Marymount M.Ed. Focuses on Catholic School Leadership, Fits Busy Schedules

Arlington, Virginia, David Butala first learned about Marymount University through its work with a primary school in his native Uganda. He recently spent two weeks on campus as part of a program to earn his M.Ed. in administration and supervision (focus on Catholic school leadership).

A former Catholic High School principal, Butala immigrated to the U.S. with his family last year and now substitute teaches in Arlington Public Schools. He was one of 28 students from 11 states on campus July 9-20 as part of a summer residency. Designed to provide flexibility for educators with busy schedules, the bulk of the 36-credit program is completed online over a two-year period and includes two summer residencies.

“Whether you want to work in Catholic or other schools, this program is very good,” said Butala, who has also worked in Ugandan public schools. “If you’re already a principal, it will make you much, much better.”

Butala also volunteers with Arlington Academy of Hope, a local non-profit founded by his sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and John Wanda. The non-profit runs Arlington Junior School in the Bududu District in Uganda, which has had a relationship with Marymount since 2011.

“The people in the Marymount program, both students and professors, come from unique backgrounds but are united in our passion for the mission of Catholic schools,” said Kevin Peloquin, academic dean of St. Pius V School in Providence, Rhode Island, and a student in the program.

Established and directed by Sister Patricia Helene Earl, IHM, the program began in 2001 and provides the values and perspectives essential to fostering Catholic unity and identity within a school community. It focuses on church history, teaching and moral perspectives. Other important components are the history of Catholic education and the impact community building can have.

In his second year of the program, Peloquin said it provides a unique environment to discuss and debate important issues in Catholic education. During the regular school year, cohort members connect through online chats and collaborate on projects.

“Even when we are hundreds of miles apart, my colleagues and I are continually in contact with one another, asking for advice and sharing ideas both inside and outside of formal class time,” he said. “Creating this network of passionate, dedicated educators will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for years to come.”

He finds it inspiring.

“When I leave Marymount after two weeks of intensive classes I never feel exhausted,” he said. “Instead, I feel rejuvenated and excited for the future of Catholic education and I am eager to return to my school to face new challenges.””

First-year student Kevin Giblin works at Arlington’s Bishop O’Connell High School, where he is the health and physical eduction department chair and boys’ lacrosse coach.

“Every facet needed to lead a school is discussed in great depth,” said the first-year cohort member. “This includes governance, finances, legal, moral and ethical training.””

Current principals also enroll.

“I want to become a better principal and figured this was the best way to accomplish that goal,” said Adrianne Jewett of Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna and a first-year cohort member. “This program will give me the knowledge and skills to improve in my abilities while also providing professors and classmates to guide me along the way.””

“I have loved the faithfulness that I have been a part of at Marymount,” said first-year cohort member Shari Nixon, an eighth grade teacher from Our Lady of Las Vegas School in Nevada. “I have learned so much already in our reading material and class time. I feel that because of the content and how it’s set up I will be in a great spot to apply to be a principal when I complete the program.””

In addition to the Catholic component, the M.Ed. is approved by the Virginia Department of Education for licensure with an endorsement in Administration and Supervision PK-12.

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Photo captions
Photo 1
A native of Uganda, David Butala was one of 28 students from 11 states who were on the Marymount University campus July 9-20 while working toward their master’s degrees in administration and supervision (focus on Catholic school leadership).

Photo 2
Designed to provide flexibility for educators with busy schedules, the bulk of Marymount University’s M.Ed. in administration and supervision (focus on Catholic school leadership) is completed online over a two-year period. The 36-credit program includes two summer residencies.

Photo 3
Members of the first-year cohort (L to R, front row): Barbara Dalmut, JD professor; Sister Josemaria Pence, OP, Anne Desmarais, Mary Desmarais, Emily Stocker, David Klosterman. (Back, L to R) Mary Paige Griffin, Shari Nixon, Adrianne Jewett, Kevin Giblin, Apolonio Latar, Clayton Cobb, David Butala. Shari Jeshow and Joseph Lewis are missing.

Photo 4
Members of the second-year cohort (L to R, front row): Jules Weber, Maria Tejada, Kyla Hockley, Beth Martyn, Sister Anna Joseph Van Acker, OP. (L to R, back row): Robert Costante, Eileen Lau, Melissa Manaker, Robert Murphy, David Morales, Joshua Saibini, Gregory Haas and David Peloquin. Six additional students who have already taken the summer courses will continue the program in the fall.