Aspiring principals will be given the opportunity to specialize in leader STEM schools with the help of a new academic program at the University of North Texas at Dallas. Best of all, the first-of-its-kind program has free tuition and no fees because of $651,000 grant from the Texas Instruments Foundation.
“Principals play a significant part in student learning outcomes, which begins with attracting and retaining great teachers,” Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation, said in a statement. “During the five years since this program began, we have been pleased with its success in developing STEM school leaders who are skilled at creating STEM campuses. Their commitment benefits teachers, who are integral to student success, which in turn helps students be better prepared for a future in which STEM skills are necessary.”
It’s a valuable program because STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has become increasingly important in the education landscape.
The goal of UNT Dallas School of Education’s Master of Educational Leadership program with a STEM concentration is to combine a rigorous curriculum with professional field study, ensuring participants are uniquely qualified and prepared to become STEM principals.
UNT Dallas said the TI Foundation grant will pay all tuition and fees for candidates accepted into the Aspiring STEM Principal Program beginning in the fall semester. The graduate-level program consists of 30 hours and the completion time is May 2025 for those who start this fall.
Equipping STEM leaders in southern Dallas County schools
The university said this is the second grant from the TI Foundation for the program.
The academic program focuses on Dallas County’s southern sector, the university said. Candidates for the program’s inaugural cohort must be current educators with a minimum of two years of teaching experience in these five independent school districts: Cedar Hill, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville and Lancaster.
“The UNT Dallas Educational Leadership Department is building a pipeline of future STEM-focused principals who will be crucial to the success of innovative and transformational schools,” Dr. Shelia Brown, UNT Dallas lecturer of Educational Leadership and Program Coordinator of Educational Leadership, said in a statement. “Thanks to the generosity of the TI Foundation, the work of these STEM leaders will directly impact students by creating pathways to meet future career challenges.”
As STEM and STEAM-related careers expand widely across many businesses and industries and demand for such positions grows rapidly, the university said that K-12 principals with this master’s degree concentration will be shepherding tomorrow’s inventors and innovators.
Growing need for STEM
UNT Dallas said this is one of several STEM-focused initiatives now underway at the university. Ground was broken in August on a new $100 million STEM building that will feature multiple classrooms and laboratories, as well as a green learning environment that brings the campus landscaping inside.
STEM and other Career and Technical Education programs are important in DFW-area school districts because there is a growing need for new programs to ensure students are educated in ways that improve their engagement and achievement.
This need inspired the creation of the UNT Dallas/TI Foundation partnership for the Aspiring STEM Principal Program, the university said.
Applications are now being accepted and interested persons can get more information at the UNT Dallas website.
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