Keeping Equity at the Forefront Means Excellent Leadership Preparation See How the PRN and JWU Doctorate Program prepared Willam (Jackson) Riley ‘19

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Hello! My name is Jackson Reilly -- I am currently a second year Assistant Principal at West Broadway Middle School and an Educational Leadership doctoral student at Johnson and Wales University. I am also an alumni of Teach for America and the Highlander Institute's FUSE Fellowship.

The PRN was by far one of the best personal and professional experiences of my life. What initially drew me to the PRN was its embedded practice model and focus on individual improvement through consistent, high-quality feedback. It meant a lot to me to be able to learn about leadership moves, put them into action, reflect, and revise my approach. Throughout my time in the program, it was the small cohort and my CSG that shaped most of my learning; my ideas, thoughts, and assumptions were constantly being challenged and the lens at which I viewed education both widened and became more focused.

During my application process for the PRN I became aware of their affiliation with the Johnson and Wales Educational Leadership doctoral program. Knowing that earning a doctorate was a goal of mine, I scheduled to meet with Dr. Swaboda to learn more about the program -- it was everything I wanted and more. The JWU leadership program has built upon my learning from the PRN by engaging me in educational research, further developing my knowledge of all the many facets of education, and continuing to build my professional relationships. I am currently enrolled in my last course and will begin writing my dissertation on the relationship between data-driven instruction and teacher collaboration this summer. 

The majority of the work I engaged in at the PRN and JWU centered around equity. In my role as a leader of an urban school, equity is at the forefront of all my decision making. I learned how to develop systems, have difficult conversations, and conduct action research to target populations of students that need more supports. My biggest leadership takeaway from the PRN is to always ask myself, why? Why are a group of students not learning? Why are outcomes different in one class versus another? Why is education not equitable for all students?

My advice for anyone interested in the PRN is to lean in and trust the process. Surely, you will experience moments of doubt and there will be times where you feel overwhelmed. Remind yourself that the PRN process is all about self-growth and be sure to use your cohort to support you. You can do this! And you will be thankful every day that you did! To this day, I communicate with my cohort members frequently and constantly go back to my learning from the program.

Curious? What might your PRN leadership journey look like in the near future?

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