BLUEFIELD, VA – Bluefield University is pleased to recognize the first graduates of the online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. The two graduates, Heather Larimer of Tazewell, VA, and Valerie Breeden Stanton of Cedar Bluff, VA, will be recognized during the 98th Annual Spring Commencement to be held on August 22, 2020.
“We are proud to announce that Heather and Valarie will be the first graduates from our educational leadership program,” said Dr. Thomas Brewster, Dean and Associate Professor of the school of education and social sciences and dean of the graduate program in education. “Both have worked extremely hard to finish their degrees in less than 18 months.”
The university launched its inaugural master’s degree program, an online Master of Arts in Education (MAEd), in the fall of 2013. In November 2018, the Virginia Board of Education approved a new graduate education (endorsement) program in administration and supervision PreK-12. The 36-hour Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, including Virginia licensure in administration and supervision PreK-12, is an online program, with the exception of field experience hours.
Bluefield University’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program is designed to give teachers the skills they need to become effective school administrators. Bluefield University School of Education and Social Sciences pursued state approval for the additional endorsement because they recognized the need for highly qualified educational leaders in the coalfields of southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia. Bluefield University now has the only school administration and supervising licensing program headquartered in the Virginia coalfield counties of Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell, Dickinson, and Wise.
“I graduated from Bluefield University in 1994, and when BU announced the launch of the Master’s program in Educational Leadership, I enrolled,” said graduating student Heather Larimer. “The endearing qualities that made Bluefield University a good fit for me in 1990, are still present. Dr. Brewster and the professors with the education department have developed a curriculum and degree pathway that has proven to align with state and national standards.”
“Dr. Brewster, along with the faculty and staff, developed a master’s program that fostered the growth and knowledge that enabled me to pursue a rewarding path to state licensure, said graduating student Valerie Stanton. “The continuous support from the faculty and staff at Bluefield University was the key to my growth and success. I am so grateful for the transformational experience that this program has given me as I enter a career in leadership and administration to serve my community in a new role.”
The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program is designed for individuals with a current teaching license who wish to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership for increased opportunities. Teachers who have already obtained a master’s degree can enroll in the program to obtain another area of endorsement. The program curriculum reflects an emphasis on the Virginia Standards for Administration and Supervision and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers in collaboration with the National Policy Board on Educational Administration (NPBEA).