Leadership matters now more than ever.

Pamela TuckerBY PAMELA D. TUCKER

Change may be the only constant in today’s schools, and the pace of change has accelerated.

For most school leaders today, change has become the job.

Leaders have always had to be responsive and competent. Today they must be more. They must be nimble and readily adaptive to new initiatives, changing demographics and heightened
expectations for academics and safety. As recent research has underscored, expert leaders have never been more important in ensuring student achievement.

The Curry of Education administration and supervision faculty recognize these pressing realities for school leaders. While continuing our firm commitment to recruiting and preparing the most talented aspiring leaders in Virginia, administration and supervision faculty know that our preparation programs must reflect the real world of schools today.

To that end, faculty members are engaged in designing new programs for both initial administrative licensure and advanced leadership study (Ed.D). They are building stronger partnerships with school systems in northern Virginia to extend our reach. They continue to conduct research and participate in leadership initiatives that serve the broader leadership community beyond the university.

Our redesigned Ed.D program—Executive Studies in Educational Leadership, or ExSEL—will admit its third cohort in summer 2015 for a highly select group of school leaders who not only meet the Curry School’s rigorous academic requirements for admission but also demonstrate their leadership potential during a daylong screening process with faculty.

Required Classes in the ExSEL Ed.D Program

  • Fundamentals of Leadership Theory
  • Cognitive Dimensions of Leadership
  • Visioning, Planning & Strategizing for Success
  • Designing Learning Environments
  • Optimizing Human Capital in Organizations
  • Developing Organizational Capacity

With its new focus on problems of practice, students organize their reading, reflection and actions around real educational issues in their professional work. The research courses focus on program evaluation and have been coupled with core content courses, such as Designing Learning Environments.

Faculty members have set their sights on the development of an innovative initial preparation program that reflects the demands of leadership in 21st-century schools. We envision a program solidly grounded in field experiences as a primary learning environment, incorporating online content to provide necessary background knowledge as well as face-to-face seminars to discuss and reflect on lessons learned.

Efforts to strengthen our partnerships in northern Virginia have been led by our newest faculty member, Denny Berry (Ed.D ‘11), who formerly served in a number of roles in Fairfax County Public Schools, most recently as director of Cluster 6 schools.

We are focused on strengthening our partnerships with school divisions in northern Virginia. This fall we will launch a two-year cohort program for aspiring leaders in Fairfax County Public Schools. We are seeking partners for future cohorts in other school divisions to build the capacity for leadership. Leadership has never mattered more to education, and we hope you will encourage talented educators to step forward to pursue a career in administration.

With this newsletter we hope to build a community of committed alumni who recognize and advocate for strong leadership in schools. Let us know how you are advancing this cause and how we can enhance our reach and impact.

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