The Curry School’s top-ranked teacher education program develops excellent educators who are quickly recognized in their schools as instructional leaders. They maintain their distinction as leaders throughout their careers, even when their roles change within schools and sometimes even outside of schools.
Not surprisingly, a significant number of our M.T. graduates want to make school-wide impacts and move into administrative roles. They return to the Curry School to prepare for those roles, because they are confident of another high-quality program awaiting them.
Six alumni who followed the path from M.T. to classroom and back to Curry shared their story for this issue of Curry. They include an assistant principal, two school principals and three district superintendents who are doing outstanding work for the students and teachers under their supervision. They are merely representative, though, of the many others who have followed the path from the classroom to the front office and beyond.
M.T. ’96 Spec Ed
Ed.D. ’03 Admin & Supv
Goodloe taught fourth graders in an inclusive classroom at Lees Corner Elementary School in Chantilly (Fairfax County Public Schools) for her first four years after earning a masters in teaching degree from Curry. She expected to move into administration much later in her career, but the opportunity arose to complete a two-year endorsement program through the U.Va. Northern Virginia Center.
“I felt so well prepared to enter the classroom once I graduated from Curry that I knew the administration and supervision program would be excellent,” she says.
I felt so well prepared to enter the classroom once I graduated from Curry that I knew the administration and supervision program would be excellent.
She participated in a full-year administrative internship as an assistant principal at Westbriar Elementary School. She was then hired at Westbriar, and during her five years there she earned her education doctorate from the Curry School.
“Curry helped me develop my skills as a leader and has supported me in developing my style as a collaborative and inclusive leader,” Goodloe says.
In 2006 she was named principal at Oak Hill Elementary School, where she continues to lead a high performing school that has been consistently recognized with Virginia Index of Performance Governor’s Awards for Academic Excellence.
She has also taught two semesters for Curry’s administration and supervision program. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences as a practicing principal with aspiring leaders,” Goodloe says. “It is gratifying to give back to the school community by partnering with Curry to help develop future school leaders.”
M.T. ’98 Elem Ed
Ed.D. ’05 Admin & Supv
Menuey, after teaching for three years in Fairfax County Public Schools, began working on an administration endorsement at U.Va.’s Northern Virginia campus. “I had a great experience in the BA/MT program and wanted to continue with the Curry School,” he says. “The reputation and the high standing of the program made it the obvious choice for me.”
Once in the program he was encouraged by Professor Pamela Tucker to pursue the Ed.D., “which previously had never been a thought in my mind,” he says. He returned to Charlottesville in 2002-2003 as a full-time graduate student.
Curry School professors have the understanding of pedagogy that makes them great instructors.
“I loved being back at UVA and enjoyed taking classes as well as substitute teaching many days per week in local schools,” Menuey says. “Curry School professors have the understanding of pedagogy that makes them great instructors. I told Dr. Tucker one time that she was a ‘teacher’s teacher.’ That is a high compliment, meaning she—and most other professors I had there—has the ability to teach material in an engaging and carefully crafted manner.”
Menuey was named principal at Lake Anne Elementary School in Fairfax County in 2011, where he is helping turn around the school and ensuring high quality instruction for all students.
M.T. ’06 Math Ed
Ed.S. ’12 Admin & Supv
Clark taught mathematics for seven years at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va.
“After being selected as Mathematics Department lead teacher, I decided to take a course at Curry on professional learning communities,” he explains. “The course, the professor and fellow graduate students made it a great learning experience, and I was able to apply what I learned directly to my work as a teacher-leader.”
The experience was so positive that he decided to complete an education specialist (Ed.S.) degree in administration and supervision through the off-Grounds program in northern Virginia.
Instructors were both scholars and expert practitioners who were able to provide relevant and meaningful course work and helpful feedback.
“The instructors were knowledgeable, experienced leaders who designed learning environments steeped in theory and practical applications,” Clark says. “Instructors were both scholars and expert practitioners who were able to provide relevant and meaningful course work and helpful feedback.”
