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Fall 2012

The Leading Learner

UNI Educational Leadership Newsletter – Fall 2012

The Educational Leadership Faculty at the University of Northern Iowa develop and nurture reflective Leaders of Learning, Service, and Change who positively impact student achievement and school improvement.


UNI Educational Leadership Welcomes Visiting International Scholars

The Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education is proud to welcome two international scholars for the 2012-13 academic year:  Ibrahim Hakan Karatas and Theophile Muhayimana.


Photo Ibrahim Hakan Karatas 

Ibrahim Hakan Karatas arrived in June 2012 to begin a year of post-doctoral studies in Educational Leadership.  After earning his BA in Turkish language and literature and his MA in Turkish language, Karatas earned his Ph.D. in 2008.  He spent two years writing course books for high school litera ture and Turkish language, as well as elementary course books.  In 2010, he started as an assistant professor at Faith University in Istanbul, Turkey, one of UNI’s partner institutions through the Office of International Programs.  Karatas is currently the head of the Educational Administration department at Faith University.

Karatas explained that there is a significant ongoing debate in Turkey about how to improve principalship training programs.  His main research focus has been on the role of educational nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and educational associations, as he believes that these organizations will be the leaders of change in the coming years.  He aims to create an online sharing website which details standards, ethics, and practices for principalship programs.  Karatas explained that such a website is extremely valuable because it is difficult to get Turkish language articles and books; the website can serve as a resource for educators across Turkey who would not otherwise have access to such information, and will additionally allow peers to share information with one another.  Eventually, Karatas plans to look at educational policy, as what he has learned in his studies in Europe, Africa, and the US has taught him that there are increasing connections in education across the world.



Photo Theophile Muhayimana

Theophile Muhayimana arrived in the middle of August to begin his doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education.  Muhayimana is from Rwanda where has been serving in education for the past fifteen years.  He completed his undergraduate studies in African language and literature and English translation at the National University of Rwanda in 2005 and earned his master’s in TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2010. Muhayimana has taught language courses at both the high school and university level, served as a high school deputy principal for two years, and was promoted head of the university’s English department and the director of the President’s Office.

Muhayimana first heard about the Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education when he was looking for universities with strong doctoral programs in education and a colleague recommended that he look at UNI.  Due to his interest in education at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, he is planning to complete coursework in Educational Leadership, Postsecondary Education, and Curriculum and Instruction in pursuit of his doctoral degree.  Ultimately, Muhayimana hopes to return to his home university, the Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Education of Kibungo in eastern Rwanda, where he will work to infuse English into education and to establish organizational management systems in education.  He plans to complete his doctoral studies by 2014, when he will be able to return home to his wife and three children.


UNI Principalship Program graduate student receives the first Verizon Making Safe Schools and Communities Scholarship Award

Amy Miehe, Waterloo High School Social Science Teacher and Department Chair, received the first Verizon Scholarship Award for recognition of her contributions to Mentoring Violence Prevention (MVP) and safe schools.  Amy Miehe is currently a graduate student in the UNI Principalship Program.  Ceremony was held in the Center for Multicultural Education on August 21, 2012.

Amy Miehe Receives Verizon Scholarship

Back row: Dr. Dwight C. Watson, Dean of College of Education, George Erwin, Verizon Government Account Executive and Dr. Willie Barney, Associate Superintendent Waterloo Schools.  Front row:   Dr. Brenda Bass, Interim Dean of College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Amy Miehe, and Dr. Victoria Robinson, Head of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education.


Connect With Us!

Follow UNI Educational Leadership (#UNIEdLead) on Twitter (@UNIEdLead) and Facebook (UNI Educational Leadership). Additionally, Drs. Gilson (@pantherprof), Jones (@bopper91), Pace (@NJPace40) and Robinson (@VLRob) are on the Twitosphere.


UNI Well-Represented at NCPEA Conference in Kansas City

Drs. Pace, Gilson, and McNulty all presented at the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) Summer Conference, held August 7th-10th, 2012 in Kansas City, MO.

Dr. Pace presented on his book, The Principal's Hot Seat: Observing Real-Life Dilemmas (R&L Education, 2011).  The presentation detailed how the book grew out of the “Day in the Office” role play, which is a part of the principalship program, and can be especially useful for mentoring new principals and helping them anticipate the sorts of situations they might encounter as a principal.  This book is available for purchase on

Dr. Gilson’s presentation focused on discussion with professors from other universities about the extensive process Ed Leadership faculty went through to revise and strengthen the principalship curriculum.  The program underwent a two-year process to make revisions to the curriculum of the principalship program, culminating in site visits by the Iowa Department of Education and external reviewers for the university’s academic program review process.

Dr. McNulty led a session titled “Ideology Counts: Indicators of Successful Social Justice Leadership and the Strategies and Practices that Remedy Injustice in Academic Achievement.”  Dr. McNulty presented on the ways in which social justice leaders can use data in pursuit of their goals.


Dr. McNulty Presents at Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference

Dr. McNulty co-presented with a school district official at the Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference in September in Plateville, WI.  Dr. McNulty and Mary Tregloan explored the idea of inclusions as a mechanism for reform at a failing school.


