Master of Science for Professional Educators turns a New York City teacher into an ‘agent of change’

Smiling students

Richard Irvan wants students from all walks of life to succeed in the classroom and beyond. That’s one reason he decided to enroll in the Master of Science for Professional Educators (MSPE) program at UW-Madison.

Irvan works for Democracy Prep, a network of New York City charter schools that prepares students to succeed in college and lead lives of active citizenship. In addition to cofounding one of its middle schools, he has taught sixth graders and now serves as a history curriculum specialist.

The MSPE program gave Irvan many opportunities to study diverse learners—and the types of achievement gaps Democracy Prep aims to close.

“Being part of a community that studied systemic racism and issues faced by low-income students, including cultural misunderstandings in the classroom, has been invaluable in developing the skills and understanding to work effectively with our school community,” he says.

Building leaders, changing lives

The two-year online program allows teachers to continue working while earning a Master of Science in Educational Psychology degree.

The program helped Irvan develop the leadership skills he needs in his current role and find new ways to use technology in the classroom. He even created his own educational technology course and used his capstone project to enhance its effectiveness with research findings. He also strengthened his knowledge about educational assessment, gained a deeper understanding of educational psychology research, and studied special-education law. All of these activities have helped him better support struggling students.

Now Irvan sees himself not only as a teacher but a changemaker.

“The MSPE program gave me the language, research, and confidence to become an agent of change in the New York City schools,” he says.

For more information on the Master of Science for Professional Educators program, see here.

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