"The Ambrose faculty are very caring-they expect you to do well and will help you with anything you need. We've become a close-knit family in that respect. They have diverse, rich backgrounds in administration and provide us with experiences that are relevant to class every day."
"Before you enroll, go to the open houses. You can meet the professors and speak with current students to find out if this is the program for you."
As a math teacher for nearly 10 years, Lori has worked with hundreds of at-risk students. But in the St. Ambrose Master of Education in Administration program, she learned how to influence school programs that can serve entire student populations.
"I enrolled at Ambrose because I knew it would be a quality program. The university is known for its instructors that give personal attention to their students, and I had high expectations of the program. I knew I would get the support I needed to achieve my goals."
As a recent graduate of the MEA program, Lori hopes to become a principal in the Davenport district, where she can "keep a positive climate and have the vision to move a school forward."
As an administrator, I can guide school programs and procedures, which means I can help an even greater population of students. The principal at the Kimberly Center implemented restorative justice, a behavioral intervention program. When students do something they shouldn't, we get them to fix their situation, whether it's cleaning up a mess or making an apology. Instead of big disciplinary consequences, we show the students that they're still loved. I would love the opportunity to create programs to keep students engaged, involved and learning.
I was able apply my newly improved organizational and communication skills almost immediately, from planning faculty meetings and professional development days to reaching out to the community for donations. I learned that you have to think about all the stakeholders. I asked myself, "How do I get them involved?"
One very effective way we learn is to role-play. We practice how we'd handle a variety of administrative situations, for example, what to do for a student with a medical crisis. We discuss ways to help the family. The people in my cohort come from preschools, elementary schools, high schools, small districts and big districts. There are a lot of perspectives to learn from in class.
My mentor, the principal at the Kimberly Center, has been fabulously supportive. She gives me advice on my assignments, resume and cover letter review, portfolio critiques and lots of other tips to improve.
We get 400 hours of administrative experience through our internship. My mentor was quick to fill me in on all of the opportunities that came along in a given day. I participated in the district senior high school principal meeting, where principals in the district meet with the assistant superintendent to discuss issues. I also got to go to trainings, like the Instructional Practice Inventory training and alternative education conferences.