Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?
I always knew that as a teacher I would pursue a master’s degree, and it was my personal philosophy to be a lifelong learner. I loved being an 8th grade language arts teacher and, several years into teaching, I was fortunate enough to be at a middle school where the principal believed in developing leadership capacity. He asked me the life-changing question, “Sharon, when are you going to start thinking about going into administration?” My response, “Right now.” I knew my direction, and I also knew I would need a master’s degree in Educational Leadership to successfully move forward in my pursuit of a middle school assistant principal position.
Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?
I chose Hood College for several reasons. First, I had a history with the college. I received my bachelor’s degree from Hood and so I already knew the standard of excellence to which I would be held as well as the exemplary level of instruction I would receive. Secondly, Hood College has a positive relationship with Frederick County Public Schools and I knew many of my instructors would be directly connected to FCPS. I also knew that because of the instruction I would receive, the experience and knowledge I would garner, and the relationship the College has with the school district, I would be well prepared to enter confidently into the next level of my career.
How did your degree help you further your professional or personal life?
Upon completion of the Educational Leadership program, and receiving my master’s degree, I was able to submit my résumé and application when FCPS posted the position for the middle school assistant principal. After interviewing before a panel, I was selected and placed at a middle school as the assistant principal.
Who is your favorite faculty member and why?
I cannot choose just one faculty member as my favorite, because each instructor with whom I came in contact or from whom I received instruction played a valuable role in my educational and professional pathway. The faculty members I knew, and some I still know, are passionate about learning, hold a strong desire for their students’ success and strive to inspire strong leadership through providing valuable instruction, establishing real world experiences and modeling exemplary standards for leadership.
What would you share with prospective students about your graduate experience at Hood?
Prospective students for the Hood graduate program should come prepared to experience excellence in learning on a level that will challenge them to think about and see the world through a broader lens and enable them to achieve higher than they ever imagined. I would tell prospective students to be prepared to work harder than you expected, think on a scale larger than you imagined, move out of your comfort zone, and not settle for less than excellent. Expect the best in yourself, and know that through your graduate experience at Hood, you will be prepared to successfully incorporate and meld your learning into your future goals.