He says his internship as assistant principal at Arlington’s Secondary Summer School Program provided experience in many of the main functions of administration. He also found the diversity of course offerings, the networking with stellar educators from around the Northern Virginia region, and engagement with professors who fostered meaningful learning to be the valuable aspects of the program.
This summer he began his new role as an assistant principal at George Mason High School in Falls Church.
His advice to recent M.T. graduates from the Curry School? “Have fun in the classroom, work hard, get involved, and become a leader in your school!”
B.S.Ed/M.T. ’97 Health & PE
Ed.S. ’01, Ed.D. ’05 Admin & Supv
Brown taught for three years in Fluvanna County Public Schools after earning his M.T. from Curry.
“The professors associated with the Curry School were engaging and encouraging throughout my undergraduate years, and the opportunity to continue learning at U.Va. motivated me to apply for enrollment in the leadership preparation programs” Brown explains. “Pamela Tucker and Al Butler have inspired me for many years. Not only did I complete the ed specialist degree, I continued on to enroll and complete the Ed.D as well.”
He took his classes on Grounds. “Access and involvement with the local school districts was an extremely valuable part of the program,” he says.
Access and involvement with the local school districts was an extremely valuable part of the program.
A former chief information officer for Albemarle County Public Schools, Brown was appointed superintendent of New York state’s Ithaca City School District in 2010. This year he was recognized as one of the nation’s most “tech savvy” school superintendents by eSchool News and was named to the National School Boards Association’s 20-to-Watch 2014 list.
“Curry graduates have access to a large network of outstanding educators,” Brown adds. “My degrees and time spent at U.Va. have provided me with access to outstanding professional development, learning, and connections to thought-leaders.”
M.T. ’94 Foreign Lang
Ed.D. ’03 Admin & Supv
Spence spent four and a half years as a secondary French teacher in Stafford County when he began feeling strongly that he could make a bigger difference outside the classroom.
His first year in the program, he was able to work as a paid intern assistant principal at Henrico High School and took classes on Grounds all day on Fridays and Saturdays. The next year was hired full time, and by his fourth year of program, he was a principal opening Henrico’s first new high school in 25 years.
The program challenged me to define my theory of leadership, articulate my core values and my beliefs around education
“The program challenged me to define my theory of leadership, articulate my core values and my beliefs around education—to tell my leadership story,” Spence says. “I learned how to take that and turn it into actionable practice, connecting it all to make it happen in a school, for the children…. It was the first time in my entire schooling experience I ever really felt my that I was able to apply what I was learning in practical, hands-on ways.”
In June 2014 Spence assumed leadership of Virginia Beach City Schools, one of the largest school divisions in Virginia encompassing 86 schools and nearly 69,000 students.
“It’s an incredible honor to come home and be superintendent where I went to school myself,” Spence says.
M.T. ’91, English Ed
Ed.D. ’02 Admin & Supv
Wilson taught secondary English at Lee Davis High School in Hanover County after earning her M.T. degree at Curry. Five years into the position, she became a curriculum specialist in English/language arts for Hanover County Schools and then moved into a school-based administration as an assistant principal.
“With the belief that I needed to build both capacity and credibility as a leader, I decided to pursue another degree in administration and supervision,” Wilson says. “I chose the Curry program because of my direct knowledge of the quality of the professors, the personal interest they took in their students and the reputation of the school nationally.”
The instructors took a special interest in ensuring that each of us in the program had every opportunity to gain the most from it.
In her experience with the off-Grounds program, she found that she gained confidence as a leader and a firm foundation from which to draw in the various experiences encountered in a school leadership role. “The instructors took a special interest in ensuring that each of us in the program had every opportunity to gain the most from it,” she says.
In 2011, Wilson became the first woman and first African-American to serve Hanover County as superintendent of schools. She is also a member of the board of governors for the International Baccalaureate, the K-12 Council (which is committed to building leadership capacity within schools and across Virginia), and the board of directors of the Curry School of Education Foundation.
For the past 12 years she has taught in the administration and supervision program as an adjunct instructor. “This is one of the most humbling and rewarding things I am blessed to do,” Wilson says. “I am helping prepare leaders for the important, challenging work of educational administration.”