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Teaching Tomorrow's Educational Leaders

07/07/2010

What do educators do on their summer vacation? Go back to school, of course! From July 6-21, 200 educators from New York and Massachusetts are calling MCLA home as they participate in intensive days of study and evenings of lectures and activities at cultural events throughout the Berkshires.

In its 15th year, the 2010 Leadership Academy for Educators provides the coursework necessary for these professions to advance to administrative positions while they earn graduate credits in just over two weeks.

According to Christine Katchmar, associate dean and director of MCLA's Continuing and Professional Education Department, all of this year's participants have master's degrees and at least five years of teaching experience.

They are working toward an advanced graduate degree, such as a Ph.D., and to become a school building leader or a school district leader - such as a superintendant or a principal.

The days are long, but not without their fun as the educators take advantage of what the Berkshires have to offer. Among their many cultural activities, they will visit The Clark, the Williams College Museum of Art and Arrowhead - the estate of Herman Melville. These cultural experiences are integrated into the curriculum.

Taught by MCLA professors and others from across the country - all of whom are experts in education administration and supervision - three courses are offered: "Fundamentals of Educational Administration," "Supervision and Evaluation of Educational Personnel" and "Advanced Evaluation of Curriculum and Programs."

"It's the opportunity for educators to get this study in a very intense format" as opposed to taking the classes over an entire semester, Katchmar said. "They are able to get a significant amount of graduate administration education in a very, very compressed time frame."

Guest lecturers this summer include Peter Taubman, Ed.D., an expert in adolescence education at Brooklyn College/CUNY, on how teachers' and students' psycho/social identities are constructed in schools and in educational discourses and how these identities affect teaching and learning. Also speaking will be Janet Johnson Bryant, an expert on social issues, a leader of the Liberian women's peace movement and a central figure in the film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

Leadership Academy is a two-year program: Half the students are embarking on the first group of classes, while the rest are completing their final coursework.

"And, between this year and next year they complete a school district internship. They may work with their school superintendant, or they would go to another school building and work under the mentorship of a principal," Katchmar said. "So, they're actually applying what they learn in their first year, over the school year. Then, when they return (to MCLA) their second year, they return with that professional insight and experience."

By keeping both groups together, said Katchmar, "there's more opportunity to capitalize on that practice wisdom." Fewer than two dozen participants are in each course, which provides ample opportunity for discussion and challenge.

Leadership Academy session can be applied toward MCLA's Certificat in Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS). For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/leadership, or contact Katchmar at (413) 662-5543 or ceprograms@mcla.edu.