Principal Certification at Penn State Great Valley
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Dickmann: My name is Carrie Dickmann. I work at the Unionville-Chaddsford School District specifically at the high school unit of the high school. I have been there for five years. I chose this program, Penn State's Principal Certification Program, on the recommendation of my principal and my superintendent who also came through this program. I appreciated their learning styles and figured that if it was good enough for them it was definitely the right program for me.
Musoleno: I'm so glad to have this opportunity to talk about the Principal Certification Program here at Penn State Great Valley. We've been fortunate to have this program here for more than 25 years, and it has been a most successful program as far as our graduates who have gone from a program to become administrators in many of the area schools and school districts.
Dickmann: The professors here are very hands on, very knowledgeable superintendents, assistant superintendents, former superintendents. I appreciate the actual knowledge and working experience they bring to the courses as opposed to just having theory presented.
Griffin: The Principalship Program offers the principal certification which also allows our students to be working in special education, to be working at some of the other administrative capacities in schools. So, a principal certification is a certification that carries with it opportunities beyond just being a specific building leader.
Dickmann: I also appreciate the differentiation that they offer in this program. I’m an attorney so I came to education as a second career and they have been able to modify the program to meet my needs so that I still am growing and gaining and learning from the program. I also appreciate the flexibility that comes with Penn State. They have multiple campuses. I live near the Delaware border so I really benefit because if my class isn’t being offered at Great Valley chances are it’s being offered in the Lancaster area that I know, and I can move into that classroom very quickly and very easily.
Musoleno: The program allows you to take [courses] with people that are everyday practitioners that really speak the language.
Griffin: Students who choose to come to Penn State Great Valley get much more than a local campus offers. The resources that are part of the larger university system are just outstanding. I have often myself used, in preparing for courses, our library resources which of course are available to students. The research that happens as an output of a large university system whose reputation is built on outstanding research is available to our students. Our students, when they come here, have the benefit of networking with so many other students who represent various districts not just here but because Penn State Great Valley also offers its courses in Lehigh, in Lancaster. The family that we build in terms of those networking experiences are just outstanding.
Musoleno: The program is very practice-based. The beauty of it is that every professor in the program comes from the field. We have people who are retired principals, we have people who are retired superintendents. We have some sitting assistant superintendents. We have a sitting business manager, we have people who are current principals and all of these people come to the classroom bringing real-life experiences to the program. So although we have the theory and background information portion of the subject matter, we also bring the day-to-day practice feature to the program.
Griffin: Penn State’s the whole package when you come to Great Valley. We offer it all.
Musoleno: All of the professors recognize that you are working professionals, and as working professionals you may or may not have a whole lot of extra time because in addition to being involved in your own career, you have a family, so there is a lot of things going on in your lives.
Dickmann: The program has benefitted me. I’m hoping to move into an administrative position in another year or so, and I believe what I have learned here, the sheer, the practical piece that goes along with this that I will be ready to step into any administrative position that is offered and that I will be able to offer something back to the school based on what I have gained from this.
Musoleno: I would like to invite you to apply to the program and to get to know us better. I think you’ll find that the Penn State program is highly regarded and certainly meets PDE requirements for principal certification.
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