WT’s first class of doctoral students in educational leadership graduated on Saturday | KAMR

CANYON, Texas (KAMR / KCIT) – In West Texas A&M University’s upcoming launch ceremonies for the class of 2021, 18 students will make history at the university as the first graduate students under the university doctorate in educational leadership.

According to a press release from the university, the 18 students will graduate at 10 a.m. on Saturday (December 11). This comes after the launch of the online doctoral program in Educational Leadership in 2018, aimed at leaders in rural schools as well as those in higher education and educational organizations.

In this program, participants were required to complete 60 hours of instruction in an interdisciplinary curriculum that focused primarily on action research, high-impact experiential residency, and an endowed researchers program. Officials believe the program helps students focus on decision-making skills while continuing to be grounded in their communities.

Students complete the program with an “in-depth literature review and two articles ready for publication,” the release said. Topics covered by this crop of students included academic achievement in schools of poverty, ethical decision-making by rural directors in the discipline of student-athletes as well as educational inequalities and COVID-19.

“This first cohort of Ed.D. Candidates significantly advance the University’s vision of obtaining recognition as a regional research institution while maintaining the University’s historic tradition of excellence in teaching and service to the region, ”said Eddie Henderson, dean of the university’s College of Education and Social Sciences, in the release. “Our rural-focused doctoral program enables professionals to positively impact the future of rural communities by promoting excellence through research-based exploration of current problems and development of solutions based on the research.”

Linda Castañeda Aranda, educational diagnostician for the Amarillo Independent School District, was part of the first class, which she said was “an honor”.

“Our professors put their heart and soul not only into the program, but also into the applicants (doctoral students),” Aranda said in the statement. “It was not an easy race. It is very rigorous and demanding. But it gave us hope for bigger and better things to come. ”

Mike Dominguez, the superintendent of schools for the Stratford Independent School District, said in the statement that while the rigor of the program was difficult, it was ultimately rewarding.

“This program has perfected my art. Education has an impact on everyone. … It is important for me to learn throughout life and I have to set the tone for my community, ”Dominguez said in the statement. “When I was a student there weren’t many people who looked like me. There weren’t many people who looked like me in the field of education.

The first Ed.D. the cohort also includes:

  • Gabriela Arriazola-Rivera, Deputy Director of the Amarillo Independent School District;
  • Amy Clifton, data scientist from the WT College of Education and Social Sciences;
  • Bethany Davis, deputy principal of the Pampa Independent School District;
  • Matthew K. Driver, teacher, Canyon Independent School District;
  • Jerry S. Findley, Dean of Health Sciences at South Plains College;
  • Misty Heiskell, principal of the Dalhart Independent School District;
  • Tiffany Longoria, Deputy Director of the Independent School District for the City of Denver;
  • Felix Isaac Martinez, teacher and college coach of the Levelland Independent School District;
  • Byron May, director of the Pampa Independent School District;
  • Teresa Mora, former director of Hispanic Student Services and Upward Bound at Oklahoma Panhandle State University;
  • Angelica Garcia Okamoto, director of student services for the Dimmitt Independent School District;
  • Kelley Porter, superintendent of the Lefors Independent School District;
  • Liz Marie Rascón-Alaniz, Executive Director of the Wesley Community Center;
  • Justin Richardson, lead4ward learning manager at Canyon;
  • Eric Sosa, WT Business Office Sponsored Research Post-Assignment Manager; and
  • Zeina Spaulding, executive director of professional development for Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida.

Janice G. Ball