Student Profile: Natalie McFarland, Professional Certificate for Administrators

Student Profile: Natalie McFarland, Professional Certificate for Administrators

Natalie McFarland, a student in City University of Seattle’s Principal and Program Administrator ProCert program, set some time aside to do a student profile with us. The flexibility of the program brought her to CityU, and the quality of instruction has kept her here!

City University of Seattle (CU): Tell us a little bit more about yourself!

Natalie McFarland (NM): I’m in the Educational Leadership Program at CityU, working on my Principal and Program Administrator Professional Certificate. As an undergraduate I attended Western Washington University and studied Environmental Planning and Geology. After graduating, I took a year off to ski and figure out what I wanted to do next. In my year off, I got a job working in an outdoor summer camp for teenagers and I learned that I loved working in that environment. I quickly applied to go back to school to earn my Masters of Education. Since that time, I have been teaching for 12 years at a high school in Bellingham, Washington.

CU: What brought you to CityU?

NM: There are two reasons I chose CityU. One reason is certainly convenience. Being able to work and go to school makes this program doable. A more important reason, however, is the quality of the instructors. At CityU I love the fact that I am working with professors who are still currently employed in the field of education. In many other programs a student can end up working with tenured professors who know their research but haven’t been in a building in years. At CityU I know I am getting professors with years of experience in public education. I also know I am getting an instructor who is current on school programs.

CU: What’s was your experience been like at CityU like – what’s good, what’s great, what might you have done differently if you could go back and start over?

NM: The professors have been great, as has the timing of the classes to fit in with my work schedule. If I could change one thing it would be to mix up my classes. I took all but one class as mixed-mode, and now see that I can learn equally well in both mixed-mode form and online form.

CU: Was your degree something you felt you needed to obtain in order to take a professional step forward?

NM: In order to become a school leader, I definitely need to earn this certificate. I am working now as Dean of Students, but to be a principal or assistant principal these certificates are necessary.

CU: What do you envision as your greatest challenge moving forward? Has CityU better prepared you to meet that challenge?

NM: Working with adults is a big challenge for school leaders. Most educators get into education to work with kids, but as a leader you have to work with and manage adults. Several courses including school law, instructional leadership. human resource management, and change management have prepared me for this challenge.

CU: Any advice for future students who might be traveling the same path as you?

NM: Be prepared to work a ton and learn a ton. I am completing the program in one year and that has given me many tasks and hats to juggle. Be prepared to work hard and be incredibly busy.

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Published June 10, 2014



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