leadership program is the project director and principal investigator.  Office associate Courtney Kepple provides administrative support and helps oversee the work of graduate assistants from the EdD and educational psychology programs.

The GRREC/OVEC grant, administered as the kid-FRIENDLy (kid-Focused, Responsible, Imaginative, Engaged, and Determined to Learn) project, includes five major components: 1) promoting students as leaders (primarily through implementation of Franklin-Covey program Leader in Me); 2) encouraging the growth and development of teacher and school leaders; 3) implementing competency-based instruction, and 4) promoting personalized learning.  The Rock Solid team works closely with kid-FRIENDLy to monitor program implementation and assess results.  The team will present several papers summarizing the first full year of the grant’s implementation at the upcoming Mid-South Educational Research Association annual conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, November 5-7.

The Rock Solid team is also carrying out research on a new teacher perception survey based on Kentucky’s Standards and Indicators for School Improvement and the Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL Kentucky) teacher survey of working conditions.  To learn more about Rock Solid and the full scope of its evaluation services, visit their website here.

EALR Welcomes Dr. Amy Shutt as Co-Instructor

Amy Shutt
Dr. Amy Shutt, Principal of Burns Elementary School

The WKU Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, & Research is happy to welcome Dr. Amy Shutt, principal of Burns Elementary School (Daviess County Public Schools) to the EALR family.  This semester Dr. Shutt is serving as co-instructor for EDAD 640 (Introduction to School Leadership) and EDAD 641 (Building School Culture & Community) for Cohort II of the WKU Principal Certification Program.

Dr. Shutt is herself an alumna of WKU’s EALR program and holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Louisville.  Her dissertation research focused on school culture and she has worked closely with Dr. Chris Wagner, EALR transitional retiree and national expert on improving school culture.

Amy continues her duties as principal at Burns Elementary, where she has served for 11 years, while teaching at WKU.  She said the experience so far has been “like coming home.”

“As I came through the principal certification classes at WKU myself, the faculty there created a foundation for my leadership in schools,” she said.  “I hope to bring my own professional experiences to our graduate students that will equip them to be successful school leaders and keep their focus on what is best for students every day.”

Dr. Shutt partners with EALR associate professor Dr. Gary Houchens in working with the 37 members of Cohort II of the principal program this semester.

EALR welcomes new faculty member, Dr. Kimberlee Everson

Kim
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.”

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.