UTPB’s new masters in educational leadership program aims to transform future administrators

Ethel Arzu, Co-coordinator for the MA in Educational Leadership, and Coordinating Professor for Practicum in the MA in Educational Leadership, graduating students Deann Weekly and Kira Boen, and Kevin Badgett, Professor of Educational Leadership and Department Chair Counseling, Bilingual Education, pose for a photo. (Courtesy Photo)

By Alexandra Macia

Special from UTPB

The UTPB Master’s in Educational Leadership program graduated the first two students from their new Principal Residency Certification.

There was a total of 17 MA in Education Leadership program graduates this spring. From a military base in Germany to Coventry, Rhode Island, the online MA Educational Leadership program serves a variety of school leaders from across the region, state, and beyond.

UTPB’s new TEA Vetted Principal Residency Certification, under the MA in Educational Leadership program, joins the elite list of those who are eligible to support TEA’s Principal Residency Grant. UTPB has partnered with ECISD to pair principal candidates with mentor principals at a designated campus for a full year.

“These leaders can use their leadership knowledge and skills gained from our program to impact teaching and learning in their context,” said the lead coordinator of the program, Ethel Arzu.

Both graduating students, Deann Weekly and Kira Boen, have accepted positions at Burnet Elementary and Carver Early Education Center.

The principal residency program is anchored in the coursework of the online MA in Educational Leadership Program, offering a yearlong practicum of authentic learning experiences such as face-to-face observations, coaching, shadowing, 240 hours of aligned school leadership experiences, and much more!

During the program students also complete an action research project, working closely with a field supervisor to do so.

“The residency offers structured practical leadership opportunities in which the principal fellows apply new learning and become familiar with various real-word experiences that prepare them to lead successfully in their school districts,” said Arzu.

As classrooms continue to shift, school districts are strengthening the capacity of those who lead their schools. All of the activities in the program are catered to support the needs of ECISD and their school leaders. Arzu believes the program is crucial as it’s an investment in leadership capacity.

“This partnership enhances school leadership in our region by leveraging the strengths of both institutions, enhancing student outcomes, and developing a pipeline of principals prepared to lead schools. Our graduating students are qualified to serve and lead their schools; they possess the abilities, experience, and dedication necessary to continue to make meaningful contributions to their districts and community,” said Dr. Arzu.

The program coordinators have also collaborated on a research proposal, “Examining faculty coaches and principal fellow perspectives on principal residency program design,” which they will present at the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership Conference in July.

“Our research has practical implications for improving principal preparation and for establishing stronger connections between university-based principal preparation programs and school districts,” said Dr. Arzu.

Any approved school district can be part of the TEA principal residency grant program. They must complete and submit a grant proposal to be eligible. Grantee districts are eligible for TEA grant funds of up to $75,000 with an expectation for a $15,000 match from the district per candidate to help pay for their salaries, tuition, and principal certification exams. Representatives from the grantee district can contact Ethel Arzu, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at [email protected] /432-552-2130 or Kevin Badgett, Professor of Educational Leadership and Department Chair Counseling, Bilingual Education at [email protected] / 432-552-2140.