Leander ISD works with Concordia University to offer new summer leadership program

Lori Einfalt, program director for Concordia Universityu2019s master of education degree, speaks at the Aspiring Leader program.

Lori Einfalt, program director for Concordia Universityu2019s master of education degree, speaks at the Aspiring Leader program.

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Leander ISD works with Concordia University to offer new summer leadership program
Aspiring Leander ISD teachers now have the option to earn their master’s degree of education with a specialization in education administration through a unique partnership with Concordia University Texas.

The new LISD Aspiring Leader program, which kicked off in May, offers district-specific coursework to groom potential and current LISD teachers for their careers with a distinctly LISD-oriented approach.

“Partnering with a local school district to ensure a relevant education for their up-and-coming leaders makes perfect sense for Concordia and its mission,” Donald Christian, Concordia University Texas President and CEO, said in a statement.

LISD aspiring leaders are currently taking their courses at Cedar Park High School and learning from Concordia University faculty and members of the LISD leadership team, according to a press release from the university.

Naumann Elementary School Principal Keith Morgan and LISD Superintendent Dan Troxell are both teaching courses in the program.

“The Aspiring Leader program is specially designed to meet the needs of individual students within a friendly community of classmates all focused on professional development,” Troxell said in a statement. “Because public education evolves quickly, the fact that the faculty and curriculum stem from the current school environment really matters.”

Anthony Garcia, a Cedar Park High School teacher enrolled in the program, was preparing the final assignment for his first course, which is about curriculum design, as the deadline neared in late June. Since May 8 the course was taught every Tuesday for eight weeks, he said. His next course will be in education leadership and ethics.

Garcia said the curriculum is different from that of a traditional master’s program, which would usually deal with hypothetical scenarios.

“We’re working on this [assignment] based on something actually going on on our home campus,” he said.

Garcia said he is currently focused on enhancing the collaboration among teachers who are teaching the same course at different campuses to make sure the course is taught at the same level of depth and rigor. He said the new program allows students to make real improvements to their campuses.

The program is multipurpose in that it also prepares students for the TExES Principal test, which certifies qualified educators with principal certificates, Garcia said. The final assignment is designed to resemble what students have to submit while taking the exam.

“I was a little nervous going into this first class because curriculum instruction doesn’t always sound the most riveting,” Garcia said.

However, he said he had a lot of interesting discussions and enjoyed the class dynamics.