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Educational Leadership Program Empowers Future School Leaders

Edl podium
Edl podium
EDL Director Craig Markson and Associate Director Ken Forman announcing a Stony Brook University partnership with the New York Academy of Public Education in New York City at the Union League Club in May, 2023.

Stony Brook University’s Educational Leadership (EDL) certificate program is designed to equip current and aspiring school administrators with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in educational leadership roles, from classes taught by current or former school district administrators.

The program — the largest in New York state, with 500 students enrolled in Fall 2023 — is a strategic blend of practical knowledge and research, structured to address the needs of today’s educational landscape. While the program was the first in New York State to offer an online option, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has adopted a fully online modality, offering both synchronous and asynchronous meeting types.

While Stony Brook does not offer a doctorate in education, EDL has partnered with both St. John’s University and Hofstra University with articulation agreements that allow alumni of EDL to further their education by pursuing doctoral degrees. The agreements include unique benefits to EDL alumni that may include shortened time to degree completion and tuition discounts.

Craig Markson, director of the Educational Leadership Programs in the School of Professional Development, said partnerships like these are the cornerstone of the program, and help it remain relevant and up-to-date with the needs of current districts.

New York State teacher centers are one of the most important partners, who consistently offer feedback on the curriculum within the EDL program. Both Markson and Ken Forman, associate director of the EDL program, serve on the board of the New York State Teacher centers as representatives from higher education.

EDL has also partnered with the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association to create cohorts of students recommended by a Suffolk County school superintendent, along with groups such as the Long Island Black Educators Association (LIBEA), Long Island Latino Teachers Association (LILTA), Nassau County Alliance of Black School Educators, Asian Pacific American Council of Educators, and the New York Academy of Public Education. These associations have worked closely with EDL to recruit diverse candidates and advise on how to infuse diversity, equity and inclusion into the curriculum.

“Our community partners will work with us and will advise us on the focus of our program and unique demands that they’re facing within their school district, because at the end of the day, our students will become the future leaders of that district,” said Markson.

Forman is a former principal and assistant superintendent and author of the only test prep review book to help candidates prepare for the New York State School Building Leader examination. He recently partnered with faculty from City College, Fordham University, Hofstra University and St. John’s University on a $700,000 New York State Education Department (NYSED) grant to support a multi-pronged initiative: strengthening a diverse leadership pipeline through preparation and development. The grant will allow for learning communities with a DEI cohort, a Leadership Development series to support student learning, and future leader programs with Town Halls.

This is the second year that the EDL program will co-sponsor with Eastern Suffolk BOCES to offer an on-campus Summer Equity Institute, to enhance participants’ skill set in actionizing equitable practices within their school communities. The 2.5-day program includes DEI certificate, micro-credential and CTLE credit through in-person workshops, panel discussions, and equity coach support. As a culminating activity, participants will develop an equity action plan for their school or district.

Graduates of the EDL program are well-prepared for a variety of leadership roles within educational settings. Alumni have gone on to become principals, assistant principals, curriculum coordinators and superintendents. The program’s strong emphasis on leadership development, policy understanding, and practical experience ensures that graduates are equipped to navigate the complexities of educational administration and drive positive change in their institutions.

Ken Graham, superintendent for the North Babylon (NY) School Districts, credits the EDL program for the foundation for his administrative career.

“The Stony Brook Educational Leadership program provided me with an opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable and respected leaders on Long Island,” he said. “During my coursework there were many opportunities to discuss real world situations with the professors and with my peers who were also future educational leaders. The coursework culminated with the internship which was truly where I got the chance to live the life of a school and district leader.”

— Beth Squire

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