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Russell Sage College expands certificates in move to attract departing Saint Rose students

Russell Sage President Christopher Ames, CITE Executive Director Donald James, and Provost Theresa Hand signing paperwork to make the Instructional Leadership Advanced Certification program official
Samantha Simmons
Russell Sage President Christopher Ames, CITE Executive Director Donald James, and Provost Theresa Hand signing paperwork to make the Instructional Leadership Advanced Certification program official

With the College of Saint Rose in Albany set to shutter this spring, nearby Russell Sage College is launching a new certificate program meant to bolster the number of school leaders and fill the gap expected to come with the closure.

Through a partnership with the Center for Integrated Training and Education, the Instructional Leadership Advanced Certificate program will lead students toward completing the requirements for School Building Leader and School District Leader certifications while connecting curriculum to practice.

CITE Executive Director Donald James says 60 percent of New York City principals and school leaders are expected to retire in the next few years, leaving a shortage of public school leaders. James says the program connects graduate students and teachers with required credits for people looking to advance their careers.

“A lot of high-profile individuals go through these programs that then go on and do great things in schools,” James said.

CITE has previously worked with Saint Rose on similar programs, granting thousands of certificates in recent years. The private college, a long-running springboard for educators, will shutter after the spring semester under financial strain.

Deborah Shea is the program chair and an assistant professor for educational research at Russell Sage and former leader of the educational leadership advanced certificate programs at Saint Rose. Shea says the program builds on the college’s pathway toward an Educational Leadership Doctorate.

“We kind of started designing from the ground up and disrupted the whole typical preparation program,” Shea said. “And so, our program is really strongly focused on what you do as an instructional leader, theory to practice. But it's also starting with our leadership standards, which is materially different than any other program in New York state.”

Shea says some students go years before completing an internship, making the connection between course content and practice indirect.

The hybrid model, designed for a part-time load, allows students to earn their certification in two years. Additionally, to meet the New York State Education Department’s requirement for internship hours while making the most of students’ time, 300 of the 600 required hours are embedded into courses.

The program isn’t just for education professionals looking to further their careers. Shea says it could attract educators seeking positions as instructional coaches.

“We're hoping another big piece of the program is gathering the instructional coaches and teachers who already have an interest in teacher leadership, we're hoping that they step forward and start thinking about expanding the role beyond the classroom through this program, because it will open the spheres and open their dimensions of their roles considerably,” Shea said.

Russell Sage President Christopher Ames says the program has been under development since the summer. Ames says the college is working to add the program to its teach-out agreement with Saint Rose.

“It's all related to try to provide great high-quality employees for the school system,” Ames said. “And there has been a shortage at all levels, whether it's teachers or administrators. And so having a really strong, positive and upbeat graduate programs that remind people that teaching and particularly teaching in New York state is a great career.”

Samantha joined the WAMC staff after interning during her final semester at the University at Albany. A Troy native, she looks forward to covering what matters most to those in her community. Aside from working, Samantha enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and cat. She can be reached by phone at (518)-465-5233 Ext. 211 or by email at ssimmons@wamc.org.
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