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Q&A with AACTE Coaching’s Debbie K. Mercer

Debbie K. Mercer, Ph.D., is the dean of the College of Education at Kansas State University. Mercer will facilitate the Effective Communication & Navigating Difficult Faculty cohort, part of AACTE’s new Coaching initiative. In the following Q&A, AACTE asked Mercer for a preview of her cohort’s coursework and what members can expect from participating in this new AACTE-exclusive experience.

Who inspired you to become an educator?

It was the women in my life that inspired me to become an educator. My grandma taught in a one-room schoolhouse, my mom went back to school when I was in college to earn her elementary education degree, and taught kindergartners and first graders throughout her career.

New EPP Leader? Register for AACTE New Deans Academy

Mark your calendars for the upcoming New Deans Academy, held on June 17 in Cleveland, OH, the premier gathering of teacher education leaders new to their roles in their institutions — designed for deans, chairs, and faculty leaders position who have been in their roles for three years or less.

Attendees can network with other new leaders facing similar situations and challenges  in their positions. The New Deans Academy will allow you to discuss with peers the successes in your role, challenges you faced, and help you find creative solutions to shared problems. In addition, you will also hear from presenters who will share insights into these topics.

Meet AACTE Cohort Coaches 

Level Up Your Skills with Trusted Education Leaders 



AACTE understands the multifaceted demands facing deans, department chairs, and senior leaders today and is committed to providing tailored coaching solutions that empower you to lead successfully.
 

You are invited to embark on a journey of transformative leadership with AACTE Coaching. Partner with a coach and a cohort of your peers to strengthen skills, navigate challenges, learn new tools, and realize your full potential as you shape the future of excellence in teacher education. 

Why AACTE’s Leadership Academy is Essential for Professional Development

In the ever-changing landscape of higher education, navigating the complexities of leadership demands more than just expertise in pedagogy; it requires strategic vision, effective communication, and adept decision-making. Recognizing this, AACTE’s Leadership Academy is a cornerstone for empowering educator preparation academic leaders —  deans, department chairs, and other administrators — to thrive in their unique roles.

Join AACTE June 18–20 in Cleveland, OH, where Leadership Academy will accelerate personal and professional growth, offering members a unique opportunity to hone their skills, collaborate with peers, and find solace in shared experiences. The New Deans Academy is open to those with less than three or less years of experience in their role and will be held on June 17.

Austin Peay State University Unveils Cutting-Edge Furniture Connection Edtech Studio

The immersive capabilities of virtual reality — once thought to be just for gamers — are making their way into classrooms nationwide. Thanks to a generous gift from Furniture Connection, these technological innovations are now available for college students at Austin Peay State University (APSU).

University officials ushered in a new era in teacher preparation with the grand opening of the Furniture Connection EdTech Studio on March 11. This state-of-the-art space, located within the Eriksson College of Education, represents a leap forward in equipping aspiring educators with the latest educational technologies and immersive learning experiences.

The Furniture Connection EdTech Studio is a comprehensive learning hub that allows pre-service teachers to gain hands-on experience using virtual reality (VR) headsets, 3D printers, LEGO® Education sets, robotics, coding devices, and other cutting-edge tools.

From Student to Teacher: The Impact of Education Village at Winona State University 

Currently in her third year of teaching first grade at Cotter Schools, Jessica Houghton can clearly see the influence Winona State University’s Education Village had on her teaching career. 

The state-of-the-art mini-campus for the College of Education was finished in 2019 and included renovations to Helble Hall, Wabasha Recreation Center, and Cathedral Elementary School to create modernized classrooms and innovative spaces. Education Village is celebrating its five-year anniversary this April with an open house and community activities. 

Houghton was in her senior year when Education Village opened. She got to see first-hand the impact it had on her schooling, peers, and learning environment. 

Lunch with Lynn Featuring Pomeroy Award Winner Kimberly A. White-Smith

Join AACTE on Tuesday, March 26, at 1:00 p.m. EST for Lunch with Lynn, to learn about the work of  AACTE 2024 Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education Winner, Kimberly A. White-Smith, Ed.D.

White-Smith, dean and professor at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego and vice president of the California Council on Teacher Education, will join AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. to share her insight on the realm of teacher education. White-Smith has over 25 years dedicated to urban schooling and educator development and has been a fervent advocate for academic justice, particularly for marginalized communities.

AACTE Unveils Coaching Initiative

Invest in your Leadership Efficacy

 

In a dynamic era of higher education innovation, the importance of effective leadership within educator preparation programs (EPPs) cannot be overstated. Recognizing this imperative, AACTE unveils its new coaching program. AACTE Coaching is a visionary platform designed to foster professional growth among program leaders.  

This initiative represents a pioneering endeavor, connecting educators with invaluable opportunities to glean insights, strategies, and mentorship aimed at elevating their leadership experiences. Through this program, AACTE reaffirms its commitment to advancing excellence in educator preparation, empowering leaders to navigate the complexities of their roles with confidence and efficacy. 

Cultivating Resiliency in Times of Change: Howard Teibel to Close #AACTE24

Higher education is going through a seismic change — traditional methods are crumbling as the value proposition is increasingly questioned in our public discourse. Student needs are changing, while the ways education and work are delivered are transforming. 

Howard Teibel, president of Teibel Education Consulting, will deliver the closing keynote of the AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting on February 18 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. to explore cultivating resiliency as change is at the forefront in educator preparation programs across the nation.

