New WT educational leadership program aims to fill workforce needs

Education

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M has introduced a new graduate degree program, a master of education in leadership in curriculum and instruction degree. The University said that it will aim to provide “convenience and efficiency for teachers looking to step into leadership roles in their school districts.”

The program will be replacing the current master of education in curriculum program, and is open for registration until August 15.

As the addition of “leadership” in the program name suggests, the degree will help fill a specific need expressed by school districts around the area, said Dr. Betty Coneway, associate professor of education and chair of the graduate reading program.

“We have found that in our area, districts are wanting to hire professionals who have leadership experience and a principal certification,” Coneway said. “This program provides an opportunity for candidates to earn that certification, or they can choose to take a noncertification route, instead. Either way, this will fit the bill for what is needed in our workforce.”

Described by the University, the program will take 30 hours to complete rather than the 36 hours required by the previous program, a compression made possible by embedding some of the practicum requirements within specific leadership courses.

“This allows candidates to apply what they are learning immediately in field-based assignments led by their instructors,” Coneway said.

Those instructors will include a pair of regional superintendents — Dr. Tanya Larkin of Pampa Independent School District and Dr. Nathan Maxwell of Ralls ISD — who will offer insight “from a practical, in-the-trenches perspective,” Coneway said.

The program will provide candidates with the skills and experience to lead schools in today’s ever-changing educational landscape, Larkin said.

“The flexibility to learn both leadership and a specialty area is exactly what our schools need,” Larkin said. “As a superintendent, I am looking for educators who are both knowledgeable in their respective content areas, but also bring a keen awareness of the big picture who can make decisions through a leadership lens which will have a greater impact on student success and the organization overall. This program provides me the opportunity to provide valuable insight and experience to the candidates from a practitioner’s perspective that will set them up for success and serve them well in their professional endeavors.”

The five areas of emphasis offered by the program include curriculum and instruction, literacy education, special education, early childhood education, or a specific content field.

“The content area emphasis allows secondary teachers and K-12 teachers to obtain nine more hours in their field,” said Dr. Ashley Campbell, the Helen Piehl Professor of Education. “For example, a music teacher may obtain those hours in music, a biology teacher may choose those content hours in biology, and so on.”

The program can be completed online, said the University, and students may take classes full or part time and choose to begin classes in fall, spring, or summer.

Also noted by the University, applicants need to meet Graduate School admission requirements, have a 2.75 undergraduate GPA and previously have taken at least 18 hours of education courses.

Scholarships are available here.

The University claims a focus s on the aspirations and needs of the Texas Panhandle as WT’s primary mission, as laid out in the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.


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