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Educational leadership focus of new program

A new certificate program will offer promising area teachers an opportunity to develop the skills they need to be school and school district leaders.

The certificate of advanced studies in educational leadership will be a 1½- to 2½-year, post-master’s degree program. Many credits students earn would count toward an Ed.D. if they are accepted to Binghamton’s doctoral program.

The initiative capitalizes on an existing partnership of the School of Education and Human Development, the School of Management and the Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The three have coordinated the Southern Tier Leadership Academy, a nine-month professional development program for area educators, for seven years.

“The certificate builds upon and extends the Leadership Academy program,” said Marilyn Tallerico, the professor of education who’s leading the development of the new effort. “This is really complementing all of the teaching programs SEHD has had for decades.”

The certificate will also fulfill a need expressed by area school administrators as early as five years ago. Nearly threequarters of principals in New York State expect to retire by 2011, according to a 2001 survey. A 2004 report found that 63 percent of school district superintendents in the state planned to retire by 2008.

“There will be ample opportunities for our graduates to be employed,” Tallerico said.

The program also aligns with several goals of the University’s strategic plan, including outreach and advancement in service to the region and state as well as judicious growth in graduate student enrollment.

As with the Leadership Academy, potential students for the certificate program will likely be nominated by school administrators from Southern Tier districts.

“Our intent is to be a small, highly selective program,” Tallerico said. “We envision growing to 30 students over three years.”

Tallerico hopes students will begin the certificate program in the fall of 2007, though it’s still waiting for approval from campus organizations and state officials.

For now, she’s focusing on curriculum development, working with advisory committees and researching other programs.

Two grants are helping to support the program. The Hoyt Foundation contributed $29,000 over two years for curriculum development and a graduate student worker. A Wallace-Gates award of $51,000 to the Binghamton City School District is paying tuition for five teachers taking courses at the University this year. That grant targets instructional leadership in mathematics.

Tallerico expects most certificate students will take one course per semester in light of the rigorous academics and because they already have busy schedules. “These are all working people,” she said.

The 32-credit certificate will focus on instructional leadership, vision and change and technical skills. Students will also be able to choose electives from relevant courses offered in the School of Management, the master’s in public administration program or elsewhere on campus.

This program’s focus on instructional leadership will set it apart from other kinds of leadership training, Tallerico noted. It’s vital that school leaders be informed about the latest research, know what works in classrooms and understand current ideas about best practices.

“Leadership matters to student learning and to teacher development.” Tallerico said. “It’s not a matter of just improving test scores, but central to the development of well-rounded children.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08