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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.
If you’d like to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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