Twenty-Six of the Ed.D. Recipients Hold Educational Leadership Roles in Hard-Hit New York City Area

The Sage Colleges’ Esteves School of Education will award 40 doctorates in Educational Leadership this spring. The graduates completed their degrees while overseeing critical parts of the COVID-19 pandemic response in their schools and districts. Among the doctorate recipients are 26 principals, superintendents, district administrators and others in educational leadership roles in the hard-hit New York City area.

“The Ed.D. candidates showed a lot of grit and determination,” said Jerome Steele, Ed.D., chair of Sage’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership. “Their work is a testament to their ability and shows what can be done under very difficult circumstances.”

Melanie Diaz is an administrator with the Committee on Preschool Special Education at the New York City Department of Education and Beatrice Lopez is Middle School English Language Arts Chairperson at the City School District of New Rochelle.

Both began research projects in 2019, investigating issues contributing to achievement gaps among groups of students. When they presented their academic research at an online colloquium on May 7 of this year, extended school closures related to the coronavirus were exacerbating inequities among students and adding to their professional focus.

“As system leaders, we must always be cognizant and responsive to factors and structures that perpetuate systemic disproportionalities and inequities for children,” said Lopez. “This could not be more evident in education than now.”

Diaz explained how a lack of access to reliable technology challenges some of the families she works with, and how she has helped others navigate unfamiliar video conferencing software. ”We are learning by fire,” she said.

Diaz and Lopez agree that the lessons learned in Sage’s Educational Leadership program will guide them as they lead through uncertainty.

“An entire semester was focused on change management,” said Diaz. “How do you produce change in an organization, bring everyone along and lead in a crisis? How do you manage transitions and what do you do when everything that was true isn’t anymore? That semester resonated with me then and even more so now.”

Lopez said that thanks to Sage, she has access to a new network of scholars and researchers, with whom to collaborate, “leaders who are proactive in guiding the evolution of our educational system.”

Sage’s 2020 commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for May 16, has been postponed. The date and location of the rescheduled ceremony will be announced when public health guidance indicates it is safe to hold large gatherings.

Sage’s Esteves School of Education has offered its Educational Leadership doctoral program on campus since 2007, and in New York City since 2013. Visit Sage.edu/education for more information on a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sage’s Esteves School of Education.