Top dogs in education

Alumni hold leadership roles in majority of Iowa school districts

Graduates from Drake University’s education leadership program learn one thing above all: how to be a top dog in education.

Randy Peters, GR'04, '09, assistant professor in educational administration.

Drake alumni hold the top position in one-third of Iowa’s 359 school districts: 118 of the state’s superintendents graduated from Drake.

In addition, more than two-thirds of school districts in the state employ at least one principal or superintendent with a Drake degree. And still more alumni work as curriculum directors, athletic directors and administrators with the Iowa Area Education Agency and other educational organizations, according to data gathered by the School of Education and the Iowa Department of Education this year.

Most of those administrators hold degrees from Drake’s education leadership program. The graduate program trains ambitious educators like Randy Peters, GR’04, ’09, to be exceptional leaders.

Peters, who was just hired as a professor in the education leadership program this fall, worked in public schools for more than a decade. He taught history, Spanish, and physical education before moving into counseling. But Peters eventually became frustrated with the routine and longed for a chance to lead.

Peters enrolled in and completed Drake’s Master’s Degree in Education Leadership to get his principal’s licensure. It reignited his passion for education.

After receiving his licensure, he became a principal in Seattle, Wash.

“If it hadn’t been for Drake’s ed leadership program, I probably would not have stayed in education,” Peters says. “The program taught me to look at things from a broader perspective than I had as a teacher. It taught me to look at teaching and learning from a district, state, federal and even global level.”

After working as a principal, Peters returned to Drake University to earn a doctor of education. He currently teaches courses in the master’s and specialist’s programs in education leadership.

Drake’s education leadership program is a cohort-based experience. Courses are offered on weekends at off-campus locations throughout the state. The program’s four faculty members each have administrative experience in education. Every course is taught in person, rather than online or by video-conferencing.

Peters says the weekly face time with faculty members and classmates was an extremely valuable learning and networking tool.

“You spend every weekend with a group of people for two years; you get to know them pretty well,” he says. “And the program creates a model for the way you’ll need to work as a leader in education.”

Drake’s massive network of public school administrators often translates to career opportunities for both undergraduate students and alumni.

“When our graduates apply for teaching or counseling positions, they often have a natural foot in the door,” says Janet McMahill, dean of the School of Education. “These administrators know that the high standards they were held to in the graduate program correlate to the high standards that we have in our undergraduate programs.”

Today’s educators are tomorrow’s administrators — the next tops dogs in education, in Iowa and beyond. To learn more about Drake’s education leadership program, visit the program website or call Jared McCarty, coordinator of graduate admission, at 1-800-44-DRAKE, x2552.

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