Teibel will pose the questions: What skills enable emotional resiliency that allow us to lead this kind of change effort? How can we best orient faculty, deans, and their colleagues to focus and build this shared commitment?

In Michigan: State Continues to Invest in Grow Your Own Future Proud Michigan Educator Programs

Ninety-six additional school districts in Michigan will be developing more teachers from within their ranks with Future Proud Michigan Educator Grow Your Own (GYO) staff grants, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today. This is the second round of Grow Your Own grants awarded by MDE, building on the school districts awarded grants in the first round.

GYO staff grants provide opportunities for districts to increase the number of teachers in areas of shortage by supporting school employees seeking initial teacher certification or additional teacher endorsements, in response to their unique local needs for staffing. Each awardee will administer its own GYO program in partnership with one or more educator preparation providers.

“Grow Your Own programs provide an opportunity for schools to develop educators from within their districts and benefit from their successful experiences working with children,” said State Superintendent Michael Rice, Ph.D. “We continue to invest our resources to rebuild the teaching profession in Michigan in partnership with our school districts and teacher preparation providers—all in support of children.”

AACTE and University of Central Florida Illustrate Classroom Simulation to Education Grantmakers

Jacqueline Rodriguez demonstrating TeachLivEAACTE President and CEO Lynn Gangone and I had the privilege of demonstrating the Association’s commitment to Inquiry and Innovation during a recent visit to New Orleans.

AACTE collaborated with member institution, the University of Central Florida, to present the TeachLivE™ Lab (TLE Lab) to members of Grantmakers for Education during their recent conference in Louisiana. Grantmakers for Education is the nation’s largest and most diverse network of education grantmakers dedicated to improving educational outcomes and increasing opportunities for all learners.

Critical Friends Working Toward Program Improvement While Building a Partnership


In September of 2018, University of North Georgia (UNG) Educational Leadership staff began partnership discussions with Gwinnett County Schools. The UNG educational leadership program went through several iterations and was working toward revising the program to align with the Principal Pipeline Research from the Wallace Foundation. This revision also met the requirements for the new Tier 1 certification program implemented by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. We were new to the work and very interested in the successful, data-driven work Gwinnett County Schools Leadership development programs.

The initial discussions were about the application process and how we screen candidates, as well as, how we measured the success of our candidates beyond the obvious licensing test by the state.  This was the beginning of deep thinking for us about our program. We quickly learned that to build a quality program, we needed to attract the best candidates and track them through their placements in schools as leaders to determine the effectiveness of our work. We were most impressed with Gwinnett’s systems for measuring the success of their leadership development programs. This was great timing for our program as our Tier I participants had just completed the first cohort.  

The quality measures divide the process program improvement into six domains. We shared our practices in our Tier I program in each of the six areas, collecting evidence to support our work with our critical friends from Gwinnett.  At the same time, Gwinnett County Schools examined its practices in its principal preparation program sharing with us as critical friends. The process was transparent and helpful.  We both walked away with fresh ideas for improving our programs.

Why Board and Standing Committee Service is Important, Valuable, Gratifying, and Fun

How often have you said (or thought to yourself), “I can’t possibly take on any more responsibilities!  I can barely keep my head above water now?” 

As I write to encourage you to serve on the AACTE Board of Directors and standing committees, I’m acutely aware   that concerns about time and commitments exist for each of you. Given that we all struggle to balance our professional and personal lives, why should we commit time for service to AACTE?  As someone who manages to serve on the Board of Directors—and who is now the chair—let me offer a few reasons why I find service to AACTE worth the investment of time and talent.

  1. It is important. Our institutions prepare students for the most important profession in the world. Yet, we are regularly reminded that policy makers and political leaders, the members of our communities, and sometimes even our colleagues in the academy don’t fully value the breadth or impact of our work. AACTE, through our collective voice, is both a vehicle and a resource for highlighting the value and importance of high-quality, university-based educator preparation. Being actively engaged in the work of AACTE has provide me with opportunities to influence the national conversation about educator preparation, helped me be better aware of developments beyond my institution, and provided tools and materials by which to more effectively communicate to my own regional and state audiences.

Kelly C. Henson to Receive AACTE’s Imig Award

AACTE’s Committee on Professional Preparation and Accountability has selected Kelly C. Henson to receive the 2019 AACTE David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Teacher Education. Henson, who in January 2019 retired as the executive secretary at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, will be presented with the award at the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting, February 22-24, in Louisville, KY.

The Imig Award, named for AACTE President and CEO Emeritus David G. Imig, recognizes distinguished achievement in the formulation, implementation, or analysis of teacher education policy, or in the performance of distinguished scholarship in educator preparation.

Since 2007, Henson has led substantive educator preparation policy, certification, and ethics reform efforts in his role at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. During his distinguished career of over 45 years in education, he also served as the superintendent of schools in Floyd County, principal of Walton High School, principal of Pope High School and associate superintendent in Marietta City Schools in Georgia. He has contributed to the statewide and national implementation of tiered certification, preparation program effectiveness measures (PPEM), performance-based educational leadership, enhanced ethics instruction and assessment and job-embedded professional learning.

Register for Free Preconference: Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System

As you are making plans for the 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY next month, please consider joining us for a free preconference workshop focused on Overcoming Challenges to Developing a Quality Assurance System that will take place Thursday, February 21 from 1:00-5:00pm. Given the iterative nature of continuous improvement work, it is critical to develop a quality assurance system (QAS) that is sustained beyond an external review and provides meaningful data upon which evidence-based actions can be made.