Gilson and Martin Develop New MAE Program

Dr. Gilson, along with Dr. Leigh Martin from the International/Out-of-State student teaching office, have been working to develop an MAE program for teacher-leaders in international schools. The master's program, developed with strong support from the Office of Continuing Education and Special Programs, is set to begin its first cohort in the summer of 2013.


Richard and Rebecca DeFour to lead Professional Learning Communities Workshop at UNI

AEA 267 and the College of Education have partnered to bring Richard and Rebecca DeFour to provide a two-day workshop for 500 teachers and administrators from across the state.  Richard DeFour (Ed.D.) and Rebecca DeFour (M.Ed.) are recognized leaders in helping schools apply the principles of Professional Learning Communities.  The first day of the workshop will be an overview of developing and implementing Professional Learning Communities in schools; on the second day, the group will split into high school and elementary focus groups.

“Normally schools send teams to Minneapolis [for workshops like these], so it’s exciting to have the DeFours come here to us,” reports Dr. Victoria Robinson, Head of the Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education.  “This will help teachers and administrators save on time and travel costs.”  The workshop will take place on October 2-3, 2012 on the UNI campus.  Registration is currently closed for this event.


Dr. Pace and Dr. Gilson to Present at National Conference

For the last four years, Dr. Pace and Dr. Gilson have used the Dennis Dunklee’s text You sound taller on the telephone: A practitioner’s view of the principalship (Corwin Press, 1995) in their first semester courses with principalship students. They have asked their students to evaluate how the book’s fictitious principal meets the Iowa Standards for School Leaders.

Drs. Pace and Gilson will present the results of this research at the University Council of Educational Administrators annual conference in Denver, CO, November 15-18.  They have also have a manuscript on this topic under review for publication in a journal.


Prepared Panthers: UNI Ed Leadership Graduates Move into New Roles

Clay Central Everly’s new superintendent is Dennis McClain

Jay Mathis is the new superintendent in Eldora-New Providence

Mike Van Sickle now serves as superintendent in Louisa-Muscatine

New Hampton welcomes Jay Jurrens as superintendent

Patrick Hocking accepted the position of superintendent in Northeast Hamilton

Van Meter welcomes new superintendent Deron Durflinger

Ballard welcomes Ottie Maxie as their new superintendent

Mike Wells is the new superintendent in Cedar Falls

John Speer is now the superintendent in College Community

Ruthven-Ayrshire’s new superintendent is Andy Wooiwood

Josh Henrickson is the new secondary principal at Alburnett.

Nick Merritt assumed the reigns as secondary principal in Springville

Amy Griffin is the new intermediate principal in the Gilbert CSD

Lucas Ptacek is the new assistant principal at Northwest Jr. High School in the Iowa City CSD

Paul Rea is the new secondary principal in the N. Tama CSD

Dan Butler assumed the position of principal for both Farley and Epworth elementary schools in the West Dubuque CSD

Chad Zrudsky is the new assistant principal at Marion High School

Ross Bauer has taken over as the new administrative assistant at Waterloo West HS

Amber Boyd is the new Instructional Coach at Lincoln HS in Des Moines

Kory Kelchen is the Graduate Connection coordinator with the Waterloo CSD

Erika Ramirez is the new At-Risk Coordinator at Des Moines North HS

Traci Shipley accepted the position of Dean of Students at Morris Elementary in Des Moines

Ryan Williamson is the new Dean of Students at Moulton Extended Learning Center in Des Moines

Heather McDonald accepted the position of Activities Director with the Denver CSD

Deb Donlea is the new curriculum director for the Independence CSD

Jeremiah Ostrem has taken over the position of MS AD with Bondurant-Farrar schools

Katie Fahey is the new elementary principal at St. Pat's elementary school in Waukon

Wayne Slack has replaced Josh Johnson as the Dean of Students and AD at Union High School in LaPorte City. Johnson has moved into the position of secondary principal at Wapsie Valley schools

Joe Nietert is the new Dean of Students at Linn-Mar High School

Robb Beane is the new Dean of Students at Eddyville-Blakesburg schools

Emily O'Donnell is now an assistant middle school principal with the Iowa City CSD

Justin Urbanek is the new secondary principal in Dunkerton

Assistant Principal Adam Ahrendsen joins the team at Irving Elementary in Waterloo

Assistant Principal Mike Fisher joins Principal Dr. Dan Cox at Waterloo Hoover Middle School

Michael Landers has moved into the assistant principalship at Waterloo West High, following Jeremy Langner's move into the assistant principalship at Waverly-Shell Rock High School

Assistant Principal Anel Garza joins Principal Kelly Schloss at Perry Elementary School

Webster City High School welcomes new Assistant Principal Troy Smock

Joe Divoky joins the team at Iowa City's Grant Wood Elementary as Assistant Principal

The Ankeny Community School district's new Director of Assessment, Instruction, and Professional Development is Sharon Ingebrand

Anna Taggart now serves as Elementary Math Curriculum Director for the Des Moines Public Schools

Cedar Rapids Prairie High School has a new Assistant Principal—Erik Anderson

Mike Hansen now serves as Elementary Principal in Mt. Vernon

Dr. Willie Barney assumes a new role in Waterloo as Associate Superintendent for Secondary and Special Education

Andrew Eley is the new principal at Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids