As Wichita Falls Independent School District prepares for a new school year, their students won't be the only ones going back to school. Some teachers and administrators will also be taking classes of their own in pursuit of higher education. An initial survey of district employees indicated a strong interest among the staff in pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Administration.
On Thursday morning, the WFISD and Midwestern State University announced a collaborative doctoral program with the University of North Texas in educational leadership. This program is an extension of UNT's existing doctoral program.
"I'm delighted with this. We're always pleased to have a chance to work not only with a school system but also with another university" said University of North Texas College of Education Dean of Students Jerry Thomas.
With this new program in place, WFISD Superintendent Dr. John Frossard says it's an opportunity for many educators to further their knowledge and skills.
"We think it's important to identify and train our future leaders. We want to identify the best people and prepare for the future" said Dr. Frossard.
WFISD had a number of vacancies in positions this past year and experienced multiple retirements from senior faculty members. Dr. Frossard says this new program will help fill those positions with qualified members if the same thing happens in the future.
This 60 hour program will be taught by both MSU and UNT faculty on the MSU campus, making it easier for students to attend the classes. It will take approximately 3 years to complete and will provide 6 courses per calendar year. So far, 12 to 14 students are set to begin classes this fall.
"I feel the responsibility of leading our students and leading our staff. I want to be prepared as I can be in that position and I feel that it's my responsibility to be enrolled in programs like this to continue my education" said Christy Nash, Hirschi High School Principal and student of the doctoral program.
"One reason why I'm continuing to work on my doctorate is that I can set a good example for my teachers, my kids and even my own kids as well" said Wichita Falls High School Assistant Principal J'Bill Merrick.
Each student in the program will be assigned a mentor who completed their doctoral work. They will be there to guide the students through the course.
Educators are encouraged to take advantage of this program in order to give WFISD students the best education out there. The organizations involved hopes to make this program a personal and interactive experience for the teachers going through the program.
This program is not limited to WFISD faculty. It is open to anyone who is seeking higher education in educational leadership.