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COE Program Sees Highest New Student Enrollment Since 2012

013Nov 17, 2021 at 125 PM David Conrad-2

With the highest new student enrollment since 2012, the Educational Administration (EDAD) program at Governors State University (GSU) is proud to announce that sixteen new EDAD students have earned nearly $221,000 in scholarships to pursue their career goals of becoming school principals.

During the Fall 2022 semester, the EDAD program enrolled fifty-five new students in three cohort groups to pursue the Master of Arts Degree in Principal Leadership—a degree for educators to prepare for school leadership roles such as principals, curriculum directors, and department chairs.

Of the new students, 29% have earned significant scholarship support from two publicly funded grants. According to EDAD Program Coordinator David Conrad, “These scholarships are bold public initiatives to diversify the school leadership pipeline in Illinois. We need more educators to lead our high-needs schools, including schools in rural and urban settings.”

First, two new students in the on-campus cohort, Latrice Samuel and Krystal Kay, have received Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) scholarships totaling $15,000 each. These scholarships were awarded statewide to thirty educators of color studying to earn Illinois principal licensure. The DLP further supports recipients with monthly workshops and then, once students obtain a principal position, provides them with a mentor and job embedded professional development.

Kay is a professional school counselor at Percy L. Julian High School, in Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood. She is proudly pursuing her career goal of becoming a principal. “I want to advance my bandwidth,” she explained, “and provide another layer of support to inner city schools.” Kay said that the DLP scholarship will allow her to focus on her academics, “which is a blessing.” She added, “we are not alone on this journey, we have additional thought partners in this work.” DLP’s recent learning workshop for the scholarship recipients was presented by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, a development opportunity Kay enjoyed and appreciated.

In addition, fourteen other EDAD students have been awarded similar scholarships from the Illinois School Leaders Pipeline Program (ISLPP). Just like the DLP program, these fourteen students will receive robust mentoring support and professional development for aspiring leaders. The ISLPP recipients in EDAD are Tomas Brandt, Sarah Castaneda, Lisa Green, James Howard-Breedon, Andrea January, Oraia Jaramillo, Sarah Jordan, Brenlin Maple, Dionicia Martinez, Amber Medina, Maritza Mota, Shaunwell Posley, Meagan Stokes, and Sharon Turner-Wingba. Each student was awarded $14,700 to prepare for the principalship.

Both scholarship programs require students to enroll in a state-approved principal preparation program, such as the nationally accredited EDAD program at Governors State University. Funding was appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois State Board of Education. Recipients are expected to pursue principalships in diverse schools throughout Illinois.

Dr. Conrad, a 2004 alumnus of the EDAD program and a faculty member in the College of Education, explains that since 2011, the number of Illinois educators earning principal licensure has plummeted. He and his colleagues are working to increase that pipeline with a rigorous curriculum, preparing graduates to serve in schools throughout the Chicago Southland.

The mentoring and other supports that come with these scholarships are more important than ever, given that the work of school leadership is increasingly challenging. 

“The time demands of principals are compounding,” says Dr. Conrad. "Principals work hard to lead their schools, but the pressures and workload harms their well-being. We must prepare the next generation of leaders to care for themselves and their schools."

GSU’s EDAD program and School of Extended Learning’s New Leaders program, along with the supports embedded in these scholarships, provide activities, workshops, and other opportunities for students to learn how to handle the increasingly stressful job of a school principal.

Kay feels that she and her classmates at GSU are supported with activities that “feed our knowledge base, so we are well prepared” to take on the leadership roles that await them following their GSU graduation. 

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