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Pictured is Ed.D. alumna Dr. Michelle Hall, superintendent for Central Fulton School District. | Photo submitted by HallMeet Michelle Hall, Ed.D.

Job title: Superintendent
Employer: Central Fulton School District
Degrees earned: Ed.D. in Leadership and Administration, 2016, Point Park University; Principal's Certification and Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, 2001 and B.S. in Elementary Education, 1993, Shippensburg University
Ed.D. dissertation title: "Perceived Self-Efficacy of Teachers Who Receive Discipline-Specific Instruction in Writing Through One-to-One Instructional Coaching - A Case Study"
Hometown and current residence: Three Springs, Pa.
High school: Forbes Road High School
Hobbies/interests: Reading, scrapbooking and attending my children's sporting events
Twitter: @drmdhall
LinkedIn: Michelle Hall, Ed.D.

How did your Ed.D. degree help you land the position of superintendent for Central Fulton School District?

Many school districts look for superintendency candidates who have a doctoral degree. It shows commitment to the education field as well as the desire to be a lifelong learner. Also, it shows willingness to persevere through challenges. 

Tell us about your various teaching experiences.

I started my teaching career in Washington County, Md., working at Salem Avenue and Potomac Heights Elementary Schools in Hagerstown. After eight years in Grades 2 and 3, I taught at Forbes Road Elementary for five years, teaching Grades 2, 1 and Pre-K. Then I became the elementary principal at Fannett-Metal School District. I was there for four years.

Prior to my current position of superintendent for Central Fulton School District, I was at Chestnut Ridge School District as the director of curriculum and instruction for Pre-K through Grade 12. I was there for seven years with three of those years in a dual role, also serving as the elementary principal of New Paris Elementary. Additionally, I taught an educational leadership college course as an adjunct professor at Shippensburg University.

Why did you choose Point Park University's Ed.D. in leadership and administration program?

I chose Point Park University and its Ed.D. in leadership and administration program because of its partnership with Intermediate Unit #8 in Altoona, Pa. I live in a remote part of the state so driving one hour and fifteen minutes to Altoona was doable for me. Pittsburgh is 2.5 hours away so coming to campus through the work week was impossible. Point Park offered live classes through video conferencing from the Altoona location. I felt like I was part of the class even though I was hours away.

Now that I'm able to reflect on my Point Park experience, I realized that this program offered so much more. I already loved to learn and was self-motivated to do so on my own. However, this program really stretched me beyond my comfort zone with a focus on very intensive educational research, close reading and scholarly writing. Living in rural Pennsylvania, the program gave me a new lens in which to view education - one that is urban, diverse and full of inequity. My Point Park University experience helped me to grow in my understanding of education, leadership and diversity. And … I now love the City of Pittsburgh! It has so much to offer.

What was your favorite Ed.D. class and why?

I would have to say that the Organizational Development class was my favorite. It allowed us to actually apply our learning about organizations to a Downtown business in Pittsburgh. We built a plan to help the August Wilson Center for African American Culture rebuild their nonprofit arts organization, helping them to revise their mission, vision, goals and organizational structure.

What advice do you have for education professionals pursuing leadership positions?

Be committed to the program. It's intense and challenging, but doable for a working mother of two teens. Your focus will be on reading, writing and research. Make sure you choose a dissertation topic that you are passionate about. You are going to spend an enormous amount of time with the topic so make sure you love it.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is from Henry Ford (1922): "Whether you think you can or can't, you're right."

I like this quote because it really speaks to me about having confidence in yourself and your abilities to make a difference in the world. I have a tendency to lack in confidence, so I continuously have to remind myself that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to ... as long as I play off of my strengths. Being successful in life is really about believing in yourself and knowing that you can make a difference. With a strong sense of self-efficacy, I know "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)


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