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Introducing our Doctoral Students

Meet some of our Ed.D. students and learn about their interests, career goals and why they chose Point Park.

Fall 2023 Cohort

Pictured is Brett Bielewicz. Submitted photo.Brett Bielewicz

Job title and employer: Principal, Jefferson Elementary School, Mt. Lebanon School District

Career goals: To be the change we wish to see in the world" by advancing and enriching the field of education. My goal is to embrace each and every opportunity to create safe and supportive school communities for staff, students and families.

What attracted you to Point Park? I have been fortunate to work with graduates of Point Park's Ed.D. program and have seen first-hand the personalized approach and success that the program offers. The faculty have a reputation of incredible experience and investment in fostering leaders, which was both inspiring and reassuring to my pursuit of a doctoral program and selection of Point Park.


Pictured is Nicole Bilodeau. Submitted photo.Nicole Bilodeau

Job title and employer: First-grade teacher, structured literacy specialist, Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner, Mt. Lebanon School District

Career goals: I aspire to teach pre-service teachers structured literature so that ALL kids will learn to read. I'd like to coach teachers and students in best practices.

What attracted you to Point Park? I appreciate the flexibility that Point Park offers. I value being able to further my education while continuing to work full-time. Getting a doctorate was always a goal of mine, and I'm thrilled to be working toward accomplishing my ultimate goal.


Pictured is Chelsea Cush. Submitted photo.Chelsea Cush

Job title and employer: Funeral director and full-time instructor, Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science

Career goals: My goal is to continue to make PIMS the best it can be and to educate students to the best of my ability!

What attracted you to Point Park? I attended Point Park for my undergraduate and master's degrees and had a good experience in both. So far, I am very happy with the decision I made to pursue my doctoral degree at Point Park.


Pictured is William Pasternak. Submitted photo.William Pasternak

Job title and employer: Full-time teacher – geometry, South Philadelphia High School, part-time teacher - geometry and math of personal finance, One Bright Ray Community High School in Philadelphia

Career goals: As a principal, my present objective is to be an effective principal. Creating a school-wide vision of commitment to high standards and the success of all kids is something else I want to be in charge of. As a principal, I also want to stand up for special education kids and those who are unable to stand up for themselves.

What attracted you to Point Park? Point Park drew me in since they took care of everything for me. The program was ideal for me as a father of four children and a full-time worker, and I could complete coursework on my schedule. Point Park also assisted me in finding methods to pay for my education. The teachers are also excellent and very helpful. I already hold a master's degree in education with a focus in math for grades 7-12, and I'm currently working toward my Ed.D. while pursuing my Principal Certification. I'm hoping that one day I can complete everything with Point Park and complete my Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility. Due to the greatest help I could ever get from the Point Park staff, I was able to pay for both my master's and doctoral degrees from the university without it affecting my life and my work schedule.

Fall 2022 Cohort

Pictured is Billy Hartung. Submitted photo.Billy Hartung

Job title and employer: Executive director, Center for Theater Art

What attracted you to Point Park? The way I see it, Point Park's promise of respect, rigor and relevance has always been a part of our story, and I will add relationship to the list. I earned my B.F.A. in Theatre Arts and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Point Park. The Ed.D. program has immediately had an impact on my professional career. The instructors are committed, passionate and knowledgeable. They care about me, my family and my organization. The emphasis on lifelong learning is contagious. For over three decades, Point Park has encouraged me to use my voice. It has been a glorious duet, and once again, it’s showtime, folks!


Pictured is Meaghan Henretty. Submitted photo.Meaghan Henretty

Job title and employer: Special education teacher, Armstrong School District

Career goals: I would like to teach courses in special education at the University level.

What attracted you to Point Park? I was attracted to the Point Park's Ed.D. program because of the support that is offered by the professors when going through the dissertation process.



Pictured is Ashley A. Jones. Submitted photo.Ashley Jones

Job title and employer: Lower and upper school art teacher, St. Edmund's Academy in Pittsburgh

Career goals: To become a better educational leader in the arts and to better serve my students and community.

What attracted you to Point Park? Point Park's reputation and the online Ed.D. program's flexibility attracted me.


Pictured is Leah Patterson. Submitted photo.Leah Patterson

Job title and employer: Area program coordinator, Literacy Pittsburgh

Career goals: My career goals are to transition into a non-profit consultant assisting other executives and leaders of nonprofit organizations with organizational structure and program planning. 

What attracted you to Point Park? What attracted me to the Ed.D. program was an interest in learning about what makes a leader successful so that I can have the knowledge base, both through my own personal experiences and research, to better assist other leaders. 


Pictured is Silvia Santana. Submitted photo.Silvia Santana

Job title and employer: Executive leader, De Nora Water Technologies, LLC

Career goals: To continue nurturing my leadership skills to serve others with a relentless will and the utmost humility. 

What attracted you to Point Park? It is my alma mater. I was part of the very first cohort of the Saturday adult education program, and each of my professors inspired me in many different, wonderful ways. At Point Park, my passion for leadership was ignited. Upon finishing my bachelor's degree, I went on to study for a Master’s in Leadership and Business Ethics. I am thrilled to be part of this fascinating, enriching doctoral program that aligns so well with my professional goals.


Pictured is Leslie Stanback. Submitted photo.Leslie Stanback

Job title and employer: Housing specialist, HCV, Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh 

Career goals: To create opportunity, growth, and impact within the community, encouraging different populations; those with addictions, mental health challenges, or who have faced incarceration. "Despite the difficulties of the past, you can begin again."

What attracted you to Point Park? Effective leadership is essential to achieve a desired set of goals. Trust must be involved for leadership to happen.


Pictured is Maria Vondas. Submitted photo.Maria Vondas

Job title and employer: K-2 Autistic Support Teacher, Pittsburgh Public Schools

Career goals: To break down learning barriers. 

What attracted you to Point Park? I earned my master's degree at Point Park and fell in love with its culture, so I decided to apply to the Ed.D. program. The content is relevant, and I am able to apply what I am learning immediately. All my professors have proven to be dedicated to my success and provide challenges that are engaging and meaningful. The students and staff I have met through Point Park have become valued lifelong friends and mentors.


Fall 2021 Cohort

Pictured is Shavonne Johnson. Submitted photo.Shavonne Johnson

Job title and employer: District mathematics coach, Pittsburgh Public Schools

Career goals: To lead a school and teach at the higher education level. 

What attracted you to Point Park? Point Park was recommended by my colleagues. I received my Master’s in C&I and my principal certification from Point Park. I returned for my doctorate because the faculty are invested in my success and the coursework is challenging and applicable.


Pictured is Robert Lee. Submitted photo.Robert Lee

Job title and employer: Director of administrative services, Laurel School District

Career goals: I would like to move into a superintendent position at some point. I'm also very much interested in teaching in higher education as well. 

What attracted you to Point Park? Obtaining my doctorate has always been a bucket list item for me. I knew this was something I wanted to do since I first started this journey. My undergrad and graduate degrees are from Point Park, and working with the School of Education was such a positive experience, there really isn't any place else I would rather attend. 

Fall 2020 Cohort


Pictured is Carla Duerr. Submitted photo.Carla Duerr

Job title and employer: Technical support analyst, Phillips Respironics

Career goals: To teach college students.

What attracted you to Point Park? I earned my master's degree at the University.




Pictured is Lucas Furlow. Submitted photo.Lucas Furlow

Job title and employer: Elementary school principal, Moon Area School District

Career goals: Attaining more education for self-improvement and to attain more options.

What attracted you to Point Park? The Ed.D. program is student-centered




Pictured is Dominique Furrowh. Submitted photo.Dominique Furrowh

Job title and employer: Elementary special education teacher, public school district in Newark, Del.

What attracted you to Point Park? The wonderful professors and online learning option.  




Pictured is Michael Howze. Submitted photo.Michael Howze

Job title and employer: Director of human resources, Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County in Ithaca, N.Y.

Career goals: To continue to grow within the field of human resources by assisting individuals and organizations achieve their desired level of success.

What attracted you to Point Park? I earned my M.A. at Point Park, and I'm familiar with the University’s fine reputation. The staff and faculty are some of the nicest people to work with, and the coursework is challenging and relevant.  


Pictured is Kelly Shirting. Submitted photo.Kelly Shirting

Job title and employer: Assistant principal at Penn Hills High School

Career goals: To become a superintendent.

What attracted you to Point Park? I'm an alumna, and I know the quality education the University provides.


Learn More

Point Park University's Ed.D. program in leadership and administration — with a fully online option — will expand your leadership skills and help you reach a higher-level position in your career.

You can complete our 54-credit, cohort-style degree program in just three years — or less — if transferring in post-master's credits.

Request more information or apply online