As an Intervention Specialist, education has always been an important tool for Katie Eckles. This and her passion for meeting the individual needs of students, have led Eckles through her 15 years in education. Despite being a leader who takes pride in organization, patience, and understands individualism; she found herself wondering how she could further her educational career. “I had been a teacher for 13 years yet I still felt that there was a next step that I was supposed to take,” she said.
This feeling led Eckles to seek her second Masters degree. “I already had a Master’s in Education but the Educational Leadership program at the University of Cincinnati (UC) offered something more than this, I liked the possibilities it opened for me. Leading a building and helping teachers to become better educators really spoke to me and what I wanted to do in the next stages of my career.”
With the appeal of online convenience, supportive cohorts, and an excellent reputation for education, Eckles found her pathway when she turned to UC. As it promised, the program proved to be all that she had hoped. Eckles found herself learning important skills that forced her to think outside of the box in planning and executing assignments. “Even when it came down to budgeting my time I found myself learning from it,” she recalled. “Academically, it was challenging for me. But my writing skills improved greatly and assignments really allowed me to push the bar in expressing myself in a clear and concise way.”
Additionally, Eckles found the support and sense of community from her cohort and her professors very refreshing. “If I didn’t have the support from my professors I don’t think I would have made it through the program. There were many things going on in my life in addition to being a mom, a teacher, and a student all at the same time, the support I received was invaluable,” she said. The sense of community came during discussion time where she was able to give her opinion and discuss what was going on in her own school while gathering insight from peers from all over the country. She was able to learn about what they were doing to solve problems and together they compared and contrasted situations in an effort to find the best solutions. “The experience was amazing,” she finished.
Today, Eckles is excited to be putting her Educational Leadership degree to work. Currently, she’s taken on several leadership roles within the school while working a pilot program the district is seeking to launch. “The program at UC is not an in the box kind of program,” she said. “It prepares you to become a leader for the future; there is no focus on past theories. You’re taught new ways to solve problems and communicate them with others to help them solve the problems.” Eckles never really thought about being a leader until she began her classes at UC, now she has all the confidence she needs and has truly begun to take the next step towards her future.