‘The M.S. for Professional Educators program gave me confidence’

Leah Hellenbrand had spent five years as an elementary school teacher in Janesville, Wis., when she decided to pursue a Master of Science for Professional Educators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Among other goals, she hoped to develop her leadership skills.

“The program gave me confidence as a young educator and equipped me with a framework for communicating my ideas and experience,” Hellenbrand says. “I came away feeling empowered that I can act as an agent of change. Instead of waiting, or even advocating for, professional development to arrive at my school, I recognized that I am the person needed to deliver it.”

Leah Hellenbrand

The Master of Science for Professional Educators allows K-12 teachers to develop their skills as both educators and leaders. The two-year program features face-to-face learning over two summers on the UW-Madison campus, where students can work with classmates and build their professional networks. During the fall and spring semesters, the program moves online for the convenience of practicing teachers.

Since completing the program, Hellenbrand’s skills as an educator have been recognized by her peers. The School District of Janesville honored her with the Making a Difference in Gifted and Talented Education Award, as well as naming her Teacher of the Year. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Young Auditorium recognized her for “outstanding work in classroom implementation of arts integration.”

Hellenbrand thinks the Master of Science for Professional Educators program is perfect for teachers who want to learn more while working in the field.

“For a working practitioner, I believe the program provided an excellent blend of theory and practical application,” she says. “Theory fueled my research process, while overarching MSPE principles, such as collaboration and partnership, provided a practical focus.”

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

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