Road to Success: Career Progression in K-12 Education

Jon is an education administrator and Walden University EdD student who built a very successful K-12 career.   We asked him to share his inspiring career story with other educators,teachers, and school administrators who are seeking to make an impact in the Education field.

Jon started out as a music teacher and taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  After several years of teaching, he enrolled in a master’s program in education administration in order to “diversify myself professionally” and obtained his administrator license.   A few years later, he was selected to fill the role of assistant principal at one of the high schools in his school district.  This position led to assistant principal roles at other schools.   He finally landed a full-time principal position at the elementary level where he was employed for over six years. Subsequently, he has served as principal at three additional elementary schools in the same district.  

Are Jon’s successes simple strokes of good luck, or are there other factors at work here?  In actuality, Jon’s career achievements are a result of hard work, professional involvement, and relentless commitment to lifelong learning.  The following helped propel his career:

  • He assumed teacher leadership roles that included serving on committees, working with his principal on behalf of teachers, bringing professional development opportunities to his school, and serving as the Faculty Senate Chairperson for his school.
  • He became the “go to” person, offering assistance to staff, and taking time to learn the operations of the school including attendance, scheduling, and other systems.  This involved many hours of volunteer time and efforts beyond his classroom teaching responsibilities.
  • As a teacher and principal, he took advantage of professional development and networking activities inside and outside his school district.  These included participation in state level leadership institutes (upon recommendation from the county superintendent), and active participation in Web Top, an application designed for his district that included discussions, blogs, resources, and listservs related to educational topics. 
  • He modeled lifelong learning through his own professional development, and the pursuit of graduate and post-graduate education. 

 Jon is always looking ahead to his next opportunity.  He recently applied for a state-level administrator position, and met with Career Services at the EdD Residency to discuss his application.  When asked whether he researched the contact person, Jon responded that he already knew this individual; he had provided professional development at his school and also knew his mentor.  Jon had built a strong professional network over the years that helped him in his career.  For this position, Jon was asked to come in for a panel interview with state level department heads including three superintendents.  Jon told me that all of his interviewers had doctoral degrees.  Although he didn’t get the position, he felt that being selected for the interview and having his name in front of a committee that is very visible will help him secure a position with the state department in the near future. Why is Jon pursuing his EdD at Walden?  His next goal is to be selected for an administrative position at the regional level with the state department of education or move into a district level position.

Written by Career Services Advisor Dina Bergren

If you have a success story to share, please email: careerservices@waldenu.edu

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