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C John Cahill

M.Ed. in K-12 Educational Leadership

Education Policy, Planning & Leadership

  • 2021, William & Mary, Master in Education, K-12 Educational Leadership
  • 2018, William & Mary, Master of Arts in Education, Secondary Science Education
  • 2016, Christopher Newport University, Bachelor of Science, Cellular, Molecular, and Physiological Biology 

What kind of educational and professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
As a high school science teacher, I have served as the sponsor for Operation Smile at my high school, where students organize fundraising and volunteer events to raise money to support cleft lip and palate surgeries in other countries. To further my education to reach all students and enhance my classroom I completed my TESOL certification from The George Washington University last spring and also complete my National Geographic Educator Certification last spring. In addition, I participated as a representative of my school on the Dr. Karen Mapp family engagement series to implement best practices at my school. To support students outside of the school year, I worked for the Fredericksburg Governor's School as a co-lead teacher for the course "Mines, Minerals, and caves" and attended the Ken Tilly's Student leadership conference in 2019. Lastly, I worked to support the implementation of online learning in my county by completing the “Online Secondary Instructions in VA: Science & Mathematics” University of Mary Washington course and serving on the "Stafford Canvas Cadre" to develop potential online materials for 2020-2021 school year.

As a student pursuing a master's degree in K-12 Educational Leadership, why did you choose this field?
After completing my M.A.Ed in 2018 I knew that K-12 education was the field I wished to remain connected to during my educational career. As a first-year teacher, I received the "First Class Teacher of the Year Award" at my high school, and was recommended by my principal to join a cohort for K-12 administration. After learning that the cohort program was offered through William & Mary, I sought additional feedback from my mentor professor, Meredith Kier. Dr. Kier gave me the confidence to pursue this degree, even though I was still early in my educational career, illustrating the important role educators from the School of Education possess. I remain motivated in my pursuit of educational leadership opportunities because I hope to make larger changes in the field of education that extend beyond my classroom.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?  
After graduation, my hope is to make my way into K-12 administration by serving as an assistant principal at a middle or high school. Throughout my career, I believe I would be happy transitioning between building administration and central office, with hopes of making decisions to positively impact students across the division. In addition, I would love to at some point teach a course at a higher education institution for aspiring educators.

Why did you choose William & Mary and specifically your degree program? What sets this degree program apart from those offered at other colleges?
I chose this program because William & Mary's cohort experience offers a unique opportunity for educators in the same division to work together and form relationships as they develop into future leaders for their division. In addition, the William & Mary School of Education offers courses that effectively balance demanding academics, modern educational issues, and the importance of adapting to change, all of which have allowed me to develop into a more productive educator. The professors offer a vast range of knowledge and experience to help guide students to be successful at all levels of education, with many professors being lead researchers in their field. I love that the School of Education offers a close-knit community of highly skilled educators, who consistently support me to succeed in the field of education.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program? 
With the uncertainty of COVID last summer, there were concerns that many of the M.Ed. cohort members in my program may not find internships. Fortunately, we have all worked together to find placements, and my experience gave a larger insight into the inner workings of K-12 education. Working with two other cohort members, we were responsible for developing a plan for the only in-person summer school during the pandemic! There was additional pressure as we were keeping up with both CDC and state health guidelines, which were changing quite frequently. Fortunately, our program succeeded with no exposures and we were observed by the school board and superintendent to see what it would take to have in-person learning during the school year.

Is there any additional information you would want a prospective student to know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
I believe education is one of the most precious gifts we can give our students and William & Mary's School of Education shares this sentiment. Few other schools in the nation are as devoted to ensuring practices addressing educational equity are taught to future educators as the William & Mary School of Education. By committing to help educators ensure ALL students receive the gift of education and having some of the best professors in the field of education, William & Mary's School of Education is the best choice for future educators and educators deepening their knowledge of the profession. 

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K-12 Educational Leadership