By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Area teachers are earning their Master of Arts in education degree at Silver Lake College in just 12 months.
“This program is very flexible, yet rigorous and intensive. It is accessible both physically and virtually,” said student Michele Steger of Racine, Wisconsin, an instructional coach at Case High School in the Racine Unified School District.
The program’s interactive cohort model is designed for the busy professional. Graduate students enroll in a two-week summer session followed by one weekend per month during the school year, plus another two-week session the following summer. Students can earn a master’s degree in administrator leadership or teacher leadership.
Steger’s goal is to improve life for herself and her students. “I desire positive change for our building, district and students. That’s why I sought out this program to further my education and career. I felt I could be an effective leader … and increase student achievement and staff collaboration,” Steger said.
Graduate student Kaleb Buch of Oakfield, Wisconsin, is a Manitowoc native and principal of St. Luke’s Lutheran School in Oakfield. He shares Steger’s desire to improve personal skills and students’ lives.
“I’m already a principal, but I want to be a stronger principal,” said Buch, whose goal is to boost his leadership and administration skills. “The work we’re doing is real-life work. It’s something I can directly apply to my teaching and administration.”
Student Julia Leeson of Belgium, Wisconsin, admitted, “Graduate school was not on my radar, but my principal suggested it, so I looked into the program and thought it would be a good fit for me.”
Leeson, a fourth-grade teacher at Northview Elementary School in the Howards Grove School District, appreciates that she’s able to integrate the program into her personal and professional life, and values the practical side of the curriculum.
“I think it’s very beneficial that the program incorporates real-world experience, going out and applying what we’re learning,” she said.
The program builds on what the students already know.
“The graduate students in this cohort already have a vast amount of knowledge so the emphasis is more on learning from each other and applying what they learn to their teaching,” said Nancy Sim, associate professor of education. “In addition, since all are experienced teachers, they grapple with what makes an effective school administrator and how they can fill those positions.”
Sister Marcolette Madden, associate professor in the School of Education, said that graduate students often ask, “Will I be prepared to assume a leadership role by the end of this program?”
She answers the question with a resounding yes. “The reason is that, along with their study of leadership theories and curriculum models, they will be completing a practicum that is individualized,” Sister Marcolette said.
“The program is designed to meet the various and unique needs of all cohort members,” said Mark Swanson. “As their SLC practicum supervisor, I am able to take advantage of this component and, with the student, create a practicum experience which closely matches their specific needs for leadership development.”
More photos can be found here. For more information about the Master of Arts in education degree at Silver Lake College, call the office of admissions at 920-686-6175.