LGC is Site of New Lowcountry Cohort for Educational Specialist Degree Through The Citadel

With 27 years of teaching and administrative positions under her belt, Ladson Elementary Assistant Principal Wanda Hughes has her sights set on a superintendent position in a poor rural community like the one she grew up in.

She wants to make a difference in the lives of children, paying forward the difference educators made in her life.

Armed with a master’s degree, she knows that a doctorate is a path to that goal. In order to get that doctorate in K12 leadership offered at Clemson, educators must first complete a Specialist in Educational Leadership (Ed.S.), provided by The Citadel’s Zucker Family School of Education.

The Citadel offers a seamless transfer of credits to graduates of The Citadel’s Specialist program and a 25% reduction in tuition. In turn, the Ed.S. degree is tailored to the Clemson Ph.D. curriculum.

Starting in Fall 2019, The Citadel will establish a Tri-County cohort of the Specialist in Educational Leadership program.  It reduces tuition by 25% and waives fees for qualifying residents of Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. The 33-credit course can be completed in two years, and it will be offered conveniently at the state-of-the-art facilities of the Lowcountry Graduate Center in North Charleston. A chief advantage of the cohort is that students network with and learn from each other, taking those relationships and discoveries back into the workplace with a broader perspective.

For Hughes, who is a year into the program, that would have been a godsend. She currently commutes from Ladson to the Charleston peninsula for classes, and then back home to North Charleston. The LGC could reduce her commuting time in half.

The high tech teaching facility of the LGC is ideally suited to students from Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and even adjacent counties.  The campus is located near the intersection of I-26 and 526 westbound and has ample, free parking.

The Ed.S. degree comprises 33 semester hours, including six credit hours of internships, that encompass knowledge of school law, curricular trends, program budgeting and more. Additionally, skills are taught in problem-solving, goal setting, staff development, and community relations including race relations and diversity training.

Dr. Lee Westberry, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Educational Leadership at The Citadel, says the Ed.S. degree helps professionals trained to be principals and assistant principals gain the broader, district perspective.

“Often people at the school level don’t understand why decisions are made the way they are,” she said.

The new Ed.S. cohort arose from a survey of local educators undertaken by the LGC in 2017 that revealed one-quarter of respondents planned to pursue a doctorate in the next five years, but many were wary of commuting all the way to the peninsula for classes.

Despite the commute, it’s working for Wanda Hughes.

“I’m taking a course now in organizational behavior, to work more effectively with teachers. I learned how to analyze and solve problems and understand other people’s perspectives. Now when a teacher comes to me with a problem, instead of offering a solution, I use cognitive coaching and strategize with them to come to their own conclusions,” she said. Find detailed information about the program requirements and application here.