School of Arts and Sciences

Student Prepares to Be a Principal Through Online M.A. Educational Administration Program

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pictured is Shelby Noll, M.A. in educational administration fully online student and seventh grade teacher for Highlands Middle School. | Photo submitted by Noll

Meet Shelby Noll

Job title: Seventh Grade Teacher
Employer: Highlands School District
Degree pursuing: Fully online Master of Arts in Educational Administration with Pennsylvania Schools K-12 Principal Certification
Degree earned:
Bachelor of Arts in Middle Level Education for Math and Science, Carlow University, 2013
Hometown and current residence: Lower Burrell, Pa.
High school: Burrell Senior High School
Hobbies/interests:
Spending time with my husband, two Dobermans and family and friends, running and coaching soccer

"Point Park's educational administration graduate program, with its in-depth questions and discussion points, has encouraged Ms. Noll to look at the bigger picture of school operations. It's not about one teacher and one teacher's content area. It's about successfully balancing and meeting the needs of ALL of the internal and external stakeholders."

-- Debbie Beucker, Assistant Principal, Highlands Middle School


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"Being able to do the M.A. in educational administration program online has made my dream of pursuing a master’s degree possible! It has been a great experience because it allows me to connect with others from all over the region through discussion boards and other tools."

-- Shelby Noll


Why did you enroll in Point Park’s fully online educational administration graduate program?

I wanted a graduate program that I could do 100 percent online due to my busy schedule of working full time, coaching two soccer teams and spending time with my husband, my dogs and my family. I wanted something that I could get done on my own time, whether that’s at 1 a.m. or 3 p.m.

Another reason I went with Point Park University is because of its welcoming community. When I first went onto Point Park’s website, within minutes I had someone contact me offering a wealth of information about different programs. First impressions are huge and I was super impressed with this person as well as the University.

The representative gave me answers to all of the questions I asked, which was a key factor for me in deciding to go to Point Park. Knowing I didn’t have to wait a few days for answers or get redirected numerous times really made me feel very comfortable and that I was in good hands.

Tell us about your experiences so far in the program.

Being able to do the M.A. in educational administration program online has made my dream of pursuing a master’s degree possible! It has been a great experience because it allows me to connect with others from all over the region through discussion boards and other tools.

I have completed one eight-week course and am currently in my second eight-week course. My experience thus far has been absolutely fantastic. I truly couldn’t be happier with my decision in pursuing my master’s at Point Park University. I felt welcomed by the community of learners and all the other people who have helped me along the way (faculty, staff and representatives from Point Park). Everyone has been so friendly, helpful and super quick to answer my questions.

My course instructors are knowledgeable, friendly, approachable, helpful and passionate about what they are teaching. Both of my professors have provided me with opportunities to demonstrate my new knowledge of the subject material. I love that my professors offer feedback on assignments — this is something I really appreciate because I know it takes time for them to write individual comments for every single person in the class. In addition to providing feedback, they are always available to talk to or ask questions. They make me feel comfortable and confident in my learning, and I have really enjoyed my experience thus far.

How do you balance everything with your graduate classes?

I am someone who loves to be busy, engaged, involved and basically doing something 24-7. My husband always calls me the energizer bunny! Teaching, coaching soccer and spending time with my husband, dogs, family and friends is all a balancing act. You have to be disciplined and motivated to do all of these things at once, but I make the schedule work.

Sometimes I come into work early to get ahead and make sure I have completed everything before my lesson. Then, in the afternoon, evenings, or before bed, I sit down for about two to three hours and get some of my graduate work done. I normally do the readings throughout the day to break it up so it’s not all at once.

I love learning so doing things for my master’s degree is something I look forward to and enjoy doing. I don’t look at it as “extra work,” but rather an opportunity to develop new skills, learn new things and implement some of these strategies into my classroom as I prepare to be a principal someday.

What are your career goals and how do you think this master’s degree will help you reach them?

One of my long-term career goals is to become a principal someday. I would really like to take the knowledge I've gained through my graduate classes as well as my work experience and apply it to when I become a principal. The practices and information I have learned in my master’s classes have already helped me gain a fresh perspective and develop a new understanding of what it means to be an effective and respected administrator.

Earning my master’s degree from Point Park will definitely prepare me for my future career goals, as it has already provided me with new learning opportunities and insights.

For prospective students, why do you recommend Point Park University?

I would definitely recommend this program as well as any other program at Point Park University. The first time I was researching programs from different universities, a chat window popped up on my screen while I was on Point Park’s website. I filled in a quick questionnaire requesting information from Point Park and within literally minutes, a representative from Point Park called me! I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with this person, Lauren, who was extremely knowledgeable about everything within this M.A. program. She answered every question I had, and I had a lot, including the length of the program, how much it would cost and the types of professors I would have.

After I enrolled, many people contacted me through email and phone to make sure I was satisfied with the program. I am seriously so impressed with Point Park and the friendly environment that they have gone out of their way to create. I highly reccommend Point Park University to anyone who is interested in pursuing their education. You will NOT regret it! It truly has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

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